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Starbucks Cake Pop Kit A Sweet Holiday Activity: Test Drive

Each week, the Huffington Post Canada's Living team will try out something that has sparked our curiosity, and as long as we live to tell the tale (see Danielle Crittenden's post) we'll let you know all about it.

'Tis might be the season for being jolly, but anyone who works in an office knows that it's actually the season for an excess of baked goods, and the miniature treats so popular as of late aren't helping much. Starbucks Petites offerings are just those, billed as tiny indulgences for mid-day. With the company's recent foray outside of caffeine, they've also created a line of take-home foodstuffs. So what happens when the sneaky little Cake Pops come in a package that makes 12?

The Test Subject: Starbucks Cake Pop Kit, $10.95, available at Starbucks outlets

Methodology: Like most things Starbucks, the kit comes cleverly packaged, with six baggies filled with almost everything you need -- cake mix, frosting, sticks, "confection" drops, and two toppings, candy cane and red sprinkles.

Following the instructions, I started by baking the cake (mix package + water + oil + egg), and then crumbling it into a bowl, mixing in the butter vanilla frosting. It was at this point that I had an inkling of just how much sugar I'd gotten myself into. I formed the now-sticky batter into balls, finding that I had about four more than the kit called for.

Next came inserting the sticks, which meant melting the drops in the microwave, dipping the stick in the white goo and then putting it into the cake ball. They went into the fridge to harden for 30 minutes, and then came the fun part -- rolling the balls in those melted confection drops (which have to be rezapped every five minutes) and adding the toppings.

Amendments: I find peppermint a bit cloying, and sprinkles are frankly tasteless, so I doctored the toppings with President's Choice's Cookies & Creme Topping (incidentally, a great product to have on hand for sundaes). It worked perfectly.

The results: In the end, I had some pretty good-looking cake pops to give my family, though we could each only eat one because of the sweetness. Were they the same as the ones you buy at Starbucks? Not exactly -- baristas apparently have a better handle on covering the ball in icing, and seem to tone down the sugar so as to keep customers from going into a diabetic shock. On the plus side, the homemade pops were much more moist than the ones in store.

The verdict: It took me about an hour to bake the pops, so this could be a nice afternoon activity to enjoy with kids during the Christmas holidays -- getting creative with toppings could be a lot of fun. But at 230 calories and 11 grams of fat a pop, make sure there's a crowd coming over to finish them off before you do.

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