I wonder. Are cake pops actually failed petit fours?
My knowledge of the cake-pop process is second-hand, but it would seem to make perfect sense. The crumbled cake pieces squished together into a ball, then dipped in sugary coating could very easily have been beautiful cut-out layered cake before falling to their doom in a bowl of satiny fondant. A tender-hearted kitchen maid rescued the frail floundering pieces. Her frugality prohibited her from tossing the ugly chunks of sugar-soaked cake, so she decided to try again. This second time around, extra fondant glued the dipping stick to the ball of cake crumbs. As she twirled the dripping creation, her eyes lit up with memories of another sugary treat: a lollipop. Ta-DA! Cake Pops are invented.
So, you might say I’m a sucker for having attempted to make petit fours at home. My excuse is that the tools & ingredients were a $1 garage sale find. The fact that a miniature pitch fork was one of the tools should have triggered a warning light, but my brain was projecting images of dainty tea cakes instead.
The aromatic pound cake would have been a dense, moist midnight snack (Yes, sometimes those baking urges come after 9 p.m. and then you have to stay up watching the oven to be sure that the cake does rise, but doesn’t burn.). However, I was intent on letting the cake cool so that I could slice, layer and cut it, in preparation for the fondant bath.
Next morning, I sifted the lumps out of the Martha Stewart mail-order fondant mix while heating up a double-boiler. The seemingly small amount of water, butter and corn syrup was adequate to dissolve the white powder (well, almost).
Many internet videos, recipes and explanations urge the cook not to get discouraged on the first try. It takes practice to do well at an art. The dip, flip and swirl bit did take some practice, but it was getting the cake to stay standing on the wire rack after you slide it off the pitch fork that seemed impossible.
So. Unless you are ready to spend a lot of time and effort to satiate your lust for cake layered with sugary preserves, dipped in a thick layer of sugar & corn syrup mixture, I’d recommend that you spend the extra money to just buy one or two from the professionals.