Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How to Make Cake Truffles Without Using Frosting (How To Impress People Without Actually Being Impressive III)

If you're anything like me, you've had a Starbucks addiction since there was one digit in your age (yes, I know I'm showing my age :P). Maybe it started with their hot chocolate, or those chocolate-covered graham crackers next to the register, and soon it was frappuccinos and Coldplay CDs when you were young and full of angst, then one day you had a paper due the next day and you sucked down that black coffee for hours until they closed. Then one day, even further down the line, you realized you're a grown up and you're sitting by their fire place drinking a half-caff mega galactic whatever-ma-bob mochaccino with your New York Times, and one of their muffins and you think "Oh Dear God. I have to kick this habit."

So you stay away. You start brewing coffee at home, and soon you're looking at prices of espresso machines at 2 A.M. and Googling "How do I make a blueberry streusel muffin like Starbucks?" because it's been like two whole weeks since you've had one, but you're so close to overcoming your addiction. And then one day, word gets to you. They have cake truffles. On a stick.

How can you compete? What does that even mean? How can cake be a truffle?

Let me tell you, you can stop googling "Cake Pop + Starbucks", because I've beat the competition. With three ingredients and almost no time at all, you can make cake pops better than those guys, and impress everyone you know.

Most cake truffle recipes call for frosting, which to me, sounds too sugary, too distracting, and doesn't let the cake reach peak moisture for optimum enjoyment. By using flavored creamer, not only can you add diversity to your truffles, but you can turn around and have matching-flavored coffee (or a latte, if you bought that espresso machine at 2 A.M.). A lot of truffles are also covered in just plain melted chocolate, but I used ganache instead because, well, it's tastier. If you're feeling adventurous, you could always cover your layer of ganache with a layer of chocolate...who could say no to that?

If you made my Oreo Cheesecake, then you already have some of the stuff you need, if you didn't, here's the whole recipe.

What you'll need:

I already have ganache made, but if you don't, it's very easy!

-A cake (I used a Dark Chocolate Box mix)
-Ganache (Heavy Whipping cream + Chocolate Chips)
-Flavored creamer

How to make it:

1. Break your cake up into chunks and place in a large mixing bowl.

2. Using a fork, break it up into crumbs. This will take awhile, so I would recommend putting on an episode of your favorite sitcom to make things a little more interesting as you do so.

3. I did not measure out my creamer, I put it in slowly, and moistened all crumbs with a fork. I put in enough that it's almost like wet dough (If I were to guess, I'd say close to 1/4th of a cup for one 9" round cake). It should be moist enough to stick together, but not puddle-y. Add slowly, and stop when it seems right. For me, I thought 'this is just a tad too wet!', and they were perfect.

4. If you're looking for perfect proportions, ou can use a melon-baller, but I just used my hands to roll the gooey crumbs into balls.

5. Freeze for 60 - 90 minutes.

6. When your truffles are in the freezer, make some ganache. To do this, use a 1:3 ratio of Heavy Whipping Cream:Chocolate (I used 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, but you can make more or less). Heat the heavy whipping cream in a sauce pan until it's simmering, then slowly add the chocolate chips. Stir in with a fork or whisk until a thick, frosting-like substance is formed. This is ganache. Know it. Love it. It is your friend. If you already have leftover ganache, microwave for about a minute.

7. With the help of a spoon, roll your truffles in the ganache.

8. Decorate if desired (rainbows for me, of course!)

9. Keep refrigerated until serving. They will get a little melty, so be sure to keep them cold.

The insides will be moist and gooey, and the outside will provide a wonderful thick chocolate shell. I used french vanilla and dark chocolate and they turned out wonderfully! Some other good combinations would be amaretto cream with chocolate cake, or hazelnut with chocolate, caramel with white cake, or you could get adventurous! I use a lot of flavored creamers, and I can tell you that they have white chocolate macadamia nut, butter pecan, chai, toffee...so many to choose from, and combine with different kinds of cake!

Experiment, and impress people with this simple recipe, and tell Starbucks to fuck off once and for all.

Monday, August 22, 2011

How to impress People Without Actually being Impressive Part II: Oreo Cheesecake Cake.

I know it's been a long hiatus, but with moving, and then trying to come up for air from all the drowning I've been doing for this year's Camp NaNoWriMo, I haven't had much time to focus on anything else. I'm still rather behind in my novel, but nonetheless, I look forward to making a victory post on September 1st.

