Contest Winner! Cameron Bailey’s Pineapple Dulce de Leche Cake Balls

Well, Thanksgiving got in the way so it took me some time to hit the kitchen and develop the recipe for our contest winner! I had run a contest for fans to come up with a flavor profile for a cake ball, which I would then develop and name after them. Fans voted and Cameron Bailey’s concept was the winner!

Here was Cameron’s description (in his words) of what I should make:

Cake: Hawaiian Pineapple cake with “bits of fresh caramelized pineapple pieces”

Binder: Dulce de leche–“Caramel and Pineapple go great together!!”

Coating: “Dipped in Vanilla Coating, top with crushed pink peppercorns and dried pineapple bits for a spicy sweet finish”

above is an interior shot

This was exciting;  I liked the flavor combos and could taste them in my mind and couldn’t wait to try for real. Here is how the recipe testing unfolded. I first set out to caramelize some pineapple and while it is possible to do this at home, it can be a lengthy and persnickety project. I keep hearing from fans that they like Easy, so I decided to use the dried pineapple that can often be purchased in bulk at places like Whole Foods. It has sugared added, so it is sweet and chewy, adding a textural dimension. It’s sort of dried, sort of candied.

Then the first thing I did was make a yellow cake with bits of the chopped, dried pineapple in it. Not pineapple-y enough. Then a friend gave me a recipe that uses an entire 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple in the batter – along with the juice. This sounded like a great way to go. I made the cake and there was much improvement on the fruit flavor front. So I crumbled that up, added some chopped dried pineapple, and folded in purchased dulce de leche as binder until the mixture held into balls. Believe me, at this point in the testing I was tasting A Lot:) Soooo good. Then I chilled the balls and while they were tucked away in the frig I chopped up some more dried pineapple for the tops of the dipped balls.

I used Valrhona Ivoire white chocolate for the coating. This white chocolate melts down very smoothly for a white chocolate, which can sometimes be thick and gloppy. With any white chocolate, make sure not to overheat while melting.

I dipped the balls in the white chocolate and immediately sprinkled the tops with the reserved dried pineapple and a few grinds of pink peppercorns. Not only does the pepper provide a spicy bite, but it looks really pretty as well.

Cameron, I hope you are happy with the result, which I have named Cameron Bailey’s Pineapple Dulce de Leche Cake Balls. Thank you for your creativity and have a great holiday everyone!

Above is a natural light shot. Top cake ball has some extra white chocolate drizzled on top