My friend got hitched on Saturday and asked for home-made cake at her reception. I’d spent all week planning it out: on Friday I’d whip up a batch of vanilla sponge cupcakes and make a load of cream cheese frosting. Then on Saturday morning I’d take everything down on the train, and ice the cakes properly in my mother’s kitchen.
Only, when it got to Friday morning, everything that could go wrong did.
I was using Delia Smith’s all-in-one sponge recipe – normally the easiest, most foolproof of them all. 2 eggs, 4oz sugar, 4oz sr flour, 4oz butter and a tsp of baking powder. That’s it: Bob’s your uncle (or your uncle’s dead dog, if you’re me). The only thing was, I didn’t have self raising flour (only plain), so needed to add an extra few teaspoons of raising agent. However, it seems I got carried away, and when it came to retrieving my cupcakes from the oven, they were brittle, sunken and pretty much impossible to salvage.
I may have shed a tear. After all, wouldn’t you, if all your hard work and delicious ingredients had produced this?
By this point, I had also tried to make my cream cheese frosting, but that hadn’t gone well either. I’d accidentally bought cottage cheese, which was so lumpy it needed extra beating. I hadn’t thought it through though, and although it still tasted delicious – zingy and sweet – this over-beating meant that my frosting was flabby and flat – not light and fluffy like I wanted.
Luckily there was still time – and extra ingredients. So I decided to go again. Only, instead of making beautiful fluffy cupcakes, I’d make a two-tiered sponge and slather it in frosting.
Half an hour later, my new babies were out of the oven, looking golden and smelling just right.
So I turned them out.
And this happened:
At this point, I’m pretty sure that I openly wept. My silicone cake moulds, normally so pliable and stick-free, had decided that this time they wouldn’t let go. Not even with some gentle knife prising.
My attempt at beautiful baking had failed. All I had now was a kilo of crumbs.
For the rest of the day I sulked. I was so keen to bring something to the wedding, and determined not to buy it from a shop. I wanted to make something tasty myself, but – due to work and train times – only had Saturday morning to do it. Things were getting desperate.
Thank goodness for my ma. I emailed her, all in a tither, and she replied with a brilliant idea: put that big bag of crumbs to good use.
But how?? I hear you shout.
Wonderful Ogglers, without further ado, I give you the most delicious recipe I have ever invented (with a big old thank you to my ever resourceful ma). From now on, if you ever create a caketastrophe, you’ll know just what to do. Stop moping and make:
Yum Rum Balls
- 3 cups of finely blended cake crumbs
- 1 cup of double cream (approx 300ml)
- 400g melted milk chocolate (with nuts or without – your preference)
- 100g melted plain chocolate
- 3 tbsp sifted cocoa powder
- Approx 6 tbsp rum
- Loads of chocolate sprinkles or sifted cocoa power for coating
- Pop your crumbs, cream, chocolate and rum in a large bowl and stir thoroughly
- When the mixture is even and tastes how you like it, roll into balls (I made 40 truffle-sized pieces with this amount of ingredients). You might need to refrigerate the mixture for a bit first, as the melted chocolate can make things rather sloppy. But be warned: don’t refrigerate for too long, or else your mixture will be much too hard to work with…
- Roll your balls in cocoa powder or sprinkles (ahem)
- Refrigerate until hard
Talk about making good: these rum balls were seriously moreish, and disappeared fast at the wedding table. Like all of my favourite recipes, you can be extremely flexible too – add whatever takes your fancy. I only used plain chocolate and cocoa powder because I wanted a deeper, more sophisticated hit: white chocolate would also be excellent (as would different kinds of booze – like Bailey’s, for example, or Cointreau). I thought the nutty milk chocolate bars worked wonders – they added a nice bit of extra crunch. But again, it’s up to you.
Thank goodness for happy endings, eh? And fortuitous disasters. Like my friend’s lovely wedding itself, you can be sure this is the start of something good.