Monday Kitchen Tips: Cake Wreck Rescue

T-Wrecks eats Cake Wreck - Monday Kitchen Tips: Cake Wreck Rescue 101

This isn’t my first visit to cake wreck land. I’m a frequent guest along with my buddy, T-Wrecks (T loves cake wreck snacks).

There’s even a cake wreck rescue recipe in Nosh.  It’s in there because the day my editor and I agreed to work together I had a couple of wrecks cooling on the counter top and I wanted to make sure people knew wrecks were not the end of a cake – they’re actually the beginning of something good to eat.

And wrecks happen to everyone. Unless that wreck tastes just awful as in you forgot an important ingredient or used salt instead of sugar, don’t throw it out.

Speaking of cake wrecks, I have a theory about impending disaster. I think most folks have some sense of doom’s arrival. For example, hustling along a sidewalk, in a big fat hurry, out of the-corner-of-the-eye you see that banana peel patch of ice and before your brain has time to register DangerWillRobinson there you go. Down on your keister. No damage done, but could that split second corner-of-the-eye notification have saved your fate?

Maybe. Maybe not.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve noticed the same corner-of-the-eye thing right before a kitchen disaster and wondered the same. I’ve yet to come up with a plan to completely avoid a wreck, but there has to be a way to practice paying attention to that reliable built-in early warning system.

Testing a cake the other day, I had that corner-of-the-eye early warning moment. I reached for the pan with only one mitt. Forgetting that it was not a light sponge cake, I lifted the pan and failed to get a proper grip. The-corner-of-my-eye was practically yelling in my ear, DangerWillRobinson, but all I managed to hear were a whole lot of stupid kitchen appliances humming way off key.

I should have listened (not to the appliances) and set it right back down on the oven rack. But nope. I knew better than the early warning system. When it started to fall I tried to grab the pan with that single mitt and it flew up and pirouetted in the air on its way to the floor. Miraculously the pan landed on its side but with such force the cake collapsed like old buildings do in earthquakes. What was once a beautiful cake rising almost to the top of the tall pan was now a limited edition pancake with crispy crusts. It sure was tasty but what a mess.

The-corner-of-the-eye – it’s that part of the brain that is our best early warning system and we rarely give it any credit. But perhaps we I should think about paying closer attention.

This Monday Kitchen Tip is brought to you by cake wreck rescue 101. No cake, muffin, cupcake, cookie or other baking wreck is unsalvageable. The list of things that can rescue a wreck are almost endless and some of them are sneaky. But who wants to waste cake, right?

Forgot sugar? Paint the cake with a few coats of sugar syrup and let it soak in. Then add sweet frosting. No one will complain.

Cake fell? If the cake is not fully baked, tear it up into even sized pieces and place them on a baking sheet. Bake just until the crumb is baked, a few minutes more. It will be more crusty, like a cookie.  Turn it into fine crumbs, and then cake pops by adding a binder – frosting, or melted chocolate, Nutella or other nut butters. Roll into balls and dip in coating or melted chocolate, white chocolate and cover with sprinkles or nuts.

Cake or cookies too dry? Fell? Crumble it up and turn them into cake truffles (similar to cake pops but smaller and without sticks). Roll them in nuts, sprinkles, coating like melted chocolate, or dust them cocoa powder or powdered sugar.

Got a well done baked good? Scrape off or cut off the burned stuff. If the remaining crumb is very crispy, crumble it into uneven pieces and use it to top a fruit buckle or yogurt, ice cream or pudding.

Crumbly cake? Break it into pieces. Mix the uneven crumbs with raisins, nuts, coconut or other goodies to make granola that can be used with yogurt or another dessert parfait.

Speaking of parfait – sprinkle chunky crumbs in a dessert glass, top with macerated fruit, top with whipped cream and continue with the layers until you think it looks good.

Crumbs! Crumble up the cake and bake it until the crumbs are well done (not burned). Cool and whiz in the food processor and use like graham cracker crumbs in another recipe.


There you have it. Cake, cookie, pie (maybe) cupcake, muffin rescue 101. Got other cake rescue tips to share?


  1. Oh, Lisa, this post made me laugh! Not because of the wreck factor, because we’ve all been there and, as you’ve shown, it’s not always because of the gf factor! But I LOVE that you are using the phrase “DangerWillRobinson.” We use that one frequently here! LOL And I love your T-Wrecks, too. Clever! We have T-Rex and all his friends somewhere. 😉 And great tips, too. I’ve used most of them! Last, I do believe that we *know* about impending disasters, but not quickly enough to do anything most of the time. Although admittedly I have pulled cakes, cookie batter, etc. out of the oven and added missed ingredients. Usually all works out fine, and some of my best recipes have come from “accidents.” Pies that I discovered didn’t need that extra sugar, those extra chocolate chips (shocking, but true), etc. anyway.


  2. I love this! I’m just starting to re-learn how to bake and I’ve saved a couple loaves of hockey-puck-bread for crumbs, but it’s nice to see tips for sweets, too!