The French are famous for their trompe l'oeil or "trick of the eye" cuisine. One food is made to look like another.
A famous example is the candy truffle, made of chocolate, in the shape of a mushroom-like root.
This marzipan "potato" is another trompe l'oeil, and one you can make easily with your kids for an April Fool's Day caper.
The "skin" of this potato is marzipan candy dough, made from ground almonds. The body of the potato is a scrumptious chocolate cake mixture.
Once made, serve the small trick potatoes with verve. Place them in a small basket or bowl and present them as a surprise dessert.
After confusing everyone, slice them into 1/2-inch-thick servings and place on dishes accompanied by a triumphant "Ta-da!"
Or perhaps we should say, "Fooled ya."
APRIL FOOL'S MARZIPAN POTATO SURPRISE
Makes 6 potatoes.
2-1/2 cups crumbled chocolate cake (no frosting)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1 roll (7 ounces) almond marzipan candy dough or marzipan paste, which is stickier (available in baking section of grocery store)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup slivered almonds
To make cake mixture: In large bowl, combine cake crumbs, walnuts and preserves by mixing lightly with fork.
To shape "potatoes": Using hands, shape 1/4 cup cake mixture into irregular, stubby, oval "log." Repeat with remaining cake mixture, making 6 "logs" total. Wash hands to remove
To create "potato skin": Cut roll of almond paste into 6 equal, medallion-type pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, place marzipan between 2 sheets of wax paper. Using rolling pin, roll out into 5-inch disk. Remove wax paper. Wrap disk around oval-shaped cake log. Fold in all edges. Press together to seal cake mixture inside. Trim away any extra "skin" to use on another "potato." (Note: Finished shape should resemble a small russet potato, which typically has an imperfect skin. Little bumps and dents make it look more realistic.) Repeat with remaining "potatoes" and "skins."
To finish "potatoes": Lightly roll each "potato" in cocoa powder or brush cocoa on "potato" with pastry brush. Insert a few slivered almonds to resemble slightly sprouted potatoes.
Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna's Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."