Honey, I Shrunk the Cake!
Desserts have always had a place in cook books, on TV shows, and after dinner served with tea and coffee, but it seems that one dessert in particular has become increasingly popular: cake. Not your average birthday cake however; bite-sized treats in the form of cake pops.
This new craze can be done in one of two ways. One way is to bake a cake, crumble it up, mix it with frosting, cover it in melting candy or chocolate, put it on a stick, and decorate it. The second, faster way is to buy a cake-pop maker. These are similar to electric aebleskiver (Danish pancakes puffs) makers. Basically, they work like waffle makers only they make individual balls. After only a few minutes, you take the cake bites out of the machine, put them on a stick, and decorate.
Parents seem to be infiltrating the culinary blogosphere with posts about their latest birthday party successes including plenty of pictures of cake pops decorated as farm animals, Shrek, sports equipment, or whatever the party’s theme may have been. Brides and wedding planners are now serving cake pops whimsically monogrammed with the newlyweds’ initials or dressed in tuxedos and gowns. These mini-treats are even making an appearance at holiday parties as reindeer, Easter eggs, and turkeys!So, what’s the appeal? Since they’re on a stick, they can be displayed in more creative ways, carried around at any type of party, or eaten on-the-go. Also, since they are small, you can sample different flavors of cake in one sitting without having to make or order several huge plates of dessert. The most important reason though: they’re adorable.
Here’s a season appropriate cake-pop recipe from "101 Gourmet Cake Bites," by Wendy Paul:
CARAMEL APPLE CAKE BITES
1 box spice cake mix
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup Caramel Cream Frosting (see recipe below)
1/2 cup caramel sauce (Mrs. Richardson’s)
Mix cake mix, eggs, oil, applesauce, half-and-half, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Batter will be thick. Pour into a greased 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 28-32 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Remove from oven and cool completely. Crumble cake into small, even pieces, placing crumbs in a large bowl.
With the back of a spoon, mix cake crumbles with frosting and caramel sauce until a thick dough consistency forms. Shape into evenly sized balls and cool 1-2 hours in the refrigerator or 20 minutes in the freezer. Drizzle with additional caramel sauce. Then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, chopped nuts or white chocolate. To make cake pops, insert a candy stick while bites are chilling, before dipping.