Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Vanilla and Chocolate Cake Truffles

Cake truffles. What an invention. Cake, buttercream and chocolate in a single mouthful. And a mouthful small enough not to feel too guilty about either. (Unless you make a batch for your brother then eat half of said batch with your friend.) What more could you want?

Technically these are just cake pops without sticks. Because who just has 30 cake pop sticks lying around? And since these weren't going anywhere fancy, I really didn't see the need to dress them up with anything except these darling mini cupcake cases (technically made for sweets, but imagine the teeny tiny cupcakes!!). These beauts came about through the piles of leftover trimmings from the two chocolate cakes I made recently, one being the Baileys cake and the other a chocolate orange cake, which will be my next post! I had some leftover buttercream from the cakes as well, so what better to do than mash it all together delicately, shape it into balls, and dip it in chocolate? Nothing.

These cake truffles are great as they are more fun to make than effort, and literally anyone could make them if they tried. They're quick and simple, and the payoff is great. They'd be especially good to make if you needed a dessert or treat but didn't feel comfortable trying to make or decorate your own cake. You could even *shudders* make these from a box cake mix and bought icing, which seems to be the way standard cake pops are made across the pond. Of course, though, I would never endorse using packet mixes unless absolutely vital...they don't even compare to homemade cakes.

I dipped my truffles in tempered white chocolate. If you don't know what temepered chocolate is, it's chocolate that has been melted, then mixed with unmelted chocolate a little at a time off the heat so that when you use it for coating and decorating, it sets at room temperature, and won't melt in your fingers. It's all quite sciency. Something to do with fat crystals or something, I believe. Google it for a better explanation if you want. It all sounds quite complicated, but basically you melt your chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. When it's melted you take it off the heat, and stir in a square of unmelted chocolate into the melted choc. Stir until the chunk has melted, then add another, stirring until that chunk has melted. Continue to add squares and stir, one by one until the chocolate has cooled and no more squares will dissolve. Your chocolate is then ready for coating! Because the chocolate will have cooled considerably by this point, it also means that it won't play up as much when you dip fridge-cold cake balls in it, giving you a lot less stress. Tempering works for milk, dark or white chocolates. If you can't be bothered with tempering your own chocolate, I believe you can buy pre-temepered blocks or coins of chocolate. Alternatively, just use normal melted chocolate, and store your cake truffles in the fridge to and after they set.

my very high tech method of coating the truffles
You can use any combination of cakes and icings, but I'd recommend sticking to buttercream or something that's relatively stiff. The butter in the buttercream also hardens up in the fridge, helping the truffles keep their shape, something I'm not sure you'd get if you used a runnier icing. I think ganache would also work well, as the chocolate would also set in the fridge, helping to keep the truffles firm.

Vanilla and Chocolate Cake Truffles

cake of any kind, leftover or fresh, cooled (the amount you use will obviously influence the number of truffles you can make. I would say that 2 8'' layers of cake would make about 20-30 truffles.)
buttercream, any flavour
melted chocolate, tempered or untempered *see above*

1. Crumble your cake in a large bowl with your hands. You want to really break down the cake, and make it into crumbs, the finer the better.
2. Add buttercream. Just eye it. Add a few tablespoons to start, you can always add but it's hard to take away, unless you've got loads of spare cake crumbs to balance it out again. I didn't think so...
3. Mush with your hands. Mix well until combined. You want to add enough icing so that when you squeeze a handful of the mixture, all the cake crumbs stick together and could be rolled into balls, be careful not to add too much that you end up with a more-icing-than-cake paste.
4. Roll into balls, whatever size you want. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Refrigerate for at least half an hour so the butter firms up and the cake balls are hard.
5. Dip into melted chocolate. If you're only working with a small amount of chocolate (like I was),  put your chocolate into a tall container, like a glass or cup. This means you can just drop in the truffles without having to roll them around in the chocolate loads and dirty your chocolate with cake crumbs. I used a high tech method of dropping the truffle in, turning it over once or twice with a fork, then lifting it from underneath with the fork and tapping the fork hard on the side of the cup to remove any excess chocolate.
6. Place back onto the baking sheet or into sweet cases. Refrigerate if using untempered chocolate, tempered chocolate will dry at room temperature.

Store in the fridge. The cake truffles keep well for quite a while because the chocolate seals in their moisture!

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