I turned to Kevin and asked, “so how many do you think fell over?” He replied, “maybe two?”. Ha! He is so optimistic! I looked at him and said, “really, I think maybe 4 or more”. We arrived, opened the cooler and ALL of them had fallen over onto each other. We both turned to each other and just laughed.
This past weekend Ella & Grace turned 1 year old. For those of you that don’t know who Ella and Grace are, they are two little girls, one of which I watch on a weekly basis and the other one I casually sit for here and there. Their mom’s asked if I would be willing to cater their joint 1 year birthday bash. How could I say no? The theme for the party: Luau!
It was one crazy, fun filled weekend! I started last week by baking the cupcakes and smash cakes on Tuesday, made the fillings and butter cream on Wednesday, grocery shopped and prepped the food on Thursday, then cooked all day Friday! The party, complete with food and cake covered babies, was a hit!
On Friday night, Kevin and I delivered all of the food to Grace’s house to keep in the fridge until Saturday since mine was to be packed with cupcakes and two smash cakes. We then went downtown Charleston and enjoyed walking around in the nice warm evening weather. We stopped by a new frozen yogurt shop and each enjoyed a small treat. It was a nice date.
Saturday morning we woke up early, enjoyed a nice breakfast of waffles on our front porch and immediately set our mode’s into high gear for the party. By the time I finished icing all of the cupcakes and decorating the smash cakes I felt like I had absorbed so much butter and sugar just through my skin and I had not had one single bite! We showered, dressed in our “Luau” appropriate clothes and loaded up the car.
Kevin had made a special “carrier” for my ice cream cone cupcakes since they don’t fit securely in a cupcake carrier or in muffin tins. Little did I know that in order for his contraption to work, I had to keep it pulled tight….it was constructed of aluminum foil, cardboard, and duct tape. (Gotta love it!) So I put the ice cream cone cupcakes in the cooler thinking that they would be fine in this contraption and make the trip. There was only a dozen of them… why wouldn’t they make the 15 minute drive? Hmmm….what do you think?
For those of you that don’t know, we drive a Jeep. Yeah, a freakin’ Jeep! Definition of “Jeep”: a vehicle that finds every damn bump in the road, shakes on a smooth road, and is pointless to even turn on the A/C’. Oh, and to make matters worse, we are undergoing MAJOR construction in Charleston right now so our roads are crappy.
About a mile away from Grace & Ella’s party, I turned to Kevin and asked, “so how many do you think fell over?” He replied, “maybe two?”. Ha! He is so optimistic! I looked at him and said, “really, I think maybe 4 or more”. We arrived, opened the cooler and ALL of them had fallen over onto each other. We both turned to each other and just laughed. Note to self, bring the butter cream in a pastry bag and ice any future ice cream cone cupcakes at the destination!
(I tried to fix them the best I could with no extra icing to work with. )
All of the other cupcakes, food, and the two smash cakes made it perfectly. In the end all that mattered were that the smash cakes arrived untouched, which they did since I held them the whole way. The party turned out better than I had planned and everyone had a great time! The girls definitely enjoyed their cakes. I wish I could say that I don’t want to see butter cream for a very long time, but considering I deal with it on a weekly basis, I doubt that is going to be possible.
The food menu:
Pulled Pork Barbecue served with homemade sauce, corn muffins, and buns
Slow-cooked Baked Beans
Horseradish Potato Salad
Pico de gallo, guacamole and chips
The cupcake menu: (All butter cream was European butter cream)
Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (recipe can be found here)
Margarita with lime frosting
Devil’s Food with chocolate ganache and vanilla butter cream
Vanilla bean cake with vanilla butter cream
Ice cream cone cupcakes with devils food cake and vanilla butter cream
Grace’s cake was strawberry banana with vanilla butter cream
Ella’s cake was blueberry with vanilla butter cream
Sea Shells- made using a plastic mold purchased from Michaels and melted Baker’s brand white chocolate bars
Sand dollars- made by rolling gum paste to 1/4″ thick, cutting with round cutter, and hand drawing the design
Hibiscus flowers, fish, and Sign- made by coloring and molding gum paste into desired shapes.
