If you haven’t had enough of the sweets over the holidays, then today’s post is for you!  New year’s resolutions, what?!  Gina and Mike were married at the Carnegie Institution for Science in September.  They decided bake up a little do it yourself project and treat their guests to cake pops for dessert.  I’ll let her tell the story and let you enjoy Kristen Gardner‘s yummy photographs of their cake creations!  And, be sure to read to the end for her cake pop recipe!

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From Gina:  My husband and I have never been huge fans of cake…sometimes there is not enough filling; it can be dry; not huge fans of fondant, etc.  Of course we would have a small cake to cut into for the traditional cutting, but we really wanted to give our guests something fun and memorable when it came to dessert time.  We toyed with ideas like an ice cream bar, macaroons, or mini petite fours.  Then a friend of mine introduced me to cake balls.  The moment I took my first bite, I fell in love.  It was cake, but not!

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More from Gina:  One day, I was talking to my Matron of Honor about our cake pop dilemma and gave her an overview of how they are made…you bake a cake, crumple it to bits, add icing, form into balls, put on a stick, coat in chocolate, and voila cake pops!  Sounds easy.  I was floored at what came out of her mouth next; “We could do that!  Let’s make them for your wedding!”  She is a fabulous cook and baker, so I knew whatever came out her kitchen would be delicious.  After several hours of deliberation, and “are we really going to do this?” we got to work on how we were going to make 450 cake pops for my wedding!

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More from Gina: We initially turned to Bakarella, who started the cake pop craze for some recipe and design ideas, but most of our confection creations came from months of trial and error, and lots of yummy sampling.  I wanted to give each guest three flavors of cake pops.  We decided on red velvet, peanut butter brownie (my husband’s favorite) and lemon raspberry (my favorite).  We literally made cake pops for months trying to figure out all the in’s and out’s of cake pop making. I was getting a little worried that with all the taste testing I would be cake popped out by the time our wedding came around.  Needless to say, that’s not possible, they are too delicious! A huge THANK YOU to my Matron of Honor for her amazing help and love.  She is marvelous for doing all this with me!

Who is hungry for a cake pop!?  Thank you so much, Gina, for your gorgeous and delicious inspiration!  You can see all of Gina and Mike’s wedding pictures here.

Photo Credits:  Kristen Gardner Photography

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Recipe for DIY Cake Pops

From Gina:  Below are step-by-step directions for making your own cake pops.  You can use any cake mix and pudding you like, along with any frosting.  You can also use jams or peanut butter in place of frosting or a combination of the two.  For my cake pops, the Red Velvet pops were made with chocolate pudding and homemade cream cheese frosting, the peanut butter brownie pops had chocolate fudge pudding, creamy peanut butter and chocolate frosting, and with the lemon raspberry, we used lemon pudding and a combination of seedless raspberry jam and white frosting.

Basic Cake Pop Recipe
1 box of cake mix
1 box of instant pudding mix
4 eggs
1 cup of waster
1/3 cup of oil

Mix-Ins
1/2 cup of frosting or peanut butter or jam

Dipping Chocolate
2 tablespoons of oil
1 bag of Wilton melting chocolate (any color you like)

Styrofoam Board
Used to dry and transport the pops.
1ft x 1ft and 2 inches thick.

Decorating
Your color choice – Wilton Chocolates
Small disposable piping bags

1.  Make the cake.  Mix first 5 ingredients together for 30 seconds on low and then med. for 2 mins.  Pour into greased 9×13 pan and bake for 25-to 28 mins. or until very well cooked.  If it is still uncooked in any place, the cake pops will be mushy.

2. Once the cake is baked, let cool for 20-30 mins.  Once cool, crumble cake (with your hands) into a bowl.  Make sure to break up all the edge pieces.  Mix in 1/2 cup of frosting while the cake is still a little warm.  The heat melts the frosting and helps it spread through the cake.  Mix until just combined.  The mixture will look a little like cookie dough.  Freeze mixture until cold throughout (approximately 12-24 hours).

3.  Once cold, break apart and hand roll mixture into balls (about the size of a Tootsie Roll pop).  Make sure they are firm and not crumbly.  Use some muscle and really use pressure to form a firm ball.  They need to be firm so they hold the stick and can be dipped into the chocolate.  Place on parchment paper in Tupperware.  You can layer them and then place in freezer again until cold throughout (approximately 12-24 hours).

4.  Remove balls from freezer.  Push lollipop stick into the center of the ball.  Allow cake pops to thaw a little bit before you dip them or they will crack once dipped.  The time it takes for the chocolate to melt should be enough time.  You also don’t
want them too soft to dip.

5.  Melt chocolate and oil.

6.  Begin to dip the pop in the melted chocolate.  Dip in a kind of swoop motion and don’t knock off too much chocolate because it will show every lump in your pop.  Just try to cover your pop in one motion.  Practice makes perfect.  Believe me it took a lot
of practice!  Place the stick into the Styrofoam and let dry.

7.  To decorate use your imagination.

8.  The cake pop will condensate for a little while.  It is just some of the moisture from the cake escaping through the chocolate.  I usually let them dry for a whole day on the Styrofoam tray at room tempurature before I display them or put them in a container.

A regular cake mix will yield about 40-45 cake pops and if you use a brownie mix it will yield about 30-35.

Recommendations:  Melt the chocolate and oil in a double boiler.  Don’t heat too quickly.  The chocolate will crystallize.  Transfer chocolate into a mug.  A mug is deeper than a bowl so it allows you to dip without the pop touching the sides.  Add
more chocolate before it gets too low.

Note: If making a brownie base just make the brownies according to the recipe for the fudgy kind and cook to the full amount of time.  Mix in your ½ cup of frosting or peanut butter, and continue the same steps for cake pops.

Photo Credits:  Kristen Gardner Photography

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