Welcome home to me! Tomorrow I’m going to bake to celebrate my return to Chicago. But tonight I’m going to blog about a sad, dark thing I did while at my brother and sister-in-law’s house.
Why do I hate cake pops, while I generally love cute things? One, because they’re trying too hard to be cute. Seeing really intensely decorated cake pops, like those found here, here, and here, makes me feel the same way as seeing really intensely make-upped girls: sort of sad. Cake pops are often tasty, since they’re just cake mixed with frosting dipped in something else, and when they’re simple as they were when the craze began in 2008, I like them. Just like I like cute girls (not sexually, just aesthetically). But something goes wrong when you start focusing more on how a thing looks and less on how it tastes: form over function. And that’s where my adventure last week led me.
To be fair, I am not very good at focusing on and improving looks. I don’t wear makeup, my mom long ago gave up on asking me to hang pictures or buy pillows or accent rugs, and my food is never presented prettily. Maybe if I’d been raised in a family that focused more on appearances, I would appreciate the cake pop and all the time and eye that they require. But my mom’s food is always pretty (she’s one of those people who puts a sprig of cilantro just so on your plate, like at restaurants), so that’s a moot point. Anyway. Onto baking!
So far so good, we have a box of cake mix and the ingredients it requires: three eggs, a cup of water, some oil. I chose carrot cake for no clear reason. Traditionally, cake balls are made from leftover stale cake which you crumble up and mix with frosting, then dip in chocolate or something else. Bakerella (link up above) stuck a stick in a ball and voila, the cake pop was born. Most recipes I’ve seen don’t care about what kind of cake you use, and the trend seems to be use cake mix. Hence:
For Christmas, my brother’s fiancee’s mom gave us all ‘babycakes’ makers. These make no sense to me. For instance:
This cupcake maker takes something like 5 minutes to make cupcakes, but you can only make six at a time, so you’ll have to divide your recipe by 4 or keep pouring, waiting, taking out, cleaning, pouring, etc. Versus if you just make a batch of cupcakes, it’ll take the same 20 minutes to bake all 24.
I got sidetracked again by annoyance. Sorry. Here’s the machine that I used:The instruction manual suggested a tablespoon of batter for each hole. So I tried… So far so good, but then it quickly becomes apparent that one tablespoon is far too much:The problem is that the first cake balls start cooking and expanding as you’re measuring the next ones, and it’s all so fast and frustrating and confusing and you get upset and then slam the lid down as soon as you’ve finished measuring them all out. And then hot batter spatters and it’s all a mess and you hate pseudo-cake pops and really you probably even like real cake pops.
So as you wait for five minutes while in this state of frenzied frustration, you decide you don’t have the patience to make more cake pops and just pour batter into cupcake tins (real cupcakes, not another infuriating countertop-taker-upper). Always remember to fill these guys get about 2/3 full, since they’ll rise.
Back to the ridiculousness. A photo essay of absurdity: