Sometimes I ask Mike to carry my dog down three flights of stairs only to have her patently refuse to piddle in the freezing cold. Sometimes I ask Mike if he will please clean the inevitable piddle on the carpet in the corner. Every now and then, I ask Mike if he will help scrub the pile of dirty dishes that have built up while I've been barricaded in my room grading. And periodically, I'll admit, I ask Mike to do the acrobatics necessary to feed my handsome humblebee of a (sharp-clawed) turtle.
Mike's a good guy. He's a GREAT guy.
The least I can do is fuss over him a bit, especially on holidays. I love making a big impressive feast for his birthday, our anniversary . . . and Valentine's Day. Oh, are you one of those Valentine's Day haters? Eschewing the greeting card industry, scoffing at the idea of commercialized love, decrying the superficiality of a Necco®-hearts-based love-fest? I'm not. True, we don't have a fancy celebration, but Mike and I do value the day for what it is: an excuse to love on each other through small gifts, thoughtful gestures, and food. That's right . . . it's an excuse to EAT. An excuse to eat cake truffles!
In case you're hunting for sweet food ideas for your sweetheart, I thought I'd share with you the fun gift I made for Mike last year: a heart-shaped box filled not with candy, but with Red Velvet Cake Truffles and Oreo Truffles. Apart from being indulgent, rich, moist, and delicious, the truffles were a personal, handmade gift -- always the best kind! This Valentine's Day present was a sweet treat for my students, too, since they got to eat the original candy from the heart-shaped box.
Can you find Byrd in the background?
I have a few ideas jangling around for this Valentine's Day, but they're top secret for now! What about you? What fun meal or treat are you planning for the people you love?
Red Velvet Cake Truffles / Cake Balls
Yields: about 50 balls.
Cake Truffle Ingredients:
1 9 x 13 in. Red Velvet Cake (see recipe below)
About 1.5 - 2 cups cream cheese frosting (see recipe below)
White chocolate bark / White candy coating (not baker's chocolate)
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 ounces red food coloring
1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream Crisco, sugar, and eggs. Make a paste of the cocoa and coloring and add to the Crisco mixture. Add salt and vanilla. Add buttermilk alternately with the flour, beginning and ending with flour. Mix vinegar and soda right before using and add to mixture by folding in. Pour batter into a 9 x 13 in. pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely.
For the frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.
For the cake balls:
1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can (or about 1-2 cups if you're using homemade -- add some and mix it, and continue adding a little and mixing it until it reaches a playdough like consistency) cream cheese frosting. (It may be easier to use fingers to mix together, but be warned it will get messy.)
3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet. (Should make 45-50. You can get even more if you use a mini ice cream scooper, but I like to hand roll them.)
4. Chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.)
5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package.
6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. (Use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate and then tap off extra.)
The hardest part of this is definitely the dipping. If you use white candy coating like I did (Candyquik), be prepared to double dip them to get them nice and white. After heating the white coating, I sat its bowl in a larger bowl of hot water to keep it melted. I then held the cake ball on a toothpick and spooned the white coating over it. To prevent the cake ball from having a huge "foot" from puddling coating, you have to let the excess drip off for quite awhile before wiggling it off the toothpick onto the wax paper. You find a groove. Eventually. The chocolate drizzle was applied with a ziplock bag that had the tiniest bit of its bottom corner cut off.
I only used half of my red velvet cake for the cake balls. With the leftovers, I made a little heart-shaped cake. You could also freeze any you didn't want to use immediately for future cake ball exploits!
Recipe By: Bakerella
Yields: about 36 truffles.
1 package oreo cookies (divided… use cookie including the cream center)
1 8oz. package cream cheese (softened)
white chocolate bark
1. Finely crush 7 cookies in a food processor or place them in a ziploc bag and crush into a fine consistency. Reserve for later (Julie note: I skipped this part)
2. Crush remaining cookies and stir in softened cream cheese. Use the back of a large spoon to help mash the two together.
3. Roll the mixture into 1" balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet.
4. Melt chocolate as directed on the package and then dip balls into chocolate, tap off extra and set aside on wax paper covered cookie sheet to dry. You can sprinkle the tops with the 7 crushed cookies for decoration. (I usually eat mine before they make it to this stage.)
5. Once dry, refrigerate and enjoy!
I used the chocolate candy coating (Candyquik) for this. Once again, the white drizzle was applied with a ziplock bag that had the tiniest bit of its bottom corner cut off.
Mixing and forming red velvet cake truffles.
Red velvet truffles dipped and drying; oreos being crushed (a food processor makes this even easier).
Forming oreo truffles.
The finished (personalized!) present.
Need some other Valentine's Day ideas? How about Red Velvet and Oreo Kisses? Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolate Hearts? Fancy French macarons? A dozen Mango Raspberry Rosecakes? Take a look at the Recipe Index for more ideas.