The Night the Cake Pops Won.

I’d like to start out by blaming my friend Jamie.

Because she’s the kind of friend that grabs the popcorn and watches her friends dive off of deadly cliffs, such as the time she noted that our friend Katherine didn’t know how to use Instagram properly, but instead of educating her, she just unfollowed her, leaving poor Katherine to her doomed destiny of Instagramming her hemorrhoids for all to see.

(I’ll wait here until you get back from reading that story – no worries – no photos were included.)

So yes.  My failure, too, is Jamie’s fault, although the silver lining is that it was just my dessert that was ruined and not my dignity.

It’s Jamie’s fault because she makes all of these adorable, delicious, beautiful cake pops, and she makes it look all easy and stuff.  And when I told her that I, too, was going to make Cake Pops for Thanksgiving, she said, “Oh, great!”, and that’s it.

That’s it.

Instead of what she clearly should have said, which was, “STOP, RACHEL! Making cake pops is more difficult than creating a nuclear bomb from pencil shavings!! You will destroy your kitchen, ruin your relationship with your family, and hate yourself in the morning!!”

But she didn’t.

She casually watched me drive my Dessert Train right off the Cliffs of Insanity, eating her own popcorn-shaped Cake Pops as I plummeted to my death.

(No – seriously – she really does make cake pops in the shape of popcorn.)

Popcorn Cake Popsvia Jamie

So you see how this is all her fault.

Chris and I host Thanksgiving at our house for both of our families combined. Everyone makes something, and my responsibility this year was the turkey (which I admittedly didn’t actually make), the mashed potatoes, and a dessert.

I decided on Cake Pops because Noah’s cake balls came out so delicious (albeit ugly), and right after making them I found the Gingerbread Cake Mix I was looking for.

How hard could it be to just add sticks, right?

Here’s how it went down:

1.  I used the opportunity to spread the propaganda of my Fabulous Mother Status (FMS): I told Ali that she could have a special treat and stay up late on Thanksgiving Eve and help me bake.

2.  We had made the cake earlier in the day, but needed to crumble it.  Jamie had recommended using a food processor.  Halfway through Cake Emulsification, my food processor’s blade broke off (how can cake break a metal blade?!?), and took out several chunks of surrounding plastic.

3.  The blade was in one piece, but the plastic was not.  Panicked, I sifted through every bit of crumbled cake in search of more plastic.  I found a couple pieces.  So I sifted again.  And again.  And again – until I didn’t find any foreign substances.

4.  I asked Chris if I should throw the whole thing out.  But husbands can sense impending breakdowns like dogs can sense fear, so he quickly went into reassurance mode.

“What?  No.  Plastic is harmless.  And I bet you found it all.  And this is totally not like that time that you exploded an entire Pyrex dish into the giant pot of soup.”

(I did throw that out, for the record.)

4.  Ali and I mixed the icing into the cake crumbs, again looking for plastic.  We began scooping and shaping cake balls with the nifty Wilton Cake Ball Scooper I had bought just for the occasion.

5.  After 32 balls, the not-so-nifty Cake Ball Scooper broke.

6.  I fixed said Cake Ball Scooper.

7.  After 1 ball, the loathsome Cake Ball Scooper broke again, this time permanently.

8.  I made the remaining balls by hand, cursing Wilton and it’s cheap manufacturing (but somewhat looking forward to returning it to Michael’s Lady.)

9.  As the balls chilled, I began heating our Wilton candies for the outside coating.

(Because Jamie had recommended Wilton over my previous use of White Chocolate Bark.)

Due to my already frantic disposition, I managed to overheat (and therefore completely ruin) a bag and a half of candies, leaving me dangerously short of coating.

10.  Ali and I began coating with the color that melted best – orange.  Chris came in and started taking pictures, sensing somehow that I’d want to savor this beautiful moment of mother/daughter bonding.

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I did not.

11.  The cake pops would not stay on their stick.  They were crumbling in the melted coating, making a disgusting mess.  They were behaving worse than a gold digger at Trump’s mansion.  I was quickly losing my ability to act suitably in front of my daughter, and my FMS was nearly depleted.

12.  The behavior of the Cake Pops became even more sordid.  My frustration grew, and Ali disappeared every few minutes with the explanation of,

“I’m going to go talk to Daddy for a minute.”

Then she’d return with the report of,

“Daddy says you’re going to be okay.”

13.  With the popping difficulties and the ruined candies, I quickly ran out of coating.  But it was late Thanksgiving Eve, I was tired, and my options were limited to whatever I could find in the house.  So I frantically demanded that Chris pull apart the pantry and look for anything that I could melt and coat over stupid horrid spiteful balls of cake.  This request resulted in a vast amount of my pantry being emptied and placed on the kitchen table.

