When we miss the people closest to us, food is a great connector. Every time I make these cake truffles I am transported back to our senior house on Greenwood Ave in Ann Arbor, MI.
One of my favorite memories from senior year is cooking for my housemates, whether it was Saturday morning and I was making pancakes while we were getting ready for a crisp fall day and football game, our friendsgiving where everyone made a dish before we left for Thanksgiving break, or always having our freezer stocked with cake truffles. (Although to be completely honest, we called them cake balls, but you’ll see why I don’t call them that later)
My housemates and I are not the most patient people, especially when it comes to food… and we couldn’t wait to try the truffles. While they were freezing, we pulled a few out of the freezer and ate them, thus developing our love for “naked” (sans chocolate) cake truffles. (Now you see why I stopped calling them cake balls!)
After that first time I made cake truffles, our freezer was always stocked with them. Everyone had a different preference of how they liked the cake truffles. Allie liked the naked funfetti ones, I liked the naked chocolate ones, and each of the other five housemates had their own preferences. Every time I made these in the house, there were always seemingly a million variations!
Now when I make cake truffles, I think back on these memories of our home on Greenwood when we didn’t realize how good life was and how never again would we get to live in the same house as all of our best friends.
No more waking up and walking into Allie’s room to discuss the happenings of the night before or walking into Ilana’s room to find her freaking out because someone ruined the end of Friends for her. No more going to restaurants and making sure that Jill was sent the menu PDF beforehand. No more rolling our dining room table across Ann Arbor with Megan, to our senior house after “borrowing” it from the sorority house.
Nowadays, friends are just a phone call or facetime away and while we chat for hours, nothing will ever come close to the happiness we felt sitting in our little kitchen in Ann Arbor, together, eating cake truffles.
Find the recipes I used to make the cake truffles from scratch below (I modified Molly Yeh’s recipe from Food 52)
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large egg whites
2 splashes vanilla (I like Trader joe’s Bourbon Vanilla)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups pastry flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup milk (I used 2% because that’s what we have on hand for coffee)
A couple handfuls of sprinkles (don’t mix too much after adding sprinkles or colors will bleed)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 inch cake pans. Cut circles of parchment paper to fit the bottom. They don’t have to fit perfectly because you will be crumbling up the cake so it doesn’t really matter how it looks!
Cream together the butter (make sure it was truly room temperature (this will create a fluffier cake) and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg whites one at a time (also important to follow this to get a fluffy cake). Mix in the vanilla and oil.
In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk. You should always start and end with the dry ingredients. Once the batter is smooth, fold in a couple large handfuls of sprinkles. (do not mix batter too much after sprinkles are added or the colors will bleed into batter)
Divide the batter between the pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool. After the cakes are completely cool, crumble them into a large bowl (they should be crumbled almost to resemble sand) and set aside while you make the frosting.
This frosting should be thicker than your average frosting recipe to help hold the cake truffles together.
1 stick butter (room temperature)
6 cups powdered sugar (may need a little more or less)
1-3 tablespoons of milk
Cream butter in a bowl with a hand mixer. Gradually add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Add milk to bring the frosting together.
Make the Cake Truffles
Add about 1 ½ - 2 cups frosting to the cake mixture and mix with hands. This will be messy and sticky!
When the mixture is completely combined (should look homogenous), shape into 1 inch spheres and place on a cookie sheet.
Place the cookie sheet into the freezer and freeze for at least 2 hours. They should look like naked cake truffles in the picture here!
When you are ready to cover the cake truffles in chocolate:
2 cups chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
Melt chocolate chips over a double boiler or in the microwave in 30 second intervals. When the chocolate is almost completely melted (should still be a few lumps), add in the oil and stir to combine. Take chocolate off of the heat and stir a few more seconds to ensure everything is melted completely.
Take the cake truffles out of the freezer and, using a fork dip them into the melted chocolate. Let the excess chocolate drain off for a couple of seconds and then place the cake truffles on a wire rack to allow the chocolate to harden.
At this point, you may top them with whatever you like! My go to is usually a rainbow sprinkle mix.