Shortcut Cake Pops

 

If you have kids or visit Starbucks on a regular basis, you know about cake pops.  They’re like Tootsie Pops, but made of mashed-up cake instead of candy (so therefore better for you?), dipped in a glossy coating and dressed up with sprinkles or other accoutrements.

(For some awe-inspiring creations, check out Bakerella.com or search “cake pops” in Pinterest.).

If you’ve ever tried making cake pops, you know that they can be TIME CONSUMING. First you have to bake a cake (albeit from a boxed mix) and let it cool. Then you crumble it up and mix it with a can of frosting.  This dough-like mixture becomes the base for the cake pops. After that you shape, chill, dip and decorate.

Doesn’t it seem crazy to bake a nice cake only to smush it all up? Some smart person though of using Munchins for the centers.  That’s definitely a shortcut (and a lot less messy), but if you’re looking for that gooey-cakey texture or want to shape the cake pops into something other than spheres, the donut holes just won’t do.

Well, hold onto your lollypop sticks, folks. I’ve come up with a trick that may forever change the way you make cake pops:  [cue drumroll]

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Cakewalk This Way

This is a busy week for me and many other mom-unteers, with major fundraising activities at both kids’ schools: a Read-a-Thon starting this Friday at one and a Fun Fair this Saturday at the other. (Add a comment to this post or email me for more information on either!)

Sure, the kids have fun and we earn important funds for the schools, blah blah. But what I’m most excited about is the return of the Fun Fair Cakewalk – the musical chairs-like game where you walk around in a circle (with numbers taped to the floor) while the music plays, and when the music stops you hope and pray that your number gets called. If it does, you get to pick a cake or treat from the cake table!  I still remember the heart-pounding thrill of winning five cakes at Sunset Elementary’s Fun Fair (many many years ago); I don’t think I left the Cakewalk room all evening.

Gumball Machine Cake

Making the cakes for the Cakewalk is almost as fun. I’ll be making mine this Friday (freshness is important!); I’m not sure what the design inspiration will be yet, but I have a big bag of JellyBelly jelly beans to use up so those might be incorporated somehow. I’m not going to go crazy, though; I’ve learned from past Cakewalks and Bake Sales that the most elaborate creations are not necessarily the ones that go first. (Kids tend to choose the treats that look homemade.) In full disclosure, I usually use boxed cake mixes – they’re quick, easy and reliable. (My friend Angela asserts that if you bake it it’s homemade – boxed mix or not.) I usually make my own buttercream frosting, however; the results are worth the minimal effort. You can find frosting recipes on boxes of confectioner’s (powdered) sugar, or here: http://www.dominosugar.com/baking-tips-how-tos/advanced-baking-tips/frosting-recipes

For anyone else with a Cakewalk or Bake Sale coming up this spring, here are some ideas based on things I’ve made in the past. Most are original concepts, but some (i.e., slider cupcakes) are blatant knock-offs. For more inspiration and detailed instructions on making Cake Pops and other really cute treats, check out http://www.bakerella.com/.

“M&M’s” ® Brand Cake

“M&M’s” ® Pretzel Cake Pops

Daffodil Cookie Bouquet (marshmallows cut in half form the 3-D effect)

Dessert is Served

Fruity Pebble Treats

Cake Pops with Sprinkles (the white ones went first, surprisingly)

Sliders (vanilla cupcake “buns”, brownie “burgers”)

Gingerbread Girl Scout Daisies