|A Pack of Cake Pups|
"Serve food and it's a meal; serve cake and it's a party." -- TN
After my most recent posts featuring two rice recipes in a row, a long exposition on milking a giant seed, and an attempt at de-freaking balut, it was high time I offered up some sweet simplicity. An opportunity to do just that came in the form of a standing invitation to the monthly International Incident, hosted by Penny of Jeroxie. For April's theme, we were invited to create Cake Pops, the roly-poly treats on a stick that many are calling the Next Cupcake.
The invention of these bite-sized cake-and-frosting amalgams of adorableness is widely credited to blogger Angie Dudley of the extraordinary Bakerella, who has parlayed these relentlessly cute confections into a popular book and spawned an Internet universe of cake-popping. A fun way to express crafty creativity in edible form, cake pops are just as easy to make as they are to eat and eat. And eat. And eat.
Easy to make, yes, unless you're a certain Unmotivated Noodle.
Lazy, Hazy Summer Daze
With summer fast descending on Manila, I have been less than enthusiastic about firing up the stove or oven to cook, doing so only because Mr. Noodle can't live on Rold Gold pretzels and San Miguel beer alone (though he's indicated a much too eager willingness to try.) At the same time, I really wanted to join the fun of this International Incident Party and switch gears to indulge my sweet tooth after several savory-serious posts. Cake pops were just the thing, with just one tiny problem: what to do about the 'bake a cake' part?
Although it gets a bad rap, laziness has its merits - for instance, it was the driving force behind my search for the path of least resistance toward cake-poppery. I did not want to bake, not even a boxed mixed as is often suggested. Solution #1: buy a ready-made cake. Unfortunately, it seems that bakeries hereabouts love chiffon cake - an admittedly delicious type but wholly unsuitable for the task at hand. Solution #2: buy cake donuts. Inexpensive and abundant, donuts were the perfect answer not only for accessibility, but also for portion control - I could buy only as much as I needed to make a small batch of cake pops. Having dodged the baking bullet, I turned my attention toward decorating; if I wasn't willing to demonstrate some creativity with the cake itself, then at least I could go all out in presentation.
Tribute to a Sourmug
For inspiration, I turned to our beloved pets. Many of you are familiar with the young pup with a cookie on his nose who serves as my Web avatar, but before this goofball, we had another darling dog: a grumpy old bulldog that someone once wryly nicknamed 'Mr. Happy'. Ornery as a bull in his senior years, he was our first baby and it was a devastating moment four years ago when we received a call from the vet's office that he had passed away during a routine procedure. Having lived to a very old age for his breed, we were grateful for the many years of happiness he gave us (and, I hope, we gave him). When it came time to decide on a cake pop theme, our big bully came to mind. He always did like cake...
And so, may I present Cake Pups - motivated by a lack of motivation and sweetly inspired by a sourmug. Now, how's that for a recipe?
Cake Pop Puppies
Who better to explain cake pop-making than the woman who started the madness? Check out Bakerella's video tutorial for simple instructions on how to make cake pops.
What I Used
4 Cake donuts in assorted flavors (chocolate, vanilla and peanut butter for these)
Cream cheese frosting (see below)
White chocolate melts
Semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sugar-coated Gummi worms, cut in half then lengthwise
Roasted cashew halves
Our big bully was fawn (tan) and white with a dark muzzle, so I wanted to approximate his coloring for this cake pop tribute. But you can certainly switch it around using different chocolates and candies to make darker Pup Pops or even colorful canines. I did not actually make 'pops', as my first plan to use chocolate-covered cookie sticks, such as Pocky, failed (they snapped easily). I didn't have enough time to search for lollipop sticks, but will do so for next time.
My one homemade element was the frosting - did I mention that I'm cheap as well as lazy? Imported canned frosting costs as much as an entire decorated cake, so I decided to make my own. The following yielded approximately 1 cup of frosting that was just the right amount for this batch.
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsps butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and beat well, then add remaining 1/2 cup. Mix until smooth and creamy.
To Make a Pup
Roll a cake ball and dip it in melted chocolate, per Bakerella's instruction.
Place on a wax or parchment-lined cookie sheet and begin decorating: gently press a Gummi 'tongue' in the lower, center part of the cake ball. For the 'muzzle', press a pretzel over the tongue to keep it in place, then set a brown M&M in the small, center hole for its nose. Place 2 chocolate chips (pointy part in) above the muzzle for eyes and stick cashew halves on top for ears.
Makes a pack of 6-8 Pups
For more cute confections, please visit the International Incident Cake Pops Party!