Chocolate Truffle Cake Balls Using a Cake Mix

A classic chocolate truffle has a center made from chocolate and cream – otherwise known as ganache. These are super easy cake balls that begin with cake made from a boxed chocolate cake mix gussied up with a homemade ganache. After rolling they are dunked in deep, dark chocolate – your choice of semisweet or bittersweet – and topped with a dusting of cocoa. They look like outsized chocolate truffle candies, but these have the addition of tender, moist cake. There is a scratch version in my book, Cake Balls, but here below is one using boxed cake mix as a jump start.

Makes about 64 golf ball–size balls

1 box your-favorite-chocolate-cake-mix (make sure you have the ingredients to make the cake, typically eggs, oil and water)

Dark Chocolate Ganache, made with Valrhona Equatoriale, at room temperature, ready to use (should be soft and spreadable)

2 pounds bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, such Valrhona Guanaja, Caraïbe, or Equatoriale, finely chopped

Natural or Dutch-processed cocoa powder, for dusting

64 miniature fluted paper cups (optional)

1. Prepare the cake as  instructed on box and bake in a 9 x 13-inch pan. Cool completely then crumble into a large bowl. Combine the cake and about 1 1/2 cups of the ganache. Test by compressing and add as much of the remaining ganache as the cake will hold. Roll into golf ball–size cake balls. Refrigerate until firm. This can be done 1 day ahead; store in an airtight container once they are firm.

2. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler, or temper the chocolate. Dip the balls one at a time, encouraging any excess chocolate to drip back into the container. Place, evenly spaced, on the prepared pans. Use a fine-mesh strainer to sift a generous coating of cocoa on top of each cake ball while the chocolate is still wet. Refrigerate briefly until the chocolate is set. Trim the bottoms, if needed. Place each cake ball in a paper cup, if desired. Place in a single layer in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Note: The choice of chocolates used for your ganache and for your chocolate shell will make or break this cake ball. Use the very best-quality chocolate you can afford. I really like making the ganache with Valrhona Equatoriale and then using a darker, more bittersweet Valrhona for the shell, such as Caraïbe (66 percent), Guanaja (70 percent), or even Manjari (64 percent), which is very fruity and complex.