Thursday, November 21, 2013

When life gives you cake crumbs…

Like many culinary professionals, I have some serious beef with cake pops. pop "batter"

You realize that you're actually BAKING A CAKE just to smoosh it up and squish it together with frosting, right? Instead of making a beautiful cake or cupcakes, you are pulverizing it, tripling its already-cloying sweetness with gobs of frosting, and rolling it into a bite-sized gnosh. What's next - cake capsules? Cake pills?  In my mind, this is akin to spending 2 hours sketching a beautiful landscape, then ripping it up into a million little pieces to make confetti.
Anyway, rant over. I actually do find myself with a lot of leftover cake lying around in the form of cake layers, extra cupcakes, or scraps trimmed off of cake layers. (I once confused a bag of yellow cake crumbs with a bag of breadcrumbs.  My pasta was… interesting that night).
Recently I made this lovely birthday cake for a coworker:
Boston creme cake. The only way this would be more delicious is if it were in donut form (my favorite!!)
Here's a picture of the innards - but I couldn't resist taking a bite first.
I also made some cupcakes with Nutella frosting and filled with a banana cream:
And here's a "halfway shot" form an adorable cake I made  for a baby shower:
Strawberry shortcake.  I did frost the entire outside of the cake and decorate it with pink flowers… but sometimes I just love the look of a naked cake, don't you?
Yeah, like I said… lots of cake up in here.  Somewhere along the line, one of my cake batter batches was missing baking powder. It looked and tasted like a really sweet, pale kitchen sponge.  It seriously breaks my heart out to throw out food, even if it is slightly janky.  I thought to myself, "Well, if this cake is basically a sponge, I might as well use it to soak up something delicious, like whipped cream or booze."  Logical?
I took the janky cake and cut out a bunch of small circles to make individual strawberry shortcake trifle.  Once I cut the circles out, I put the remaining cake scraps into my food processor and made them into crumbs.  I have a big ziplock bag of assorted cake crumbs in my freezer and i use these whenever someone asks me for cake pops. This is how I avoid the whole construct/deconstruct/reconstruct frustration that is cake pop making.
I brushed the cake layers with amaretto and then layered them with strawberries and a honey mascarpone cream.  I covered them and allowed them to sit in the fridge for 8 hours to soak up all the boozy goodness.
I made them in these awesome vintage champagne glasses my friend Cat gave me as a wedding gift.  Terrific for miniature trifles, equally wonderful for pretending you are Daisy Buchanan while sipping bubbly.
It was a fantastic, crowd-pleasing dessert and not a single person knew that it was the result of a "ruined" cake attempt.


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