Happy New Year’s Eve!
Well, you know what they always say: When life hands you Pink Champagne Cake, make Pink Champagne Cake Pops! They do say that, right? So here’s what happened, as there’s kind of a serendipitous story behind these fun, sparkly and boozy Cake Pops. For months now, I’ve planned on doing a girly Pink Champagne Cake post for New Year’s Eve. In preparation for the post, I spent many hours reading what seemed to be every Champagne Cake recipe out there, including every Champagne frosting–I had a vision and wanted to make sure it tasted as decadent and perfect as it sounds. I discovered many (delightful) cupcake variations, but you know me, I had my heart set on a pink fluffy layer cake.
If you’ve not heard of Pink Champagne Cake, it’s a retro American celebratory cake that seems to have gained popularity back in the 1950s. From what I can tell, the original recipe consists of a champagne-infused layer cake (with traditional champagne, not pink) filled with a sweet coconut marshmallow filling and topped with a sugary melted fondant-style frosting (the pink comes into play with pink-tinted frosting, although you can tint the cake pink as well). As you can probably imagine, this rang every single one of my retro-recipe-loving bells. So after much research, I enthusiastically set out last week to make this cake with my own spin on the presentation, but using the traditional combination above. I made it with care, but dare I say the traditional combination just wasn’t for me–the cake layers were wonderful, but the filling was so sticky and tricky to work with, and the frosting much too sugary for me. So…I tried another version I found in the clever baking book, Booze Cakes: Confections Spiked with Spirits, Wine, and Beer. Again, I loved the cake layers and the frosting was delightful–overall it tasted great, but I really had my heart set on incorporating the traditional coconut and marshmallow! I have since come up with some ways to tie these ingredients in, in a way that makes me much happier, but alas–New Year’s Eve is already here!
So back I headed into the kitchen when I realized that I used my favourite bottle of champagne (Veuve Clicquot) in the cake (which was kind of a good thing, since the champagne taste is very present). There was no way I was going to waste these yummy champagne-infused cake layers, so it came to me: I’ll use the cake layers and the frosting to make Cake Pops (cake + frosting + blend + ball + stick + dip in melted chocolate coating + decorate)! Well, the idea of transforming my cake layers and frosting into Bakerella’s Cake Pops that is, I didn’t come up with the actual concept of Cake Pops. Wouldn’t I be clever if I did? That is the crafty brilliance of Angie (aka Bakerella), and if she only knew that day she created her first Cake Pop that they would change the world of dessert and parties forever. She’s one incredibly talented woman who creates some seriously adorable and unique Cake Pops, among many other fabulous baked goods, and who I’ve discovered is simply as sweet as her cake pops. Strangely, though, I’ve never attempted to make her fabulous creation before, until now.
So off I went to blend my champagne cake layers and champagne frosting (I used my favourite whipped vanilla frosting and modified it to be champagne frosting) and turn them into deluxe cake pops (then I remembered how much I loved the glittery pops I spotted here). I’m sorry for not sharing this earlier so you could have given them a whirl for tonight’s festivities, but how fun for any party, wedding or pretty much any celebration. And, yes, we will definitely be snacking on these tonight as we ring in the new year!
The recipe I’m sharing is for the cake layers and my frosting, which together do make for a wonderful cake, so feel free to create it that way, but I’ve also included the steps I took to make them into cake pops. Consider this a raincheck for my Sweetapolita version of the Pink Champagne Cake!
I also want to say thank you from the bottom of my cake-loving heart for all of the support, kind words and enthusiasm you’ve all showed me and this blog in 2011. My mind is flooded with so many fun ideas to share with you, and I look forward to a year filled with even more baking, blogging and sharing.
I wish you all a fabulous New Year’s Eve and New Year filled with love, creativity and magic. Bring on 2012!