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“Icing?  How about icing?  I’d eat them with icing.”

“Oooh…marshmallows.  Can you use those?”

14.  I took over the search and found my bag of Wilton melts from a former baking project and began melting them, knowing that it was potentially (okay probably) well past their expiration date.

15.  I completely gave up on pop-making and resigned myself to making gruesomely ugly cake balls again.  But they were even uglier than mine and Noah’s had been, because I quickly learned that Wilton’s candy doesn’t coat as easily as the White Chocolate Bark.  So I ended up with Ugly Cake Balls coated too thickly with expired candy.

(Happy Thanksgiving, family.)

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16.  And an obscenely messy kitchen.

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17.  And dining room table.

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18.  And all of TWO actual Cake Pops.

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(Both of which I’m saving for a very special occasion.)

(Like the Queen of England AND Ryan Seacrest coming to visit on the same day.)

19.  After spending the rest of the evening cleaning the traumatic mess, I decided that I better try a cake ball to make sure that they weren’t too offensive.  So I bit into one of the ugliest ones.

20.  I chewed.  I felt something funny.  I worked at it with my tongue.  And I found a piece of plastic stuck in my tooth.

From the very first bite.

21.  Chris grabbed my hands right before I started pommeling the wall with cake balls and quickly soothed me, assuring me that I had most definitely found the last piece of plastic – way to go!! – and that the rest were totally safe now.

I moaned, saying that I could never serve them for Thanksgiving.

He reassured me, telling me it was just family – they’d never know.

I texted Jamie with contempt over her allowing me to fail so blatantly.

She called me.

“Oh yes – there are a million things that can go wrong with cake pops.”

Really.  Really?  REALLY?!?!?!

Thanks for the timely information.

But ultimately, I absolutely served* those vile cake balls – they didn’t suck away two years from the end of my life and every bit of thankfulness out of my soul for nothing.

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And nobody – not a single person – asphyxiated during dessert.

* I did offer a Surgeon General’s Warning to my family, strongly recommending that they not partake.  But they ate them anyway – perhaps only to have the opportunity to sue me later.

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Comments

  1. 1
    MamaHen says:

    I feel your pain. I made cake balls one time and one time only. Never again. Oh, I think they are adorable and cute and all that, but if I have to have them I will pay someone to do it for me.

    • 1.1
      Rachel says:

      Agreed. And I think I spent nearly as much on the ingredients and tools as I would have just paid Jamie to make them in the first place. NEVER again.

  2. 2
    trinity says:

    You know, if you just call them cake truffles, then they look perfect :) Families are great for food experiments.

  3. 3
    Jamie says:

    As the “Jamie” in question, I think I have been slandered by this post. It IS great that you made cake pops. And now will purchase them from me. :-)

    Note: You texted and I answered about the food processor. I WAS THERE FOR YOU.

  4. 4

    While it is not ACTUALLY the same degree of horrifying as posting a picture of your butthole on a version of social media, I will grant you that you look as frustrated and unkempt in that photograph as I have ever seen you. Like you are about to have a little come-apart. I am very, very sorry that Jamie led you down this path. I believe she did it to preserve her business.

  5. 5

    Like I said, I concede defeat on this one. That looked like a car wreck, you know can’t stop looking? Sorry it sucked so very bad.

  6. 6
    polymathamy says:

    Aha! So there is now a self-preservation conspiracy theory! The plot thickens!

  7. 7
    Debra says:

    What?? Jamie sells her cake pops?? I have missed out…really. NO ONE TOLD ME. Or I would have counseled you to “never attempt this at home”……..I think a good friend like Jamie needs to have Ali over for “Cake Pop Therapy” and make her own cake pops, don’t you??

  8. 8
    Shelley says:

    Glad to know the truth about cake pops! I won’t try to make them. It seems like the holidays always serve up some baking woes. Last year at Christmas my sister and I decided to make homemade cinnamon rolls from the Southern Living magazine. It was a disaster. We ended up needing more than two times as much flour as the recipe stated. We had to borrow flour a neighbor at 10:00 pm. We ended up with a double batch of rolls. They were really good, but we decided to skip the drama this year.

  9. 9
    Robin says:

    Oh, I 100% believe that Jamie sabotaged your cake pop attempt in an effort to grow her business. Also, because of this post, I will never, ever, ever try to make cake pops on my own. Well played, Jamie, well played.

  10. 10
    Roxaline says:

    Have you seen the cake pop makers? I saw one being sold at Publix for $19.99. My girls wanted me to buy one but I am afraid it still won’t be a simple process. I think I will save my money and buy them cake pops at Starbucks!

