The Ultimate Way to Use Up Leftover Cake, According to a Baker

Because a half-eaten cake should never go to waste.

chocolate raspberry truffles
Photo: Joy Howard

The decorations are up, the lights are dimmed, and the table is set. The only thing missing from this picture? A glorious dessert finale, in the form of cake.

Here at Southern Living, we believe that no occasion is complete without a stunning cake. Whether you opt for a towering layer cake or a crowd-pleasing sheet cake, there is a cake to suit every gathering. Something about having a cake on the table just says, "party."

But sometimes, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. It isn't a proper celebration unless there's plenty of cake to go around and then some. Then comes the question of the hour: What should we do with the leftovers? Even after doling out slices for your guests to take home, you might still be left with some extra cake.

A half-eaten cake is difficult to serve on its own, but to waste that marvelous dessert you spent so many hours preparing would be a sin. With icing and crumbs everywhere, you might be wondering just how to make use of your leftover cake. As a baker, I produce copious amounts of leftover cake, so this is a challenge I'm quite familiar with. Luckily, I have a clever way to gussy up that leftover cake, turning it into something worthy of its very own celebration.

My favorite way to use leftover cake is to make cake truffles. Think of them like cake pops, but without the sticks (though you could add a stick if you'd like). These little balls of cake are remarkably simple to make, especially as a baking project with the kids—and you'd never guess that they were fashioned from leftovers. You can make cake truffles out of any cake trimmings or ends, ensuring that you don't waste a crumb.

How to Make Cake Truffles

To make cake truffles, combine leftover cake with an equal amount of icing in a large mixing bowl. The icing is the "glue" that will hold these cake truffles together. Don't be shy about adding extra—we're looking for a one-to-one ratio of cake to icing. With your hands, mash the cake and the icing together until it achieves a homogenous consistency and, when pressed in your hand, holds together. Do not overmix, or the cake truffles will be dense.

Scoop approximately one to two tablespoons of cake mixture and roll between your hands to shape it into a ball. Repeat until you've rolled all the cake mixture into truffles.

Place the truffles in the freezer for at least 10 minutes and up to 24 hours. In the meantime, melt chocolate in a microwave or using a double-boiler. (Pro tip: I like to add some coconut oil to my melted chocolate to help the chocolate coating firm up and make it extra-shiny.) Let the melted chocolate cool, then use a fork to lower a cake truffle into the chocolate, turning to coat completely. Remove the truffle from the chocolate and let the excess drip off before placing it on a sheet tray. Repeat with remaining truffles.

Garnish the chocolate-coated cake truffles with sprinkles, sea salt, or a white chocolate drizzle. Allow the chocolate shell to harden, then store the finished truffles in the fridge or freezer.

The best part about these cake truffles is that they're completely customizable. You can make these with any flavor of cake and any type of frosting. Leftover coconut cake? Make coconut "snowball" truffles by coating them in white chocolate and rolling them in coconut. Leftover chocolate cake? Make the ultimate chocolate lover's delight with chocolate cake, chocolate icing, and a dark chocolate coating. Hummingbird cake is practically begging for a roll in crunchy pecans.

These truffles make a great hand-held party dessert or addition to a gift box. Now, all you have to do is bake that cake.

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