Monday, October 20, 2014

Polka Dot Cake...easy as pie!

Traditionally, polka dots are used in clothing, specifically with Flamingo and Polka dancers, which, the latter, is probably where the name came from.  Concentric circles in a specific pattern, whether large or small, have been one of my favorites since I was little and sewing for my girls when they were little.  (BTW...did you notice the polka dot pattern on this month's give-away apron!)
 With inspiration from a new baking book I came across, Surprise~Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion--With a Little Something Extra Inside, I decided to try this technique with polka dots. Basically, I baked a round shape, thanks to a new little pan I discovered at Sur La Table, and set them in the pan with a different batter poured over.
I have definitely embraced the Southern way of cooking and baking living in North Carolina and chose Red Velvet cake for the polka dots.  I used my recipe which I did a few years ago, but you could "cheat" and use a cake mix (recommend German's Chocolate, adding 1oz of red food coloring).  Either way, you will have more batter than you need for 36 cake balls, so bake up more and freeze or make a dozen cupcakes.

Polka Dot Cake
Recipe for Red Velvet Cake or use a German's Chocolate Cake Mix + 1oz of Red Food Coloring
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees and grease and flour the Cake Pop Baking Pan.
Place the bottom (without the hole) on a baking sheet and 1 tablespoon of batter to each well.  Place top on and secure with locking pins.
Bake for 10 minutes; the hole in the top allows you to use a cake tester for doneness.  Remove from oven and unlock.  Use a small spatula to release the balls from the pan.
Wash pan and grease/flour two more times until you have 36 "dots".

White Cake
3/4 c shortening
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs, separated (you will only use the whites)
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups buttermilk (or sour milk--2T vinegar added to milk)

Separate the eggs and allow the whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the shortening and sugar for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add the whites, a little at a time, while the mixer is running and beating until incorporated.  When all eggs have been added, add the vanilla and beat again.

Add the dry ingredients alternatively with the buttermilk (sour milk) and mix just until combined.

Your oven should still be set on 350F-degrees.  Thoroughly grease and flour a tube pan with a removable bottom.  (I didn't do it, but the next time I make this cake, I will also add a ring of parchment paper on the bottom for an easy release.)

Add half (18 balls) to the bottom of the tube pan, alternating the pattern.
Add half of the batter on top, thoroughly covering all of the balls.
Set 18 more balls over the batter, then add the rest of the batter.

Bake for 65-70 minutes or until a long wooden skewer comes out cleanly.  Remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes.  
Run a long spatula around the sides and the inside tube (which I forgot to do and had some of the cake stick:-( )
Easy Marshmallow Frosting
In a large bowl (I used my stainless steel bowl from my stand mixer) add:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup cold water
2 egg whites (at room temperature)
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

Use a hand mixer to combine the ingredients, then set them over a make-shift double boiler--a large sauce pan that the mixing bowl can set on top of without touching the bottom on the stove--with about 1 1/2 inches of boiling water.  Beat the mixer on high speed for 10 minutes or until stiff peaks form.  Remove from the heat and add 1 tsp. vanilla and beat 3 minutes more or until spreading consistency.  Makes about 5 cups of frosting.

Frost the cooled cake completely and add a sprinkling of shredded coconut on top, if desired.
I think this cake is so fun and can imagine it for the holidays--Halloween: chocolate cake balls in an orange-flavored cake; Thanksgiving: pumpkin/spice cake balls in a yellow cake; and Christmas: combination of red and/or green velvet cake in white cake. Enjoy!



  1. Beautiful cake! Love the Polka dots---so very clever!

    1. Wish it was my original idea--it is a clever technique.

  2. You make it sound so easy Susan and it looks so scrumptious!!! Good photos too...makes me drool!
    We have a new cafe/shop here Called Canadian cup cakes. I have been trying to get down to the city centre to go and try it out. I just hope their cupcakes are really like proper cupcakes and not like the Spanish version which is super sweet and gooey!! I really hate over sweet cakes and the Spanish love super sweet sticky stuff especially with almonds. They say it is due to the moorish heritage.

    keep well

    Amanda x

  3. At first I thought the red dots were HUGE cherries,then I wondered how you made the dots...clever!
    Jane x

  4. ... And polka dots are all the rage. Will definitely give this a try. Thanks Susan

  5. This is so cute and could go with a great party themed with Polka Dots. Love that you used Red Velvet for the dots! This looks so good!


  6. Those red polka dots are lovely in the white cake. A very beautiful and delicious treat, Susan.

  7. hi susan! how clever is this?! and very yummy looking too! i would kind of love a piece right now :)

  8. wow! looks like a fun cake. how about sending a piece here to CT.
    stamping sue

  9. Very Cool! I have wondered about that cake book. I've seen it a lot around the web. How did the cake balls fare? Gorgeous cake...And, just in time as I've been looking for a white cake recipe, too! Great inspiration for Halloween! lv, me

    1. I was skeptical that baked balls would come out overdone, but surprisingly they were perfect and you wouldn't know they had been baked before.

    2. Wow, that's what I was thinking as well. Very interesting...Well done!

  10. I LOVE IT and I for sure will be stealing this so clever and cool, everyone will be wondering how I did it and I will just let them wonder, maybe I will tell, lol, thanks for the cool cake idea, love it...

  11. What a simple way to make a decorative cake.

  12. What a gorgeous cake and I love red velvet!

  13. This cake looks so fun! I must get that pan and make one!