White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles

Yes, this is the post you’ve been waiting for. I told you about the baking disaster I had this past Sunday in my last post, and this is what I have to show for it. I am still very happy with these, and think that maybe they’re even better this way, but it was still a pretty difficult Sunday afternoon! I originally wanted these to be cake pops with little jack-o-lantern faces on them (you can see a photo of the disaster they turned into below), but the cake and frosting combined were just too dense for that to happen, and the chocolate on top of that made them even heavier. Everything tasted so good, so I was so sad watching everything fall apart. The cake balls would stay on the sticks for a moment, then drop like the ball in New York on New Year’s down the stick and plop! onto the styrofoam block I had them standing in. Kramer watched with dismay as I desperately tried to fix the situation – I tried putting the cake in the freezer with the sticks in them, I tried making the cakes smaller and smaller, and I tried thinning the chocolate, but nothing worked. It just wasn’t going to happen. I thought about inverting the way that the pops would stand (have the sticks sticking up out of the cake instead of the cake on top of the stick), but I wasn’t really loving that idea, either. After sitting on the couch with Kramer for a while, I thought I would just turn them into truffles and be done with it. Then Kramer suggested that I drizzle some chocolate over the top to make them more Halloween-themed (at this point I was not interested in hunkering down and drawing faces on 65 truffles, especially after I burned my first batch of milk chocolate – I really was messing up everything that day). I was sold! I went to work taking all the sticks out of the cake balls, dunking them in chocolate, and drizzling chocolate over all of that – this is after I had already baked two big sheet cakes, made frosting, and spent two hours trying desperately to make my cake pops work. All in all, though, the truffles were a success!

There is one shining star in this whole mess – the cake! It is a pumpkin spice cake made with browned butter and mixed together with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting (which is why I assume it was so heavy on the sticks). It was delicious. I rarely can’t keep my hands off of the things that I bake, because I do bake often and learned long ago not to taste too often. I couldn’t help myself with this cake, though, and I found myself picking off the corners of the cake before mixing it with the icing. It had just the right amount of spices alongside the pumpkin, and the cinnamon cream cheese frosting was outstanding, pairing perfectly with the cake. You might think that the white chocolate on the outside of it all would make these overly sweet, and while they were definitely sweet, the size of the truffles were small enough that you got just the right sized bite of everything at once without feeling overwhelmed. These are perfect for Halloween parties or to bring in to the office, I promise you! Usually cake truffles are chocolate or vanilla or something like that, so it’s quite a treat to bite into these little beauties and discover pumpkin spice cake! It just goes to show you that with a little thought, you can turn any disaster into a winning dish!

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
Your cake ingredients.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
Begin by browning your butter. Heat it in a small sauce pan over medium heat. It will foam at first; keep stirring it so it doesn’t burn.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
After the foaming subsides, it will start to become a bit more clear. Keep stirring!

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
When it is a light amber color (mine could have gone for another few minutes, but I was impatient), remove from the pot.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
Strain to remove any burned bits, and set aside to cool for a bit.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
Combine your flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
In your large mixing bowl, combine your sugars and pumpkin puree. Beat until just combined.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
Add in the browned butter, mix to combine, then add in the eggs, one at at time. Do not over mix! If you need to, finish up by hand. Carefully add in the flour and mix until just moistened.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
Spread the batter into your prepared 9×13 cake pans (I doubled the recipe, which left me feeling like double the failure when I got to the assembly, haha). Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or so, until the cake is set and the edges are just turning a golden brown.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
When the cakes are ready, remove them from the oven and allow to cool completely. I put mine in the fridge to speed this up. You can also see the bit of cake that I just had to try in the corner. Can you blame me?

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
When the cakes have cooled, make your frosting.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
Beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes, then add in 3 cups of powdered sugar, the cream, the vanilla, and the cinnamon. Beat until combined, light, and fluffy (at least another 3 minutes). Add in another cup of powdered sugar, beat until combined, then another cup of powdered sugar, then beat until combined, then another, and beat until combined. I ended up using 6 cups of powdered sugar in all to get the consistency that I wanted, but I also doubled the cake recipe, so keep that in mind.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
In a very large bowl, using a fork, spatula, or your hands, mix together the cake and the half of the frosting until combined. Add more frosting if the cake is not sticking together enough, but be mindful of this. I used all of my frosting and I felt that the result was much too dense. I would imagine that the perfect ratio is about 3/4 of the frosting with the cake. Roll the cake and frosting mixture until balls, about the size of a tablespoon. Place them in the fridge or freezer to firm up while you melt the chocolate.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
This is my makeshift double-boiler, which is important to use in this case so your chocolate stays melted while you dip all of your cake balls. To do this, fill up a pot with about an inch of water, then place a glass bowl over it, making sure there’s a bit of room between the water and the glass bowl on top, and heat over medium heat. Make sure that your top bowl is stable; if any water touches the chocolate, it will be completely, 100% ruined. If you have a real double boiler, good for you! You’ll be golden.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
It will take a while for the chocolate to start to melt, so just keep gently stirring it.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
When the chocolate is completely melted, turn the heat down to low and add in the food coloring. Stir until combined.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
This is my moment of shame. As you can see, the cake and the chocolate were just too heavy for cake pops. I watched them all slowly fall, one by one, and then decided it was time to turn to Plan B, as this was never going to work.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
It was now truffle time! To make the truffles, just roll the cake balls in the chocolate with a fork.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
Carefully remove them and place them on foil or parchment paper. Don’t worry if they aren’t perfectly smooth – they’ll still be beautiful when you’re finished!

