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

0 thoughts on “ZAM’s Progressive Dinner Party: Accidentally Awesome”

  1. Jewel says:

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

  2. Unknown says:

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

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

  4. PattiAnnie says:

    Perfect. Happy New Year! ❤️

  5. PattiAnnie says:

    Perfect! Happy New Year. ❤️

  6. Christy Duke says:

    I'm definitely thinking nom nom nom nom nom

  7. Lee Todd says:


    forgot my email I was laughing so hard!!

  8. Lee Todd says:

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

  9. Anonymous says:

    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!

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  10. 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…

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. CBarton says:

    Chocolate anything is a success!! Happy New Year!

    cmucha319 AT yahoo DOT com

  14. Unknown says:

    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.


  15. Antonia says:

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

  16. Marcine says:

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

    Happy New Year

  17. Rain says:

    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!


  18. Anonymous says:

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

  19. Anonymous says:

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

  20. kaisquared says:

    I applaud the effort, and the numerous ball remarks 🙂

    emmasmom69 AT gmail DOT com

  21. Unknown says:

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

  22. Anonymous says:

    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

  23. Barbra says:

    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. 🙂

  24. Jen says:

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

    jen.f {at} mac {dot} com

  25. Jen CW says:

    I loved that. Cake pops are definitely something that sounds great in theory. I've never tried making them. Happy New Year!

  26. Debby says:

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

  27. Anonymous says:

    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

  28. Juliana says:

    Haha! Thanks for sharing the family fiasco!
    OceanAkers @

  29. 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.

  30. kaytee says:

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

  31. What a great way to salvage a baking disaster. Thanks for sharing and I loved the idea! nom nom indeed 😛

  32. Mari says:

    LOL, loved the story about your cake balls!

  33. Unknown says:

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


  34. Unknown says:

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


  35. Alishea says:

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

  36. Melora says:

    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.

  37. Mandy says:

    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!)

  38. Mandy says:

    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?

  39. Jillian Too says:

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

  40. Juliana says:

    Haha, crumbly balls…
    OceanAkers @

  41. Juliana says:

    Haha, crumbly balls…
    OceanAkers @

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