I know a lot of people scared to make a cake from scratch. It really doesn’t take that much longer to make a scratch cake (I swear!) and they taste soooo much better. So much better, you won’t want to eat box cake any more. If there is ever a reason to make your first scratch cake, cake truffles are it! If it turns out dry, lopsided, sunk in the middle, or some other weird happening, it’s totally okay. You’re going to crumble it all up anyway. You’ll get to taste it, see what you think, and reassure yourself you could do it again to make a birthday cake or just-because-I-can cake.
Apprarently I’m way behind on the cake ball rage. You say cake balls, I say cake truffles. It’s all the same delicious treat but truffle sounds so much fancier, don’t you think? The first time I heard of them was about a year ago. My amazing wedding photographer Anne Constance (now specializing in maternity, baby and children photos) went into business with a baker friend of hers making gorgeous little cake bites. I wanted to try my hand at them but wasn’t sure how they were made. Apparently, this ingenious idea has been around for years!
Just recently I learned how to craft the little beauties myself and just had to make them for a Cooking Club friend’s housewarming party. Her house is a gorgeous example of Baltimore architecture and charm – forgot my camera but I’ll take some pictures at her upcoming CC.
There are a couple ways to get these in your life: 1) order them from Baby Cake Sweet Bites; 2) make your favorite box cake mix, stir in some store-bought icing, and start rolling and dipping; or 3) do the whole thing from scratch and get creative with your flavor combinations! Please? You have to! Keep reading…
I have recipes for moist chocolate cake here and here; below you’ll find a recipe for yellow cake. These were my first try at cake balls truffles. I wanted a fun flavor because I can’t seem to make anything “regular” as I’m told. You can make flavored cake, flavored icing, or both. This time I went with a plain vanilla cake and got creative with the frosting. Many more combos are sure to follow as these were so cute and delicious and a huge hit at the party. So much so that another housewarming last night meant made another batch with another flavor. Plus, since this party was in Jersey, I was also a perfect time to to make them for my family… who also fell in love with them. I’m sure they’ll be added to my mom’s list of most requested desserts from me: crème brulee… flan… brownies… cake truffles.
Peanut butter & Banana Cake TrufflesMakes about 70 truffles; takes about 4 hours total
Yellow Vanilla Cake
1½ cups sugar
1½ stick butter (12 tbl)
2 cups flour
2 tsp salt (more than usual; if making this for a regular cake use only 1 tsp)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup milk
½ cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9” x 13” pan.
Beat the eggs and sugar on medium high until very pale, about 3 – 4 minutes. Add in the butter and mix until well combined. While that is beating, measure out the milk in a small measuring cup; mix in the sour cream and vanilla extract and set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking salt; set aside. Stir in 1/3 of the flour mixture until just combined then stir in half the milk mixture. Stir in another 1/3 of the flour, then the rest of the milk, and end with the rest of the flour. Stop mixing the batter once it’s just combined. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 – 35 minutes. The cake will be golden brown and a toothpick will come out clean. Cool in the pan for about 20 minutes then turn out onto a sheet pan. Break into several pieces to help it cool to room temperature faster. I actually put mine in the fridge once it broken apart in order to speed up the cooling process. You can make the cake the day before and let it cool overnight.
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While the cake is cooling, make the frosting:
Peanut Butter and Banana Buttercream
½ stick of butter, soft but not warm
¾ cup smooth peanut butter
½ tsp salt
2 cups powdered sugar
1 banana, diced (just ripe, very little brown spots, if any)
1 tbl milk, more if necessary
Beat together the butter and peanut butter until well combined. Beat in the salt and powdered sugar until fluffy. Stir in the banana. Frosting should be thick and spreadable. If it is really stiff, beat in some milk to thin it out: start with a tablespoon and add more if necessary. Keep refrigerated until the cake is cool. You can also make this the day before and assemble everything the next day.
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To make the truffle filling: Break the cake apart into small pieces. Place in the bowl of a stand mixer and turn on low, increase the speed to medium low once the big chunk are gone. You should end up with cake crumbs. Stir in about 1½ cups of the frosting. All of the cake should be moist with frosting; you should be able to form a ball with the mixture. If it’s too crumbly, add in a bit more frosting. If it seems to be a little too wet, refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
To make the truffles: The *easiest* and fastest way to make these is to use a small ice cream scoop (.5 – .75 oz; 1 tbl – 1 heaping tbl). Use the scoop to gather up a level scoop of the filling (or use a tablespoon). Quickly (so it doesn’t get too warm), shape it into a ball and place on a wax paper- or foil-lined baking sheet. One recipe will make about 70 cake truffles. Place the tray in the freezer for about 30 minutes to firm up the truffles.
Meanwhile, melt 2 cups (to start) of candy melts, almond bark, chocolate chips or chocolate fountain chips in a double boiler over the stove. You can also use the microwave (I do); just take care not to burn the chocolate in the microwave. Heat it in 30 second increments. You’ll end up using about 2.5 bags of the candy melts. When the chocolate gets low, melt in some more.
Once all of the chocolate is melted, check the consistency. The chocolate should be thin and flow easily from a fork. Chocolate fountain chocolate will not need any oil – it should be very thin*. If you use any other form of coating chocolate, you’ll probably need to add a little bit of vegetable oil to thin it out. Add a tablespoon at a time, mix well. Add in another tablespoon or two if needed. For these truffles, I used white chocolate candy melts in white and yellow and also peanut butter candy melts. You can find them in most craft stores.
When the chocolate is ready, take out a couple of truffle balls at a time to coat them. Place one truffle ball into the chocolate and use a fork to turn it over to fully coat it. If your chocolate is thin enough, use the fork to let it drip off extra chocolate and place on another wax paper- or foil- coated sheet pan. If it’s a little thicker (like mine was this time), I use the fork to gently turn it in the chocolate but then use 2 toothpicks to poke in the sides, lift out of the chocolate, and gently scrape the bottom along the lip of the bowl. Carefully place on the sheet pan and remove the toothpicks. When the chocolate is thicker like that, you can use the tip of the toothpick to smooth over the chocolate where the toothpicks were. The coating process takes a little bit of patience and practice to get your favorite method. Your first few truffles probably won’t be as pretty – cook’s treats!
If you want to get fancy, sprinkle colored sugar, nonpareils, or sprinkles on the top while the chocolate is still wet. You can also use some really thinned out chocolate to drizzle across the tops once the first chocolate coat is dry.
Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
* if you use the chocolate fountain chocolate, don’t freeze the naked truffle balls. Place them in the fridge for 30 minutes. If they are too cold, that kind of chocolate will crack as it dries. They’ll still taste good but won’t be as pretty. 🙂