Gluten Freedom: A Totally Sweet Gluten-Free Cake Pop Adventure

Here's a recipe for what recently proved to be a wholly awesome afternoon:

  1. First, start by obtaining a copy of Bakerella's most excellent book Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats. Be inspired by the cuteness.
  2. Add Shauna of Gluten-Free Girl, who invited me (that's CakeSpy) over to make a batch of these babies, gluten-free. "The cake I can do," she explains, "but I need some help on the cute part."
  3. Cue CakeSpy, who you know is simply made of cute.
  4. Add in a dash of surprise awesome by way of Megan (aka Not Martha), who also found herself free on the same day so joined in on the fun!
  5. Pair all this with an adorable toddler (Lucy, Shauna's daughter) and you've got yourself a batch of total sweetness.

My hands, and Lucy's. Photo by Gluten-Free Girl.Well. All of the pieces were in place, but how do you turn these prime ingredients into sweet success?

First, start with the perfect cake. As previously mentioned, Shauna prepared a gluten-free cake (which was also dairy and egg-free!). But this cake should not merely be praised because it's appropriate for people with a variety of different allergies--it should be praised because it is delicious. And to my delight, it was from a book I had as a child, Alpha-Bakery Children's Cookbook (I remember mailing in cereal box tabs to get our copy in the mail!). As Shauna said,

When I showed my copy to Jessie, before we began baking, she blushed and almost jumped. "I had that book when I was a kid!" She told me she had made everything out of the book, more than once. (Even the Quick Cheeseburger Pie, which I am dying to make for the 1/3 cup of pickle juice in the ingredients list.) And the "X-Tra Special Celebration Cake"? She made it all the time. "This afternoon just got three times better," she told me. 

Next, add a touch of improvisation. Having heard that some candy melts were not safe for gluten-free eaters (and so few of them are labeled with ingredients in craft supply stores!), I was nervous about making someone I picked up some marzipan (reading the ingredient list carefully) instead, and we also employed some chocolate which Shauna had on hand. 

Don't forget to add variety. While waiting for the cake balls to chill, we also maybe snacked on a lemon bar or macaroon or three from Shauna's kitchen. Le yum.

Learn a little. While decorating, preparing, and baking, I learned a little bit about gluten-free baking. I learned a bit about flour(s). I learned a bit about the whirlwind of excitement that comes with having your book, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, cited as one of the best of the year in the New York Times (from Shauna). I got excited all over again about mini gingerbread houses (from Megan). 

Get excited. We all got excited during this baking adventure. Several times each, I think. Perhaps most charmingly, Lucy got excited about my name being Jessie--just like a character in Toy Story. We all got excited about food, baking, and our various geek-out subjects.

Have Fun. The marzipan pops were the most fun to decorate, and I was employed to make a variety of different ones, ranging from a very...special-looking reindeer

to a homemade version of Hermie the elf

to my personal fave, the zombie santa cake pop.

...which was later devoured by Mr. CakeSpy.

But don't get too complicated. We also had some which were simply dipped in chocolate, and they were pretty fantastic.

Now, these cake pops were totally sweet. They tasted good. But sweeter than any of them? The conversation, camaraderie, and inspiration provided by the great company. 2 Sweet 2 B 4 Gotten, for sure!

Find the recipe and more on Shauna's site, Gluten-Free Girl!