Oh, the Weather Outside Was Frightful, But the Cake Pops Were Delightful… – Valentine’s Cake Pops at Le Dolci, Part II!

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“Oh the weather outside was frightful, but the cake pops were so delightful, and since we had hearts aglow, let it snow, let it snow, let is snow!”  Our city may have been blanketed in sheets of snow like a snow globe turned upside down yesterday, but with white, red, and pink chocolate wafers melting over broilers and little bowls and cups filled with Valentine’s sprinkles, baubles, and candy, the Le Dolci studio was brimming with warmth and love as we celebrated Valentine’s and all thinks pink, sparkly, sweet, and pretty – cake pop style!  I spent the blistery cold, snowy morning dipping vanilla and chocolate cake balls and hearts in melted chocolate, sprinkling them with enough sprinkles to turn them into leaning towers of cake pops, and eating melted chocolate and cake crumbs off my fingers!  My heart sped up with giddy excitement as I saw pale pink edible pearls, a mix of red, pink, and white heart sprinkles, sparkly red and pink suagr sprinkles, cinnamon hearts, and conversation hearts. 

I will take advantage of any and every opportunity to play with sprinkles.  ANY.  And that includes bundling up like a snowman and leaving the house at the crack of dawn wearing two pairs of pants, three sweaters, two scarves, two pairs of socks, boots, a knit hat, my thickest pair of mitts, a coat, and my winter sunglasses (no windburn for this girl!) in the frigid cold and blowing snow.  Only I really couldn’t tell you how cold it was because I was toasty in all my layers and ended up waddling around like the Michelin man and yanking off my second pair of fuzzy socks because I couldn’t feel my toes.  ANYTHING FOR SWEETS!

Just like the Christmas Cake Pops class, Lisa, our cake pop teacher extraordinaire, began the class by doing a cake pop construction demo.  Crumbling some fresh vanilla cake in a mixing bowl and adding two large tablespoons of buttercream frosting to it, Lisa demonstrated how to roll the cake mixture into balls, how to properly temper and melt chocolate and chocolate wafers, and how to securely attach lollipop sticks to cake balls to minimize “cake pop overboard” situations when dunking and dipping.

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Be My Valentine – Getting Sweet on Cake Pops! Fluttering Hearts & Sparkly Sprinkles at Le Dolci’s Valentine Class

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Cupid’s bow and arrow has shot through Ate by Ate!  Even though I haven’t spent every single Valentine’s in my life doing something memorably fun, I have many wonderful memories, both food-related and otherwise.  I worked at a flower shop for 3 years during my undergrad and yes, I worked each and every single Valentine’s Day!  I wrapped roses and bouquets of flowers until my back and fingers were sore, experienced 3 different cuts on my hand one year with 3 different tools, and I even had a grisly encounter with an ice boulder falling on my head when I went home for the night (long story!).  Even with all that, I can look back at these memories in amusement.  It was my creative outlet at the time and they were truly learning experiences and good ones at that. 

I remember a Valentine’s tin of Hello Kitty chocolates in high school, (the tin currently houses a collection of Hello Kitty stationery), collecting special Valentine’s M&Ms candy tins, an amazing Valentine’s dessert date 3 years ago, a saucy and romantic Cajun meal 2 years ago, and sweetheart sushi, cupcakes, and a delicious dinner of beef tenderloin, enoki mushrooms, peppers, and fried rice last year.

I only wish Valentine’s was another week or two later because there’s so much I want to do!  I could easily spend an entire month posting about Valentine’s and food – writing and photographing desserts, visiting a few places with special themed menus, and doing spotlight posts on heart-shaped goodies around the city.  I’ve been poring over adorable Valentine’s restaurant menus in Toronto and Markham, ogling Valentine’s themed cakes, cupcakes, tarts, and cookies, and getting way too excited over Valentine’s decor, decorations, and kitchen accessories.  Between scrapbooking, writing, studio fun at Le Dolci, and brainstorming for the blog (and yes, painstaking job searching), I’ve been paging through older Martha Stewart Living magazines and older Valentine’s magazines for inspiration and fun.  I have a host of lovey-dovey posts chock full of Valentine’s sweets, treats, and good eats lined up for the next several days, so let’s get this love show started!  First up: the Valentine’s Cake Pop class at Le Dolci! 

