Cake Pops!

Well, actually, cake pop stands. My wife Stephanie is the one that makes the cake pops. I just make the things to display them with. This past weekend, our friends Warren and Kaitlin were married, and they asked Stephanie to make some cake pops for their reception. In turn, Stephanie asked me to come up with a classy way to present the cake pops. This is what I came up with:

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There are around 55 cake pops in a batch, and Stephanie planned to make two batches, so I wanted enough space to display 100 treats at once. I settled on five trays, each large enough to hold 20 cake pops. The final dimensions would be 6″ by 7.5″, with a matrix of evenly spaced holes centred 3/4″ from each edge. These dimensions meant that each hole would be 1.5″ from each other hole, which suits the average diameter of a cake pop perfectly.

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I started off with a 1″ x 10″ x 6′ length of clear poplar stock from Home Depot. Because the lumber industry doesn’t understand that numbers have meanings, the actual dimensions of this piece were 3/4″ x 9.25″, which left plenty of stock to cut my five 6″ by 7.5″ rectangles.

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On each piece, I marked out a grid for the holes

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Since I don’t yet own a drill press, I took a trip out to my parents’ place to borrow my Dad’s. It was the perfect tool for the job, and allowed me to drill a hole at each intersection that was perfectly perpendicular to the piece, and the correct depth to boot.

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The diameter of each hole is 5/32″, which is just a bit tight for the sucker sticks that Stephanie intended to use for her cake pops. Later on, I’d end up reaming each of the holes out just a bit to ensure that the sticks could slide in and out of the holes with ease. Unfortunately, the next size up in my drill index is 11/64″, which was a bit too loose for this application.

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To add a bit of detail to the face of each stand, I decided to chamfer each hole with a countersink bit. Back in my shop, I used my router to add a 45 degree chamfer to the edges of each tray. They’re simple touches, but in my eye, they add a bit of detail that really cleans the pieces up.

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After a good sanding down to 220 grit, I finished the trays with two coats of butcher block oil, sanding to 400 grit in between coats.

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Following the manufacturer’s directions, I let the finish cure for three days to ensure that it was food safe before letting anybody lick it. As mentioned above, I had to bore each hole after finishing the pieces, because the oil caused the grain around each hole to expand a bit.

The pieces were finished in plenty of time for Saturday’s wedding, and even though I forgot to take a picture during the reception (in my defense, the lighting was poor, and well, I’d had more than a few beers), I did take this picture of one posing with the left over cake pops the next morning:

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All in all, this was a really fun project. It only took me about a half day to complete (not including waiting for the finish coats to dry), and I’m really happy with how the trays turned out. They aren’t as tasty as my wife’s cake pops, but they do complement them pretty damned well.

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