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Lil Rae Cakes; Courtesy of Jenny Rae.
There are many contenders for the "next cupcake," but no dessert has ever truly secured that title. While doughnuts and macarons vie to become an enduring national obsession, F&W thinks one innovation is better poised for this feat: the cake ball, a.k.a cake truffle. Sugar genius Christina Tosi introduced a superrich version at New York's Momofuku Milk Bar in 2010, and the trend has continued to take off at bakeries across the country.
The appeal is understandable. Similar to mini cupcakes, their modest size makes cake truffles seem less indulgent; they can be speared on sticks and sold as cake pops; and batches are easily portable because they're glazed, like Godiva's new chocolate-covered collaboration with Ace of Cakes' Duff Goldman himself. The round shape also takes well to out-there decorations. West Coast baker Lil Rae Cakes created the pretty ladies in the photo above and has also designed versions that look like robots and sporting equipment. Given their viral popularity on blogs like Bakerella, it's also not surprising that cake balls and pops are inspiring new technology. F&W recently enjoyed testing the Babycakes Cake Pop Maker for home bakers, and there are multiple iPhone apps, including Cake Pop Maker, which turns mixing and matching flavors with different looks into a game. To try the trend, here are five top spots to buy delicious cake balls now. Check back in October to make Grace Parisi's terrific, lemony, ghost-shaped cake pops for Halloween.
WHERE TO FIND CAKE POPS + TRUFFLES
Buzz Bakery, VA: This DC-area bakery is run by local star pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac (of Thanksgiving Pie Bar fame). MacIsaac's red velvet pops dipped in white chocolate earned an adult-approved spot on the Washingtonian's Best of 2012 list earlier this summer, and she has also perfected gluten-free versions in vanilla and chocolate with a dark chocolate coating. buzzbakery.com
Cake Truffles Courtesy Godiva.
Godiva, Nationwide: Launching in stories on September 1, the chocolatier's new Cake Truffles, created with celebrity baker Duff Goldman, are the latest addition to the genre. The collection features four Ace of Cakes–inspired flavors, including Cookie Dough (cookie-dough-flavored ganache with a milk chocolate shell topped with dark chocolate chips) and Goldman's favorite: Butterscotch Walnut, a ball of caramel and maple walnut cream, surrounded by milk chocolate and molasses (left). godiva.com
Holy Cacao, Austin: Leave it to food truck city to boast a trailer that sells cake pops. This dessert specialist makes six varieties, including dense Brass [Cake] Balls with peanut butter and cookie crumbs, and a spicy chile-chocolate version with walnuts called Diablo. theholycacao.com
Courtesy of Jenny Rae.
Lil Rae Cakes, Los Angeles: By blending frosting and fresh cake into a ball and then covering it with a candy coating, founder Jenny Rae discovered a canvas for her ultracreative edible art. Besides the bombshells above, her repertoire also includes monster balls and Muppets, often featuring classic flavors like vanilla and red velvet. jennyrae.com
Momofuku Milk Bar, New York: The mastermind behind Crack Pie, pastry chef Christina Tosi sells cake truffles in store and online in three flavors: B’day (rainbow cake with sprinkles), Chocolate Chip and Pineapple Upside Down Cake flavored with coconut and white chocolate. momofukustore.com