It's a cupcake. It's a lollipop. It's both - a little ball of cake dipped in a sweet coating and attached to a stick. A novelty, yes; gimmicky, perhaps; but they are addictively fun. Though still new to Seattle, cake pops are likely to catch on the way French macarons have in the last few years at local bakeries.
I've found two sources of cake pops (so far) in Seattle - at Starbucks and Frost Donuts in Bothell. The former are forgettable, the latter fabulous.
Eve M. Tai Starbucks Cake Pops: Adorable, yes. Tasty, no.
First, Starbucks. Cake pops are part of the company's "Sweet Petite" series - miniature desserts that weigh in under 200 calories each. Flavors come in Tiramisu, Birthday Cake or Rocky Road, each one color-coordinated from a pink, beige and brown palette. They're cute and whimsical and were likely conceived by a team of cute and whimsical designers. But that's where the good times end.Bite into a Starbucks Cake Pop and you'll find the texture mushy, the flavor average, the coatings clunky. Baristas like to push the Tiramisu Cake Pop, the most grown-up of the three. But the cake fails to deliver anything remotely close to ladyfingers or even coffee, a key ingredient in tiramisu. (Ya'd think that SB would have the coffee part dialed down.) The Birthday Cake Pop is a romp back to childhood birthday parties when gi-normous frosted flowers, and not the batter, determined the cake's quality. And that's the case with the Birthday Cake Pop too - looks trump taste. Even so, little girls - and big ones too, I imagine - will love the vanilla cake encased in a bubblegum-pink shell dotted with sugar sprinkles.
Left in Starbucks' hands, cake pops might languish after their fifteen minutes of fame. Enter Frost Doughnuts. The gourmet donut shop introduced their version of cake pops -"Frost Pops" - a month ago and they've been selling out ever since. Though Frost Pops come in boutique-style cellophane bags tied off with pink ribbons, these pops don't just rely on their good looks. Frosting, butter cream and even cream cheese are blended directly into various flavors of cake donuts, creating moist, slightly dense and rich cake pops. You'll become a fool for them in no time.
Eve M. Tai Frost Pops: More than just a pretty face
The Red Velvet Frost Pop, a deep red chocolate cake donut enrobed in Belgian white chocolate, is a must-have luxury. White chocolate normally makes me cringe. But the shell is thin enough not to overwhelm and adds a nice sweetness. And hello Cherry Cordial Frost Pop! I'm not talking about grandma's drugstore chocolates that implode into sticky pools of ooze here. Frost's Cherry Cordial Pop mixes cherry cake donut - in boudoir pink - with a butter cream base. Again, there's just enough cherry liqueur to add flavor without tasting like a cliche. This one's dipped in chocolate and will change your opinion about the words "Cherry Cordial" forever.
Frost features two Frost Pop flavors a day. Most are mini-me versions of Frost's regular donut line-up. All are maxi-taste.