Where the Only Limit is Your Imagination

Baking is my new passion! The magical smell of cake in the oven, the sweet aroma of cookies, the clicking sound of the mixer combining ingredients....

... sugar all over the counter, flour sprinkled on the floor and my clothes, food coloring all over my hands and the table.... I'm a messy baker. lol. I cant help myself, but I love every minute of it!

Starting off as a cake decorator, I began my new found occupation in culinary cheating a bit, and used mixes quite often.If its not broken, why fix it, right? I was a decorator, not a baker. I quickly realized my joy was not only in decorating but also in creating the whole package, the design of the cake along with the flavor. It is incredibly satisfying to see people's faces light up when they not only see their cake but also when they taste it. I find great joy in it! (Making a buck or two isn't bad either. ) :)

Join me in my journey as I learn and experiment with not only cake and decorating but also other pastries. I will share with you my ups and downs, my accomplishments and my disasters! There will be disasters...

Monday, March 14, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Cake Ball Disaster!

Remember when I told you I would tell you about my experiences with baking, both good and bad?? Well, I honestly didn't think the BAD would come so soon! Ha Ha....My third post and this is me, keeping it real!

I saw this idea on Wilton's website the other day and thought it was a really cute idea for St. Patrick's day. Adorable little St. Patrick's Day hats! However, I didn't have the Cordial Cups Candy Mold and honestly didn't want to go buy them. 

I have wanted to do something with cake balls for a while now but never got around to trying to make them. Seeing them on Bakerella, it looked SO EASY, and maybe they are for some, but this was my very first experience making them and maybe, like everything else, practice makes perfect. (I'm really hoping that's the case!)

So, to make a long story short, I decided in my infinite wisdom, to combine the two ideas. I would make those cute little St. Patrick's Day hats out of cake balls! Seriously, how could this possibly go wrong? (Famous last words).

Did I mention Im not even a little bit Irish? Ive never even celebrated St. Patrick's Day before. Well, actually thats not entirely true. I did have a beer once, about 10 years ago, at a pub with some friends. We were having lunch, and it happened to be St. Patrick's Day. Does that count?


I started with baking a 9x13 cake with my new favorite gold cake recipe. You can use whatever recipe you prefer or a cake mix. Whatever makes you happy.

Have your favorite icing set aside. Mine is a homemade buttercream, but as I said about the cake, use whatever icing you like the best.

While the cake is STILL WARM crumble into a large bowl and add your icing to it. I honestly dont know how much I added to the crumbled cake. I would say it was aprox. 3/4 cup but I just added a little at a time until it was the consistency I was looking for. I added icing until I could "squish" it in my hand and have it stick together. Yes, "squish" IS a baking term. It looked like this....

Since I didn't have the Cordial Cups Candy Molds, I decided to improvise and find something in my house that I could use in place of them as a mold for my hats. I ended up using a 1/4 cup measuring cup from a set that I had bought at Pier1.

I sprayed cooking spray inside of it to keep the cake ball mixture from sticking and to have it come out easily. I did this every 3-4 times I filled it. 

I made 12 of these and put them on waxed paper as I made them. 

Ok, so here's where it started to go downhill!!

As you can see by the picture above, my "hat" didnt come out in the perfect shape of a hat so I had to do a little tweeking here and there. A little freehand sculpting, if you will. 

I have to be honest, after doing this 12 times, I had had enough. I rolled the rest into balls. I wasnt doing this for a client or for anyone else. This was just for me to experiment and try to learn a new technique, so I didnt feel bad at all taking the easy way out this time. lol


I then put my green candy melts in a microwavable bowl and melted them down. When using a microwave to melt them, do it in 30 second intervals, stirring in between.

I think this is where I made my first real mistake. Like I said before, I molded my hats while the cake was still warm and put them on waxed paper. I think maybe I should have dipped them into the melted chocolate right after I molded each one because it seems like the cooler they got, the more they started to fall apart. I inserted a toothpick into each and as I dipped my cooled off cake balls and "hats". Pieces were falling off into the melted chocolate and then this happened....


Then to top it off, I couldn't get a smooth coat of chocolate on my cake balls. I kept reheating the chocolate to keep it thin and smooth, and gently rolled them in it. It came out way too think and not pretty at all!! I cant understand how to get them covered evenly and not clumpy looking. PLEASE, if anyone out there knows how to do this, email me!

This is what I ended up with. Its Ok, You can laugh.....really, I dont mind. Its not pretty and Im the first to admit when Ive been defeated.

Ok, try to catch your breath now......I know, its funny. They look terrible!

I was able to salvage 2.....count 'em......2, out of the 12 that I tried to make. I then took the chocolate and spooned out 2 circles to make the brim of the hats. I let them dry and used a tiny bit of melted chocolate to "glue" the top part of the hat to the brim.

I colored and rolled out yellow and black fondant to make the buckle on the hat.

This is what I ended up with. These two were the only two that were even remotely "hat like". 

I know, its a bit of a stretch of the imagination. Maybe if you squint and let your eyes get blurry you can see it. They are lumpy and crooked and just not good. Im not sure what went wrong and how I should go about fixing it for the next time I try this, but I will keep at it and hopefully one day get it right!


  1. Drunk Leprechauns could care less if their hats are crooked and lumpy! Hahahahaha Good try, better than I would've done any day!


  2. Ha ha ha! That's a great way to look at it! Thank you!

  3. You can add paramount crystals to your candy coating or chocolate to help thin it out if it is too thick. You should be able find it at any candy or cake supply shop.

  4. Thank you very much for the tip! I had no idea. I will definitely do keep that in mind for next time. Ive never heard of it. Ill check with the candy store.

  5. It is so much easier to dip them actually when they are really cold! I put mine in the freezer and only take a few out at a time to dip them in the candy melts. This works especially when you are making cake pops. It is the only way to get the sticks to stay in well.

  6. Kim, Thank you so much for the advice. I ended up making them again a couple days later, for a friend. I wish I had this advice then.lol. I still struggled with them. They came out "better" but still, not great. Next time I try them I will definitely try putting them in the freezer first. have you have used paramount crystals to thin the chocolate?

  7. You can also use shortening to thin the candy melts as well. Not quite as great as the paramount crystals, but works in a pinch. And yes, cold! cold! cold! is the answer...everything has to be chilled. But one word of advice, if you try dipping your pops when they're TOO cold, they'll actually crack after they start to come back to room temp. I usually stick my pops in the fridge for about 20 minutes, then pull them out and they're just cold enough to stay together, but not so cold that they'll explode when they start to warm up. Also, I find that cake mixes (gasp!) and canned frosting (double gasp!!) work better than homemade cakes for the pops. But sshhhhhh! Don't tell anyone it's from a box!!! :)

  8. Thank you so much for the tips, Leigh Ann. Next time I will try cake mixes and caned frosting and putting them in the fridge. I appreciate everyone's help with this! I still need to look for paramount crystals at the local candy store. Its good to know I can use shortening though, if I have to.