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice TrufflesWhite Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
Now melt your milk chocolate (I just did mine in the microwave for 30 second intervals).

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
Place the melted milk chocolate in a plastic baggie, cut off the tip, and drizzle the milk chocolate over the balls. Place in the fridge or the freezer to firm up for 10-15 minutes.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
I wrapped each truffle individually and kept them in the freezer until the next morning, when I took them into the office!

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
So, in the end, they were still delicious and adorable! I’m glad that I didn’t give up on them.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 30-40 truffles
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 14 oz. can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces regular cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar (plus another 2-3 cups as necessary)
  • 2 teaspoons milk or cream
  • ⅔ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 16 oz. (1 bag) white chocolate (I used white chocolate chips - it's probably best to have 2 bags on hand, just in case)
  • orange gel food coloring (optional for Halloween - do NOT use liquid food coloring)
  • 8 oz. milk chocolate (for drizzling)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Begin by browning the butter. Place the butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat. It will foam at first, but just keep stirring occasionally. When it is a golden amber color, remove from heat, strain, and set aside to cool a bit (see photos above for help).
  2. In a medium bowl, combine your flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and allspice. Set aside. In your large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Beat until combined, then add in the butter, mixing until combined. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined. Gradually add in the flour mixture, finishing by hand if needed so as to not overmix.
  3. Spread the batter into a greased and/or lined 9x13 cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until set and just slightly golden brown. Allow to cool completely before removing (I placed my cakes in the fridge to speed this up).
  4. While the cakes cool, make the frosting. Beat together the butter and cream cheese until combined (at least 3 minutes), then add in the 1½ cups of powdered sugar, the 2 teaspoons milk or cream, the cinnamon, and the vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy, as least another 3 minutes, then scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in another cup of powdered sugar, beat until fluffy, then another, and beat again until fluffy. The frosting should be firm but not stiff. Add another cup of powdered sugar if you feel that the frosting is not firm enough (it should hold peaks for a moment or two).
  5. When the cake has cooled, place it in a large bowl with half of your frosting and mix until combined. If the cake is not holding together in ball shapes, add half of the remaining frosting, mix, and check the consistency again. If you want, add the rest of the frosting, but you probably won't need to. On a lined baking sheet, roll the cake into balls about the size of a tablespoon, then place on the sheet. Continue until you have used up all of the cake, then place in the fridge or freezer to firm up for 20-30 minutes.
  6. To make the truffles, now you will have to melt your chocolate. Use a double boiler to do this; if you don't have one, you can make your own (see the photos above for visual instruction). To make your own, fill up a pot with about an inch of water, then place a glass bowl over it, making sure there's a bit of room between the water and the glass bowl on top. Heat over medium heat. Make sure that your top bowl is stable; if any water touches the chocolate, it will be completely, 100% ruined (seriously). Add the chocolate into the glass bowl, making sure there is absolutely no way that any water will ever come in contact with it, and stir gently until melted.
  7. When the chocolate has melted, add in a few drops of your gel food coloring, and stir until you have the color you want. Take one cake ball at a time and roll it in the chocolate with a fork, until covered, then remove and place back on the baking sheet. Repeat until you have done all of your cake balls. Place in the fridge or freezer to firm up for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Now melt your milk chocolate (or dark chocolate) to drizzle over the truffles. Melt in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. Spoon the melted milk chocolate into a plastic bag, then cut off a tiny bit of the tip. Drizzle over the truffles. Place back in the fridge or freezer until ready to serve. Makes 30-40 truffles, depending on their size.
Adapted From


41 Responses

  1. Jane M says:

    When I made cake pops, I used cream cheese frosting mixed in with the baked cake. I think this lightened up the cake (the cream cheese frosting). But I never put my cake pops on sticks, so I don’t really know. I had cute cups to nestled the cake balls into. All I do know is they tasted great as I’m sure yours did too! But we all make disasters – right? It’s just the way it is!

    • Sydney says:

      Jane: I’m surprised you felt that it lightened up the cake, since cream cheese is so dense! They definitely felt heavy on the sticks, gravity pushing down on them and all! :) Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Laura L. says:

    I don’t know how Bakerella does it with so many cake pops. I’ve had the same problems with the balls sliding off the sticks. Kramer is very patient. My boyfriend was helping me and he was livid that they weren’t working out.

