An International Incident: Cake Pups

Sunday, April 17, 2011 33 comments
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
Plain M&Ms
Yogurt-covered mini-pretzels
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.

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

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!


  • Mardi Michels said...

    Oh my, between you and Conor we all should just pack our cake pops and go home! What a fabulous creation and I love that you are finding way to adapt your cooking and backing to your new surroundings!

  • Conor @ Hold the Beef said...

    Yes Mardi, pack up your cake pops and go "home" to Australia - I'll get the spare bed ready ;)

    These are pretty damn cool. I didn't even notice the sneaky pretzel in there right away! Love that you get so many other extra treats to eat at well as the ball!

  • kat said...

    They turned out awesome & I love your idea of using donuts so you can just make a few. I bet the cream cheese frosting added a lot of flavor too.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Hello, Everyone! Thank you so much for your kind comments and I'm so happy that you enjoyed these little bulldog cake pops-without-a-stick! My sister arrived for a visit just before I posted and I've spent the past two days showing her around Manila. Now, we're off to spend the rest of Easter week with our family in the provinces, where I'm not sure if I'll have Internet access.

    So apologies if it takes me a little while longer to reply to each of you properly and to visit the my Int'l Incident Party-mates, but I will definitely get around to it.

    Happy Easter!

  • Jenni said...

    How cute are those guys?! A whole bunch of wee, edible Sir Cakehearts--love them!

    Hope all is well; haven't seen you on twitter in a few days. I'm having TN withdrawals. Take care!

    Oh, now I see you're visiting w/your sister! Hooray--carry on; enjoy the holiday!

  • Anonymous said...

    These cake pop puppies are just adorable! I will show these to 5 star junior in the morning, she would love them!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Hello, everyone! Hope you had a lovely Easter weekend. 8-)

    Anncoo - Thank you! I was so pleased they came out well. 8-)

    Caroline - Happiness all around! Our bulldog was a character and we still miss him... 8-)

    msihua - Thanks! The real pup that inspired them was just as cute. 8-)

    Penny - Yes! Laziness spurred my creativity in this case. It worked out pretty well for me! 8-)

    Mardi - I'm in awe of the work that Conor put into her Cake-atoos! But I wouldn't mind a dozen of your Cupcake Cake Pops. 8-)

    Conor - Y'know, I didn't even think of the 'parts' in terms of treats - I just looked for stuff that would work as anatomy! But now that you mention it, they do add a little extra. 8-)

    Kat - Thank you! That's exactly what I wanted - just a few cake pops to enjoy but not gorge. Cake donuts worked perfectly and making my own frosting also let me control the amount made. 8-)

    Xiaolu - Hehe! You are too kind with the 'genius' part, but I'm so pleased you like these. The pretzel idea was a sudden inspiration: I was looking for candies to work as a nose when I spotted the minipretzels and it hit me immediately. Bonus: I got to eat the broken pieces of yogurt pretzels... 8-)

    ValleyWriter - Thank you! We miss the old fart... 8-)

    Cherrie - Thanks! There were a few that actually looked like our dear doggie... 8-)

    Vvgveryverygood - Thank you! So glad you liked them. 8-)

    Sam - I had a wonderful time! My sister was visiting from California and we all traveled to my mother's home province. And thank you for mentioning how fund these would be for kids - my other sister told me during her Easter Sunday call that she and my niece made cake pops after seeing these on my blog. 8-)

    DS - Thank you so much! I think that ideas flow so much better when I don't over-think the process. As soon as I decided to take the path of least resistance, I was able to concentrate on fun options. 8-)

    Jenni - Oh, I forgot about Sir Cakeheart (probably because the inspiration for these cake pups was his predecessor, Sir Grumpalot). I hope you are enjoying your break this week. Hope to catch up soon! 8-)

    Nutmeg Nanny - Thanks! It was fun to come up with the idea and so satisfying that they came out so well. 8-)

    5 Star - Oh, yes! I hope 5 Star Junior enjoys them, too. I'd love to see what she would do with a cake pop theme... 8-)

  • Sapuche said...

    Who knew sweet simplicity could also be so much fun! We have international incidents in Vietnam, too, but of a, um, well, different type. I envy you your oven — not the natural outdoor one, but the one in your kitchen used to bake these goodies. I didn’t realize how reliant I was on an oven until I moved back to VN and couldn’t find an apartment that had one. Wonderfully creative Cake Pops, and a great story behind them, too!

  • Lori said...

    As you can tell, I'm nearly a month behind in my blog reading!! These are adorable, such a great idea. I love that easy frosting recipe as well.

  • Ling said...

    Really innovative way to use the different kinds of candies and snacks! The shapes come together perfectly to form the puppy face


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