December 19, 2011

Cake truffles

If you're planning on making an elegant treat this holiday season, consider making cake truffles.  The ingredients can be relatively simple -- your favorite cake, a batch of frosting of your choice, shortening and semisweet chocolate chips.  While this is a three-step process -- baking, balling, dipping -- the tasks themselves are easy even if they are a bit time-consuming.  Definitely get your kids' help in baking and decorating these bite-sized treats.
My help gets paid in spoon-licking and taste-testing.

You can make homemade cake and/or frosting or use a safe cake mix and ready-made frosting.  To prevent chocolate overload --yes, there is such a thing, even for me -- I like to make my own cake and frosting so that I can reduce the overall sugar in the truffles.  I reduced the sugar in the cake by 1/4 cup.  Also, I made only a half-batch of frosting and used only half the powdered sugar that was called for in the recipe.  You can certainly get away with changing the sugar amount since there is plenty of sweetness between the cake, frosting, and chocolate coating.

Cake Truffles (can be made dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free)
Adapted from Allison's Cake Balls recipe on

1 recipe of your cake of choice (For a dairy-free, egg-free chocolate cake recipe in Sarah's previous Valentine's cupcake post.  I used it minus 1/4 cup of sugar.)

Your favorite safe frosting such as this dairy-free, egg-free buttercream frosting with your milk substitute of choice (the recipe uses almond milk).  Here is what I used:
  -1/2 cup vegan margarine (Earth Balance has varieties that are vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free)
  -1 cup of powdered sugar
  -2 tsp vanilla extract
  -2 Tbsp milk substitute (soy, rice, almond, coconut -- whatever you choose!)

12 oz. bag of dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips (For soy-free, use Enjoy Life semisweet chips)

3 Tbsp vegetable shortening (Use Spectrum organic shortening if you need a soy-free shortening.)

Decorations such as sprinkles, non-pareils, cocoa, or crushed bits of candy canes
  1. Prepare your cake of choice as directed.  Cool completely.
  2. Prepare frosting of choice.
  3. In a large bowl, mash together cake and frosting.  Combine completely.
  4. Line freezable cookie sheets or tupperware with parchment paper.  
  5. Using your hands and possibly gloves (this is a messy dessert!), form 1-inch balls out of the cake/frosting mixture.  Place on parchment paper making sure balls do not touch each other.
  6. Freeze cake balls until hardened.

To coat with chocolate:
  1. Line jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Open shakers of decorations or prepare small bowls with decorations and spoons.
  2. Set 1/4 cup of chocolate chips aside.  Cook remaining chips and shortening in a double boiler over low heat.  If you don't use a double boiler, put the chips and shortening in a glass bowl that sits in a pot of an inch or two of water, being careful that no water will bubble into the bowl.  You can also microwave the chips and shortening for about 2 minutes, checking and stirring the chips every 30 seconds to prevent burning or seizing.
  3. Stir chips and shortening frequently over low heat until the mixture starts to melt.  Stir until there are almost no lumps remaining in the bowl.  Then turn off heat and add in remaining 1/4 cup of chips.  Stir until melted and smooth.
  4. If coating is too thick, melt in more shortening.  If it's too thin, melt in more chips. 
  5. Take chilled balls out of freezer.  
  6. Dip balls one by one into chocolate and rotate to thoroughly coat.  I usually use two utensils -- a spoon and a crab fork with tiny tines -- for this. 
  7. Place each coated ball on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Quickly sprinkle on decorations, crushed candy canes, or whatever your topping of choice before chocolate hardens.
  8. Be sure to space finished truffle balls so that none touch each other to prevent sticking.
  9. Refrigerate or freeze balls to help solidify the chocolate.  After the coating has hardened, transfer truffles into airtight containers and keep in refrigerator until serving. Makes 2 to 3 dozen 1-inch truffles.

I used the wacky cake recipe with a xanthan gum/gluten-free flour blend substitution.  To "Christma-fy" my cake truffles, I added several drops of peppermint oil to the cake batter before baking and a few drops to the chocolate-shortening coating.  (My advice is to add just a couple drops at a time and taste-test to achieve your desired mintyness.)  If you are using peppermint extract, you will need more than a few drops to match the strength of the peppermint oil.
The daughter of one of Ryken's teachers was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  I made the teachers these gluten-free chocolate truffles along with gluten-free chocolate crinkle cookies and cranberry chocolate cranberry biscotti using GF flour blend in recipes from the previously reviewed Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.


  1. Put it on a stick and you've got cake pops! These look delicious.

  2. Sticks or making lollipops could work although I haven't tried yet. I first made these after having a local mompreneur's cake pops at a community event. :)