Sunday, May 1, 2011

Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Cake

It’s not that I generally advocate the use of artificial substances to control behavior. But, in case you live with a teenager or two, I really feel I ought to share a recent discovery that transforms entire populations of adolescents into grateful, euphoric and docile little dears. Well, at least for as long as they're chewing.

My secret:  Cake Balls.

I came across the Cake Ball bible recently, and it changed my life. I haven’t lowered my blood pressure, lost weight or achieved a higher consciousness, but I have experienced the intense sense of personal power that comes from having a kitchen full of youngsters watching my every cake-ball-making move, sitting still like good little children and whimpering “are they done yet?” every now and then.

Cake balls, while powerful in their effects, are disgustingly easy to prepare.  Here are the directions: Bake a cake. Mash it up. Mix the mashed cake with frosting, the way you’ve seen countless one-year-olds do in their birthday home videos. Roll up the resulting mush into small balls. To gild the lily even further, dip the balls of mush in melted chocolate. Let them dry. Serve. Repeat.

You might suggest that kids who love cake balls are just drawn in by the shiny lure of the new. Who wants a wedge of cake lovingly cut by hand (so last century), when one can have an orb that hints, pleasingly, that it was popped out of an extruder at Mr. W. Wonka’s place. If I could shrink wrap them in cellophane, they’d be even more popular; the teens with whom I associate are anti-artisanal to the highest degree.

You'd be right to observe that cake balls are just the same old thing in a different shape. Agreed, but there’s power in continual shape shifting; why do you think Oprah has remained at the top for so long? As a reinforcement to their appeal, a friend recently said that the cake balls were cloyingly reminiscent of her childhood lunchbox favorite, HoHo’s. Eureka! I had a further clue about their secret taste appeal. Former FDA commissioner David Kessler has made a crusade against restaurants and processed food manufacturers who addictively layer fat, sugar and salt to get us hooked and bulk us up. Mixing the sugar of the cake with the fat of the frosting gives the balls a solid two out of three on the addict-o-meter.

Now all I have to do is figure out a way to inject some saline solution into these babies, and my plan for world domination (at least of everyone under 18) is complete.

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