Cupcakes are facing stiff competition from the new 'cake pops'
Cake pops offer more of the best parts of dessert
Although recipes vary, cake pops are essentially crumbled cake mixed with a generous dollop of frosting, rolled into a ball and fashioned on to a stick. The pop is then chilled and dipped in a colourful melted candy mix and decorated in increasingly imaginative ways.
These tasty, golf-ball sized bites are popping up everywhere, not least at children's birthday parties, school functions and even weddings. One can find assorted cake-pop cookbooks - in several languages - as well as step-by-step cake-pop tutorials online and even special pans devoted to the cause.
The craze first came to the world's attention via Bakerella.com, a popular blog that translated into huge success for the author, who last September published a cake-pop cookbook that went on to become a New York Times bestseller. The aptly titled Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats instructs enthusiasts how to fashion cake pops into an assortment of creatures, from rabbits to robots.
Never one to miss a trick, Starbucks picked up on the trend and promptly stocked its shelves. The treats continue to adapt to tastes, branching out from straight cake to include brownie and cheesecake varieties. People are making cake-pop babies, cake-pop Berts and Ernies (from the popular US television show Sesame Street) and even cake pops that look like cupcakes.