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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

ZAM's Progressive Dinner Party: Accidentally Awesome

Hey all-- I hope your New Years is warm and sweet (cause I'm freezing my feet off here!) To celebrate New Years, I'm participating in ZA Maxfields Progressive Dinner-- which means you can visit all of the blogs there at the link and see an entire dinner array of blogs!  My blog is not so much a recipe as a way to recover from a failed recipe, but I hope you'll forgive me, because, well, CAKE BALLS!  *dissolves into laughter*  There is a prize at the end if you go to every blog and leave a comment, so sit down, drink something hot and sweet, and enjoy the show :-)



Accidentally Awesome

Okay—so Mate is actually the recipe follower here.  He’s the maker-of-fudge, the soup-party impresario, the, “Hey, let’s make this!” guy.  And as his candy-making expertise has gained weight in the family mythos, he’s become the King of Following the Recipe in the realm of our family and friends.

So this year, high on the successes of the previous year, wherein we sent fudge to half the people I know in the entire world after Christmas, he decided he was going to make cake-pops.

He had PLANS for the cake-pops.  There was going to be sprinkles and decorations, and they were gonna look like Christmas and omigod and gloryhallelujia! They were gonna be frickin’ amazing cake-pops.

Anyone out there who has ever made cake-pops knows where this is going.

It’s like a zillion step process.

First you bake a cake—yay! Then you let it cool, and mix it with frosting—that’s right, like, mix the cake, with the frosting, crumbling it up and mashing it in your fingers like playdough, and then you make balls.  (Heh heh heh… cake balls! Heh heh heh… yeah. I’m twelve.)  Anyway—after you make the balls, you melt the chocolate and dip the sticks in the chocolate and then poke the balls (heh heh heh) and then put them in the freezer to firm up. (Omigod… this doesn’t get any less dirty!) When the balls are firm and good, you dip them in the chocolate, and then set them out to cool.

Now see, some of you are seeing that this looks relatively simple.

Some of you are seeing all the myriad ways this can go heinously wrong.

Let’s start with the cakes, which did not all cook the same.  The dry one didn’t make good balls, and the wet one made balls that stuck together but also fell apart.  Then move on to the chocolate, which claimed to be microwaveable but was not, and Mate tested this with his mouth because the crumbles didn’t look hot since they weren’t melty, and it turned out that crumbled microwaved chocolate was hotter than the temperature of the sun and he had blisters on his lips!  (Poor guy. He’s giving these desserts to my family, you understand, since he works with a bunch of fitness enthusiasts who don’t allow processed sugar to grace their well-shaped, chiseled, manly lips.) 

So he had to melt new chocolate and then try to stick the balls (nope, still laughing) and then, after they chilled, try to bathe them in the new chocolate while they were bound and determined to fall apart.

Yeah.

It was a disaster.

At the end, he had a tray full of broken balls, half covered in chocolate. 

He saw failure. I saw potential comedy with a candy coating.  I also saw processed sugar gold.

“So, just spread it in a cake pan!” I said, all enthusiasm.

“And then what? Broken cake?”

“No! Then pour the chocolate over it, and serve it with a spatula.  You add some whipped cream or ice cream, and girls will be swarming over it like flies!”

“Flies will be swarming over it like flies. It looks awful.”

“Nom-nom-nom-nom…”  Well, I may have said that. I was definitely salivating though, that I do remember.

So, Christmas arrived.  We gave giant packets of three kinds of fudge to everybody, and felt pretty stupid because my family makes Martha Stewart look like a slacker, and I haven’t actually made anything Christmassy since Mate started making fudge.  And the little tray of cake-ball-cake sat unnoticed in the corner.

Until dessert time.

“What’s this?” my nephew said, looking strapping and handsome at twenty years old.  (This is important—until he hit about sixteen, I could swear he’d look like Dopey for his entire life. That he looks “strapping and handsome” means that it really does get better, and all adolescents should have hope!  His ears even stick out less!)

