Ever since I was a little girl my family has celebrated Coffee Day on February 13. And every year I heard the story of how it came to be. One summer morning when my mom and her brothers were children they asked my grandpa for a sip of his coffee…just to try it. As there were three of them, he’d have to give up his cup of joe and endure the caffeine-induced calamity that would surely follow. Not wanting to interrupt his rare peaceful morning off from shift work he told them no. But they persisted as youthful curiosity always does. After enough pestering my clever grandpa said, “You can’t drink coffee. It’s not Coffee Day.”
“When is Coffee Day?” my mom asked.
“It’s the day before Valentine’s Day,” he quipped.
The summer faded into fall. Christmas came and went. The cold of winter was still upon them when the sun crept out of the sky on February 13. “It’s Coffee Day! It’s Coffee Day!” the children exclaimed at breakfast.
“What are you talking about?” my grandpa inquired.
The kids jogged his memory with details of the day he told them they had to wait until Coffee Day to have their first sip. He was so impressed they remembered he poured them all a cup of coffee and the tradition began.
Of course, none of the children ever drink the coffee. But I have fond memories of sitting around our dining room table dipping chocolate graham cookies into my mug, almost white from milk and sugar, and hearing the story of Coffee Day from my grandpa. This year I can’t wait to hear my mom tell it to my kids as the eat cookies and balk taste of coffee.
To celebrate this year I thought I try to incorporate two of my favorite desserts into one awesome mega dessert: Gooey Butter Cake Balls. If you’re not familiar with Gooey Butter Cake, you’re probably not from St. Louis. Like toasted ravioli and Imo’s pizza, it’s one of those things we have great pride in here in the Lou. It’s gooey. There’s butter. And it’s a cake. Enough said.
While I’ve got an incredible gooey butter cake recipe from my grandma I’ll share some time, I decided to go a simpler route and pick one up from one of my favorite bakeries, McArthur’s. (They made my wedding cake!). I also grabbed some white almond bark, colored sugar, and icing.
I used a fork to smash it up. You really want to crumble every piece of cake until it’s all a smooth, doughy consistency.
Next, I put it in the freezer for 30 minutes. If you’re going to leave it longer than 30 minutes, put it in the fridge. If the dough gets too cold it will be hard to roll into balls.
Remove the dough and roll into approximately 1 inch balls. Return to the freezer for at least 30 minutes up to over night.
While your cake balls are in the freezer you can melt your almond bark. I am using my trusty Wilton Chocolate Pro, but you can also use a double boiler or melt it in the microwave. If you do use the microwave heat it in small, frequent durations (30-45 secs) stirring in between each. If you leave it in too long it will burn.
I used some colored sugar and Wilton decorating icing. I love using mini cupcake papers to add another level of decoration to my cake balls. It’s a pretty look and it helps contain any extra coating that may drip off.
Drop your cake ball in the almond bark and roll it around with a spoon until it’s coated on all sides.
Next, use a fork or a candy dipping tool to remove the cake ball. Tap it gently on the side of the bowl to get off the extra coating.
Flip it over into one of your mini cupcake liners. You’ll want to have a towel on hand because this can get a little messy.
Quickly add your color sugar or sprinkles before the coating sets.
I like to leave some plain so I can write on them with icing. You should wait until the coating has set and cooled before you add the icing.
This Thursday is Coffee Day- I hope these Gooey Butter Cake Balls last until then!