I was tasked with making the birthday cake for my three year old niece’s birthday last weekend. This is something I love. I love to create birthday cakes, especially kid’s ones because they can be so much fun! Also, although kids can be the harshest critics, they also don’t mind if the cake doesn’t look perfect, because hey, they’re getting cake! She wanted a monkey cake so I got all inspired and thought it would be a great idea to give all the kids their own monkey by topping the cake with monkey cake pops. Great idea! I’ve never done cake pops before, but they can’t be too difficult can they? Hmmmm. I was so, so wrong. Actually they’re not difficult, just very time consuming and fiddly. First you need to make a cake and icing then crumble it up and mix it all together to form the balls. Then coat the balls in chocolate and decorate, which I’ve made sound very simple in just eight simple words, but it wasn’t so simple in reality! Anyway, the great news is that I’m told they looked really good (I’m a little skeptical that everyone was just being polite, I think they looked a little amateur) and the cake pops and the cake tasted great. Why have I told you this story? Well, this is a food blog, so I’m going to talk about food but also I wanted to compare these cake pops to my Easy Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles. They are both delicious treats and are an absolute hit with friends and family but the truffles only take 15 minutes manual labour as opposed to a day and a half with my friend cake pop.
I didn’t call these easy for nothing. With my little 1.9 square metre kitchen if I call something easy then it really has to be easy! These are so easy that they are just perfect to make as a last minute hostess gift or Xmas gift (you do have to be a little organised and give the mixture an hour or so to set in the fridge, but that’s time when you can definitely be doing other things). They are also perfect if you have people coming and you don’t have anything for dessert. You can make these and serve with coffee. Even better still if you run out of time or want to make things a little fun then you can make a plain batch of the truffle mixture and put it on the table with a range of toppings and let everyone roll their own truffles. Fun times!
When you make your truffles make sure you cut the chocolate up into reasonably small pieces, this will help it melt when you tip over the cream. You can flavour your truffles with absolutely any flavour you would like but I have given you a few suggestions I like to kick start your imagination. Enjoy!
Happy Holidays everyone!
Zingy Raspberry (my favourite!): 1 Tbsp raspberry liqueur in mixture + coat with freeze dried raspberry powder
Warm Xmas Spices: 1 tsp cinnamon in mixture + coat with unsweetened cocoa powder
Coconutty: replace cream with coconut cream + coat in desiccated coconut
Just Like Nutella: 1 Tbsp hazelnut liqueur in mixture + coat in ground hazelnuts*
Amaretto: 1 Tbsp amaretto liqueur in mixture + coat in ground almonds*
Xmas Candy Cane: coat plain chocolate truffles in crushed candy canes**
Pepperminty: Add 6 fresh mint leaves to cream when heating then remove before pouring over chocolate + coat in icing/powdered sugar**
* To grind nuts place in food processor and pulse a few times until you reach desired consistency.
** Crushed Candy Cane and icing/powdered sugar toppings will not keep, if using these serve immediately.
Easy Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles
- 200 g dark chocolate I used 75% cocoa solids
- 175 mL cream
- pinch of sea salt
Chop up chocolate into fine pieces and place in a medium bowl.
Heat cream over medium heat until little bubbles form in the cream around the rim of the saucepan.
Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Leave for 2 minutes.
Using a whisk, mix together the cream and chocolate. At first it will look like the mixture won’t come together but stick with it and eventually it will turn into a velvety, glossy chocolate paste.
Add flavourings, if using.
Leave in fridge for approximately 1-2 hours to set.
Once set, remove from fridge. Using a teaspoon, take a scoop out of the chocolate truffle mixture, roll in your hands to create a ball shape if desires, and drop in a shallow bowl filled with cocoa or other topping. Roll around to coat then remove. Repeat until all mixture is used up.
Will keep for 2 days at room temperature or up to a week in the fridge.