Edible Art: Kusama Inspired Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles

A fun pumpkin truffle recipe inspired by the artwork of Yayoi Kusama.

This is the second recipe I created after being inspired by a memorable visit to Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama‘s traveling exhibit “Infinity Mirrors”, when it was at the Hirshhorn Museum in DC. So what do Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles have to do with contemporary art?

Well, reflecting (har-har) back to the time I took my little spawn nugget to see the polka dot displays made famous by Kusama, I remembered the walk-in exhibit “All the Eternal Love I Have For the Pumpkins.” Created with LED lit pumpkins reflected for eternity in a black glass lined room, the sea of polka dotted gourds glowed for as far as the eye could see. My baby was so taken by this display, I watched her head sway left to right as she gazed at the illuminating yellow light emitted below her.

Crafting a pumpkin shaped cake ball seemed only natural to try and capture  something remotely reminiscent to that art display. And when I found out my sister was coming to visit, I knew it was the perfect time to whip up these truffles as she’s a big fan of pumpkin flavored anything. I needed someone to unhand me of these before I ate them all!

These are pretty simple to make, you just need some patience, which made this batch pretty difficult as I had a teething toddler tugging at my leg every other minute. She ate five of them by the time I started decorating them. And it took a quick drive around the parking lot to get her to nap so I could snap these pictures.  Making it work with what I got!

To get started, gather your ingredients. You’ll need a box of yellow cake mix, a 15 oz can of pumpkin pie filling, pumpkin pie spice, ground cinnamon, 8 oz block of cream cheese, a bag of white chocolate chips or candy melts, yellow or orange food coloring, a handful of chocolate chips, and black food gel.

Blend together the cake mix, pumpkin pie filling, a tbsp of pumpkin pie spice, and 2 tsp of cinnamon until combined. Do not add egg/oil/anything else listed on the cake box!

Pour the mix into greased cake pans and bake as the box directs (commonly 375 F, 25 mins.) I have 2 round cake pans so I poured the mixture evenly into both, spreading it out using a spatula. While the cake bakes, leave the cream cheese out so it starts to soften.

After the cake’s done, let it cool down. Once it’s near completely cool, you can break it apart and put into the bowl of your cakestand mixer (which I use every possible time I need to mix anything. Thanks to my grandma for this kitchen treasure! Miss you.)  If you don’t have a cake stand mixer, a regular mixing bowl will suffice to use with a hand mixer.  When breaking the cake apart, don’t keep any hard pieces, those will effect the texture of the cake ball mixture. Stick with the innards and the cake tops.

Add the entire block of cream cheese to the mix and blend it until completely combined.

Now roll the mix into little 1 inch balls. It should wield about 25 balls, give or take, granted you don’t have a toddler reaching up and sneaking them away. After you have them all rolled, it’s time to finagle them into pumpkin shapes.

Use two hands, this stealth move was just for the picture.

You’ll need a chopstick, or butter knife, or toothpick, or anything you have that can create a simple line with ease. Press down on the top of the ball with your index finger, and with your tool of choice, create vertical lines on the sides of the ball all around your finger. This will give the impression of a pumpkin’s bumpy flesh.

Now melt the bag of white chocolate chips, gradually. Start off at 50% power for 30 seconds, then stir. Keep heating it in those increments and stirring until the chocolate is flowing and dippable. Don’t overdo it!  Once you’ve reached the right consistency, add the food coloring to achieve your desired hue. I didn’t do enough, so I would suggest doubling the dosage of drops.

Double the hue dosage, it dries lighter!

Prep a pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking pad.

Begin dipping the cake balls one at time, spooning the chocolate over each one, then lifting them out of the bowl with a fork and letting the excess chocolate drip off. Place it on the parchment lined pan and repeat with every other ball. This is where the patience is needed.  After I did five of these, I heard silence in the living room which you may know, can be a bad thing when it comes to having kids.  I took a brief break to peer out and saw she had gathered all the cake scraps on the coffee table with a cup full of water emptied onto it. She was creating her own cake balls! <3 So I let it slide.

