Life’s What You Bake It: How I Started Sieving My Dreams
As many people do at the turn of the calendar, I started evaluating my life. Job? Check! Education? Check! House with a cool artificial drought-friendly lawn? Check! I was left with a big, “Now what?” hanging over me. The only logical answer was cake … and not just one cake, but 52—one every week for the entire year.
If you’ve ever gone on a baking spree, you’re probably familiar with leftover ingredients and scraps. In fact, when you’re learning, there can be even more waste. I felt my eco-guilt wagging its green finger at me every time I accidentally mixed the wrong ingredients and had to throw everything away. I also got tired of seeing all these leftover cake domes (the round part on top of the cake) and excess frosting. Throwing them away is a crime against cake and the planet if you ask me! So I did some research, which resulted in two ways to cut down cake waste.
One option was to eliminate the cake dome altogether using baking strips, which are soaked in water and wrapped around the cake pan. The strips can be made from kitchen towels or purchased if you’re not the DIY type. The end result is more even baking and a level top perfect for layering without a need to cut off a dome.
If you don’t want to go this route, there’s another solution: the cake truffle!
Also known as a cake ball or stickless cake pop, the cake truffle is a tastier solution to the baking waste problem in my kitchen. To make a cake truffle, all you need is leftover cake, frosting, and melted candy coating (melted chocolate chips will work just fine).
Here’s how to make these delightfully waste-free morsels:
- Crumble your leftover cake with your fingers or a food processor.
- Mix in a little bit of the leftover frosting until the crumbs are coated enough to hold a ball shape. It’s better to mix in a little at a time—too much frosting will make the truffle squishy, and it won’t hold its shape.
- Use a spoon to measure out an even amount of the cake and frosting mix and roll into a ball with your hands. Repeat until you’re out of mix.
- To set the balls, put them in the refrigerator while you’re melting the candy coating.
- I recommend using almond bark, because it’s a little more user-friendly than melting baking chocolate. The instructions are self-explanatory: Put the bark in a pot, and melt the bark on a stove. Once the candy coating is melted, place one cake ball on top of a fork (don’t stab it; gently place it). Dip it in the melted bark and coat the truffle. Gently place the coated truffle on parchment paper (or a silicone mat if you’re being extra eco-friendly). If you want, sprinkle a garnish on top before the candy coating dries. Repeat until all your truffles are coated.
That’s it! You’ve got yourself a waste-free dessert. I recommend bringing them to work to share—it’s a great way to make friends! And if you want to up your zero-waste baking game, do what I do: Instead of plastic pastry decorating bags, try reusable ones. They’re canvas and easy to clean, and if you bake as much as I do, you’ll be reducing plastic waste. I also use silicone cupcake liners instead of paper ones.
I’ll leave you with this: Make cake, not waste.