Did you watch the episode of How I Met Your Mother where they figuratively shatter each other’s glass?
Basically they pointed out one another’s REALLY annoying traits to each other; traits that somehow no one else in the friend group noticed until that moment when it was finally said out loud. The sound effect paired with this realization was the sound of shattering glass. For example, one character pointed out that another character chewed so loudly that it was like listening to gravel in a garbage disposal (cue shattered glass as the rest of the group realized it). Another character pointed out that someone else in the group would walk around singing nonsensical songs about whatever activity that he was currently doing (more shattered glass). You get it.
So now I have to tell you about how someone shattered the glass for me about cake balls. SPOILER: I may ruin cake balls for you if you continue reading past this point. You’ve been warned. Also if you don’t know what cake balls are and have been waiting for me to explain it since I promised you that I would in my spiderweb cake post, it’s cake that has been crumbled and mixed with frosting (also I once worked in a bakery that mixed the cake with simple syrup instead of frosting) and molded into a ball.
People get really artsy with them and dip them in chocolate for smooth aesthetics, decorate them into adorable characters or trinkets, and put a stick in them and call them cake pops. It’s great!
And sometimes weird 🤷♀️
But I digress.
So there I was, minding my own business at a dessert shop with a fellow pastry chef friend, peeping all the pastry options, and discussing my picks. When it came to the cake ball display, I knew I had to try one. Who could resist a mass of cake mixed with frosting? Certainly not me. We both sat down with several treats in hand with the intent to eat all of them as we were “doing research” for our jobs. As I sliced through my cake ball with the side of my fork, I asked her if she would like to try it. She said no, and at the same time as I put my bite of cake ball in my mouth, she elaborated with, “cake balls have the texture of cake that has already been chewed by someone else and it grosses me out.”
Me in that very moment:
It was quite a dramatic reveal for me, if you can't tell already. And I almost spat out my cake ball bite because she was 100% right.
The cake ball bite that was in my mouth definitely felt like it had already been chewed up and spit out and I can’t believe I hadn't noticed that until then!
(Also I have never eaten another cake ball since.)
With that being said, I have to admit that there is SOME good use for cake balls. I use them as a moldable, structural element of my cakes when cereal treats aren’t applicable. And that’s why I’m finally sharing this happy bear that kind of looks like a sasquatch cake with you.
I made this cake almost a year ago (pre-COVID days!), but since I didn’t love how disproportional the final product turned out (it was my very first 3D cake), I never shared photos. He started off fine as just a regular stack of chocolate cake and vanilla frosting.
Then I carved and covered him.
And then I attached his arms and piped all of his fur on his body.
Kinda looks like baby Cousin It in my opinion.
I guess the time has come, though, to show photos that demonstrate that not every cake turns out great, and even though this happy bear cake had some large imperfections, it still brought happiness to my friends.
True story: this cake was a going away present for a friend of mine on Maui. He told me he wanted a life size bear cake at his party. I agreed, but with the stipulation that every time he made fun of me I got to reduce the size of the bear. So here we are. We went from a 9’ tall bear cake to this tabletop teddy. 🤣 I don’t think he minded though. As for the cake balls, instead of rolling them into spheres, I used the mixture to mold the arms, legs, ears, and tail of this lovely little bear.
Some of you might be curious about why the bear had a platter of gummy bears sitting in front of it. Truthfully it was an inside joke that we shared with our going-away-friend regarding the hilarious yet disgusting reviews of Sugar Free Gummy Bears that we read together. If you have the time to read these sugar free gummy bear reviews now, please do. However, if you don’t have time now, please save these for a rainy day because you will NOT regret it. (I can’t find the original article with all of them, but this one will do. Also, I found this article which includes several newer reviews that I had not previously read. They aren’t nearly as funny, but still good for a laugh. And if you're feeling really ambitious, you can go straight to the source to read all of them if you’d like.) We jokingly told our friend that these were in fact sugar free bears, but in all honesty we would never do something that insidious to anyone - I promise!
Also, just for laughs, here is a video of an extremely competitive sack race that took place at the very same party where we ate this bear cake.
While this was not my best looking cake ever, I had to start somewhere with creating 3D cakes. And even though I can no longer stomach cake balls, they definitely helped me during the creative process for this cake and my spiderweb cake. So my tip of the week is don't count out something just because you don't love it. It may be useful to you in a way you hadn't imagined before!
Happy eating, y'all!