The basics for cake truffles are as follows:
The base: Cake scraps, the fresher the better. We stick to one flavor of cake scraps at a time.
The binder: This can be the additional milky soak from a cake assembly or a moist filling, curd, or sauce. Depending on the moistness of the cake base, we can use more or less binder. We have recipes, but there is always a range for the binder.
The shell: To seal in freshness and flavor, we roll each truffle in melted chocolate. The melted chocolate also serves to glue the crunchy coat onto the outside. We use Valrhona 72% dark chocolate or white chocolate, depending on the flavor of the cake truffle.
The crunchy coat: Finely ground crumbs or crunches work best, but we’ve even been known to use toasted yellow cake crumbs.
300 g (3 cups) Chocolate Cake scraps (below)
25 to 50 g (2 to 4 tablespoons) Malted Chocolate Milk (below)
½ recipe Chocolate Malt Crumbs (below), finely ground in a food processor
90 g (3 ounces) white chocolate, melted
1. Combine the chocolate cake scraps and 25 g (2 tablespoons) malted chocolate milk in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle until moist enough to knead into a ball. If not moist enough to do so, add up to 25 g (2 tablespoons) more malted chocolate milk and knead it in.
2. Using a soup spoon, portion out 12 even balls, each half the size of a Ping-Pong ball. Roll each one between the palms of your hands to shape and smooth it into a round sphere.
3. Put the ground chocolate malt crumbs in a medium bowl. With latex gloves on, put 2 tablespoons of the white chocolate in the palm of your hand and roll each ball between your palms, coating it in a thin layer of melted chocolate; add more chocolate as needed.
4. Put 3 or 4 chocolate-covered balls at a time into the bowl of chocolate malt crumbs. Immediately toss them with the crumbs to coat, before the chocolate shell sets and no longer acts as a glue (if this happens, just coat the ball in another thin layer of melted chocolate).
5. Refrigerate for at least 5 minutes to fully set the chocolate shells before eating or storing. In an airtight container, the truffles will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge.
Steps 3 and 4 are easiest when you have a buddy: one person coats the cake balls in melted chocolate, the other tosses them in the milk crumbs.
makes 1 quarter sheet pan cake
115 g (8 tablespoons) (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
300 g (1 ½ cups) sugar
110 g (½ cup) buttermilk
40 g (¼ cup) grapeseed oil
4 g (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
¼ recipe Fudge Sauce (below) 38 g (3 tablespoons)
155 g (1 ¼ cups) cake flour
70 g (½ cup) cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
6 g (1 ½ teaspoons) baking powder
6 g (1 ½ teaspoons) kosher salt
Pam or other nonstick cooking spray (optional)
1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
2. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
3. On low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Increase the miser speed to medium-high and paddle for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. There should be no streaks of fat or liquid. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. Add the fudge sauce and mix on low speed until fuly incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. With a spatula, stir the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. On very low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix on low speed for another 45 seconds to ensure that any little lumps of cocoa powder and cake flour are incorporated.
6. Pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a Silpat. Using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. At 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. Leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests.
7. Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.
makes about 150 g (1/2 cup), or enough for 4 or more sundaes
30 g (1 ounce) 72% chocolate, chopped
18 g (2 tablespoons) cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
.5 g (1/8 teaspoon) kosher salt
100 g (¼ cup) glucose
25 g (2 tablespoons) sugar
55 g (¼ cup) heavy cream
1. Combine the chocolate, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Combine the glucose, sugar, and heavy cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir intermittently while bringing to a boil over high heat. The moment it boils, pour it into the bowl holding the chocolate. Let sit for 1 full minute.
3. Slowly, slowly begin to whisk the mixture. Then continue, increasing the vigor of your whisking every 30 seconds, until the mixture is glossy and silky-smooth. This will take 2 to 4 minutes, depending on your speed and strength. You can use the sauce at this point or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks; do not freeze.
In a pinch, substitute 35 g (2 tablespoons) corn syrup for the glucose.
malted chocolate milk
makes about 350 g (1 ½ cups)
320 g (1 ¼ cups) milk
65 g (4 ½ tablespoons) Ovaltine
Combine milk and Ovaltine powder and stir until mixed thoroughly.
chocolate malt crumb
makes about 260 g (2 ¼ cups)
40 g (½ cup) milk powder
40 g (¼ cup) flour
12 g (2 tablespoons) cornstarch
25 g (2 tablespoons) sugar
30 g (2 ½ tablespoons) Ovaltine
2 g (½ teaspoon) kosher salt
55 g (4 tablespoons (½ stick)) butter, melted
20 g (¼ cup) milk powder
90 g (3 ounces) white chocolate, melted
1. Heat the oven to 250°F.
2. Combine the 40 g (½ cup) milk powder, the flour, cornstarch, sugar, Ovaltine, and salt in a medium bowl. Toss with your hands to mix. Add the melted butter and toss, using a spatula, until the mixture starts to come together and form small clusters.
3. Spread the clusters on a parchment-or Silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. The crumbs should be sandy at that point, and your kitchen should smell like buttery heaven. Cool the crumbs completely.
4. Crumble any chocolate malt crumb clusters that are larger than ½ inch in diameter, and put the crumbs in a medium bowl. Add the 20 g (¼ cup) milk powder and toss together until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
5. Pour the white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until your clusters are enrobed. Then continue tossing them every 5 minutes until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky. The crumbs will keep in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month.