Before my mom and stepdad got married, my stepdad claims he had Hostess Sno Balls and Coke for breakfast. Not exactly the breakfast of champions! For those of you who aren’t familiar with Sno Balls, they’re chocolate snack cakes with cream filling, covered in marshmallow and coconut. Oh, and they’re usually pink.
For the last few years, I’ve had a homemade version bookmarked, but never had the time to make them. Before a recent weekend trip to celebrate my stepdad’s birthday in Lexington, I thought, “Why not make a single giant Sno Ball type cake?!” Well, like many brilliant ideas, this has been done before, so I had some various sources to compare while looking for the perfect recipe, or in this case recipes. I figured that my primary challenge would be getting a round cake without purchasing a special pan. Enter the Sprinkle Bakes Pink Snowball Cake recipe. Her chocolate cake is baked in a 2 quart pyrex bowl. Perfect! In fact, when baked, the top rose up into a lovely dome, so I had an almost perfectly round cake. If your cake bakes a little flatter, it can be turned over so the bowl’s rounded bottom is on top.
Moving on, I decided not to go with the frosting recipe that accompanied the Pink Snowball Cake. I like butter and all, but the frosting called for a whole pound of it! I decided instead on Baked Bree’s Marshmallow Buttercream. It was a good choice, involving marshmallow fluff and powdered sugar with a smaller amount of butter. I carefully cut the cake in half and cut out a small middle section, which I filled with some of the buttercream. I put the top back on and carefully frosted the whole thing.
Since traditional Hostess Sno Balls have a while marshmallow layer covered in pink coconut, I left the frosting white. Then I referenced Serious Eats’s recipe for homemade snowballs to address the coconut. This recipe suggested chopping up sweetened flaked coconut in the food processor to more closely resemble the small shreds on the snack cake. I followed this advice with the only pink food coloring I could find. It was labeled hot pink and had Disney princesses on the package – not exactly what I picture when I think of my stepdad. I used a tiny amount, fearing neon pink results, but it turned out just fine. In fact, it looked just like the a giant version of the original Hostess treat! And the cake was pretty tasty as well. That said, it did not keep very long. The cake dried out pretty quickly, so I would suggest making this no more than one day prior to serving.
And my stepdad loved it!
This cake was really fun to make and would be lovely at Easter. You could also tint the coconut orange and and add some black gel icing stripes to look like a basketball for your Final Four Party. Here at The Table, we’re UK fans (Amy is getting her PhD there), so we’re excited! Go C-A-T-S!
For the Cake
6 tbs unsweetend cocoa powder
6 tbs hot water
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbs) butter
1 cup plus 1 Tb sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream (I subbed plain greek yogurt)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 2 quart heatproof bowl (I recommend Pyrex) and set aside.
2. Whisk together cocoa and hot water into a thick paste. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. Melt butter in a sauce pan over low heat, then add sugar. Stir to combine. Remove from heat and transfer to a missing bowl. Allow to cool a bit so that when you add the eggs, they don’t cook in the mix.
4. Add the eggs, vanilla, and cocoa mixture and beat to combine. Then reduce mixture speed and slowly add the flour mixture, then the sour cream or yogurt. Mix well.
5. Pour into greased bowl and bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
6. Allow to cool, at least until the bowl can be handled with bare hands. Run a knife around the edge of the bowl and gently remove the cake. If your is domed on top like mine, this is fine. Otherwise, use the bottom of the cake in the bowl shape as the top. Cool completely.
For the Frosting
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 jar marshmallow creme (7 or 7.5 oz)
2 cups powdered sugar
Plus: 1 1/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut and pink gel food coloring
1. Cream the butter till light and fluffy. Add marshmallow creme.
2. Whip for about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and beat for about two more minutes.
1. Place the cooled cake on a serving plate and place strips of wax paper under the cake for easy clean up. Then cut the dome off the cake, about 1/3 of the way down.
2. Carefully scoop out an indention in the middle of the cake. (Bonus: baker gets to nibble on the crumbs!) Then fill with buttercream. This recipe makes plenty so use what you need to fill your indention. Place the top of the cake bake on the filled bottom.
3. Generously ice with the remaining buttercream.
4. Place the coconut in a food processor with a tiny dab of food coloring. Pulse a few times to chop up the coconut and mix in the food coloring.
5. Sprinkle the cake with pink coconut flakes and gently press them into the frosting on the sides till covered. Remove wax paper strips and tidy up any stray coconut crumbs. Serve!