Carrot cake Truffles or Life’s lessons from a failed recipe

by Shumaila

“I beg your pardon,
I never promised you a rose garden.
Along with the sunshine,
There’s gotta be a little rain sometimes.”

So I screwed up! Who doesn’t, I say! I think mistakes are important to not only learn but to accidentally tread onto something you might have overlooked. This is my story of how my mistake turned into something really good!

I had planned to make cupcakes for this week’s Office Thursdays.  Since we were out of town on V’s birthday (which was on the 9th), I wasn’t able to bake a birthday cake for him. For the uninitiated V loves carrot cake (carrot cake and my mango kulfi are the only two desserts I have seen him asking me to make). So, I thought I’ll make carrot cake cupcakes – V would also get to eat them plus he can take some for his office!

Now, when I was in India, my mom had made these whole wheat carrot cupcakes. My mom always made an amazing carrot cake but she got this equally good recipe for whole wheat carrot cake from a sweet lady named Sanu. I loved the whole wheat versions- more so because they were whole wheat! So I decided to give this new recipe a try.

I do not know what went wrong- was it too much baking soda, or was it too much oil or did I fill the pans too much- but the cupcakes fell and then they crumbled when I tried taking them out. Some survived, but most didn’t.

Now, I could have sat there- mourned the disaster. I could have wondered, sitting with my cake crumbs and could have analyzed what I did wrong. But I didn’t. Instead, I made these- White and Dark Chocolate Dipped Carrot Cake truffles! And, boy, were they a treat! While making them, this is what I realized and here I am sharing life’s lessons learned from a failed recipe! 🙂

Life has and will continue throwing curves at you, which will leave you disappointed. But how you handle those disappointment is what matters. Sometimes, actually most of the, wait..always those disappointments turn out to be more beautiful than what you actually expected and wanted, if not immediately- then eventually. Everything is part of a bigger plan and when the time is right the plan will unveil itself to you. Mistakes happen- and if you get past these mistakes, you will get a sweet treat in the end.

Also, one shouldn’t waste their time over analyzing- I am not saying don’t analyze the situation- its important to analyze so that the mistake isn’t repeated. (I will be looking into where I went wrong so that I can make V try those awesome cupcakes that I enjoyed back in India) But don’t over analyze. Accept that you made a mistake and know that it can be made right.

And that’s what I did. I accepted that something went wrong, but I did not lose hope. Well, had these been just for me- I would have been happy eating the crumbs. They were actually quite good. But, they weren’t for me. And of course I couldn’t serve crumbs to people, now, could I? I can almost imagine the look on V’s face- “So what do you have for my office people on Thursday“Oh, I have crumbs!” Nah-uh, it wouldn’t do. Now, I remember seeing on TasteSpotting and FoodGawker pictures of cake truffles and thought that would be the perfect thing to use the crumbs for.

Cake truffles are made of three things-

  • a crumbled cake- Check (I had that!)
  • white chocolate or dark chocolate for coating the crumb balls- Check (had that too- things are looking good so far)
  • and, cream cheese frosting that would help bind the crumbs together so that balls do not fall apart- Oops! Did not have cream cheese on hand! So I improvised. I had Greek yogurt  – I mixed that with a good splash of vanilla and icing sugar and got a healthier cream cheese frosting substitute!

Then I got to work. In a large bowl, I put the cake crumbs and added the greek yogurt frosting. This is where you get down and dirty. Using your hands, combine all the ingredients. You can later lick your hands for added measure- believe me, it helps! Chill the mixture for at least 2 hours. Cake truffle experts swear this is an important step, so do not skip it!

After two hours, or what seemed like eternity to me, form 1 1/2 inch balls from the mixture and place on a baking sheet preferably lined with parchment paper. Freeze at least 6 hours. Again a step crucial to making cake truffles, as pointed out by cake truffle experts!

Melt the candy melts or white chocolate. I used the microwave to melt the chocolate- can be done over a double broiler too. If using the microwave, be careful as to not burn the chocolate. I also heated the chocolate in small batches, so that I don’t have the problem of the chocolate hardening up on me.

Working in small batches, remove the balls from the freezer and dip the balls into warm chocolate. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (Well, I did read you need not refrigerate them as the chocolate tends to crack if refrigerated- but it was a hot day and I was scared they might spoil, so I refrigerated. Well, I am not Pierre Herme, I am sure I will be excused!)

I had only a handful of white chocolate and wanted to send the white chocolate ones to V’s office (and hence very few of them in the pictures I took later the next day). For the rest I used dark chocolate.

By the way, while working on these I also got other ideas for using the crumbs.  What about a carrot cake crumble with a toffee sauce topping. Doesn’t that sound divine! or maybe, a trifle by layering carrot cake and whipping cream. Like they say, when one door closes, another opens or in this case plenty others opened!