Friday, February 10, 2012

12 Resolutions Project: Champagne Cake Pops

it's month two of my 12 resolutions of 2012 project. the short story is i have challenged myself to make one thing that i have been intimidated to make every month this year. the long story, should you choose to read it, is here.

in january, i made marshmallows and was pleasantly surprised how easy it was. it was messy - i ended up with powdered sugar everywhere - but they were so easy that i am pretty sure i will never buy marshmallows again.

this month, i tackled cake pops. these have been popping up everywhere recently. apparently cake pops are the new cupcakes. heck, starbucks even has them. i scoured the entire internet pinterest for a recipe that struck my fancy and (surprise, surprise) i settled on champagne cake pops. (yes, i used prosecco so either will work).

i have actually made these twice already. once for a birthday celebration for my mom and once to take to a wine tasting party. they both turned out beautifully. the only downfall, is they are very sweet. cake, mixed with icing, and dipped in chocolate makes for a super-sweet bite. the next time i make them, i will use less sugar in the cake itself and see how that works. i also think a chocolate version would cut down a little of the sweetness.

similar to the marshmallows, this dessert proved to be easy to make but time consuming. the steps are simple yet require cooling time in between nearly every stage.

step 1 - bake cake and let cool completely
step 2 - make icing
step 3 - mix together cooled, crumbled cake and icing
step 4 - roll into balls and refrigerate 30 minutes
step 5 - dip sticks into melted chocolate and insert stick into each cake pop. refrigerate at least 1 hour
step 6 - dip each cake pop into melted chocolate, decorate as desired and let cool completely

i ended up baking the cake the night before and letting it cool overnight. the next morning i rolled the balls and added the sticks in the am and dipped 2-3 hours before the event. luckily, the final chocolate dipping hardens fairly quickly and doesn't need refrigeration.

the verdict? these cake pops are perfect when you are wanting to make a visually impressive dessert. these would make a beautiful centerpiece and can be customized to fit with any color theme. an added bonus? they are delicious! i will definitely be making these again.

p.s. they would be a perfect dessert for valentine's day. red velvet cake pops or chocolate cake pops with pink and red sprinkles would be ideal.

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Champagne Cake Pops 
adapted from sweetapolita
makes 6 dozen cake pops (can easily be halved just bake one 8x8" pan)

champagne cake:
3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
6 egg whites, room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups champagne/prosecco, room temperature

preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together on medium speed until pale and fluffy, roughly 4-5 minutes. meanwhile, sift together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and set aside. slowly add egg whites to butter mixture on medium speed. combine vanilla and champagne in a measuring cup. alternately add dry ingredients and champagne, beginning and ending with dry (flour, champagne, flour, champagne, flour) and mix until fully incorporated, but do not overmix.

evenly distribute batter into two buttered and floured 8x8" baking pans. bake at 350°F 25-35 mintues until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. cool completely on a wire rack.

champagne buttercream icing:
26 tbs unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup champagne/prosecco
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, roughly 8-10 minutes. slowly add powdered sugar and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. add vanilla and champagne and beat 3 more minutes. icing will be creamy and fluffy.

working in 2 batches, break up one completely cooled cake and add to bowl of electric mixer. mix on low speed for 1-2 minutes until completely crumbled. add 1 cup champagne icing and blend until mixed. it will form into a dough-like consistency. repeat with remaining cake and icing.

using a small cookies scoop (for uniform-sized balls) roll dough into balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. refrigerate 30 minutes.

chocolate coating:
melting chocolate in the color of your choice
white lollipop sticks (you can find them here

melt a small amount of chocolate in a tall thin container for easy dipping. dip each stick into a little chocolate before inserting stick into ball. repeat with each cake ball. place on parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate at least 1 hour (can be overnight).

melt chocolate in a tall thin container for easy dipping. dip each ball into chocolate and allow chocolate to drip off (i like to tap the wrist of the hand holding the stick to get excess chocolate off). place on parchment-lined baking sheet and immediately decorate with sprinkles if desired. repeat with each ball and let sit at room temperature until chocolate coating has hardened. store in airtight container.


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