Okay, I know there is an extensive thread on the subject of cake pops/cake balls, but I am just not up to reading all 89 pages of the thread, so I apologize if my questions have already been answered there. I have a dear friend who is getting married at the end of July. Originally she asked me if I would make her wedding cake, and of course, I said yes! She has now changed her mind, though, and wants cake pops instead of a traditional wedding cake. But here's the kicker: she wants 600 of them! If I were a pro, I probably wouldn't gasp at this number, but I'm just a hobby baker (one oven, kids, job, life, etc). If I make 3 dozen per day, I estimate it will take me 17 days to complete (& that's with no failures). Am I crazy? Part of me likes the challenge, and I do want to do something wonderful for a good friend, but is this too much?
If I'm even going to attempt to tackle this, I want to start FAR in advance. I've also never made cake pops before, so I will need to do some practicing. May I please ask you lovely ladies for some advice before I begin?:
1. How far in advance can I make the cake pops? Ideally, I would love to be able to make them, coat them completely, and freeze them. However, I am worried about cracking, condensation, etc. when they thaw. Has anyone successfully frozen and thawed completed cake pops? If so, would you please share your methods?
2. I would love to use a cake pop mold (like babycakes or bakepop), because I don't like the texture of cake balls (I want them to taste like little cakes, not chewed up pieces of cake mush. I am also not too thrilled about the process of bake cake, crumble cake, smoosh with filling, roll, freeze, thaw, dip, repeat, times 600. Whew! I'm tired even thinking about it. I'd like to invest in a couple pans. Can someone recommend a good one?
3. The bride wants an assortment of flavors like lemon chiffon, meyer lemon raspberry, chocolate cappuccino, almond blackberry, coconut lime, carrot ginger with cream cheese, etc. Once I bake the cake balls, can they be injected with fillings (lemon curd, raspberry, hazelnut, SMBC, etc)? Or, can they be coated with ganache or buttercream prior to dipping? Will there be any issues with freezing or storing (especially concerned about cream cheese)?
4. Can I coat these with a good quality white and dark chocolate, like El Ray or Valrhona, instead of candy melts? I hate the taste of candy melts or bark, and really want these to be delicious. I'm hoping I can temper the chocolate and get a nice hard glossy coating. Has anyone done this successfully? Any tips for dipping to ensure perfectly round spheres?
Oh yes, and did I mention it's an evening outdoor wedding, and will likely be 90+ degrees? No reason to be nervous, right?
Thank you, ladies, for listening to my ramblings; and for your helpful advice.