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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Martini, Anyone? Chocolate Cupcakes and Fondant Fun at Le Dolci Cupcakes & Cakes Design Studio, Day 2!

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I’m so glad you all liked the photos and post of my first day at Le Dolci’s Cupcakes & Cakes design studio the other day!  The support and excitement means a lot to me and it makes me really happy knowing you guys want to know and see more of what I do when I’m here.  I can say with absolute conviction that I have the baking itch more than ever now.  I know there are times when we all feel like our passion for certain things starts to wane and we start doubting if we actually love what we believe we love.  But I’ve been doing scrapbooking since the age of 13 and have only wanted more for myself over time and I have a gut feeling this passion for baking is only going to be fuelled more and more in the best way possible.

On the agenda for Day 2 at Le Dolci: chocolate cupcakes and fondant fun!  You’d think after baking cupcakes at home and baking vanilla cupcakes at the studio I’d be set with the chocolates ones.  Not exactly.  You can bake a million times and still not get it right sometimes.  The chocolate batter looked, smelled, and tasted awesome (oh please, like you don’t stick your finger in the mixing bowl to have a taste, right?), but I eyeballed the amount of batter in some of the baking cups wrong and ended up putting a little much batter in some of them with resulted in some chocolate cupcakes that were a little uneven and too big and puffy.  Whoops.  Sigh.  No matter, live and learn, right?  I’m showing the ice cream scoop who’s boss next time and you can bet my next batch is going to be freakin’ perfect.  One very important thing to learn and always keep in mind: if at first you don’t succeed, kick the problem in the ass and do better next time 😀  Regardless, it was mouthwatering seeing the cooling racks with rows and rows full of chocolate and vanilla cupcakes.

Next up, fun with fondant!  This was my very first time playing around with fondant and I felt so giddy as I started rolling, squishing, and moulding balls of it in my hands.  I thought to myself, “hmm, I kind of feel like Duff from Ace of Cakes.  That, and a pizza maker”.  You should have seen me go.  I was smacking it down, stretching it out, kneading it, twisting it, poking it with toothpicks to add colour to it, and because I’m silly, sniffing it.  Mmm, sugary.  Anyway, the fondant fun called for 18 olives with little pimentos in the centers for a corporate cupcake order, so there I was with a dish of different food colourings, a container of toothpicks, and some white fondant to start things off. 

Being at Le Dolci is like being in art class and oh how I’ve missed art class.  The last time I was in an art class was in 10th grade and sadly, for reasons I’d rather not hash out right now, life went in a different direction and my art classes stopped after that.  But art class was the best.  You came in every day with your trusty art kit for a solid hour and and a half to work on whatever project you were working on at the time whether it was moulding clay, watercolour, printmaking, or drawing and the best atmosphere was the best.  You sat on your art stool with your classmates and friends with the radio on in the background and the time just flew by.  And that’s exactly how I felt as I sat in the studio squishing and stretching sweet fondant, and sticking toothpicks into containers of food colouring, quietly trying to achieve the desired olive colour of the company’s olive logo.

And as luck would have it, it took me only one attempt to get the right colour for the first olive!  SWEET.  A dab of leaf green and two dabs of brown did the trick for the first test olive, so all I needed to do was duplicate the colour for a larger ball of fondant big enough to make 18 olives.  I think they turned out okay!  They’re not perfect, but I’d say it’s decent for my first time working with fondant.  I thought it’d be cute to stick a few toothpicks in them for the photos to make them look like martini olives, hee.  With or without – invisible – drinks, every day is a cupcake party at Le Dolci and I can’t wait to keep doing more things with the frosting making, cupcake baking, and fondant squishing 😀

*****

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.