The great birthday cake disaster of 2010

Oh no!!!! Say it isn’t so…you didn’t!

…I’m afraid I did. I burned my own birthday cake.

It started out as a stubborn notion that, no, I didn’t want a store bought cake. I wanted the chocolate carrot cake I made for a previous year for my boyfriend’s birthday. The cake in question was baked years ago before this stupid, stupid notion that all of the homemade baked goods in this house have to be made of unrefined sugars, preferably from a local source. I wanted to make the cake exactly the way I made it the first time. It turned out perfectly. It had real sugar. Two cups of it (in the cake before you even start to think about the cream cheese filling and the gorgeous chocolate ganache). It was my boyfriend’s idea to use honey. He takes full blame for the catastrophe that ensued.

A perfect storm of too much honey, black cake pans and too many distractions during the allotted baking time conspired to leave me with two charcoal briquettes. But, where some people would see coal, I saw diamonds. I remembered some treats on Dan Lepard’s site that used cake crumbs. Once I cut away the blackened exterior of the cakes, I struck gold. The interior was soft, rich cake. After the salvage mission, I could still have a birthday treat: rum balls. Mine are a little different than the ones I read about, they are filled with raspberry instead of apricot. Heady with the aroma of rum, they may not be beautiful, but they are just wonderful!!

Before we talk about the method of turning a ruined cake into concentrated delight, I have a couple of happy announcements! I have a job and I completed my first week there. The people are nice and the work is interesting, so life is good! In addition, my good friend Amy at Ohiofarmgirl’s Adventures in the Goodland gave me an award. It’s been a wonderful week indeed!

Chocolate Raspberry Rum Balls

5 cups crumbs from any unfrosted chocolate cake

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

5 tbsp fruit juice sweetened raspberry fruit spread

6 tbsp rum

½ – 1 cup chopped almonds

Mix cake crumbs, cocoa powder, raspberry fruit spread and rum. Form into 2” balls. Roll the tops of the balls in chopped almonds. Proceed to gobble them up!




  1. drfugawe said,

    September 13, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Many well deserved congrats! Yea, an honest wage-earner again. And I’m betting that all that time in the desert has not been for naught, ’cause you’ve learned some new austerity living skills that are not learned any other way. Still, it’s better this way.

    Enjoy the hell out of the daily grind.

    • Mimi said,

      September 13, 2010 at 5:19 pm

      Why thank you.

      To tell you the truth, I’ve always been a cheap bastard so there were no new austerity tricks to learn. As a matter of fact, of been crying all week. When I worked in IT, I wore jeans and T-shirts. I have been wearing those old clothes to rags for the past year and a quarter. This job requires business casual clothes. I had to go out and spend money (oh the horror) on all new clothes and shoes. I hated every minute of it. (I’m not your typical female).

  2. Chai Chai said,

    September 13, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Congrats on the award, OFG beat me to passing the Star award on to you. Real sugar? Don’t let Al Gore know…..

    • Mimi said,

      September 13, 2010 at 5:20 pm

      Thanks Chai Chai! I’ll think of it as a double award then!

      Judging from Al’s waistline, I don’t think he’s a stranger to real sugar. lol!!

  3. Chelsea said,

    September 13, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Wow you have amazing improvisational skills! Way to make something delicious out of a disaster. And happy birthday!

  4. Jeanne said,

    September 14, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Happy birthday and congrats on the new job! You sure do deserve an award! And rum balls sound like the perfect way to celebrate.

  5. Andreas said,

    September 14, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    So glad to hear about your new job. Any combination of chocolate and rum cannot fail. Happy Birthday. 🙂

  6. September 16, 2010 at 6:42 am

    oooo, congrats on your new job! It’s extra fabulous since you enjoy it ;]

    And happy belated b-day—Ha, that was a perfect storm indeed. I’m glad that the cake was salvageable anyways—this will be a great story for your next b-day. I like the sound of those words, rum balls. Rum balls. Mmmm.

  7. David Whitehouse said,

    September 21, 2010 at 4:01 am

    Love your version of the recipe, glad you were able to rescue something from the cake! Hope you love the new job, and a belated happy birthday!

    • Mimi said,

      September 21, 2010 at 7:52 am

      Thank you David! I was so happy that you provided me with such a great way to salvage those poor ruined cake layers.

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