These realistic-looking cakes are the answer to your dessert cravings.
How many times have you closed your eyes, asked a question, shook a Magic 8 Ball, and hoped for a good response? I have more times than I wish to admit. It's a fun yet silly way to get an answer to life's important questions when you're young, like "Does Billy like me," or "Will I pass my test?"
It's an iconic toy that has entertained generations of kids and I thought it would be a challenge to make some Magic 8 Ball Cakes that look as realistic as possible. Did I get it right? I'll ask the 8 ball. "YES." Good answer!
Since Magic 8 Balls are black, I decided my cake should be chocolate inside and I whipped up a batch of Betty Crocker chocolate fudge cake mix. To create a round cake I needed half-sphere pans and chose to use silicone molds that had 6 half-sphere cavities in each. I equally divided the cake mix among 18 half-sphere cavities, then baked and cooled them.
While my cakes were cooling I worked on my decorations. The first thing I did was pop a mini muffin tin into my hot oven. I'll explain more about that in a minute.
I wanted my 8 balls to have the iconic plastic window in which you would see the answer to your questions. In order to create a clear edible window I used Isomalt instead of boiled sugar. If you’ve never worked with or even heard of Isomalt, it’s a sugar substitute that can be melted and remains clear once poured. I purchased Isomalt Nibs, which can simply be melted down and poured.
I suggest when working with Isomalt that you use extreme caution! Once the Isomalt comes to a boil it is extremely hot and sticky. If it gets on your skin it will cause serious burns.
Start by placing the Isomalt nibs in a microwave-safe measuring cup. Heat on high for a minute or two until it comes to a boil. Keep your eye on it. Once it starts to boil, remove it from the microwave and let it sit until almost all of the bubbles have disappeared.
Remove the muffin tin from the oven. Carefully pour the Isomalt into the cavities in the tin, creating 12 thin round discs. You'll only need 9, but I found it best to have a few extra. The heat in the tin will help dissipate any more bubbles that form. If you pour it into a cold tin your candy might end up cloudy.
Allow the candy to harden for about 15 minutes, then turn the tin over and pop them out.
Roll out some white fondant on a silicone mat and cut triangles that fit within the circumference of the candy discs. Using some small alphabet stamps, press letters creating the words "YES" or "NO" into the fondant triangles. If your stamps are small enough you may even have enough room for the word "MAYBE."
Squeeze a few drops of purple food coloring into a small dish. Dip a cotton swab into the food coloring and dab off the excess. Gently brush the coloring over the triangle, allowing the words to remain white. You want this to look like the liquid that's inside the Magic 8 Ball. Allow the food coloring to dry, then place one candy disk over each of the triangles.
Once the cakes have cooled, cut them to create perfect half spheres.
To cover the cakes, I found it easiest to heat the chocolate frosting in the microwave until it's pourable, then I poured it over the top of the cakes. At this point just cover 9 of the cakes and then pop them in the freezer.
With the remaining 9 cakes, cut a well that is 1-1/2 inches round by 1/2-inch deep and then pour the frosting over those cakes. I frosted all my cakes and then cut the wells, but it was messy. So I suggest you do it before frosting them.
While the cakes are freezing you can start rolling out your black fondant into an 8-inch round. Remove one cake at a time, set it on your work surface and drape the fondant over top. Then smooth out the fondant. Do this for 9 cakes.
Use a pizza cutter to cut out around each cake.
Roll out more white fondant and cut 9 1-3/4 inch circles. Roll out the black fondant and cut out small number 8's. Brush the backside of a number 8 with a small amount of water and attach it to a circle of fondant. Then attach one circle to the tops of each of the nine fondant-covered cakes.
When you remove the remaining cakes from the freezer, set one candy disc into the well in each cake.
Now, to cover the other nine cakes you need to cut a small 3/4-inch hole in the center of your black fondant pieces and drape them over a cake, lining the hole up with the candy disc.
Smooth the fondant out and allow the hole to stretch enough so the candy disc will show through. Then cut out around the cake.
Use a bit of frosting to attach two halves of each sphere-shaped cake together, stretching the fondant to create a tight seam around the middle.
If you aren't going to serve these the day you cover them in fondant, keep the two halves apart and stored with the flat side down, then attach them before serving. This will help maintain their round shape and keep the decoration from sticking to a serving platter.
While these cakes may not give you the answers to all of your questions, they will definitely satisfy your dessert cravings!
Beth happily spends her days creating fun food and handmade chocolate and enjoys sharing step-by-step tutorials with her readers on her blog Hungry Happenings. Be sure to check out her profile to see all the other festive foods she's made for Tablespoon.com.