Holiday baking mode is fully on this week. I wanted to try and make something with peppermint/candy cane because whenever I walk into the store, I see all kinds of candy cane season stuff: peppermint bark, peppermint chocolate kettle corn, peppermint chocolate pretzels. It’s madness! This recipe for cane cane cake ball truffles can and will solve your craving if you are like me and in desperate need for some seasonal peppermint. Plus, the colors are just so lush and pretty. Everyone loves cake balls!
Before the cut, and my recipe, I wanted to give a quick shout out to an old friend (from the days of IRC and the existence of Toonami) who needs some holiday-time help. Elizabeth’s cat, Molly, has pancreatitis but the sudden hospital and vet bills are a hardship for Liz and her husband. You can read the full story on her tumblr, and find a link to donate to help them get Molly the best care possible. Any leftover money they will donate to a local SPCA. It’s rough for many people this time of year, but any little bit helps, especially for a companion animal who is in need and brings joy into their home.
With that said, you can find the recipe below!
So there is a lot of prep work to be done for this recipe, with a few steps. It is certainly a labor of love but its worth it, especially if you’re having a lazy day and have time to kill. I would recommend having handy:
-2 Baking sheets
-Wax or parchment paper
-Bowls for melting chocolate in
-At least 2 bags of vegan chocolate for baking (I use EnjoyLife)
-Free space in your fridge and freezer
-Toppings and sprinkles!
Part 1: The Chocolate Cake-ening
The first thing you want to make is the chocolate cake. Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare an 8×8 baking dish (or whatever is handy, the shape will not matter later)
-1 cup cup almond or soy milk
-1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
-1/3 cup canola oil
-3/4 cup sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (or more vanilla)
-1 cup flour sifted
-1/2 cup cocoa powder sifted
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-3/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
Directions: In a large bowl, mix together the almond (or soy) milk with the apple cider vinegar, and let sit for a few minutes. Then add the sugar, oil, and extracts, and mix well. In a separate bowl, sift together all dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until no large lumps remain (but do not overmix). Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
Once the cake is out, let it cool, because it will need to be completely cooled down to work with. While you wait, take out your Earth Balance, or other vegan butter (1/2 cup), and let it sit to room temperature.
Step 2: Chocolatey Fudgey Icing
So you’ve waited for your butter to get to room temperature! You killed time by watching some Kids in the Hall on Netflix. Time to make some delicious fudgey icing. I recommend using a hand mixer or a KitchenAid.
-1/2 cup Earth Balance or vegan butter, softened
-1/4 cup agave nectar
-1/4 cup sifted cocoa powder
-2 teaspoon peppermint extract (or vanilla)
-2 cups of sifted confectioners sugar
-4 candy canes crushed into bits (this can be done by hand or by a processor)
Directions: In your bowl or KitchenAid, mix together the butter and agave nectar until well combined and smooth. Add your extract, and then add the sifted cocoa. Once the cocoa is blended, add the confectioners sugar. Finally, fold in the candy cane bits.
Step 3: Cake & Icing, Secret Lovers
Here comes the fun messy part. Take out a baking sheet and cover it with a piece of wax or parchment paper. You will need this to put your cakeball bodies on.
Crumple your cake in its pan, until its no longer in big chunks (not too crumbled to the point that its just crumbs). Then with a large spoon, you want to incorporate the icing bit by bit by folding. Eventually the cake will begin combined with the icing and look soft and be sticky.
Following this incorporating, you will need to clean your hands and begin the task of rolling out little balls from all your cake. I recommend doing balls that are the size of quarters. I would not make them big like golf balls, it makes coating them in chocolate not only harder but it takes more chocolate. Although they look small now, they will bulk up later when covered in chocolate.
Once you’ve made enough of these guys, place your sheet in the freezer. It’s imperative that these things be cold and stiff for the chocolate cover. You’ll thank me later for this amazing advice.
Step 4: Time To Make Cake Ball Truffles
-2 (or 2.5) bags of vegan baking chips (EnjoyLife)
Finally, we can see an end in sight. Although this is the last step, its best to take your time with this part, because it is the most important!
You should ready your toppings. For this, I used processed candy canes, or Christmas colored nonpareils. For melting chocolate, I recommend doing a half of a bag at a time, in an old take-out container (like the whites ones from Chinese food places). I would use a different one each time because if you melt more new chocolate in a container with older chocolate, the older chocolate will burn and become mealy and mix with the newly melted chocolate. So:
1. Place a new baking sheet next to your already prepped cake balls, and place wax paper on it, and create a little work station
2. Melt a half of a bag of vegan baking chips (EnjoyLife) in the microwave (around 1 minute). Stir until all lumps are melted.
3. With a spoon, roll one cake ball at a time into the chocolate until just coated. Lift up and let any excess chocolate slide off, and place on the blank baking sheet with wax paper.
4. Immediately put any toppings on so that they can set with the cooling chocolate.
5. Repeat! And melt chocolate when needed.
If the un-coated cake balls begin to get too warm, place them back in the freezer. Do not try and dip these in the hot chocolate, because they will fall apart. Freeze them to ensure they don’t fall apart, or all your work will be ruined. When you are done, put the cake balls in the freezer on the sheet until they set entirely. This will help them keep, and plus they taste good when a bit chilled.
And if someone you love doesn’t like peppermint (like someone I know and live with!) you can easily change your filling. I made some on the side for him by placing some spare frosting on the side and mixing in chunky peanut butter. They were amazing and rich in flavor (they tasted like Funny Bones, if you miss those). You can customize them to make great gifts for anyone you love. That is the beauty, and fun, of cake ball truffles!