Pink Champagne Cake Pops
For the Cake:
- 3/4 cup 170 g unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups 400 g sugar
- 3 cups 360 g cake flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoon 7.5 g baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon 4 g baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon 6 g salt
- 6 180 g egg whites, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon 5 ml pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups 480 ml champagne, room temperature
- Red food colouring optional
For the Frosting:
- 3 sticks + 2 tablespoons 375 g unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
- 3 cups 480 g confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1/4 cup 60 ml champagne
- 1 teaspoon 5 ml pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Few drops of red food colour optional
For the Cake Pops You Will Need:
- The two 8" or 9" round Champagne Cake layers broken uup into pieces
- ~2 cups of the Champagne Frosting
- 1 lb 453 g of white chocolate couverture (I used Callebaut Belgian White Chocolate because I love the quality taste, but you can also use chocolate candy coating--note that white chocolate doesn't get as candy-hard as the candy coating)
- Some coloured white chocolate coating melts if you want to add colour to the coating
- White lollipop sticks I used 6" Lollipop sticks
- Gold Disco Dust optional
- Gold Star Sprinkles optional
For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two round 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans with butter, line bottoms with parchment, butter again and dust with flour.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy on medium speed, about 5 minutes.
While the butter and sugar are blending, sift all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) together and set aside.
Gradually add egg whites to creamed mixture with mixer on medium speed, followed by the vanilla. Add and alternate dry ingredients and champagne, beginning and ending with dry (3 dry additions, 2 wet) and mix until fully incorporated, but be sure to not over-mix.
Distribute batter evenly between the two prepared pans (use a digital kitchen scale for perfectly even layers), and smooth tops with an offset palette knife.
Bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted comes out clean (don't open the oven door before 25 minutes), about 35 minutes. (Ovens vary greatly, so be sure to keep a close eye.) The top of the cake should bounce back when gently touched. Let sit in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes before gently removing from pan. Let cakes rest on wire rack until completely cool.
For the Frosting:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium. Butter will become very pale & creamy.
Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy.
If you are using the frosting for the Cake Pops and not to frost a cake, you can simply blend on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes.
Assembly of the Pink Champagne Cake Pops
Prepare 2 cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpat mats.
Place your broken up (but completely cooled) cake layers in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed for a few moments until you have a nice crumbly consistency (or you can do by hand in a large bowl).
Add frosting gradually into the cake crumbs and blend on medium speed until you have a nice dough-like consistency (I found the mixer very helpful for this), about 2 cups of frosting total.
Using a small cookie scoop (or similar), roll dough into evenly sized balls and place on lined cookie sheets, until all of the dough has been rolled and place in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
Melt a small amount of the chocolate in the microwave (10 second intervals and stirring in between). Dip one end of a lollipop stick in the chocolate and insert into the cake ball. Repeat until you have a stick in every ball. Place in freezer for about 30 minutes, or refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt your chocolate coating in the microwave (20 second intervals and stir). If you're adding some colour, you can include some coloured pieces along with the white.
Dip each ball into the chocolate and gently tap off excess (you may need to place back in microwave for a few seconds if chocolate starts to thicken). If you are serving the Cake Pops ball down (as I did in the photo), you can place onto a clean piece of wax paper or Silpat, stick up, to dry. If you are adding glitter and/or stars, you will want to sprinkle them on immediately after placing each one on the wax paper, as the coating hardens very quickly. If you want to serve your Cake Pops lollipop-style (ball on the top), you will want to insert the end of the stick into a polystyrene foam brick to dry (or florist's foam).
[adapted from Booze Cakes: Confections Spiked with Spirits, Wine, and Beer and Oceana restaurant’s YouTube video recipe]
- This can be done with any cake and frosting flavour.
- I used a quality champagne, but you can also use chardonnay or pink champagne–just remember that since the booze flavour is very present, you’ll want to use a wine/champagne that you like.
- There are endless and adorable Cake Pop ideas over on the queen of Cake Pops, Bakerella’s site and her book, Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats and most recent Cake Pops Kit: New Projects and Old Favorites!