“That’s failed cake-pops, covered in chocolate,” I said.  (Notice that I called them “cake-pops” because I didn’t want him to launch into some silly adolescent snark about “cake-balls”.  That’s my department.)

His mouth made the little “o” shape associated with extreme anticipation. I think he may have drooled a little. 

“Hold on a second,” he told me.  “Let me get the whipped cream.”

So we sat for about fifteen minutes, and he told me about his life while eating probably half of that sinful, decadent failed dessert. I loved that moment—I don’t get enough of them with my sister’s sons, and it was one of the highlights of my Christmas.

“So, the cake-balls didn’t get all eaten,” Mate said glumly.

“Yeah—Nate ate about half the plate.”

“But not everybody loved them. That sort of sucked.”

“I think that depends on how you look at it,” I said philosophically.  “I think the person who ate half the cake really liked them.”

Mate grunted and shook his head.  “Man, I don’t know if I should try those again or not.”

“Go ahead and try them again,” I said.  “You never know what may happen.”

So, that’s not really a recipe for dessert.  But, it could be a recipe for salvaging a failed dessert, right?  Or even just a lesson that if you mix your cake with the frosting and then add chocolate, there is no bad way to do it. 

Or even just a wish to have a happy holiday, and may your New Year be filled with nothing more serious than a failed chocolate cake-ball, with a dipped stick.  (Buahahahahahahahahaha!!!)

Happy New Year!




41 comments:

Jewel Cardwell said...

Oh, that is awesome! I'm with you -- nom nom nom nom!

ardent.ereader said...

Chocolate and whipped cream makes everything better! Happy New Year. ardent(dot)ereader(at)gmail(dot)com

Jen said...

Cake pops are impossible to make - glad you were able to still enjoy them! Happy 2015!!

jen.f {at} mac {dot} com

Carolyne Kleinman said...

Maybe I need to send you guys the recipe for "Druid Bait"...scads easier and viciously addictive!

PattiAnnie said...

Perfect! Happy New Year. ❤️

PattiAnnie said...

Perfect. Happy New Year! ❤️

Rain said...

I'd rather have tasty food that looks crap than a masterpiece that tastes like crap. At least, that's what I tell myself whenever my culinary efforts don't look like restaurant fare. ;D And hey, I'm right most of the time!

rainingdarkIyahooIcom

Marcine said...

I love it. Cake "pops" that really pop. Chocolate solves all problems.

Happy New Year

dejamew@centurylink.net

Antonia said...

Cake pops are ridiculous to try to make, but it sounds like the result was still delicious! Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year!

Julie Small said...

That is an awesome save! And if a 20 year old ate half of it, you know it was delish! Thank you for the "save" recipe! Happy New Year.

juliesmall2016(at)gmail(dot)com

CBarton said...

Chocolate anything is a success!! Happy New Year!

cmucha319 AT yahoo DOT com

Denise Dechene said...

Anything with cake is good. Sometimes the failed recipes make for great finds. I mistakenly mixed two cookie recipes because of stuck pages. The cookies were great only problem is I can't remember what two recipes I mixed up. Oh well. Enjoy and Happy New Year

waxapplelover said...

I am a huge fan of following recipes to the letter. (To be fair, I also fully read the instruction manuals that come with any new purchase.) I can only imagine the devastation when the recipe failed. Luckily there really isn't a bad cake pop, just ones that don't look pretty. :) Thanks for sharing!

Waxapplelover (at) gmail (dot) com

Tracy Faul said...

That sounds like the time I tried to make oreo truffles. They did not work as they should, but were yummy anyway.

On the other hand, DinoBoy's "chocolate layer cake with raspberry jam in the middle and chocolate ganache frosting please" 11th birthday cake came out perfect...

booklovez said...

It sounds like a fun holiday at your house. Cake pops sound so simple but they do sound like a lot of work and like a lot of things can go wrong in the process. It doesn't hurt to fail since it means you have more time to learn and perfect your technique for next year (or whenever). I hope your hubby doesn't give up and tries until he's successful =)Happy New Year!