    • 10.1
      Rachel says:

      Yes, but the beauty of Cake Pops (in my opinion) is that you mix icing into the crumbled, baked cake. From what I understand, the cake pop makers simply bake cake into the shape of cake pops, thereby skipping the added moisture from the icing.

  11. 11
    Ashley says:

    Ah yes, cake pops. I’ve learned (the hard way) to never trust a treat that looks adorable, delicious, and “oh, I bet I can do that!” all at the same time. Recipe for disaster.

  12. 12
    Mandi M. says:

    This sounds like something that would definitely happen to me! I haven’t even attempted to make such a treat. Why? Because I know they would never turn out like I would envision. lol They look simple enough, but I am sure mine would not even be in a “ball” form. I’ve seen the cake pop makers and I have been tempted to buy one, but it’s probably one of those too good to be true kind of things. lol The good thing with your cake pops is that everyone survived who has eaten them and that is what counts in the end. :)

  13. 13
    Cheri says:

    They love ya. My story would have been…made cake pops they didn’t turn…the end. I like your story much better.

  14. 14
    Julie says:

    Unfair to mention the pyrex story without telling it. :)

    We’ve been there and done that before… the time my dad was making peach ice cream and the blender took a chunk out of the wooden spoon because it didn’t get stopped before stirring it, the ice cream was served with a ‘watch out for splinters’ warning. Or there was the time my mom exploded the blender of strawberry ice cream all over the ceiling because she forgot to turn it off before unjamming it. Or the time my dad was going on a baking spree before I went back to college and we managed to melt a tupperware bowl by forgetting to take the rising bread dough out of the oven before preheating for the cinnamon rolls. We ended up borrowing the neighbor’s oven while we cleaned up, and gave them a pan of the (made from scratch) cinnamon rolls since it wouldn’t be fair to make their house smell like that all morning without sharing. Or the numerous times we managed to set dish towels on fire by using them in place of pot holders to take stuff out of the oven. Or the time my husband shattered a pyrex baking dish by putting it on a hot burner on the stove – that pork roast was thrown out as well. Yeah, you’ve got lots of good company here. :)

    • 14.1
      Rachel says:

      My pyrex story was just like yours – exploded on a warm oven eye. Only I had a huge pot of homemade vegetable soup sitting behind it – uncovered. And a six week old baby…and exhaustion…and it was 9pm at night…and my Mom’s birthday was the next day. It was a pleasant night.

  15. 15
    Lindsay says:

    For the record, my cake ball was delicious and plastic free! I think that the blood, sweat and tears that you poured in to them must have enhanced the flavor :).

  16. 16
    Eva says:

    that does indeed sound not fun. i’m sure you handled very well, considering. a lot better than i would have with all your southern charm! i haven’t had actual cake pops, so this might not count, but i didn’t think they looked that bad. i make peanut butter balls every year and they always look similar to your cake pops. i have no idea how to get them rounder and without a glob of chocolate around the bottom.

    hey, jamie should have you over and let you watch her make some!

  17. 17
    Meridith says:

    Oh jeez…now I’m going to have to attempt to make some….

  18. 18
    Micha says:

    I commend you for even attempting cake pops because I don’t think you could pay me enough to make them. Too many dang steps for something gone in a bite or two.

  19. 19
    Karen says:

    Now I know I shall never EVER attempt cake pops! I probably would have too. So thank you for your cautionary tale. I still would have eaten your cake balls though had I been among your family the next day. Just in very, very, very little nibble bites!

    My favorite part of the story was Ali disappearing to talk to Daddy and coming back with his report that you were going to be alright!

  20. 20
    Alicia says:

    I think this calls for a survey and a spreadsheet- how many people actually succeed with these blasted things?! I tried to make them once. That’s all it took. They were hideous… the 2 that actually stayed on the stick anyways. I cringe anytime someone mentions them and despise anyone who makes them look so pretty!

  21. 21
    Melanie Miller says:

    You, Rachel, are a gifted story teller. I could feel your frustration (who hasn’t pulled her hair out over a project only to have a loved one saunter by with kind words like, “I wondered when you said you’d do this if you knew what you were doing but I didnt want to say anything”) and you made me smile through it. We have all been there, girlfriend. Experiences like these have taught me to be more cautious about thinking what I can and cannot do…until I get sucked into another Pinterest craft day and I get reminded all over again.

  22. 22
    Martha says:

    I have laughed so much while reading your blog the past few weeks …I love your stories!

  23. 23
    April says:

    Hey, when I make cake balls they look exactly like that! That either means that we’re totally awesome chefs doing exactly what we’re supposed to do…oooorrrrr…that we should quick making cake balls altogether. Just to make me feel better, I’m going with the first. (well, that AND that I don’t have anyone around here to BUY cake balls from! :) )

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