Tuesday, May 19, 2009

(Frozen) Cake Truffle... Dumpling... Ball... Things...

Not even worth photographing, seriously. But I'm documenting it because it involves frozen cake and what not to do with cake truffles.

After much trial and error, and not much success, I created Butter Cake Truffles. (Or cake dumplings, which one of my co-workers suggested and I like calling them, but they're really not dumplings. Original idea from Bakerella's Cake Truffles. This bakery in Texas calls them cake balls, and they look fabulous!) They were supposed to be Lemon-Berry, but the lemon glaze didn't set up, and all the berry jams I used in the cake didn't affect the taste much at all, one way or the other.

Little buggers just did not work nearly as easily as the chocolate cake dumplings. First, I used way too much buttercream, so it had an unpleasant mushy texture. Eventually I called in cake re-inforcements (the experimental frozen cake) to try and negate the mushiness. It didn't work. Then, the glaze didn't set up, and I tried several different glaze ingredient combinations along with freezing the naked cake balls for days. Finally, it all came together, into something close enough to edible, but I did resort to covering them with melted chocolate. It wasn't pretty. Poor, poor co-workers. They did say they liked the chocolate covering, though.

Details of the cake:
One batch All-Occasion Downy Yellow Cake from The Cake Bible, 9" x 13" and about 1.5" tall.

Syruped with 1/4+ cup vanilla liqueur and vanilla extract.

Started with the one batch of cake, but used too much buttercream, so I dug out the other 1/2 batch from the cryogenic experiments in the freezer:

Half batch All-Occasion Downy Yellow Cake from The Cake Bible, one 9" round layer, about 1.5" tall, but only used about 3/4 of the cake.

(Attempted tweaking the full recipe for the round cake, and all I got was over-leavened cake, which fell in the center, and was therefore only good for cake scraps. The other 9" round from the batch was used in Aimee's Birthday Trifle. Tweaking consisted of using 5 egg yolks and 1 egg instead of 6 egg yolks. As noted previously about this batch, I've learned my lesson.)

Syruped with 1/2+ cup vanilla liqueur, vanilla extract, and Buttershots.

Used Magi-Cake strips (the Wilton knock-off ones).

Used 1/2 batch of Peggy Weaver's (American) Buttercream I recipe, and added a lot of lingonberry jam, cranberry jelly, and raspberry jam. I had small amounts left of the last two, but I went through at least 3/4 cup of the lingonberry. Also added a few drops of red food coloring to compensate for the cake color. Still didn't taste at all like berries, but looked a bit like red velvet almost.

Neither first nor second lemon glaze attempts solidified. Switched back to semi-sweet chocolate.

Full cake batch made several weeks before serving. Syruped when cool, prior to storage. Stored on the counter.
Half cake batch made at least a month before serving. Syruped when cool, prior to storage. Stored in the freezer.
Final assembly with chocolate coating made about 1 week before serving.

Bottom line:

What a flippin' mess.

Good thing I hadn't planned to use the frozen yellow cake on its own. Texture was ok, but the taste had a weird sharpness, as if the vanilla extract had intensified, but in a bad way. I had wrapped the cake in Press & Seal, and then put it in a ziplock bag before freezing it. Still, there were bits of freezer burn on the top.When used int he cake truffles, the sharpness mellowed, or was masked by the jam, or something.

Since this freezing thing didn't go well, but a different batch did sit out on the counter for a couple of weeks without any problems, maybe I'll just go the latter route for the actual wedding cake.

Cake truffles stayed way too mushy, even with additional cake. Possibly due to it being a butter cake? Covering choices seem to be melted chocolate or those wretched candy melts. BJ's generic brand of semi-sweet chocolate chips worked surprisingly well, even though they're not useful in cookies or other recipes.

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