One of my favorite websites to read is a sweet little site called Bakerella. This gal is chock full of sweet treat inspiration and her photos are simple yet they really capture the beauty of her creations. When I first picked up this site a year or so ago I noticed the signature treat on the website was a cakepop; which is exactly what it sounds like – a ball of cake and frosting that is placed on a lollipop stick and then coated in melted chocolate and usually some type of edible decorating medium. Bakerella is a whiz when it comes to unique cake pop ideas – she does everything from birthday to seasonal to special events and even the bizarre. If you enjoy baking and crafting, I encourage you to check out her website!
When I first found Bakerella I had a cakepop play date to see if it was really as easy as she made it sound. I quickly discovered that she hadn’t led me astray. The girls and I had a blast and it was so much fun to decorate and eat the little pops. I’ve kept the basic recipe in my baking arsenal ever since – they’re so versatile and can be flavored and shaped in hundreds of different combinations, and the recipe can be adjusted to suit nearly any size crowd.
A week or so back I had the opportunity to fix some of these little gems for a couple of fellowship opportunities, and I decided to make things a bit fancier than usual. Instead of cakepops I decided to do cake truffles. Everyone loves the idea of a truffle, but with so much chocolate in them they can be quite heavy and rich. For the holidays I decided to lighten and spice things up a bit and used a pumpkin spiced cake recipe for the centers; and then I enlisted the help of my Mom in the decorating step. We decided to keep the decorating simple and elegant by dipping the truffles in white and dark chocolate. The ladies loved them and I came home empty-handed once again.
If you’ve got a bit of time on your hands this week and a few extra helpers in the kitchen (this is a fantastic way to get your kids involved in the cooking!) I encourage you to make a batch of these little gems to liven up your holiday feasting!
Pumpkin Spiced Cake Truffles
1 package (2 layer size) spice cake mix (any brand)
1/2 can solid-pack pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
2 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup oil
1 can cream cheese frosting (any brand)
1 pound semi-sweet or dark chocolate, melted
1 pound white chocolate, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9″x13″ cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine spice cake mix, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, eggs, and oil and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for 2 – 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 25 – 35 minutes, or until cake passes the toothpick test and has pulled away from the sides of the pan slightly.
3. Set cake aside and cover with a clean, dry dishcloth. Allow cake to cool overnight.
4. Once the cake has cooled completely, remove the cake from the pan in pieces and crumble into a large mixing bowl. Really get the cake crumbled up finely.
5. Add in 3/4 of the can of cream cheese frosting and begin mixing the cake and frosting together until all the frosting is incorporated into the cake. The mix will be sticky but not too wet and will likely resemble ground meat in texture. Add in more of the canned frosting if needed – the mix must be able to hold together on its own without falling apart but you don’t want it to be too full of frosting.
6. Once the cake and frosting have been thoroughly combined grab all the hands you can and roll the dough into small 1″ balls – I use a melon baller that isn’t quite full to achieve the desired size. This will make the truffles not too big and not too small when they’re done; however the truffle task force isn’t going to come and measure the size of your balls, so you make them whatever size you want to! Place the balls on a clean baking sheet and transfer to a freezer for about an hour.
7. While the balls are chillin’, line a baking sheet or dish with cupcake liners. ***NOTE: If you’re going to be decorating the balls, set out all your decorations now so they’ll be ready when you are (sprinkles, toasted coconut, sea salt, roasted nut pieces, cocoa powder, etc).***
8. Once the balls have thoroughly chilled, in a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate in 20 second intervals – stirring after each 20 seconds (you can add in a teaspoon of solid vegetable shortening if you want your chocolate to be very smooth and thin). Take the chocolate out of the microwave just before it is entirely melted, and stir continuously allowing the remaining chocolate bits to melt fully. Be sure not to overcook your chocolate – it will get really grainy and seize up on you when you start to dip your balls. Besides, who likes burned chocolate – yuck!
9. Using a toothpick, insert one end into the firm balls and then quickly dip the ball into the melted chocolate – tapping the excess chocolate off on the side of the bowl two or three times before you put it onto a cupcake liner. Continue to dip all the balls one at a time until all are coated in the chocolate. If your chocolate becomes too cold and begins to get too thick, just pop it back into the microwave and re-melt – make sure to use the 20 second interval rule from step 8. ***NOTE: If you’re decorating your balls with something other than just melted chocolate, sprinkle the decorations on the wet balls now so the decorations will stick.***
10. Allow the coated balls to dry (this means the chocolate has set up fully and the balls can be picked up). Using the leftover melted chocolate, place into a small Ziplock baggie and cut off a tiny bit on one of the bottom corners – slowly drizzle, swirl, or scribble melted chocolate over your truffles. Allow the chocolate to dry. Serve and enjoy the “oohhs” and “aaaahhhhs” you receive!
Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy!