Having a cake crumble on you when trying to get it out of the pan is basically the worst. It upsets me so much when this happens that my instinct is to throw it out the window and then run it over with my car. Like, seriously cake?! I just spent 30 minutes making you from scratch, then waited a couple of hours for you to bake and completely cool, and this is how you repay me?!
Insert all the curse words here.
This unfortunate mishap happened to me when I was baking the cake for my 25th birthday. Of course, I was stupid and decided to bake the cake on the same day as my party, so there was no time to bake another (especially when I had a 2 year old and a nursing 3 month old). I did my usual cursing and was getting ready to take it outside so I could run over it with the car when my friend broke through my fury with logic: “Why don’t you just make cake balls out of it?” The cake tasted great, after all; and better to have some form of cake for the party then none at all. So while I sat down to nurse the baby for the billionth time that day, my awesome friend turned my disaster into cake balls, that everyone at the party loved.
Fortunately, crumbled cake doesn’t happen too terribly often to me anymore. But anytime you try a new recipe, you run the risk of something going wrong.
So it was that another cake crumbled on me one fateful day last Spring. I wanted to do a test run of this marble cake recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction because I was going to need a good marble cake recipe a couple weeks later for a fairy birthday cake that I was going to do. First of all, please allow me to complain about how irritating it was to make this cake. Her instructions are so nit-picky, requiring cake flour (which I didn’t have, so I had to make myself), room temperature whole eggs, room temperature egg yolks, room temperature buttermilk, room temperature stick butter, and melting bar chocolate. On top of all that, she said that my life depended on measuring the flour by spooning it into the measuring cup instead of just scooping it out like a normal person. I understand that some people find joy in complicated steps, but I prefer to keep my baking simple. But I did all the steps just like she laid it out (which took forever!) and…the cake crumbled when I tried to take it out of the pan.
Insert all the curse words here.
Of course, this could have been from the substitutions that I made to make it dairy free (I have a dairy allergy). But we’ll likely never know as I don’t think I’ll ever drum up the motivation to try this pain in the ass recipe again.
However, it was really tasty. Seemed a shame to waste it just because it was a crumbly mess. So instead of running it over with my car, I took a page out of my friend’s book and turned it into something new.
I don’t really know what to call these. Cake in a cup? Can’t call them cup cakes, because that’d be confusing. Whatever you choose to call them, they have everything that a layer cake would have, but are served in individual cups to hide the hideous nature of the crumbled cake.
First, get some form of individual cups to serve them in. I’ve had these purple ceramic ones for years, so I just happened to have them on hand. But small plastic ones would work too, so long as they aren’t clear. Remember, you want people to think that you planned to serve it this way. Baking cups would be the best disposable option, but I know not everyone just happens to have those handy. Be creative.
Once you have some sort of cup, put in a layer of cake crumbles on the bottom.
If you have a filling, put that in next. I used cookie dough filling. You could just do a layer of frosting here if you don’t have or don’t want to do a filling.
Then add another layer of crumbled cake. Lastly, pipe a large rosette over the whole thing with whatever frosting you’re using with a large open star tip.
Tada! You now have a yummy and impressive looking dessert to serve, and no one has to know that it was born out of a disaster.