March 19, 2011

Cake Truffles

So I wanted to try out cake truffles or cake balls. I had left over frosting from making cupcakes for my nephew's birthday. I researched it online and found two ways of making them. The most common way is to use boxed cake mix and ready made frosting. Here's the recipe by Bakerella for Red Velvet cake balls:

Red Velvet Cake Balls

1 box red velvet cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 can cream cheese frosting (16 oz.)
1 package chocolate bark (regular or white chocolate)
wax paper

1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting. (It may be easier to use fingers to mix together, but be warned it will get messy.)
3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet. (Should make 45-50. You can get even more if you use a mini ice cream scooper, but I like to hand roll them.)
4. Chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.)
5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package.
6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. (Use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate and then tap off extra.)

I also only melt a few pieces of chocolate bark at a time because it starts to cool and thicken. It’s easier to work with when it’s hot.

Another way is to use boxed cake mix with coffee creamer. So I set out to make them...let me tell you they take lots and lots of time. The cake part is easy. I used devil's food cake.
I also use butter to grease my pans. I used to use the spray but my brother commented a few times about how he didn't like the taste. So for his sake I use butter. It's a little bit more messy but once you taste the results I think you'll find it's worth the extra effort. Plus, the less hydrogenated oils and processed soy products that go into your body, the better. I decided to make two boxes because I wanted to experiment. When using two racks in the oven it's important to remember one important fact: halfway through baking switch the top cake with the bottom. This will guarantee equal levels of doneness.
Once the cakes were done I wanted to let them cool. Now I came across two techniques when it came to breaking the cakes apart. Bakerella said to let the cakes cool completely before breaking them apart but other blogs said to let the cakes cool down for about 10 minutes and then break them apart. What did I choose to do? I combined both ideas by letting the cakes cool and then taking a fork and breaking the cakes apart into medium size pieces.
Once the cakes were cool I put on my handy latex-free gloves and went to town breaking the medium bits into crumbs. I took out any hard pieces and put them in a bowl for later. Next, came the frosting.
There is something oddly therapeutic about squishing frosting and crumbs together whilst watching "How To Train Your Dragon". I didn't put the entire tub of frosting into the cake because most sites said not to. When mixing with my hands I made sure not to smoosh everything too much because I didn't want a paste. Once the mixture was nicely moist, I took out my cookie scooper and scooped out cake truffles and put them on waxed paper.
Most sites say to roll the balls in your hands but I wanted to avoid this for two reasons. One, it would mean less work and two, at Yummy Cupcakes (my favorite cupcake bakery) I watched the pastry chef scoop out balls and I didn't think she rolled them. The cake truffles at Yummy Cupcakes are amazing, by the way. It took a while to scoop all the balls out but once I was done I produced exactly 70 perfectly shaped balls.
Again, going back to the recipe, you're supposed to put the balls in the fridge for some time. Maybe skipping this step explains why I had trouble with the dipping. I began dipping the freshly scooped balls into the chocolate bark using a fork in one hand and a spoon in the other. The first 5 or 6 came out well but after that the crumbs began accumulating in the chocolate and my truffles were looking awfully lumpy. So after doing about a dozen I cleaned out the lumpy chocolate bark and replaced it with fresh squares and began rolling the balls in my hands. Some of my balls rolled out nicely but some were breaking apart. I guess I could have used more frosting. I did my best to push the balls together and placed them back into the baking sheets. Then I restarted the dipping process. Although the process went a bit better it was getting late so I decided to close shop for the night and begin again the next afternoon.

The next day I decided to use semi-sweet chocolate chips in one double boiler and Reese's chips in another.
The Reese's chips were super thick when they were melted so I added some semi-sweet chips to loosen up the mixture. Another issue was that the melted chips took much longer to harden. The chocolate bark hardened within 20 minutes.

All in all these are my observations:
1. Chocolate bark makes the truffles taste like Dunkin' Donuts chocolate donut holes.
2. Taste-wise the Reese's covered truffles were the best, followed by the semi-sweet and lastly the chocolate bark.
3. I wish I had put more frosting in the crumbs in order to keep the balls together.
4. Cake truffles done 3-4 days ahead of the time you want to eat them taste the best

I took some balls to Bible study and they were a hit.

Two of my friends, Sarah and Hannah, were the first to try them.

Sarah nearly passed out because she liked them so much :)

Cake truffles do take quite a bit of time to make but they are a definate crowd-pleaser. If this is something you would like to bring to a party but don't want to go through the effort of making them you can always order them from me. They only cost $0.50 a piece with a minimum order of 2 dozen.

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