As a soccer mom and part-time dabbler in baked goods, I’ve had plenty of experience with neighborhood bake sales, church fundraisers, picnics, holiday celebrations and sports-related events that feature a wide range of tasty treats, both homemade and store-bought.
Before this tale goes any further, I better admit that I’ve always been partial to the homemade, but homemade desserts can also have their pitfalls. They can be unpredictable. They can collapse. People make mistakes. I’m sure you’ve heard the stories about some well-meaning amateur baker accidentally using salt instead of sugar in the cookies! It happens from time to time, but not knowing exactly how things will turn out can be part of the charm.
This brings me to my story of what I like to call the Best Dessert Ever. I was helping to plan a party for my son’s graduation from high school, and I’d been carefully planning and preparing for several weeks. My son’s favorite treats were s’mores, as in “I’d like s’more, please.” The chocolatey, marshmallowy, graham crackery goodness, all melted and messy, was always his first request. At the time, I didn’t allow desserts in the house unless I (or one of our neighborhood friends) had made them. Dylan had discovered s’mores on a Boy Scout trip around a campfire somewhere, and had raved about the experience ever since.
My plan was to recreate the s’mores experience in homemade cake form, using all the ingredients to build the perfect centerpiece for Dylan’s graduation, taking him back to his favorite taste from boyhood. The problem was, I failed. Not once, but repeatedly. I tried and tried, but my every attempt to convert these ingredients into a cake form that held together enough to be cut into slices or seem in any way appetizing never worked. I was crushed. Just like my failed cakes. My 9-year-old daughter Gina, bless her, offered a simple suggestion.
“Mom, why don’t you just use MoonPies to make the cake?”
It was a stroke of pure genius. MoonPie had already figured out how to perfectly combine the ingredients that I was struggling with hopelessly. I hadn’t tried a MoonPie since I was a little girl, but Gina had been in Chattanooga recently for a field trip to the aquarium, and all the kids on her bus were given a MoonPie. She had LOVED it and saw an opportunity to probably score a few for herself, I suspect!
Long story short, I stacked MoonPies into 15 mini-tower cakes, adding an extra coating of melted chocolate, which I drizzled over them with a ladle. I put a single candle in each stack, spelling out C-O-N-G-R-A-T-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S. It was a massive hit with Dylan and all his friends, and definitely what I’d call the Best Dessert Ever! Thanks for being there when I needed you most, MoonPie! Our family will always be a MoonPie family!