November 20, 2013

A horrible dessert might be cake balls in disguise


You might think the blueberry dessert pictured here looks pretty good. But you'd be wrong. The original dessert I was trying to make was blueberry flaugnarde from the Misfit Baker. I first saw Ketty's version of the flaugnarde on Luminous Vegans, and it looked so beautiful and intriguing I wanted to make it right away. I'm 100% sure the lovely creations that inspired me were fabulously delicious, but I wanted to make a gluten-free version, and that's where things went wrong, wrong, wrong. (If you're not GF, go immediately to Ketty's blog and make the dessert she made!)

The outer edges were very tasty.

I made the dessert to take to a dinner, breaking the golden cooking rule not to serve to others that which you haven't first served to yourself. I often ignore this rule with great results, but ignoring it while converting a recipe for a custard (did you read that: CUSTARD) to a gluten-free and vegan recipe is stupid. I was cobbling together two recipes — one that was vegan, and one that was GF but filled with eggs, and I guess I let a string of recent successes go to my head. The dessert didn't taste so bad, but it had the texture of a custard mixed with sand — worse, actually. (In my defense, the top edges were good. hahaha)

I brought it home, and the next day decided to turn it into a cake. (I'll spare you a photo of the result.) It was better than the original, but it was the sort of cake that would only be eaten by someone frantically desperate for a piece of cake. The sad cake made me immediately think of River from Wing It Vegan, not because she makes sad cakes, but because if one of her baked things fails, she springs into action. She never wastes anything, turning her failed cakes and whatnots into truffles and cake balls. You can read about one of her transformations here.


I've never made (or eaten) cake balls but if ever there was a need to make some, this was it. I did a search, and found some helpful advice, which led me to mush up my nasty cake. (Again, no photo because it was much too ghastly with the blueberries and all). I added almond butter and maple syrup, and mushed until I had a dough-like texture. Then I placed the mixture in the fridge for a half hour to firm up. Next I melted chocolate chips in the microwave (Two 30-second stints did the trick.) and rolled and coated the balls in chocolate. They are supposed to be perfectly smooth but that takes a bit of practice, at least according to the directions I read. If you roll them in coconut shreds after the chocolate, they look better, but I don't really mind the scruffy look.

A little rough, but oh so tasty!

I put them in the freezer, and you wouldn't believe how fabulous they taste! The coating cracks when it's bitten, just like an ice cream bar, and the insides are cool, creamy and smooth. I gave one to the very particular Miss E for dessert tonight, and her eyes opened wide at the first bite as she proclaimed them to be amazing. I agree. Who wudda thunk it?

(The cake balls were in the freezer for about one hour before being eaten. If stored in the freezer for a longer period, let them defrost about 15 minutes before eating.)

34 comments:

  1. It stinks that the flaugnarde didn't work out the way you wanted :-( BUT I'm SO impressed with how you turned it around and came up with this fabulously decadent dessert! I only recently came across Wing It Vegan's blog during MoFo but was immediately charmed by her ability to take failed cooking/baking experiments and turning them around. I need to get better about this. Usually I just choke down whatever the failed experiment was, but I'll have to keep this in mind for the future.

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    1. The worst part is I ruined your beautiful dessert, for which I feel very bad. This wasn't the post I was planning. On the other hand, I learned something new — cake balls! What a concept. The cake balls were much better than choking. Much! :)

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  2. Wow! Check you out! You're like a Fairy Godmother, turning frog flaugnardes into Prince Cake Balls. (Okay. It got dirty all of a sudden.) Regardless, I'm impressed!

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    1. Cake balls isn't the most attractive name, is it? How about cake nuggets, or cake truffles?

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  3. This has happened to me so often when I tried to veganize recipes. Cake balls to the rescue, they make everything better.

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    1. Yes, they do. I didn't believe it would work, but it was amazing!

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  4. Replies
    1. Why, thank you. Now I know what to do next time I wreck a cake. I need more practice so I can get the chocolate nice and smooth.

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  5. I've never heard of that baking save! Although, to be fair, I mostly let my expert friends do the baking.