H.B.
humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

Lee Todd said...

tears are rolling down my face from laughing so hard!! freaking funny disaster! (cake balls....ROTFLMFAO)

Lee Todd said...

leetee2007(at)hotmail(dot)com

forgot my email I was laughing so hard!!

Christy Duke said...

I'm definitely thinking nom nom nom nom nom

kaisquared said...

I applaud the effort, and the numerous ball remarks :)




emmasmom69 AT gmail DOT com

MICHELE HOGARTH said...

Amy, have a happy and healthy. New Year. Maybe mate can try the cake balls for Valentines day.

kissedbymidnigh said...

Hey. Whatever works I like to say:) kissedbymidnight AT gmail DOT com

kissedbymidnigh said...

Hey, whatever works as I like to say:) kissedbymidnight AT gmail DOT com

Barbra said...

I love it!! Thanks for the laugh. :-) Maybe we'll give it a try someday. If nothing else, it'll be good for a laugh. And I would absolutely eat it whether in "ball" form or served with a spatula. :-)

aelnova@aol.com

Jbst said...

What a brave effort by your hubby. Sounds like if you put the cake & whipped cream in a fancy glass bowl then you could had called it a trifle. Must have tasted good.
strive4bst(AT) yahoo(Dot) com

Debby said...

Great post. Thanks so much.
debby236 at gmail dot com and hotmail

Jen CW said...

I loved that. Cake pops are definitely something that sounds great in theory. I've never tried making them. Happy New Year!
jczlapin(at)gmail(dot)com

168d7130-34d4-11e2-91ad-000bcdcb5194 said...

I'm always into salvaging failed desserts...I still remember Sandra Boynton saying that a fallen souffle makes an attractive beret! (Seriously, it is good as a chocolate pudding...)

Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(dot)com

Heather Rawlins said...

I love reading what you write - whether in a book or on your blog. You always make me smile. It was a blessing you had the cake in a pan, you got to spend time with your nephew, which probably wouldn't have happened if he could have easily grabbed a cake ball. Happy New Year.

Juliana said...

Haha! Thanks for sharing the family fiasco!
OceanAkers @ aol.com

kaytee said...

I love it when you can turn a potential disaster into fun. I'm with you, nom, nom, nom.
Happy New Year!

DawnsReadingNook said...

What a great way to salvage a baking disaster. Thanks for sharing and I loved the idea! nom nom indeed :-P
love2read28@gmail.com

Mari said...

LOL, loved the story about your cake balls! anamaribelcardenas@yahoo.com

Tamika Smith said...

Nice freaking save. When it comes to baking, I follow directions to a T, I'm so afraid to mess up the cakes..

tamikamclaurin(at)hotmail(dot)com

Tamika Smith said...

Nice Save. I always follow directions when it comes to baking!!

tamikamclaurin(at)hotmail(dot)com

Melora said...

After looking at a cake-pop recipe once I decided it was way too much work and went back to making toffee. At least someone appreciated your (mate's) attempt.

Alishea Durham said...

At least the disastrous attempt was salvaged and delicious. The talk with your nephew was a great bonus.
alishead1@yahoo.com

Mandy said...

Excellent story - I hope you do a good Beavis and Butthead laugh (heh heh - I said balls - heh heh)! It's an important lesson, that you can always salvage something from balls gone bad, right?

Mandy said...

Oh, and next year? Oreo truffles. Way easier, and you trick everyone, because they think they are buckeyes (you know, those peanut butter filled chocolates?), then they eat them and discover that they are so much better! (At least, that was the reaction at my friend's Thanksahannukwanamas party, when I took them!)

Jillian T said...

I feel like I've been challenged to make cake-pops now.

Juliana said...

Haha, crumbly balls...
OceanAkers @ aol.com

Juliana said...

Haha, crumbly balls...
OceanAkers @ aol.com