Chocolate Truffle Cake Bombs With Salted Caramel Popcorn Buttercream Centres
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 30-40 balls
 
Salted caramel popcorn is mixed with buttercream, covered in cake ball material, and then coated in dark chocolate for a very rich, delectable dessert. Winner of the 2018 WI Tea and Tents WI Bakeoff Chocolate category.
Ingredients
Salted Caramel Popcorn
  • 43 grams unsalted butter
  • ½ cup light brown sugar (packed)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • ⅛ teaspoon bicarb of soda
  • 70 grams already-popped popcorn (I used Tyrell Posh Lightly Salted this time but I've made this same popcorn in the past with fresh-popped as well)
  • table salt
Buttercream
  • 207 grams of unsalted butter, softened (as in the rest of the 250g block you used 43g of for the caramel)
  • Powdered sugar/icing sugar (I didn't measure, it was several cups' worth I think)
  • 10-15 drops of Foodie Flavours Vanilla
  • 10-15 drops of Foodie Flavours Caramel
Cake Ball Material
  • This is the sort of thing cake decorators generally have in their freezers from carving cakes, made up of cake cut-offs and in my case any ganache that was on the cake plus extra leftover ganache. It is not an exact amount of anything, but I had a large Ziploc freezer bag full and I used about two thirds of that, plus a side tub of ganache. The chocolate cake cutoffs were all from my standard cake recipe which is this BBC recipe (but I lower the sugar to 300g and increase the cocoa to 95g), and my standard ganache recipe is equal weights of double cream and dark chocolate. So if you don't have any cakeball material already, you would need to bake that cake and make enough ganache to cover and fill it, and then mash all of that up together into a sticky paste with as few lumps as possible.
Chocolate Coating
  • To make 30-40 balls I used four 100g bars of dark chocolate, but I had leftover buttercream so if you want to make more, have more chocolate on hand.
Method
Salted Caramel Popcorn
  1. Preheat the oven to 120C/110C (fan)/250F.
  2. Melt the butter in a nonstick pot over medium heat. Add sugar and mix thoroughly.
  3. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil, stirring regularly with a silicone spatula, scraping the bottom of the pot frequently. Boil for 3-4 minutes or until you see the first wisps of smoke coming from the mixture, then remove from the heat immediately. The mixture will look cloudy and may still have some separated butter. Continue to mix off-heat until it comes together in a thick mixture.
  4. Put the popcorn in a large bowl with plenty of room to mix. Carefully pour the hot caramel over the popcorn, mixing as you go so it doesn't all clump up. Mix as well as you can for even distribution.
  5. Spread the coated popcorn out on a nonstick cookie sheet (best if you can line it with a washable tray liner such as a silicone mat or a woven cookie liner) and bake for an hour, keeping an eye on it and rotating the tray if necessary.
  6. Remove from the oven and sprinkle lightly with table salt.
  7. Let cool completely on the tray while occasionally taking "quality samples".
Buttercream
  1. Put the softened butter in a stand mixer and whip it up a bit so it's creamy. Add powdered sugar in small amounts, scraping the bowl as necessary, until you've got a fairly stiff buttercream sweetened to your tastes. Add the flavourings, mixing thoroughly after each addition, and test after a few drops of each to adjust it to your taste.
Salted Caramel Popcorn Buttercream
  1. Chop up the caramel popcorn into small pieces with a large knife on a cutting board, and then mix into the buttercream.
Shaping the Balls
  1. With a small spoon, scoop out small lumps of the buttercream (about 1-2 cm wide) and roll into balls. Chill until firm.
  2. Make a flattened ball of the cake ball mixture about 5 cm wide. Push a firm ball of the salted caramel buttercream into the cake ball and wrap the mixture around it, rolling in your hands to smooth it out. You'll soon get a feel for how much is a good amount to cover the buttercream without the end result being too huge to bite, so pinch off any excess if necessary. Place these balls on a board or tray and chill to firm them up.
  3. Melt the dark chocolate in a narrow, deep bowl in small amounts at a time in the microwave, going low and slow and mixing in between. Do not melt until fully liquid or you'll ruin the temper of the chocolate! Melt it until lumps remain and then stir and rest repeatedly until the lumps are gone, then add a few extra unmelted lumps and mix gently until those melt.
  4. Take the chilled balls out of the fridge a few at a time and dip them into the chocolate on the edge of a fork (the fork shouldn't pierce the ball, just hold it). Tap the fork on the edge of the bowl to allow excess chocolate to drip off, then place them on a silicone or other non-stick tray until the chocolate hardens. Rewarm the chocolate and/or add more as necessary.
  5. Store refrigerated until just before serving.
Recipe by Eat The Evidence at http://www.eat-the-evidence.com/2018/07/29/my-chocolate-balls-bring-all-the-ladies-to-the-yard/