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    1. I don't bake all that much, either, but now I know what to do if one of my efforts fails, or if I have leftovers. I think I like the cake nuggets better than actual cake.

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  6. I've definitely used the cakes into truffles save before, which came out not too shabby in the end. Your truffles look beautiful - definitely proof there's no such thing as a bad cake!

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    1. No bad cakes anymore — just good cake truffles!

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  7. Oh yeah! AWESOME save, Andrea! I wish I could pop one or two or ten in my mouth :)

    They are Miss E approved too! You must have felt so successful after you got the approval of a tiny, picky toddler :)

    I actually like the scruffy look better than a completely smooth, boring look. It makes them look more inviting and spunkier.

    Ketty has awesome recipes. Her bbq jackfruit stuffed sweet potatoes are so delicious. I've been wanting to make a vegan clafoutis for a long time, but I do not like cherries at all. A flaugnarde seems like a perfect solution to my clafoutis conundrum. Thanks for sharing! And thanks for the wing-it linkage!

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    1. I owe it all to you — never would have thought of saving it otherwise! Miss E is now a feisty almost-six-year-old, but still very opinionated when it comes to food, so yes, her approval was important. :)

      I would like to have nice, smooth cake truffles, on principle, but I'll settle if I have to.

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    2. How time flies! Here I was still thinking that Miss E was four tiny years old at the most. They grow up so fast!

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    3. It's pretty surprising to me, too, and I've watched it happen.

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  8. What a terrific save! The cake balls sound terrific. I'm glad you were able to make something delicious out of it after all. Very impressive! :)

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    1. Thanks! I'm pretty pleased that I turned the dessert around. It's much better than wasting it.

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  9. I do like the look of the original cake - it looks almost like constellations. But too bad it didn't taste so well. It would have been really sad if the cake balls didn't taste good but usually chocolate will do the trick :)
    You really tried hard not to waste that cake, ha! Very nice.

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    1. The original was very pretty, and the taste wasn't the problem as much as the texture. GF flours can do weird things. Some of the cake ball recipes said to mix the mushed up cake with frosting, and I considered that, but almond butter and maple syrup was so much easier! And possible healthier.

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  10. I almost ALWAYS make new foods that I've never made before when cooking for people. That way if something is bad, and they don't like it they can be honest and they aren't dismissing something that we eat all the time. Plus it pushes me to try new dishes.

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    1. Yup, it's fun to try new things. I make new foods for others all the time, too, but GF baked desserts are a category that needs special consideration. I usually have success with cakes and cookies, but the dessert in question was something I had no GF experience with. Won't stop me from experimenting again. :)

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  11. Cake balls are wonderful! I aw a tutorial on making them from Oreos awhile back and decided to try making a vegan version. Feel free to check out the recipe on my blog!

    No Bake Peppermint Cake Pops:
    http://www.lizzdelicious.com/2012/12/vegan-no-bake-peppermint-cake-pops.html

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    1. Thanks for the recipe link! The cake balls I made surprised me with their taste and texture. Who knew?

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  12. Awesome save! the cake balls look delicious! I've seen them around but still haven't gotten around to trying any. But they look like the perfect size for a little treat. :-)

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    1. Thank you. I was quite taken with them. My husband not so much. I think they are best eaten shortly after being made.

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  13. Blueberries are always worth saving...yay for you for going the distance! I'll remember your make-cake-from-crumbles attitude when my next recipe is less than stellar, which happens on a humbling basis. ;)

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    1. So many blueberries, too! But blueberries are not the most attractive ingredient when mushing up cake!

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  14. Hahaha! I've done this before ;)

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    1. I feel pretty smart now, but not so much when we tried to eat the first dessert. :)

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  15. Hahah cake balls are such saviors. Sometimes, when I'm baking something and winging the recipe, a part of me kind of hopes it fails so I can ballify it. The first time I showed them on my blog, someone was like, WHAT, cake balls? They need to be common knowledge! It saves you so much baking stress knowing something amazing will come from it no matter what happens.

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    1. Hmmm. I find myself half hoping for failure, too. I can't believe I never tried this before. Cake balls!

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