The first cake balls ever created by award-winning confectionists Isabelle Albert and Isabelle Shaver were a self-described disaster.

“They were slimy, greasy and falling apart,” Shaver said.

Fast-forward nearly 10 years, and creations from Isabelly’s Chocolates & Sweet Treats have been named best cake balls in Dallas and best desserts in Richardson. Their latest accolade comes in the form of being featured at the Dallas Chocolate Festival in September.

The mother-daughter venture began shortly after Albert graduated college. Assigned to the task of making dessert for family dinners, Albert enlisted the help of Shaver, a home economist, who taught her to make shortbread cookies—an instant hit among family, friends and neighbors.

Before long, the pair had what they described as a “loose business” selling cookies and their signature cake balls.

Demand ramped up right around the time the state Legislature passed a law requiring certain for-profit baked goods be produced in a certified setting. So in 2011, Isabelly’s rented its first commercial kitchen in the Dallas Market Center.

Four years later, Albert and Shaver opened a permanent storefront and kitchen on Main Street in Richardson. To fill display cases, Albert also learned how to make chocolate. Today, Isabelly’s sells over 30 varieties of handmade truffles made from imported Belgian chocolate.

Still, the business’s bread and batter is its famous cake balls. In a sugar-obsessed society where cake balls can be found at Starbucks, Albert and Shaver say their version reigns supreme for several reasons, but one in particular stands out: durability.

“Our biggest thing was if we are going to do cake on a stick, we wanted to have a good recipe that would stay together,” Shaver said.

Baked into this mother-daughter success story is a mutual admiration and respect, which, much like their handmade truffles, macarons and cake balls, was built from scratch.

“She knows the answers I don’t; I know the answers she doesn’t; and we really try to find a balance,” Shaver said.