3 Ways to Salvage Sub-Par Cake and Cupcakes

September 25, 2013
cake pops

Not all cake recipes I try come out perfectly the first time I try them. In fact, it often takes me three or four times to get a recipe just right. I tend to try out cake recipes by baking cupcakes, which means I (somewhat) often have to find something to do with cupcakes that are too sticky, not risen enough, too dense, too crumbly…you get the picture.

Anyhow, I find that it’s always great to have a backup plan for when this happens. Here are three things you can do with cake or cupcakes that you just don’t have the heart to leave as-is.


cake popsCake pops are simpler than you think! All you need is some prepared cake, some frosting, some chocolate chips or candy melts, and some candy sticks or paper straws. And they’re fun because you can do lots of flavor customization.

  1. Crumble up your prepared cake (or cupcakes) into a large bowl. Make sure to leave out any pieces you may have burned. Add 3 large spoonfuls of frosting for every 12 cupcakes’ worth (one 9-inch round pan’s worth) of cake.
  2. Mix well with your hands. You should get a big ball of cake/frosting, with a consistency similar to that of a brownie. (Add more frosting if needed.)
  3. Roll small pieces of this into little balls and set these on a sheet of wax paper on top of a plate.
  4. Once you’re done, place the plate in the freezer and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, start melting your chocolate. You need to do this carefully because chocolate melts very easily! I recommend dropping the chips into a saucepan and heating it on the lowest setting on the stove. (You can also microwave it at reduced power at 20 second increments.) Once melted, transfer the chocolate to a tall container—this makes dipping later a lot easier!
  6. Take the cake-and-frosting balls out of the freezer. Stick a candy stick or paper straw (I cut paper straws in half to use) in each one so that it’s sticking straight up.
  7. Dipping time! Dip each cake pop into the chocolate very carefully. I find it best to use a spoon to move frosting onto the top of the cake pop and then to help pull the cake pop out. Once dipped, set each cake pop on a wax paper topped plate to set (which happens pretty fast—heck yeah).
  8. Optional: Garnish your cake pops with sprinkles or mini chips while they’re still melty! You can sprinkle them on top or dip the cake pops into a bowl full of sprinkles or the like.


cake in a jarHeh, it’s kind of self-explanatory, but try crumbling some cake with globs of frosting into a jar for a parfait-like treat. Decorate it a bit, and they’ll never know this was your plan B. (Yay for chipped nail polish!)


trifleThis is a variation of 2, only more fancy. And it’s something that there are actually tons of recipes for online (I’ll let you find one you like!) A trifle is generally bits of cake, layered together with other ingredients like pudding, a cream mixture, crumbled up cookies, and/or fruit. Here I made a blueberry lemon trifle by layering pieces of cake with a lemon cream mixture and blueberries. Follow a traditional recipe, or come up with something on your own.

Happy cake failing!

Love, Maurine

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  • Reply Khadeeja Ashai September 26, 2013 at 2:55 am

    That green nail polish looks oddly familiar!

  • Reply Maurine Dashney September 27, 2013 at 2:13 am

    Yeah, I totally bought it! I have a hard time making it look well-painted though…

  • Reply Khadeeja Ashai September 27, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Haha yeah I would only leave mine on for a few days too before some chip or something happened that made me rip it all off!

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