    After more experimenting, we found that dipping the stick in chocolate first helps some, as does using the right kind of candy chocolate. Mercken’s (sp?) is what Bakerella recommends. I did have success with that one. Also, she uses box cake mix and canned frosting, which probably helps with consistency. I, like you, prefer making my own cakes and frostings though.

    • Sydney says:

      Laura: I’m glad that I’m not the only one! :) I really want to try it again, I just need to think about it a little more next time! Thanks for the kind words – I appreciate it!

  3. Laura L. says:

    I forgot to mention that your truffles look so yummy. I absolutely love pumpkin treats (except for pie, strangely enough). Glad you were able to salvage what could have easily ended up in the trash along with the money and time you spent on it. : ) Have a great weekend!

  4. Jen says:

    Oh noes! I’ve never made cake pops, but I probably would’ve made the same too-dense kind. They make adorable truffles though! 😀 I love pumpkin spice cake, but not eating the whole thing, so this might be the perfect solution.

  5. Tina from PA says:

    It was worth the wait to see this post! Your truffles are beautiful!!! I love anything pumpkin! Thank You for sharing another great recipe ! Have a great weekend!

  6. Amanda W. says:

    You always post the most amazing entries. I’ve been following you since I started teaching myself to cook. These look super tasty :)

    • Sydney says:

      @Amanda: Thank you so much! I love hearing that; I hope that you continue to read! :)

      @Kimberly: I’m glad that my evil plan worked!

      @Emily: I think they’ll go over very well! Let me know if you do end up making them!

  7. Kimberly says:

    Nice save! Those look amazing and if I didn’t know the whole cake pop story, I would be none the wiser.

  8. Emily says:

    You had me at “browned butter”. I think I’ve found what I’m going to bring to the Halloween party this year.

  9. Shelley says:

    These look adorable! I’ve never tried to make cake pops myself but another local blogger does some really cute ones. Check out kathyphantastic.com. She made Hello Kitty cake pops that are the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

    • Sydney says:

      @Shelley: Thank you very much! I will definitely check her out – Hello Kitty cake pops sound adorable!

      @Wei-Wei: Thank you! It definitely didn’t go over well, but I’m glad you think that they still look good!

  10. Wei-Wei says:

    They look amazing! I didn’t realise they were cake pops, but I guess the pop part didn’t go over well. Oh well. They still look really good!

  11. amy2boys says:

    I am so trying these! They look amazing.

  12. Amanda says:

    Wow, an amazing combination of flavors! They look wonderful :)

  13. Dana says:

    How cute and perfect for fall! It must have taken some strong willpower to get all of them individually wrapped without eating most of them!

  14. Nicole says:

    These were absolutely delicious and so cute and festive in their delicate packaging. I actually sampled them in real life thanks to Willis!

    Nicole from the 15th floor :o)

  15. Joanna from Colorado says:

    These look great! I read the Bakerella blog, have made cake balls, and yours look perfect – very fall-ish. Kramer sounds like my husband – suggesting ways to save desserts (and keeping my hopes up) if they don’t come out as I envision them. That’s sweet. :)
    I saved your recipe, and I’m planning to make them for a Thanksgiving (or just fall) treat to give to my friends (because I want to make them, but I don’t want to have, like, 200 in the house for just me and the hubby). :)
    Love your blog! -Joanna

  16. these look awesome, despite the mishap! i bet they taste even better. i still need to try making cake balls sometime and i love this variation!

  17. Megan says:

    These make me hungry! They are just as cute at truffles than as cake pops. :)

  18. Kelly says:

    Is the recipe for two cakes like you made or just one?

    These sound great! Hope I get a chance to try them.

  19. Sue says:

    These look fabulous but was just curious about your thoughts on making just the cake and frosting as a simple cake?

  20. Rachel says:

    I made these this past weekend, except I used dark chocolate instead of white chocolate. They were SOOOO good, and the cake was fantastic on it’s own; I couldn’t stop nibbling on it while I was crumbling it up. It was super moist without being dense and heavy, the cream cheese frosting and chocolate just put the whole thing over the top. Amazing and very easy.

  21. Okay now I’m just pouring over your blog… these look like a fantastic gift
    Glad to see a fellow New Yorker actually utilizing the kitchen!! Haha

  22. Silje says:

    Hey Sydney,

    Finally almost a year after I first saw this, I tried making it and it’s delicious! (Last year I was studying abroad and living in a dorm without an oven, among many other things.) I really like the flavor of the cake “balls” before the white chocolate, but mine are too soft for any packaging without it.

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Even after almsot a year I remembered this, that’s how pretty your pictures are! :)

  23. Jessica says:

    This will be the second year in a row that I will be making these cake truffles on Halloween weekend and I plan to continue this tradition. They are delicious and fun to make (while watching something scary of course.) I don’t like white chocolate, but I love these! Thank you for posting such amazing recipes. I am always excited to try out the new recipes, and then make them over and over. Thanks!

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