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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Guest Blogger-Carrot Cake Rum Balls from Ally's Kitchen

Good morning! Are you LOVING these Guest Bloggers as much as I do yet? Well, there's more to come so grab a cup of tea (or coffee, get the idea!) and sit down a while. Just look what my dear friend Ally has in store for you today!

My cooking is a reflection of my life—where I came from, my DNA, my experiences, my travels, my Croatian heritage, my adventurous spirit, and, of course, my humble background growing up in the hollers of West Virginia.  ‘Bohemian Bold’ cuisine means taking peasant and everyday ingredients and transforming them into something chic and luxurious. 

I was literally born a Cook, and I’ve been cooking since I was a kid.  But, my real passion for cooking, blogging, creating came after I finished raising my 3 sons, all now adults and paying their own taxes, and my 30+ years as a psychologist in private practice.  After appearing on Season 2 of Master Chef, I launched ‘What’s for Dinner? Ally’s Kitchen’ on Facebook and my website ‘Ally’s Kitchen’ at .

Life for me is like eating an orange—I want to suck out every drop of nectar and when that’s gone, I’ll zest the rind for more flavor.  My Bohemian Life is all about cooking and living adventurously! Ally's Kitchen is much more than just food and cooking--it's life and living and understanding how each and every day is an adventure if you want to make it that way!  Jump on the caravan and enjoy Bohemian just might get Boho'd!

A short story about the recipe
Oh, is there a story behind these ‘Carrot Cake Rum Balls’…setting aside the fact that I love moist and creamy carrot cake with lots of nuts and coconut flakes just jutting out when you slice it…not considering the fact that I was so very excited to be making this carrot cake knowing it was going to be a palatial masterpiece, it’s important to know that the ‘balls’ were not planned…

…As many who know me, aahhhum know, I make up recipes…well, in creating this one, I consulted a variety of sources, including my 40 year-old Good Housekeeping Cookbook, looking at recipes for carrot cakes.  I decided I needed some basic ingredients, of course, so I gathered up my booty and went to work.  Bottom line for this creation, was the icing got an A+ and the carrot cake, albeit handsome and grand, got a D—why?  It was just too dang dry!  After researching the chemistry behind this (where the heck is Alton Brown when you need him!), I’ve decided it’s because of three things—one, I used melted butter instead of oil…two, I used 6 eggs and unbeknownst to me I learned in my investigation that egg whites leech out moisture, so I probably should have used 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks, which, of course, have fat.  Finally, I think I cooked the cakes a tad bit too long. 

Wondering what I’d do, I decided to post an APB on Facebook ‘What’s for Dinner?  Ally’s Kitchen and get input from my foodie universe.  I asked whether I should trash or salvage.  I also asked what I should do to salvage.  This post generated the MOST  likes I’ve ever received on FB, and there were well over 50 comments.  Dang, foodies on FB are passionate critters.  So, 911 Rescue Foodies, thank you!  The resulting conclusion was to make cake balls, use rum, and use some more pineapple, which I did, and I threw in a few more grated carrots. And, finally, I decided to give them a roll in some crumbled healthy goodness!

Decimating the original cake was like taking a wrecking ball to an old building!  I chopped off pieces and using two large mixing bowls, icing and cake, began working the cake into a mess of crumbs.  After adding the extra ingredients, I decided I’d test out rolling them in a coating—homerun!  Crumbled and ground in a food processor, I combined wheat germ, shredded wheat, and bran cereal, and each ball was rolled in it, then placed in a cupcake paper cup.  I re-baked these balls for about 15 minutes at 375.  After cooling I drizzled a dark chocolate ganache sauce and a homemade caramel sauce.

Since my recipe was for a four-layer carrot cake, I’m cutting it in half…unless, of course, you want to make almost 100 rum balls like I did!  Frankly, I think about 50 should feed the neighborhood!  I hope all this makes sense—if not, just holler at me!

Makes:  About 40+ large gumball, no, golf ball, size ballsPreheat oven to 375

What you need:
Actually, one lousy dry carrot cake, and you can skip a lot of this!  But, if you, by chance, don’t have one hanging around, here’s a recipe. 

1 ½ cups self-rising flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 eggs
1 ¼ cups sugar
¾ cup melted butter (or oil!)
¼ cup milk
1/3 cup currants
1 cup finely shredded carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup shredded coconut

4 oz block cream cheese (room temperature)
4 oz whipped cream cheese (room temperature)
½ cup Greek plain yogurt
½ cup confectionary sugar
¾ cup whipped topping
1 tbl fresh lemon juice
1 tbl lemon zest
1 cup finely chopped pineapple (somewhat drained)
½ cup rum
COATING½ cup wheat germ
1 cup sweetened shredded wheat
¾ cup bran cereal

What you do:  This is going to be two stages of preparation.  Not difficult.

Stage 1

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and blend well together.  In another mixing bowl, cream the butter with a hand mixer beating about 3 minutes.  Add milk to this and blend.  Add about half of the wet ingredients to the dry and mix then add the remainder.  Finally, add the currants, carrots, coconut, and walnuts.  Bake in greased cake pans (or one large cake pan) in a preheated 375 oven for about 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick basically comes out clean.  When done, remove and let cool preferably overnight.


(Note:  You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate.  Just make sure when you’re at stage 2, it’s a room temperature to making blending easier.)

Combine the cream cheeses and yogurt and blend. Then add the remaining ingredients, one at a time and blending after each. 

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times until finely ground.
Stage 2
In a large mixing bowl, crumble the cake with your hands.  Work in the icing mixture and blend all well.  Add the icing mixture and blend well.  This will be a somewhat thick very moist ‘batter’ but remember, the cake has been cooked.  Using a hand ball scoop, start making the balls. Have a large cookie sheet ready. Place the coating crumbs in a pie plate. Roll the ball in the coating and then place in a paper cupcake holder and place on the cookie sheet.  Bake in a preheated 375 oven about 12-15 minutes.  Remove and let cool.  Drizzle with a dark (70%) chocolate ganache and caramel.  Or you can create your own ‘icing’ or ‘drizzle’—your option!
For the original recipe, click here


  1. Carrie, I have been addicted to your blog for months, that is why I have nominated you for an award, check it out when you get a moment

    1. Thank you do much Shari! I'm on vaca so I'll pay it forward when I get back.

  2. Carrie!! I know you're busy organizing and packing, but what a wonderful guest blog experience this is for me! Thank you, sweet luveee, for giving me this opportunity...I am grateful and humbled b/c you are one of my culinary stars!! xoxo Ally

    1. Awe, thanks AllyCat! Love you too and you inspire me daily. xoxo


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