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Expect unexpected eats for April Fool’s Day

By - Last modified: March 30, 2012 at 11:39 AM
These cupcakes from the Harrisburg Cupcake Cup resemble spaghetti and meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy and a hamburger. Photo/Amy Spangler
These cupcakes from the Harrisburg Cupcake Cup resemble spaghetti and meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy and a hamburger. Photo/Amy Spangler

There’s just something about April Fool’s Day that brings out my inner child.

And creating mischievous, trompe l'oeil dishes is the perfect excuse for playing with your food. Here are some ideas to get you scheming for a day of foolery.

Sweets that look savory

Yay, it’s time for dinner — sort of. Diabetics, beware, because this will be the sweetest meal you’ve ever had.

For example, the chocolate empanadas from Blue Moon restaurant in York look surprisingly like the originals, except they’re filled with rich chocolate cookie dough.

What can you make at home? How about chicken not-pie? Don’t let the flaky top crust fool you because this pie actually contains candy vegetables swimming in a creamy pudding sauce.

You’ve heard of breakfast for dinner, but what about dessert for breakfast? Toasted pound cake, yogurt and canned peach halves make a perfectly fake fried egg on toast. For soft-boiled egg lovers, white chocolate mousse and mango puree egg creams look just like the real thing.

Mmm, crispy, salty onion rings. Oh, wait, they’re actually apple fritters made into rings. Silly me!

Have a little fun with cupcakes! The little cakes easily can be transformed into countless fauxtastic treats, including spaghetti and meatballs, hamburgers and even mashed potatoes and gravy. Speaking of which, you can make a mashed-potatoes-and-gravy sundae that looks equally deceiving.

Savory foods that look sweet

Today you just might have a case for eating dessert first. These treats might look sinfully sweet, but underneath it all they’re as savory as they come.

Café Fresco in downtown Harrisburg has a knack for this kind of trickery with its cappuccino of exotic mushroom soup with whipped white truffle cream. Looks good enough to drink, or, um, eat. You can follow in Café Fresco’s footsteps with a Camembert cappuccino, which is made with, you guessed it, cheese.

Cake, anyone? Say, that Bundt cake sure looks good, except that it’s actually made with biscuit dough and pizza toppings. How about some good old birthday cake? Too bad it’s really a meatloaf cake iced with mashed potatoes! The same can be said of these adorable meatloaf cupcakes.

At least you can always count on a bowl of cereal. Or can you? This cream of cauliflower soup with garam masala-spiced Cheerios couldn’t be more misleading.

Maybe you can make up for it with some chocolates. Make sure to open the lid and look a little closer because this box of chocolates is all meat and no chocolate.

If all else fails, you could do something subtler, like garnishing your deviled eggs with cayenne pepper rather than paprika. There’s also the classic salt in the sugar bowl or sugar in the saltshaker switcheroo.

April Fool’s! Please share your best food prank.

Erica Streisfeld is the editor for custom publishing at Journal Publications Inc., parent company of the Central Penn Business Journal. She moonlights as a foodie and wino, and many people also know her as founder and organizer of the Harrisburg Cupcake Cup, a community cupcake competition that doubles as a fundraiser for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. Follow her at @HbgFoodandWine.