While I mostly bake for my own personal satisfaction, I still like to please the people. Indeed, the greatest joy in baking would have to be seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they take the first bite of that delicious handmade treat. These little gems do just that. They are better known in the culinary world as cake pops, but since I didn’t put a stick in them, I renamed them cake truffles because at the end of the day, it’s a rich and creamy filling enclosed in a hard chocolate shell.
The dark color of these truffles comes from using Dutch-process cocoa powder which also lends an intense chocolaty flavor and aroma to the cake. It’s devilishly decadent from the chocolate cream cheese icing that’s mixed into the crumbled cake. Once you bite into this moist morsel, it melts in your mouth and fills you with joy. Every truffle is an opportunity to savor the best of an entire cake, all concentrated into the perfect bite. No wonder why these have become all the rage lately!
I served these with a fabulous and refreshing homemade basil ice cream. Basil and chocolate may sound like an odd combination, but it actually works much in the same way as mint and chocolate do. Plus, nothing spells summer more than basil. The flavor of the ice cream is clean and palette-cleansing. The basil gives the sweet cream base an almost savory quality with finishing notes of butter.
As this recipe makes something around 60 cake balls, you’re going to have no problem eating them, but you will need quite a lot of chocolate to coat them. You can make the coatings as diverse as you like. I used bittersweet, dark, white, and milk chocolate with hazelnut bits in it. I found them all to be delicious, but I particularly liked the white chocolate because it really brought out the richness of dark chocolate cake within. However, fell free to half or double it based on the size of the crowd you are feeding. I guarantee you that no one is going to get away with just eating one.
Adapted from Hershey’s
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour
- 3/4 cup 100% Cacao unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso granules, optional
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons 100% Cacao unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Shell Ingredients
- 40 to 48 oz chocolate of any kind (recommended: bittersweet, semisweet, dark, white, or milk chocolate)
For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit. In the bowl of a mixer beat the eggs and the oil until well combined. Then add the milk and vanilla extract, and mix well. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three batches. Then pour in the boiling the water and the espresso granules. The batter should be liquidy and runny. Pour the batter into a greased 9X13 pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, till a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.
For the Frosting: In the bowl of a mixer beat together the cream cheese and butter until well incorporated. Then add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cocoa powder. Mix until all the ingredients have come together. The frosting will not be very sweet, but that is fine because you are primarily using it to bind the cake balls together and to add extra moisture.
For the Chocolate Shell: Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 30 minute intervals until melted.
Assembling the Cake Truffles: Take the cooled cake and break it up with your hands until you have formed fine crumbs. Then add the cream cheese frosting and mix it in. It will slowly incorporate itself into the cake and you will end up with a sticky dough. Using your hands, form golf ball sized balls and place them on a parchment pan to cool in the fridge for a couple of hours, preferably overnight. Then dip the cake balls in the melted chocolate until they are coated evenly in a thin layer and place them in a box lined with parchment paper. Place in the fridge for 3-4 hours to set the chocolate, but after they have set, you can serve the cake truffles at room temperature if you would like.