Creamy Dreamy Orange Cake Balls

I just spent a week without an oven, after one of mine melted down during the self-cleaning cycle and died, taking its friend downstairs with it.  I admit I was surprised--in the same way you're surprised when you try to flip a light switch even when you KNOW the power is out--how many times I stubbed my toe on the lifelessness of that important member of my kitchen crew.

What horror! An entire week without fresh bread with supper, mini-fritattas, or oven-broiled bacon (these last two are usually kept in the fridge for fix-yer-own pre-dawn breakfasts around here)!   I even had to skip a week of baking for my Cake Pop Project taste testers!

By the time I had discharged my civic duty by showing up for federal jury duty, the new ovens had been delievered, and the electrician had fixed the mistakes the delivery guys made, I'd lost the piece of paper telling me which two flavors the kids had voted for. By then it was mid-afternoon the day before I need to send the cake balls to school with Sweet Pea, so I guessed.

Too bad I guessed wrong. It was only after I'd sent these to school that I found the tally in the passenger floorboard of my car and realized my mistake. They'd asked for Nutella and brownie+caramel+pretzel flavors, and dreamsicle had come in third out of four choices.  I was afraid the change would disappoint them and considered e-mailing the teacher to tell her the kids shouldn't feel obligated to try them; it wouldn't hurt my feelings.  I got distracted, though, and forgot.

And guess what? It's okay. The reviews, when they arrived after school, were glowing!

Proof that not every mistake leaves teethmarks in your backside.

Whew. Seniors and underclassmen alike like it. Both teachers like it. My friend Gina likes it. Heck, my diabetic husband (who never cared for cake even before diabetes limited his intake of it) really liked the tiny bite I fed him as I was making them.
I know. Bad wife.  
~I'm a little excited, can you tell?~
(Don't come near me, or I might force feed one to you, too.)

It did take two tries to get it right, though. You have to be willing to dump a failure in the garbage the minute you realize it if you're working with real, live teens. (Even really, really nice teens.)

Short version of the first failed attempt: don't try cake balls with a jello-soaked cake. It's beyond gross, like sticky wet sand.

Since I didn't start baking until after the electrician left and I finished vacuuming up wire and wood bits--about 4 p.m.--I didn't have time to try anything exotic when my first guess failed.  I pulled up Ming Makes Cupcakes and quickly settled on her vanilla recipe (Cupcake 23). My reckless--and nearly frantic--changes to her cupcake:

  • replaced half the milk with lovely orange-red Satsuma juice I'd frozen when the fruit threatened to turn bad
  • swapped half the vanilla with orange extract
  • added coloring.  (I might not do this on the next batch. Though the color is fun, I think the flavor will stand alone.)

While it baked, I worried it would be too mellow, not orange-y enough. And how could a cake be creamy enough to qualify as CREAMsicle?

So I poked around in cabinets for something to use for a flavor-amping center, and found a box of vanilla pudding. I eyed the last orange. I bypassed the milk for the heavy cream.

Et voila...I think the pudding might be good--like a rich and creamy little orange mousse--all by itself.

Well, okay, you caught me. To be perfectly honest, I know it is. I ate all that was left straight from the container, leaning against the counter, furtively licking my spoon.

Orange Creamsicle Cake Balls

Dreamsicle or Creamsicle
I had to look it up. 
The center of a dreamsicle is ice milk. That makes me think of thin blue milk and crunchy ice. 
The creamsicle, on the other hand, has an ice cream center. 
Creamy, orangey...yep: Creamsicle!

Don't want to download? Click here for a printable recipe:

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