Baking up sweets ‘as seen on TV’ isn’t always a piece of cake
Posted: Friday, October 26, 2012 8:04 pm
By: By Chris Menees, Staff Reporter
I’m such a sucker.
I should make myself write 100 times on a blackboard, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is …”
Like a moth to a flame, I’m just naturally drawn to the “as seen on TV” section at department stores.
Unfortunately, I’ve been burned.
I’m fascinated by products with names like “Lint Lizard” and “Genie Bra.” (I think “Lint Lizard” is funny to say and it makes me giggle and I just might buy two of them someday just for the fun of it.)
No, I don’t own either of those handy-dandy, make-your-life-easier products, but I have bought more than my fair share of infamous “Snuggie” sleeve-blankets in a rainbow of colors.
I always sit up and pay extra attention, though, when there’s a new kitchen gadget being hawked. Consequently, not long ago, I got snookered into buying a couple of thing-a-majigs guaranteed to make my life easier.
It turned out just the opposite. It was more of a nightmare than a storybook ending.
The first time, I was drawn into the fiasco by two sweet little words — cake pops.
In my case, it was cake “flops.”
Cake pops — yummy little balls of moist cake dipped in icing or candy coating, just the right size to pop into your mouth or dress up like lollipops.
When I saw the special cake pops pan advertised on TV, I knew I had to have one. I was like a kid in a candy store when I stumbled across the last one on a store shelf, detouring only long enough on the way home to buy cake mix and frosting and sprinkles.
This was going to be a piece of cake. The granddaughters came over and the thrill of baking commenced.
It was followed shortly thereafter by the agony of defeat.
The odd-looking pan resembled some sort of medieval torture device, but we followed the instructions to the letter — mixing and greasing and pouring the batter into the little individual holes in the bottom half of the pan, then clipping the top half of the metal contraption over the bottom half for baking.
No problem. Easy as pie … or, uh, cake.
Anxious to see the results, I peeked through the oven’s glass door a few minutes later — and gasped at the sad sight.
The batter in the little tins had puffed so much that tiny tufts of cake had sprouted on the top of each cake ball, making smaller beads of cake protrude peculiarly from the steam holes atop each compartment.
Pardon the crudeness, but they were obscene. The grotesquely-shaped globs of cake looked like they needed teeny-weeny Genie Bras.
Things went from bad to worse when we tried to salvage the deformed cake pops — which were so top heavy they refused to stay on lollipop sticks for dipping and landed in the warm melted chocolate with a pathetic plop.
Never one to let perfectly good chocolate go to waste, the girls and I turned lemons into lemonade as we danced around the kitchen with our culinary calamity and drowned our sorrows with gooey globs of chocolate straight from the can.
I’d like to say I learned my lesson … but I didn’t.
The cake pop catastrophe of 2012 was followed just days later by the great cookie dough disaster. And it wasn’t pretty either.
I decided if I couldn’t have my cake and eat it, too, then the magic press dough cookie thing-a-mabob was the way to go. It looked fool-proof — but I was fooled.
Again, the youngest granddaughter and I followed the instructions to the letter — using just the right consistency dough and loading it into the injector and twisting the shaped cookie cutter onto the end, then gently squeezing to dispense dough that could be lopped into perfect little cookies.
I ended up 0-2 in the kitchen, this time defeated by the devious dough device. The warm dough squished out the sides and plopped onto a cookie sheet in an unappetizing heap of failure.
The cheap plastic cookie press ended up in a friend’s yard sale alongside the cake pop pan a few weeks later.
Sure, they both came with a money-back guarantee. But money couldn’t buy the two evenings of fun the girls and I shared in the kitchen.
Cake pop pan — $19.99 up in smoke.
Dough press — $19.99 down the tubes.
Memory of laughing with the granddaughters — priceless.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 10.26.12