Decorating Cake Pops for Adults: Strawberry Champagne for Valentine’s Day

Decorated Cake Pops for Valentine's DayDecorating a cake can be difficult. It takes time and patience to go through all the necessary steps needed to make your cake beautiful. It’s also a lot of small detail work, which I personally love. So, when Chef Mandy was in the kitchen trying to decorate her tasty little cake pops, it was difficult to not immediately offer up assistance. As her frustration mounted, it was time to suggest a cake pop collaboration. She already had the Valentine’s Day flavors down pat, because what’s not to love about strawberries and champagne? Now it was up to me to do her cake pops some justice and make them shine on the outside, too!

I’ll be honest. Up until that point, I had never actually decorated a cake pop. All of my decorating experience has been with buttercream frosting and fondant. I’ve made Oreo truffles before, so I was hoping that the process would be much the same. What I found through a lot of trial and error were some handy tips and tricks that helped me successfully create a cake pop.

First step is making the actual cake pop. As Chef Mandy suggests, when rolling the crumbled cake and icing, be sure to roll the balls tightly so that when pressed slightly they don’t crack. A firmly rolled cake ball will help prevent the cake pop from falling apart when dipped in the chocolate (I should know…one of my first cake balls came apart in the chocolate because it wasn’t rolled firmly).

Next is to put the cake balls in the fridge to help set them. If you have room in the fridge, you can put your sticks in the cake pops before refrigerating. But if your fridge situation is anything like mine, then it’s okay to put your rolled cake balls in the fridge to set up first and add the sticks later.

While the cake pops are in the fridge, melt your chocolate using a double boiler. Don’t have one? Neither do I! Though double boilers are available for purchase, if you don’t have one, don’t panic. You just need a medium-sized pot and a glass or metal bowl that is large enough to set into the pot with at least 2 inches of clearance between the bottom of the bowl and the inside bottom of the pot. (Check out the picture below for reference!)

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Something to keep in mind if you are using white chocolate like I did for the Valentine’s Day Cake Pop is that it is very temperamental. This is why I use a double boiler instead of the microwave for melting chocolate. You have better control while your chocolate is melting and are less likely to burn it.

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When you are ready to dip your cake balls in chocolate, only pull a few from the fridge at a time to keep them firm until ready for dipping. If you haven’t already put the stick in, now is the time. Gently push the stick into the cake ball about half way through. Gently dip the cake ball on the stick into the melted chocolate, only covering the cake ball about ¾ of the way. Put the cake ball in a stand (a piece of Styrofoam works as a stand if you don’t have one) and the chocolate will drip down slightly to cover the remaining part of the cake pop.

Once the cake pop is in the stand, you can immediately sprinkle with your choice of sprinkles or nonpareil. You can also let the chocolate set for a few minutes and then drizzle with a different colored chocolate; the choice is up to you and the options are limitless!! Here’s a tip if you want to use different colors: be sure that you buy the colored candy melts. Adding food coloring/dye to white chocolate causes the chocolate to “seize” and you won’t be able to drizzle it. Colored candy melts are available at major mass retailers and many online retailers.

I hope that these tips are helpful the next time you are ready to decorate cake pops. Be sure to watch for updates on this post, as the Valentine’s Day Cake Pops were the first of many cake pops I will create this year! They are great options for almost any holiday and I’m sure to come up with new, fun and easier ways to make your cake pop decorating a success!!

Creating Cake Pops for Adults: Strawberry Champagne for Valentine’s Day

Strawberry Champagne Cake Pops

I was recently asked if I would make cake pops. I am not a professional or even a hobbyist cake decorator but, I can bake! So I thought, why not?! Sounds like fun!

People love cake pops! They’re cute, they’re easy to make, they’re fun to decorate, and most of all they’re delicious and fun to eat. We’ve all seen numerous recipes, blogs, ideas, etc.; just take a look at Pinterest and you’ll see hundreds of ideas and recipes for making them at home. Now they’re even sold at Starbucks and other retailers.

As a chef, I quickly set about pursuing ways to modernize cake pops…give them a cool twist…up the ante, so to speak.

So, how do you make your cake pops stand out from the bunch? Two things: unique flavors and alcohol, of course!

My “assignment” was to create cake pops for holidays throughout the year. The next holiday is Valentine’s Day, and what is more iconic for Valentine’s Day than strawberries and champagne? Thus began my thought process for creating alcohol-filled cake pops for each holiday.

  • Strawberry Champagne cake for Valentine’s Day
  • Raspberry Lemon-cello cake for Easter
  • Bourbon Apple Pie cake for July 4th
  • Dark Chocolate Rum cake for Halloween
  • Pumpkin Brandy cake for Thanksgiving
  • Peppermint Schnapps cake for Christmas

And, so it goes.

Side note: I understand that cake pop makers are all the rage these days but, I felt that I didn’t need a gadget. Usually single-use gadgets are great for one purpose and may work well, but that’s it. You spent money on a piece of equipment that you don’t need, which uses space in your kitchen for a recipe that you may make only one or two times per year. Typically you can adapt a recipe to work without purchasing another piece of equipment.

That being said, I designed my recipes so that you can make them without any special equipment. I think that is something we can all appreciate!

Back to the business at hand:

I began my cake pop experiment with the Strawberry Champagne cake pops. Once I had the method and recipe down for one flavor, it would just be a matter of changing the ingredients to create the flavors I chose for the rest of the holidays…with different decorations of course.

Strawberry Champagne Cake Pops:

Champagne and Strawberry Cake Pops

I love strawberry cake. It’s been one of my favorite cake flavors since I was a child. Maybe that had something to do with Strawberry Shortcake and her friends that were all the rage during my childhood in the 1980s…I can’t say for sure! Perhaps that’s why I chose strawberry as the flavor for my wedding cake. I developed and tested a strawberry champagne cake recipe; I wanted a strong strawberry flavor and to actually taste the champagne. Once that was accomplished, I baked the cake and set out to make it into cake pops.

The method I used was to simply bake the cake in a 9×9-inch pan. Once the cake was cooled, I crumbled it into a medium-sized mixing bowl and added a strawberry champagne buttercream frosting, stirring with my hands until it was thick and would hold shape. I rolled the cake mix into balls, just as you would when making meatballs . . . paying attention that they were rolled tightly without cracks and crevices. I laid the balls on a sheet tray, skewered them with cake pop sticks, and put them in the freezer while I melted the dipping chocolate. Freezing them allows them to be firm enough so they don’t “melt” when dipping them in the warm chocolate.

As I said earlier, I am not an experienced cake decorator. But, I wasn’t being asked to make an elaborate wedding cake…I was asked to make cake pops. How hard could that be? After all, I have a fairly extensive food background! I could probably do this no problem!

And, the cake tasted great! I just needed to decorate them. Here are pictures of me decorating my cake pops:

Mandy Decorating Cake Pops 1

Cake Pop Decorating Fail
As you can see, I was not too successful. I just don’t have the patience to decorate! Luckily, we have someone on staff who is an experienced decorator and enjoys decorating and has lots of patience. So, if you are anything like me…have fun with creating flavors and baking but, enlist a friend who likes to decorate to help you complete the project!

Chef Brittney Molinder teamed with me to complete the decorating, and here are her insights.