Cake pops are hard: lessons from a weekend of showers
One time, we thought it would be a great idea to throw my sister a bridal shower and me a baby shower — in the same weekend. And then we did it. This past weekend. It was perhaps not the greatest idea ever, we decided on late night #2 when we were breaking down one shower and setting up for another, but the end result was pretty great.
There were lots of cupcakes and tarts and cake pops, oh the cake pops. My mom had this cake pop maker she’d been dying to try. So try we did, and it was a lot more work than we thought it would be.
First of all, I was convinced I didn’t even like cake pops. Most cake pops or cake balls are made from baking a cake and then destroying it, mixing in icing and forming it into balls, then dipping those in icing. As someone who’s not a huge fan of icing, I find these overly sweet and dense.
But my momma had a different version in mind. One that involved a cake pop maker. You know, one of those gadgets every shower host should have? The contraption is much like a waffle maker. You pour in batter, clamp it shut for a few seconds and out roll these little balls of cake. With momma’s lemony cake batter in them, these balls were pretty irresistible, like cake on portion control. I didn’t see the need to add icing, other than for looks.
Making the balls without creating a giant mess was apparently harder than it looked, although mom and the 6th-grade neighbor girl who came to help eventually nailed down a good system. My sister and I were slaving away over games for the showers. Games like, what will your future child look like based on a compilation of yours and your husbands’ funny faces? Well, something like this little mullet princess…
The cake balls that momma had coaxed into baking needed to spend a night in the fridge before frosting, according to the directions. So we pivoted to focus on my baby sister’s bridal shower and left icing to the next night.
Then, tired from hosting a shower that day, my momma found herself staring at instructions for a cake pop icing that involved shortening, which we didn’t have (and ick). She enlisted her sister in concocting something from what we did have but, after several rounds of microwaving icing-like things to get the right consistency, mom headed to the store.
She came back with a selection of store-bought icing, powdered sugar and butter and continued experimenting. She settled on making her own lemony icing that was a bit thin but good. Who cares if you could see the cake within? Icing shouldn’t be a three-inch shield of sugar, in my opinion, anyway.
Poor momma was dipping and drizzling and draping icing over cake pops into the wee hours. At one point, we thought we surely had what amounted to a pretty good Pinterest fail. At one point, the counter had more icing than the cake pops. At one point, I went to bed (sorry mom) and hoped for the best.
But, the next morning, the cake pops were shaping up quite nicely, along with everything else. I needed to scurry to the airport to fetch one of three friends who trekked in from Dallas and Tulsa to celebrate this babe, so I’d return just in time to start greeting folks.
Perhaps needless to say, the cake pops were a hit. They may not have been perfectly symmetrical or round, but we weren’t making them for Pinterest. We were making them for consumption. They were lemony and just perfect. Way to go momma! And they went especially well with my grandmother’s recipe for lemon tarts. She was married to my Papa for seven years before his mom would give her that recipe — had to make sure the marriage would stick!
I suppose the lesson in the cake pops is that taste always triumphs, and ribbon can cover over many a sin. A few other lessons from co-hosting two showers in two days:
- Sisters and moms and friends are just the best. Reunions are even better. And whatever effort is taken and sleep is lost to get them all together is worth it!
- Skewer everything. When it comes to party food, there’s no better friend than a wooden skewer. It assembles seemingly incongruous ingredients into pretty rows of goodies. Tomatoes, basil and mozzarella become caprese skewers drizzled in balsamic! Strawberries, waffles and marshmallows are skewered and drizzled in chocolate!
- Chicken salad is extra good served on discs of green apples.
- There can never be enough deviled eggs.
- Making a list of things that can be done by folks that show up early is super helpful. We had people write their names by the dish they were working to assemble and ended up with extra time before the showers began.
- There can never be enough dishwashing helpers. Using grandmother’s crystal plates — complete with vintage cigarette holding slot — and cups was great! Cleaning them twice was less great, although eco-friendly! Thank you to all the extra hands that helped!
I posted more pictures of the shindig on Facebook, and I can’t wait to force my husband (who stayed in DC) to watch the whole slideshow with me. I truly have the best family and friends and am so excited to be repeating — on a much larger scale — the six-week-old-baby-and-wedding madness in Wichita in October!
Many blessings on your summer showers!