The Absurd and Amazing Adventures of Cafe Girl: Don't Give Up, Make Cake Pops Instead

March 19, 2012

Don't Give Up, Make Cake Pops Instead

I'm not sure why when the cupcake recipe read, "2 sticks unsalted butter cut into one-inch cubes" I automatically assumed that the butter should be cold.

Had I read a few more recipes, or thought about it for a moment, I would have realized - you can't bake cakes with cold butter. Because cold butter doesn't blend into your batter. In fact, if your batter has any unincorporated ingredient, such as unbeaten eggs, or say... oh...cold butter, you'll end up with cake that's possibly dry, chewy and have "tunnels" that look like this:

That's how I ended up with 24 cupcakes that were less than perfect. In fact, they were a bizarre combination of chewy and greasy. For a moment, I pondered just covering the tops with frosting - after all, what wrong can't be covered by a good, homemade frosting?

But the perfectionist in me hesitated. Perhaps my non-foodie friends might not notice, but I certainly would know. And, more importantly (and more neurotically), I was actually making cupcakes because it was The Dude In My Life's birthday.

Yes, The Dude In My Life. It's taken me six months to even hint at his existence. But that's another topic for another blog post. Suffice to say, a dude now exists in my life, he was having a birthday, and I wanted to bring cupcakes to celebrate.

Sadly, there were no cupcakes to be had. I pondered throwing out the ruined cupcakes and starting another batch. But the rest of my butter was in the freezer, and the thought of throwing out food just made me sad. I think it's the Asian in me. While all you kids growing up in America heard, "Don't waste food, there's starving children in China," I grew up hearing, "Don't waste food, there's starving children in Africa."

Then, cooking eureka.

If the problem with my cupcakes was texture, not taste, why not reuse the cake for another kind of dessert? Enter cake pops. These tiny bites of cake on a stick, often coated in chocolate and sprinkles, have been all the rage in the last few years. Despite their fancy appearance, they are surprisingly simple to make. Cake pops are essentially cake crumbled and mixed with frosting, rolled into little balls, and stuck on a stick

I searched my pantry and found powdered sugar for frosting and a bag of Hersey's Dark Chocolate kisses for coating. My junk drawer yielded a box of toothpicks. Within minutes, I was crumbling, mixing and rolling. Cooking blogs reminded me to freeze the cake pops before coating them in melted chocolate.

The cake pops weren't perfect. Since I had to sit them on parchment paper so the chocolate could harden,  chocolate pooled around the bottoms of the pops. Also, the pops had flattened, rather than rounded, bottoms.Often, when I bake for others, I try to make the end result look bakery perfect. These cake pops clearly looked home made, but I didn't care. I was proud of their imperfections.These cake pops had come from something I thought had been ruined, and yet, there they were - new and delicious. I took them to the Bible Study that The Dude In My Life and I attend together. We sang Happy Birthday. Everyone loved them.

I don't claim to have had the greatest story, nor can I claim to have had the greatest tragedy when it comes to love. I've had two serious relationships, both of which ended unexpectedly, and with a few cruel words. For some reason I've never quite fully recovered from this rejection. Instead, as much as I hate to admit it, some tiny part of me wonders - what is it about me that causes such cruelty to leave the mouths of men? There must be something terrible about me that deserves such harsh words. These aren't thoughts I voice often because they reflect a part of me with which I'm uncomfortable. The part of me that is willing to accept cruelty and blame myself for it. The part of me that believes I don't deserved to be loved because I am imperfect. I don't like this about myself, not one bit.

But even when I don't voice theses thoughts, they remain, floating around in my subconsious, coming to the surface in moments of silence. Because I still feel wounded, I'm like one of those ruined cupcakes - not quite lousy enough to be declared a total loss, but just imperfect enough that I'm not fit for company. I have a few gaping holes in my heart, been a little dry, felt just not quite right. I've not known what to do with myself.

Making these cake pops gave me a little bit of perspective of what's possible. Maybe I shouldn't discount myself as ruined, quite yet. Crumble a little, add a little bit of sweetness, mold a little and maybe, just maybe there may come something new and delicious. It won't be picture perfect, but it may very well be loved anyway.

I don't have a recipe for cake pops, but the lovely folks at The Kitchn do: How To Make Cake Pops

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