Fall Baking FAIL


I have a really fun game for you.

Pick a cool and cloudy morning. One where you wake up excited to spend the day wrapped up in a warm hoodie and bum around the house.

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Take the cozy vibe up a notch by lighting as many yummy-scented candles, like Vanilla Cupcake and Warm Vanilla Sugar, as you can.

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Get super inspired by your neighbor’s tree and make the overly ambitious plan to spend the morning making Fall-inspired Pumpkin Cake Balls. You’ve never made them before, and you know there’s quite a few steps involved, but they’ll be totally worth it.


Take a box of spice cake mix and, instead of using eggs and oil like the box calls for, use a can of pumpkin instead. You’ll save calories and it’ll be SO FALL!


Feel your mouth water as even more sweet, spiced scents waft from the hot oven and into your kitchen as the cake bakes for 35 minutes.

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Then feel like you just wasted the last hour by crumbling it up into a bowl.

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Feel better by mixing an entire container of cream cheese icing into the crumbles.


So much for saving calories…


Place the bowl into the fridge to let the cake mixture firm up so you can roll it into balls, then realize your crisp, Fall-like morning has turned into a hot & sticky summer afternoon and your house is now 80 degrees inside.


Blow out aforementioned candles, as the scent and heat are making you a little nauseous at this point.


Go outside to finish reading Sarah’s Key and come back in a little depressed over the entire subject matter, and ending.


Roll the sticky mess that has become your cooled cake + icing into a million little balls and wonder how even an army could ever finish them all.


Attempt to melt white chocolate to cover said million balls with.

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Fail miserably.


Whip up a glaze comprised of powdered sugar, maple syrup and water to cover the balls with instead. Give it a taste, start jittering from the immediate sugar buzz, but move forward with glazing them anyways.

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Spend 40 minutes repeating this process wondering the whole time why you ever thought it would be a good idea to make powdered sugar glazed cake balls – they’ll never harden and you’ll be left with mushy sticky balls.


Step back, assess the situation, and realize that’s exactly what you’ve got.


And, great. They look exactly like Swedish meatballs. You’ve made sticky, glaze-covered, pumpkin meatballs.


Imagine how hilarious it would be to actually stick a toothpick in these, take them to a party on a platter, then watch people’s faces when they bite in and realize they’ve got a gooey, overly-sweet, pumpkin-spiced cake lump, instead of a savory, juicy meatball.


Boxed cake mix: $2.09

Cream cheese icing: $1.99

White chocolate chips: $3.49

Time wasted: 4 hours

Seeing the above situation happen to Ben when he gets home from workPRICELESS.

MUWAHAHAHAHAHA! I think I might tape this!!!!! Is that mean?!

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  1. Cristy 08.12.2011

    HAHAHAHAHAHA That is going to be hilarious! YOu should have the camera handy so you can shoot the moment. Oh, and my advice to you? Once he tastes it (after you’ve led him to believe they’re meatballs)? Run! ;) Have fun!

  2. Crister 08.12.2011

    OMG! Kristin… these look AMAZING! Thank you for sharing. While it’s not exactly “Fall” in Chicago yet, this Michigan girl is eagerly anticipating it. Reading this post totally reminded me of my SW Michigan fruit-belt childhood and can’t wait to make these yummy treats for my Iowa boy!

  3. Sarah 08.12.2011

    I’m dying of the giggles, this is JUST what I needed to get through the last hour of work today!! But, on a “serious” note, I totally hate when you spend all the time making something that turns out to be a total flop.

  4. Please tape it! Do they really taste terrible, though? I find cake balls to be pretty easy and fail proof…was it just the pumpkin substitute? Looks like you needed to thin out your white chocolate with some shortening or oil… poor you! A+ for effort! ;)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 08.12.2011

      The cake is gooey and perfect, but that glaze is sticky and WAY too sweet. I am nauseous after 2. Ok, 3.

  5. Hhahaaaahaa this is fantastic!! Please record a video of that! I would love a good laugh today :)
    A for effort though on those!

  6. Michele 08.12.2011

    Rest assured, an army could finish them! My boyfriend is in the military, and so a lot of the boys I know are, too… and let me tell you, they can put away food like there is NO tomorrow. It is UNREAL!! Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure I gained 10 pounds just fantasizing about making these ;)

  7. Sara 08.12.2011

    Oh my goodness, how funny! I hate when you spend so much time baking/cooking something only to have them not turn out. These do look delicious though. Pumpkin is my favorite and I’m excited for fall. :)

  8. Brittnie 08.12.2011

    oh my goodness these look absolutely amazing. Must make asap!

  9. Jessica 08.12.2011

    If you try it again (that is, if you can muster the enthusiasm), dip them in melted white almond bark instead of melting the white chocolate chips. It will work MUCH better! :)

    • Sarah W 08.12.2011

      I was thinking the same thing too or candy melts. What do you think went wrong with your melting of the white chippers?

      • Iowa Girl Eats 08.12.2011

        I know from working at a chocolate shop that white chocolate is notoriously tricky. I was this close to getting almond bark but was too cheap – it was nearly $2 more! I also haven’t had much luck with Wilton discs in the past. Me and melted chocolate were just not meant to be!

  10. Tracey 08.12.2011

    Baking fails are the worst, but it sounds like this one could end up being pretty funny! I think you should tape it and then share with all of us :)

    I’ve made the mistake of trying to melt the Nestle white chocolate chips before too, it’s nearly impossible – they always seize on me. I’ve had much better luck with white chocolate bars for what it’s worth.

  11. Elyssa 08.12.2011

    PLEASE tape his reaction! And share it with us :)

  12. OH no- White chocolate is a tricky bastard for those damm cake balls. I had a traumatic night with them a month ago for a friends dessert table for her wedding. Here’s what I learned… 1. It helps to refridge those balls for 2+ hours before dipping. 2. Those Wilton Chocolates you buy from Michaels are not meant for cake balls- no matter what you do to the chocolate. 3. I used the Nestle white chocolate chips but you have to add a little veg shortening to loosen it up to a dipping consistency. I think it gives you the porportion on the bag?

    • Jane 08.12.2011

      That’s weird, I actually thought the Wilton’s ones worked pretty good! :D

  13. Jane 08.12.2011

    Yeah, never had much luck melting chips. I use almond bark or vanilla flavored candy melts. They (candy melts) are in the cake decorating section in bags at Wal-Mart. You can also find them in their seasonal section, and they’re colored based on which season you’re in. And they’re cheaper if you get them in the seasonal section! :D My friend and I went through a cake pops obsession (thanks to Starby’s) for a while and we had a lot of trial and error!!

  14. Jenn 08.12.2011

    Lol. Now I’m hungry for meatballs.

    I love this.
    Made my day.

  16. Oh so funny! Definitely do the meatball trick to someone!

    Thanks for crackin’ me up. :)

  17. Amanda 08.12.2011

    Ba ha ha, the swedish meatball surprise – love it!

  18. jennyv 08.12.2011

    That is, by far, the best take on cake balls that I’ve ever seen. I can only imagine how delicious they are!

    • jennyv 08.12.2011

      PS You MUST tape it for us to see :)

  19. Kate 08.12.2011

    Baking fails are a necessary part of life I think! And I literally laughed out loud (at the salon) from the meatball comment. Tape the trick, please!!

  20. Faith 08.12.2011

    Damn those mushy, sticky balls! Can’t wait to see what Brad does – that’s a hilarious idea!!!

  21. HAHA! I don’t actually laugh very often when I read blogs but I just started cracking up. BTW, I, personally, would love to realize I was eating a mushy sticky pumpkin cake ball instead of a Swedish meatball. :)

  22. Em 08.12.2011

    lol. Amazing. I literally LOLed. Love it when that happens.

    Pumpkin meatballs! Surprise! :)

    Very fun post.

  23. Rachel 08.12.2011

    I would almost PAY YOU to tape Ben’s reaction–That’ll be hilarious!

  24. sara 08.12.2011

    omg. looks delicious. i want!! haha.

  25. amanda 08.12.2011

    Every fall I make that recipe (spice cake mix + can of pumpkin)! But I make it into cupcakes, and just use the cream cheese frosting to frost them. Huge hit! Try it, you’ll love it!
    PLEASE share with us his reaction to the pumpkin meatballs!!!!