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Le Dolci is a private studio located at 75 Portland St., just east of Bathurst near King St. West.  The studio hosts cupcake decorating classes and handles catering for both corporate and personal events.  For more information on classes, schedules, rates, and more, visit their official website here and their Facebook page here.

Rockin’ Around the Cake Pop Tree, Have a Happy Holiday… – Christmas Cake Pops at Le Dolci, Part II

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Even though making cake pops from scratch from start to finish is a time-consuming, messy, and sometimes frustrating, process, my first afternoon of official cake pop making and decorating was one of the most fun and creative experiences I’ve ever had.  After taking part in yesterday’s Christmas cake pops class at our Le Dolci studio, I was bouncing off the walls with excitement and a newfound creative vigor toward sweets and design and decorating.  I knew it would be fun, but I had no idea I would have THIS much fun.  Those cake pops at the bottom left on the photo right below are mine!  I was completely taken aback in the best way possible and I’m happy that my curiousity and eagerness to learn got the best of me because it gave me a memorable experience to take away.

Although I love cake, I’ll be honest, I’ve been resisting the cake pop movement.  I’m a cupcake and cookies girl through and through and cake pops didn’t whip my cream the way those two did.  I was extremely defensive and resentful over any statement proclaiming that cupcakes were out and cake pops were in (as if!).  I hated any type of discussion that involved the contrived perception of food as trendy and even though I still do, I’ve been able to put aside and ignore those superficial ideas and embrace cake pops for what they really are: baking artistry.  I started flipping through beautiful cake pop books and fall asleeping at night with ideas for cake pop colour schemes and cake flavours dancing in my head.  Nothing could replace or erase the love of cupcakes and cookies, but cake pops were making its entrance into my realm of creativity and I was happy to let it share the same space as my beloved cupcakes and cookies.

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Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Cake Pop! Christmas Cake Pops at Le Dolci, Part I

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December is just a few days away and we’re getting our holiday baking and sweets decorating on here at the studio!  Every week Le Dolci hosts and teaches several classes (in addition to private parties and events), and these classes include themed cupcake decorating, macarons, cake pops, truffles, and more!  November has already been full of Christmas themed cupcake classes so far and December is full to bursting with more.  I jumped at the chance to take part in our Christmas Cake Pops class today and I had SO MUCH FUN it was unbelievable!  I’ve baked cake for cake pops in the studio and I’ve crumbled it and rolled the cake into balls with frosting , but I’ve never actually worked with the melted chocolate candy melts and wafers and I’ve never decorated or dunked the cake balls into the melted melts with the lollipop sticks in them before, so this was such a fantastic learning experience.

Alongside a wonderful group of ladies, I spent the afternoon stirring melted chocolate, scurrying back and forth between the mini broilers and our studio table (also known as the Elves Cake Pop Decorating Station, just for today!), drizzling chocolate and sprinkling crystal sugar and sprinkles over my cake pops, laughing over demented looking cake balls that didn’t turn out quite right, and enjoying a true hands-on experience from start to finish.  It was such a fun way to unleash some creative energy and it was the best type of environment to experiment and learn in because we all helped each other out and took inspiration from one another’s bite-sized masterpieces.  In the end we all got to indulge in our sweet and delicious creations, which tasted absolutely phenomenal!  I took plenty of photos during today’s class and I’ll be sharing them with you all today and tomorrow, so stay tuned for tomorrow’s step-by-step lowdown of Le Dolci’s Christmas Cake Pops!

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