So I'm not here regarding writing, I'm here regarding cheesecake! I know cheesecake intimidates a lot of people, but it's actually really easy. I think this is another one of those things that people assume is difficult because it's delicious. It's not as difficult as it is time consuming...it's actually rather difficult to mess up. What I've made today is my 2nd cheesecake ever, and my 2nd ever Double Decker cheesecake. It's an invention of my own inspired by a cheesecake I made for my Dad's birthday, but instead of red velvet, it's Oreo!

This cake cuts a lot of corners, which is why it's really impressive, but wonderful for beginners. Here's what you're going to need, and alternatives with be in Italics


For the Crust:

- 32 Oreos processed into crumbs (Or About 2 cups of packed Oreo crumbs). Even more alternatively, if you don't have a food processor or Oreo crumbs at your disposal, double bagging them, and using a rolling pin and all of your patience will work, too (I should know, it's what I did).
- 5 1/3 TBS melted butter

For the Ganache:

 - 1 Cup (1/2 Pint) Heavy Whipping Cream
- 24 Oz. Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

For the Cake:

- I used a Pillsbury Box Cake (I used 'Dark Chocolate'), but if you are opposed to this and looking to make a cake from scratch, I recommend this recipe.

For the Cheesecake:

- 3 8 Oz. Packages Cream Cheese (Room temperature)
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 1/2 TBS. All Purpose Flour
- 2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 3 Large Eggs.
- 10 Oreos, Diced

Topping (Optional)

-  7 Oreos (cut 6 in half, one whole one in the middle)
- Oreo Frosting (I found some pre-made in the grocery store, otherwise a buttercream frosting with Oreo bits in it will also work)
- Melted White Chocolate (Approximately 3 - 4 Oz.)
- Any remaining Ganache

So here's what we will be building:

It's got an Oreo Crumb crust, followed by a layer of ganache, with an Oreo cheesecake on top of that, a chocolate cake on top of THAT, the sides of said cake are frosted with Cookies N' Cream frosting, which is then covered with white chocolate, then drizzled with ganache, and for the final touch you will adorn it with Oreos.

If this is not what you want, turn back now. You are in Sweet Tooth territory.

How to Make It:


1. Make your cake, either according to the package directions, or the directions of the AllRecipes link I have provided. If you are making a box cake, you will make two 9" cakes. Save the other cake, I will tech you how to make truffles with it this week :).
2. After your cake(s) have baked, let them cool completely, then put them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Crust and Ganache:

1. To make the crust, butter a 9" Springform pan and place on baking sheet. Combine the melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl.
2. Toss with a fork to moisten all crumbs. Press into a thin layer, covering the bottom and 3" up the sides of the springform.
3. In a sauce pan, heat the whipping cream to a simmer, then ad chocolate chips. Whisk until a smooth ganache has formed.
4. Pour 1 - 1.5 cups of the ganache over the bottom of the crust.
5. Freeze until the ganache is firm (About 30 minutes). Reserve the remaining ganache. Keep at Room temperature.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Beat in the flour. Add in the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Beat in eggs one at a time.
3. Dice up your 10 Oreos into small chunks and add them (I added the filling and everything)
4. Pour filling over cold ganache in the crust. Bake until the top is lightly brown, puffed and cracked at the edges (my original recipe said about an hour, it took mine an hour and a half).
5. Cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then transfer to refrigerator and let cool for about 3 - 4 hours.

Toppings, and putting it all together:

1. Take your cake out of the freezer and place it on a smooth surface (like a cutting borad, or I personally used a baking sheet) Frost the sides of the cake with your Cookies n' cream frosting. Using a spatula and all your natural graces, lift the cake and place on top of the cheesecake.
2. Melt your white chocolate, and spread over the top of your cake with a butter knife.
3. Heat up your ganache slightly and drizzle over the white chocolate layer. If you have a ton left, keep it at room temperature. you can use these for cake truffles (which i will write a tutorial for this week, as stated earlier).
4. Place in freezer for 15 - 20 minutes to let the white chocolate and ganache harden.
5. Make 12 gobs of cookies n' cream frosting along the edge of your cake, place 1/2 an oreo on each one.
6. Place one last gob of frosting in the center, and place an entire Oreo.

I would recommend taking this cake out of the fridge for about 15 - 20 minutes before cutting, otherwise it's very difficult to cut through all the layer gracefully (my first piece was more like a crumb cake..), but it's so good! Each bite has a different amount of everything in it and is like a different cake every time. my cheesecake came out a little under-sweet, but it compliments the over sweetness of everything above and below it. All in all, a very decadent treat. I hope you guys like this, because I know I did! ;)

I will be back sometime this week to show you how to make cake truffles (so don't waste your money on Starbucks cake pops!), and like I said, am looking forward to returning here on September 1st to tell you all that I finished my 3rd novel.