  26. anna 08.12.2011

    I laughed out loud at the meatball comment too. And I’m at work. That’s okay – it’s Friday!!!

    And yes, meatballs sound so good right now. But it’s nowhere close to feeling like fall in Reno so pumpkin is out of the question.

  27. Dawn Marie 08.12.2011

    LOL… funny girl. Very funny! LOL

  28. Lauren 08.12.2011

    These look incredible!

  29. erica 08.12.2011

    i hope you video taped it!!!

  30. i hate cake balls because they never turn out for me either – just a bunch of mush. I can’t stand the texture. Now Oreo balls or my peanut butter graham truffles? Give me two dozen of those babies!

  31. Emily 08.12.2011

    You just made my night – you crack me up! I was laughing out loud too about the meatball comment :)

  32. Kelly 08.12.2011

    I am cracking up- I love it.

  33. Courtney 08.12.2011

    Lol… it happens :) Please tape it!

  34. noelle 08.12.2011

    Ha ha ah ha, “honey I made you meatballs!” Nice.

  35. Angela 08.12.2011

    This is the funniest (bleep) I’ve read in a long time. You rock! Thank you!

  36. Rachel 08.13.2011

    I think they look delicious! I’m ready for some fall cooking/baking. I made some fresh peach crisp yesterday, and hopefully baking some zucchini chocolate cake tomorrow.
    Are you going to make it out for some free sweetcorn tomorrow?

  37. Kaycie 08.13.2011

    Couple of tips- just because I have a cakeball business:) Don’t use an entire can of frosting – only use about 1/3 can – heat the frosting first so it incorporates easier! I have also found that the almond bark is a bit thick, so we actually use Ghirardelli baking bars – or I have luck with Wilton melts – but always melt at 50% power 1 min then 15sec intervals. I made pumpkin balls last year and they were a big hit! We still have too hot of weather to even fake fall – HAHA.

  38. sheila 08.13.2011

    I’ve made plenty of cake balls and agree that the candy melts work the best. I’ve gotten them at Michael’s. I also freeze the cake balls before dipping them so the coating hardens quickly and the coating doesn’t get filled with cake crumbs.

  39. Anne Weber-Falk 08.13.2011

    Oh well, it was worth a try. For what it’s worth they do look good. Better luck next time! Funny that they really do look like Swedish meatballs.
    Your neighbor’s tree is stressed by our too hot, too dry summer. It is way too early to have it change like that.

  40. Hahaha! What was his reaction?!? I love the idea of these…and have definitely tried fall baking in the summer heat before. It’s always a fail. Disappointing…because I’m so ready for fall!

  41. nicole 08.13.2011

    I use 1/2 chocolate chips, 1/2 almond bark it’s a good flavor and easy to work with.

  42. Those look so yummy! I was actually thinking about making red velvet cake balls the other day!

  43. elise 08.13.2011

    i just died laughing while reading this. oh man. hahah. please tell me you got the taste test reaction on video!

  44. Dawn Patricia 08.13.2011

    There is a recipe for cake balls on Allrecipes and most of the negative reviews come from people who were unable to melt chocolate chips to roll the balls into. I’m one of those people who tried to make cake balls with semisweet chocolate chips. You need to use the little wafers they sell with the cake decorating supplies at Walmart, they melt into a watery consistency and work like magic. I LOVE how you salvaged the situation! Looks fab!!! :)

  45. This is just too funny. At least your can laugh at a failed experiment!

  46. […] HE READ THE BLOG. Ben totally knew what I was up to with the pumpkin cake meatballs and even went so far as to put a mangled ball up to his lips (…) before saying, "Did you […]

  47. NICOLE 08.15.2011

    Best recipe ever is 1 box of spice cake mix, 1 can of pumpkin and chocolate chips….and bake into muffins at 350 for like 20 minutes! My fav! I eat them with honey!

  48. […] Trying to trick my husband who knows all and sees all. Ask and you shall receive: Failed Swedish Meatball Trickery. […]

  49. Bekah 08.16.2011

    I use Paula Deen’s recipe for Pumpkin bars and her cream cheese frosting recipe for my cake balls. And then just cover them in almond bark or baking melts. They’re amazing! I lighten up the cream cheese though.


  50. […] learned from my past mistakes and used Almond Bark to coat these puppies […]

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