HOW to MAKE YOUR CUSTOMERS HAPPY with leftover cakes
Updated: Mar 20, 2019
We have all been there. You bake a cake, you cut it to layer it and you are left with all your cake tops (which, in my opinion, is the best part of the sponge…) and three options:
1| You eat half of it because you probably haven’t had time to seat down and make yourself a lunch yet (you’re so busy with cake orders…) and bin the rest.
2| You bin it all cause you already had a nice lunch or breakfast and don’t fancy anymore sugar (you’re so strong!)
3| You wrap it all and save it for later, because there must be a sweet table coming up, or a photo shoot, or a birthday, and you could make cake pops out of them. Could. But would?...
From all these options, I usually have a mix of 1 and 3. But mostly 3. Only, I have decided to NOT wait for a sweet table display, or a birthday, or anything else to use it. I have decided that when I go to set up a wedding cake, or when my couples drive all the way back to return a cake stand, there will be a nice selection of “Cake Truffles” as I like to call them, waiting for them.
By doing this little gesture, I make my customers happy, which makes me happy. But not only that, when you give them something to thank them for trusting you with their cake, it greatly helps them building a sturdy customer relationship with you for their future cake orders. Now I know, said like that it sounds like it is all part of a marketing plan, but really it isn’t: food waste in general makes me sick. In my everyday life, I always try to find ways to use everything I have and not throw away any type of food that can be saved (I make LOTS of soup and stews at home as these are the best food rescuer ever!). So, I try to apply the same philosophy to my business. It just means that I have to invest in cute packaging. But at the end of a busy cake week, I have saved as much ingredients as I could, and knowing that it will bring my customers a little bit of sweet joy, well, that’s just the “cherry on the cake”!
MAKE THEM DELICIOUS!
The same way that you would make cake pops, you can develop a huge range of flavours, and instead of sticking them on a stick, you leave them as such, like chocolate truffles. The good thing with that is, you can place them beautifully in a box, or a sachet, close it with your branded sticker if you have one, and it will look like a professionally made chocolate box.
Flavour-wise, I suggest you separate the nuts-based cake scraps from the others, and if you can, separate them per flavour before storing them in your fridge. After being done with my week’s wedding cakes, I will regroup everything I have left which usually consists in chocolate ganaches (white and dark), buttercream and of course, sponges scraps. In about two hours, you can make you truffles and freeze them.
Obviously, the fun part is to flavour them! Why not try with Vanilla Sponge leftovers some white chocolate ganache, or vanilla buttercream, flavoured with fresh orange zests and some Orange Blossom water? And if you have some at hands, throw a bit of freeze-dried raspberries in the mix - see photos below ( I made chocolate, raspberry and orange truffles with rest of vanilla sponge, orange zests, freeze dried raspberries and dark chocolate ganache. So yum) - or just a spoonful of raspberry jam. And if you prefer Rose water to orange Blossom, that’s another option.
If you have Chocolate and/or Red Velvet sponge left, mix it with dark chocolate ganache or chocolate buttercream, and add either a generous scoop of praliné and/or roasted chopped nuts (pecans, almonds, walnuts, whatever you fancy). But if you want to make them nut free, leave them at that, or add some roasted desiccated coconut, and then roll them in desiccated coconut.
Once you start looking at everything you have at hand in your kitchen to flavour and decorate your cakes, you will soon realise that possibilities are endless.
HOW TO FINISH THEM
What is actually the most time consuming when it comes to truffles and cake pops, is the final coating. But bear in mind that it does not have to look perfect. I go with the idea of chocolate truffles, and these do always look and a bit rough and irregular which works out great in this specific case.
In the case of dark chocolate cake truffles, you can easily get away without tempering chocolate: once you’ve finished shaping them into small balls, you can roll them on unsweetened cocoa powder until they are completely covered (use a sieve to dust off the excess before storing them in your airtight container - note that with this technique, if you freeze your truffles, condensation might “melt” the cocoa powder coating layer in places as they defrost so you will end up having to give them another coat).
But I must say, nothing replaces a thin chocolate coating, so of course if you have the time, dip them in tempered chocolate, white, milk or dark, depending on the flavour you are going for. If you are too worried about your chocolate tempering not being perfect, roll your truffles once freshly coated in desiccated coconut, roasted chopped almonds, cacao powder, sprinkles, etc. This will prevent any cocoa butter from showing at the surface of your truffles from a bad tempering and also adds texture and taste (but do note that the thin coating will be less “crunchy”).
Here is my favourite example of a super easy and yet so delicious truffles you could make with something most of us cake decorators ALWAYS have in our pantry: desiccated coconut.
Roast some coconut on a tray until nice and golden (how much you use depends on how strong you want it to taste). Mix it with your leftovers sponge: vanilla if you have, chocolate even better! Add to it your dark chocolate ganache and mix until you've reach the correct "cake pop consistency". Make balls and let them set in your fridge (or freezer for 10 minutes). Melt and temper your white chocolate, roughly dip your balls one by one, and as you take them out, roll them into thinly blended desiccated coconut. Voilà, it is fini! I have made these a few times now and they are always a big hit!! People don't even realise they are actually made out of sponge ;)
These and all the other mentioned above will all be easily freezable.
Note: For defrosting, as a rule of thumb, remember to take them out of the freezer a day before you need them, and leave them to defrost gently in the fridge in an airtight container to avoid a too drastic change of temperature - specially if you have coated your truffles with tempered chocolate - which would result in too much condensation.
I always make absolutely sure to label all the allergens contained in the Cake Truffle. This is so important! I don’t write all the ingredients as there would be no room in the sticker, but all the allergens are listed. Since I offer these little treats to customers who already ordered a cake from me, I know if they have any food intolerances to start with, but it is still very important for them to know who they can or can not share them with.