Before the chocolate begins to harden, place a single chocolate chip on top. This kind of gives the illusion of a cute pumpkin stem.

Now let them harden before decorating. You can leave them out in room temperature, or place in the fridge for a quicker process. I cleaned up the cake ball mess that was created in the living room at this point, honing my multi-tasking skills.

Once the candy has hardened, it’s time to decorate them like Kusama’s polka dotted masterpiece!  I used Wilton’s Sparkle Gel to achieve this look.  Hold the candy and quickly dab the gel in little dots vertically on each pumpkin bump. If you have the time and patience, you could add more polka dots in the crevices as well.

I should note that this gel does not harden or dry, so once it’s on there, it can get messy. If you are gifting these, I would recommend a flat box and laying them separately, as opposed to a mason jar where they would smash into each other and inevitably smear the dots.

These will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container and refrigerated.

But you’ll eat them all before then. 😉 Let me know how long they lasted in your household in the comments!  And please share this post with all your pumpkin loving friends and art enthusiast buddies.

If you liked this, check out my other Kusama inspired recipe:

Hot Pink Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

AuthorDawnReedCategory

Yields1 Serving

 1 box of Yellow Cake Mix
 1 can of Pumpkin Pie filling
 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
 2 tsp cinnamon
 8 oz block of cream cheese
 1 bag of white chocolate chips
 15 drops of yellow or orange food coloring
 1 handful of chocolate chips
 food decorating gel, black

1

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix the cake mix, pumpkin pie filling, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon until completely blended. Do not add any other ingredients listed on the box.
Bake for 25-28 minutes. While this is baking, leave the cream cheese out to soften.

2

Let the cake cool after it's completely baked. Once cool, break it apart and put into a mixing bowl. Leave out any hard crusty bits. Add the cream cheese to the mixing bowl and blend together until it's an even consistency.

3

Roll the dough into little balls, about one inch or so.

4

To create the pumpkin style, place your finger on the top of the ball, and with your other hand, push a chopstick/toothpick/butter knife vertically into the ball to create a simple line. Do this all around the cake balls.

5

Prep a pan with parchment paper.

Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl on 50% power for 30 seconds. Stir, and repeat until the chocolate has a smooth consistency. Once it's ready for dipping, add food coloring.

6

Next, dip the balls one at a time into the chocolate, spooning the chocolate over, and then lift them out with a fork, letting the excess drip off. Place them onto the parchment to dry. Before they dry, add a chocolate chip on top as a decorative pumpkin stem.

7

Let them dry at room temperature, or faster in the fridge. Once dry, you can decorate them with dots using the decorative food gel.

They will keep for 2 weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Ingredients

 1 box of Yellow Cake Mix
 1 can of Pumpkin Pie filling
 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
 2 tsp cinnamon
 8 oz block of cream cheese
 1 bag of white chocolate chips
 15 drops of yellow or orange food coloring
 1 handful of chocolate chips
 food decorating gel, black

Directions

1

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix the cake mix, pumpkin pie filling, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon until completely blended. Do not add any other ingredients listed on the box.
Bake for 25-28 minutes. While this is baking, leave the cream cheese out to soften.

2

Let the cake cool after it's completely baked. Once cool, break it apart and put into a mixing bowl. Leave out any hard crusty bits. Add the cream cheese to the mixing bowl and blend together until it's an even consistency.

3

Roll the dough into little balls, about one inch or so.

4

To create the pumpkin style, place your finger on the top of the ball, and with your other hand, push a chopstick/toothpick/butter knife vertically into the ball to create a simple line. Do this all around the cake balls.

5

Prep a pan with parchment paper.

Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl on 50% power for 30 seconds. Stir, and repeat until the chocolate has a smooth consistency. Once it's ready for dipping, add food coloring.

6

Next, dip the balls one at a time into the chocolate, spooning the chocolate over, and then lift them out with a fork, letting the excess drip off. Place them onto the parchment to dry. Before they dry, add a chocolate chip on top as a decorative pumpkin stem.

7

Let them dry at room temperature, or faster in the fridge. Once dry, you can decorate them with dots using the decorative food gel.

They will keep for 2 weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles

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