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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fantastical Winter Wonderland Cake Pop Tutorial ♥

People always ask me who my inspiration has been in creating my cupcakes.  I have several.  I'll reveal a few inspirations today.

One is the little me. (The little Amanda before she became Amanda Cupcake). Because she is unshaped by the rest of the world.  She lives her life through her imagination, and when she grows up she believes she can be any one, wear any colors together (they don't have to match), and she has a really big heart for all people, animals, and life. I try to keep her around.

Another is Dr. Seuss. He speaks to the little me. And to the big me at the same time. He probably does that for you too.  He is my kindred spirit. Whenever I read his books, even now as a 33 year old woman I am reminded that he is my role model. In fact, I believe he is the perfect guru. ♥


Inspired by life being whimsical, fantastical, colorful, and wise all at the same time, (a Dr Seuss - esque life) I bring you.. 

Winter Wonderland Cake Pops. A Tutorial.
Made by hand at my Cupcake Mansion in New London, WI ♥ 
(And yes, that's a unicorn painted on the window, inspired by the little me..and the little you)!

Yes, they are edible.
Hotttt Pink
Christmas Green
Wonderland White
(those are my own Amanda-made color names but I really "decked the halls" with White Candy Melts, Chefmaster Candy Colors in Green & Pink, and Neon Candy Stars).

♥ Make time to have fun and be patient!  Find a friend, or a son, daughter, mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, etc to make these with  ♥ 
♥ Bake a cake and turn it into a play-dough-esque cake pop blend (see recipe for cake pops below). 
♥ The best way to describe how to make these "trees" is to think of molding your cake pop blend into a small cone shape.   
♥Once you've made your tree shape, you will refrigerate the little tree shapes for appx 30 minutes to an hour so they are firm enough to dip into candy melts. 
 ♥ While your trees are in the refrigerator, melt your candy melts in the microwave in 15-30 second increments.  (If you over microwave your candy melts they will burn and be too lumpy for dipping)
♥ Dip your cake pop sticks in the melted candy and immediately insert the wet side of the stick into the bottom of the cake pop tree (as shown above).  
♥ Let the sticks dry in the cake pop trees for a few minutes.

Now you can start dipping your trees in your deep dreamy pools of melted colorful candy melts. (wouldn't it be amazing to have big buckets of this available at all times?!?!)

Every tree must be topped with a Neon Star! ♥

Quick! Before the candy melts dry, turn your cake pops right side up and stick in a cake pop stand or floral foam.  Top your wonderland trees (by hand) with edible glitter, disco dust, and neon stars! Right now, they already look like trees, and they are pretty so you could just leave them like this...

Or you could add drippy snow (and this part is fun because you don't necessarily have to have a steady hand. Snow and ice are supposed to drip..just like candy melts).

I pour white melted candy melts into a ziploc bag, cut a small hole in the bottom corner and start piping snow onto each little tree. This is when everything starts to look really really magical. (Excuse my frosting dyed hands above.  My hands truly do tell the wonderful story of my life!I'm not in L.A. anymore. Ah the days of perfect manicures that lasted at least a week!)

These remind me of the Abominable Snowman from Rudolph. My friend said they remind her of Rainbow Brite & her Sprite ♥ Both bring me back to the little me. You should have seen how I made these. Like a true artist: I "threw" sugar crystals and sprinkles at them while the candy melts were still somewhat wet! 

You have now created a village of Winter Wonderland Trees!

My favorite disco dust colors for trees: Avocado Green, Rainbow, and Hologram Silver. These don't have to be for Christmas, you can make them for a blustery wintery snow day too.

Cake Pop Recipe:
I make cake pops from from scratch, because the cake is more dense and holds its shape when you mold it.
This is an awesome recipe to use - I have adapted Magnolia Bakery's red velvet recipe (I added a little something that gives it an Amanda touch). It makes the yummiest cake pops:

3 1/3 Cups Cake Flour
3/4 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
2 1/4 Cups Extra Fine Baking Sugar
3 Large Eggs (preferably at room temp)
6 Tablespoons of Super Red Americolor Gel Paste
3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Almond Extract
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons of cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda

Instructions for making the cake from scratch and turning it into cake pops:
1. Sift cake flour in a small bowl and set aside.
2. In a stand mixer, cream butter, eggs, and sugar together.
3. In another small bowl, combine cocoa, vanilla extract, almond extract and red color together.
4. Pour Buttermilk into a 2 Cup glass measuring cup, and dissolve 1 1/2 teaspoons salt into the buttermilk.
5. Now alternately add the dry and liquid ingredients to the creamed mixture until well blended.
6. Last but not least, a magical little ingredient blend: in a small bowl, mix the cider vinegar and baking soda. It will fizz. That's why I call it magical.
7.  Add the magical blend of baking soda and cider vinegar to your cake batter and blend well with your mixer.
8.  To make cake pops:  Bake the cake mix in a 9x13 pan or in cupcake liners. 
9.  Once cake is done baking, crumble up your cake mix into your mixing bowl.
10.  Let the crumbled cake mixture completely cool.
11. Once cooled, add 2-3 Tablespoons of frosting at a time to the crumbled cake mix using your clean hands or a large metal spoon. 
12.  Then roll by hand into desired shape onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
13.  Cover your cookie sheet with saran wrap and place the cake pops in the refrigerator for hours (or until the cake is firm enough so that it won't fall off of the stick when you dip the cake pops).

TIP:  When dipping cake pops, make sure you melt candy melts into a deep enough bowl so that your cake pop doesn't smash against the bottom of the bowl.

Basic Buttercream Frosting Recipe:
(I even used it on some Green "Grinch" inspired cupcakes ,but you can also use it to mix with your cake pops (green color was Electric Green from Americolor)♥

1 Cup Butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2-3 Cups Powdered Sugar
1-2 tsp of Heavy Whipping Cream (if you want a creamier frosting)

Directions:
Cream the butter and vanilla in a stand mixer until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar to your creamed mixture. If frosting is too stiff, or if you want it to be creamier you can also add Heavy Whipping Cream

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