A couple of years ago, I went to a book signing and cupcake decorating demonstration with Karen Tack & Alan Richardson, the amazing duo behind the Hello, Cupcake! and What’s New, Cupcake! cookbooks. It was such a fun day, packed full of info on making super cute cupcakes. At the time, I couldn’t imagine what they would create beyond cupcakes.
Now I don’t have to imagine, they’ve got another book! Cupcakes, cookies, and pie, oh my! includes not just cupcakes but also hand pies, rice krispie creations, cookies and so many clever decorating ideas. I’m fascinated with the candy clay in this cookbook and can’t wait to try it out, along with a gazillion other ideas that are going to make their way into my kitchen soon.
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably asking, “Why is Johnna telling us about a cookbook that isn’t gluten-free?” Well, because almost everything in this cookbook is easily made gluten-free. Swap out the store-bought pound cake for Amy’s Organic Gluten-Free Pound Cake. Use a gluten-free cake mix in place of a regular one. When the recipe calls for refrigerated pie crust, whip up a batch of my pie crust. And the same for the sugar cookies, try this recipe instead. Pay close attention to the labels on the candies used to decorate (licorice is especially suspect), but know that you can come up with easy substitutions so you can make your own fun gluten-free creations. What I’ve learned from this series of books is that a stroll down the candy aisle (and a few minutes reading labels and confirming gluten-free status) can result in confectionery creativity with no boundaries!
I made the “Piece of Cake” cake pops and wanted to share them with you. So fun to make, even though I have a storied history of making cake pops. While mine didn’t turn out as pretty as the ones pictured in the book (boy, this book is rich with photos!), they are pretty darned cute and were quickly gobbled up.
*Please note, the recipe below calls for ingredients that contain gluten. Below the recipe, I have included the modifications I made to this recipe to make it gluten-free.*
“Piece of Cake” Cake Pops
(makes 15 cake bites)
Sweet party pops look like perfect pieces of cake, and are a piece of cake to make, too. Mini wedges of pound cake on forks are coated in melted vanilla frosting, with lines of red gel to create the layers.
1 frozen pound cake (16 ounces; Sara Lee Family Size), thawed*
16 assorted colored plastic forks
1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting
1 can (16 ounces) milk chocolate frosting
3 tubes (0.68 or 0.75 ounces each) red decorating gel (Cake Mate)
2 tablespoons mini candy decors (Cake Mate)
1. Line two cookie sheets with waxed paper. Place the pound cake on a work surface with one long edge facing you. Using a serrated knife, cut the cake crosswise into quarters. Starting from the short end, cut each piece into four 1 1/2-by-2 1/2 inch triangles. Insert the tines of a plastic fork into the base of each piece of cake to secure, without breaking the cake. Transfer the pieces to the cookie sheets. Freeze for 15 minutes.
2. Fill several wide-mouthed glasses with sugar to help support the cake pieces once they are frosted.
3. Spoon 1/4 cup of the vanilla frosting into a Ziploc bag. Spoon the chocolate frosting into 2 separate Ziploc bags. Press out the excess air and seal the bags. Spoon the remaining vanilla frosting into a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave, stopping to stir frequently, until it has the texture of lightly whipped cream, 20 to 30 seconds.
4. Remove the cake pieces from the freezer. Holding the fork over the measuring cup, spoon the melted frosting over the 2 long sides of cake to cover, allowing the excess frosting to drip back into the cup. Insert the base of the forks into the sugar-filled glasses. Repeat with the remaining cake pieces. If the melted frosting becomes too thick for dipping, microwave for several seconds and stir. Refrigerate the frosted cake pieces until set, about 20 minutes.
5. Use a toothpick to lightly score 2 lines in the frosting on each side of the cakes to mark the layers. Pipe a thin line of the red gel over each line.
6. Snip a medium (1/4-inch) corner from the bags with the vanilla and chocolate frostings. Pipe a thin layer of chocolate frosting on the top and back of the cake pieces. Use the back of a small spoon to make swirls in the frosting. Pipe a dollop of vanilla frosting on top and add some candy decors.
7. Return the cake slices to the sugar-filled wide-mouthed glasses and serve.
“Piece of Cake” Cake Pops from CUPCAKES, COOKIES & PIE, OH, MY! by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Copyright © 2012 by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
*I used an Amy’s Organic Gluten-Free Pound Cake. It is smaller than a Sara Lee cake. Instead of cutting the cake into quarters, I cut it into thirds, creating only 12 cake pops. I read the labels on the frosting, gel and candy decor that I used carefully to make certain they were gluten-free; you should, too!
Karen and Alan are soon embarking on a book tour. You can find the schedule here. For my local readers, there are TWO appearances in Kansas City on February 8th and 9th, both hosted by Rainy Day Books. Look me up, I’ll be there!
Disclosure: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt provided a review copy of the book to me. No compensation was received and the opinions expressed are my own.