For debs' party, I knew right away that I was going to bake cupcakes instead of a cake.
I bought a Wilton cupcake tower (I have to say I am disappointed in it. It's so...small. Costco has a different type that I may try for the future).
Anyway, to go along with the theme of the party and everyone looking like debs, I decided the cupcakes should look like debs too.
There were a few options, like using a cake decorating tip to do frosting hair (the tip where the frosting comes out like spaghetti),
or I could snip some pieces of fruit roll-up or something.
Instead, I decided to use the idea of piping chocolate onto waxed paper, as seen in the book Hello, Cupcake!
, by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson (a great book for decorating ideas).
Debs has dark hair underneath, and very light blonde on top, so (using a ziploc bag) I first piped milk chocolate on the area that would be close to the face, then I used white chocolate for the majority of the rest.
I let the hair chill a few minutes, until it was firm enough to peel off the waxed paper, then the hair was placed atop the frosted cupcakes.
I used a cream cheese frosting that was tinted a very pale pink for skin color, made by adding a small amount of Wilton red paste color.
For the cupcakes themselves, I decided on chocolate banana (debs favorite coffee flavor).
I was going to make the devil's food cupcake recipe by America's Test Kitchen, and I so wish now that I had followed through on that.
A day before the party, I was running so short of cash and time, I (and I'm mortified to say this) ended up using a boxed mix and adding mashed banana to it.
It was horrible.
I always bake from scratch, but I was really down to the wire on the last few dollars, so I tried to save a few bucks.
I won't do that again.
But I digress.
I used piping gel for the eyes, nose, and mouth.
I also mounded up frosting to give the noses heighth.
The plan was to roll fondant balls in iridescent powder and make pearl necklaces, but I ran out of time.
Later, I saw that King Arthur Flour sells sugar pearls
, so I may use those for something in the future.
So, I was at a client's house the day of the party, and it was the last day of a week long dog-sitting job.
I baked the cupcakes the night before, in some amazing black and white polka dot liners
that I bought through the A Cupcakery
Debs likes black and white polka dots, so that was also a theme that was going on: I ordered both 11 and 16-inch balloons on eBay (some black with white dots, some white with black dots), and had them filled with helium the day of the party at a local party store.
Most of my gifts were placed in polka dot gift bags, and/or tied with polka dot ribbons.
It was perfect that debs showed to the party dressed in a black and white dress.
Not polka dots, but black and white.
Two of the gifts she was given were $50 gift certificates to the Black and White Store.
But back to the baking.
The night before the party, I also made the cookie dough, and left it to chill in the refrig.
I finished at 2am, then set my alarm for 7.
I had to wash the sheets, pack my car, sweep the floor, clean the counters...AND finish all the decorating before my client's came home at 3pm.
I was expected at the restaurant at 6:15pm.
In the morning, I started cutting out the cookie dough in star shapes, and baking the cookies on lollipop sticks.
I needed to make more dough (I made 20 magic wands).
They turned out great.
As I was baking cookies, I was also decorating cupcakes.
At 2pm (seven hours later), I was STILL decorating cupcakes, and had to make a mad dash to sweep and pack up my bags.
When my clients arrived at 3pm, all my clothing and all of debs' boxes filled with gifts were sitting on the livingroom floor.
Cake batter was on the handle of the refrigerator door.
Cookies were now cooled, but were all along the kitchen counter on paper towels.
The sheets were washed, but the bed was not made.
The dishwasher hadn't yet been emptied.
Where did all the time go?
Sadly, my client was not amused.
Most clients would have been understanding with my not being finished (shoot, most house-sitters don't wash the sheets, or any of that).
This client, however, is a bit OCD with the cleaning.
I offered to finish up, but she said she'd do it, then gave me a cold silent treatment.
In the tense environment, I hurriedly packed up my car, but I had so much stuff that it took an hour.
And it was soooo incredibly hot that day!
I was miserable.
I finally threw off my heels and opted for sandals until I got to the restaurant later that night.
The cupcake faces were all slightly different, and really quite adorable.
All were chilling nicely in the refrigerator, so I took them out and placed them in an awesome Snapware
three-tier carrier that my friend Jen loaned to me for the occasion.
I have got to get one of those.
Their website only shows two-tier carriers now, so I don't know if the product has been discontinued.
I hope not.
I wish I could go back in time and take a photo of the decorating, but I was so rushed and stressed and needing to escape that tension, that I didn't get one.
Um, remember how I said it was hot?
Well, at the same time the A/C in my car is going out.
During the drive from my client's house to Tracie's (so I could frost the magic wand cookies) all the decorated faces that took me so many hours to create...
What to do?
All we could do was make jokes about aging.
Here's one that is partially complete, so you can get the idea of what they looked like originally
(flickr sizes these poorly, so you have to click on the images to enlarge)
Debs in the middle, with several of the guests holding their debs fans.
It was later in the evening, so some people had left, and most had removed their costumes.
Tracie has more photos to send me, so I'll post more later.
Labels: baking, friends, party ideas