If you love to play in the kitchen, tie on your apron and get ready to crumble, dip and decorate. Give cake pops a try.
Blogger Angie Dudley, known as "Bakerella" to her subscribers, struck a sweet chord when she transformed cake balls, truffle-like confections with a cake-and-frosting center, into cake pops.
She added a lollipop stick, and cake pops were born. Further experimentation led to cupcake pops, and then a whole cast of characters from frogs to monsters to snowmen.
Each week, blog subscribers get to try a new cake pop. After Dudley became a published author with her first book, simply called "Cake Pops," the blog also became a space for her to share her adventures as she travels the country signing books and meeting other bakers.
The Times interviewed Dudley via e-mail to find out more about Cake Pops.
"The idea for cake pops came from a desire to turn cake balls into something cuter," Dudley said.
"I had an idea for a cupcake shape using a small cookie cutter, and then thought they would look even cuter as
lollipops. Those were really the ones that started the whole cake pop craze. Shortly after making the cupcake pops, I experimented with other designs and techniques and haven't stopped."
So, how can you make cake pops at home?
It takes a little planning ahead, but the process is simple and fun.
"You mix crumbled cake with frosting, roll it into a ball and dip in melted candy coating using a lollipop stick," she said.
"To make the process a little smoother, bake and cool the cake the night before, and do the dipping and decorating on the second day."
Dudley said cake pops make great Christmas treats.
"Reindeer, Christmas trees (and) Santa hats are in the book, but the possibilities are endless. Snowmen, Christmas lights, ornaments, stockings, gingerbread men," she said.
Kids can help with each step in the cake pop process, Dudley said, adding that "they'll definitely enjoy crumbling the cake and dipping."
After you create your cake pops, you can keep some for later by freezing them.
Dudley recommends tying treat bags over the pops, then placing them in an air-tight container.