Sand- graham cracker crumbs
Yield: Three 9″ rounds, 1 half sheet or 24 cupcakes
2 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups plus 1 1/2 teaspoons All-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup butter, unsalted
3 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I added 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste in addition)
1 cup egg whites or pasteurized egg whites in liquid form
1 1 /2 cups milk
Preheat the oven to 350. Spray nonstick cake pans, muffin tins, or sheet pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together cake flour, all purpose flour, and baking powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add the salt and vanilla.
Set the mixer to low speed and gradually add the egg whites, scraping often.
Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture in two batches, starting with the flour. Scrape down the bowl between each addition and beat until thoroughly combined. Set the mixer to medium high speed for about 20 seconds then stop and scrape the sides of the bowl.
Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans or muffin tins. For 9″ cake pans, bake 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cupcakes take 20 -25 minutes or until they spring back after being touched.
Allow cakes to cool for 20 minutes until flipping out of pan. Cool completely before icing.
To make the margarita cake, add 1 tablespoon of key lime juice to batter and zest 1 key lime. Omit the vanilla bean paste.
To make the strawberry banana cake, fold in 1 smashed banana and 1/2 cup of pureed strawberries to finished batter before dividing into pans.
To make blueberry cake, fold in 1 cup of pureed and strained blueberries to finished batter.
Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake
Yield: Three- 9″ rounds, 1 half sheet, or 24 cupcakes
2 2/3 cups All-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup strong coffee
Preheat the oven to 350. Spray pans to be used with non stick spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, vanilla, and almond extract. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
Set the mixer to low speed and add the eggs, one at a time, scraping between each addition.
Alternately add the flour and sour cream mixtures to the butter mixture in two batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl after each addition.
Gradually pour in the coffee. Scrape down the bowl and beat until thoroughly combined.
Divide the batter evenly between the pans. For 9″ cake, bake 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. For cupcakes bake 20-25 minutes or until they spring back after being touched.
Allow cakes to cool for 20 minutes before flipping out of pans. Cool completely before icing.
Recipes adapted from: The Confetti Cakes Cookbook by Elisa Strauss
European Butter Cream
Yield: enough to frost 24 cupcakes
22 ounces granulated sugar
9 ounces egg whites, or pasteurized egg whites in liquid form
20 ounces unsalted European butter, cut into small chunks, half cold half room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons vanilla powder
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla powder. Whisk together over a pot of boiling water, whisking constantly until mixture is heated to 120 degrees and the sugar crystals have completely dissolved.
Place the bowl on the stand mixer and fit with whip attachment.
Whip the egg white sugar mixture on high speed until stiff peaks form and the bowl cools down.
Once stiff peaks have formed, set mixer to low speed and slowly add in your butter 5 ounces at a time. Once you have added all of your butter set your mixer to medium high speed and continue to whip meringue/ butter mixture until the mixture has emulsified together and has achieved a smooth creamy texture.
If your butter cream is too warm, your mixture may become too liquid. If this happens, simply refrigerate your mixture for 10 minutes, then try re-whipping again. It may come together some days and others take a while depending on the temperature of your kitchen and humidity.
To make margarita frosting, add 1 teaspoon of lime juice to every 1 cup of European butter cream. Use green sanding sugar to “rim”cupcakes.
Source: Feast on this! original
Yield: 2-3 cups
1 cup heavy cream
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Place chocolate in a glass or metal bowl. Set aside.
Scald cream in microwave safe bowl or in a saucepan over medium high heat on the stove.
Gently pour over chocolate and let set for 1 minute.
Whisk together chocolate and heavy cream until smooth and uniform in consistency. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until set.
In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add the set up chocolate cream mixture. It will have a very thick consistency similar to that of truffles.
Mix on medium speed until mixture begins to soften. Add in 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup to help soften and smooth the mixture. You may need to add more to get your desired consistency for icing cupcakes.
Pipe or smooth onto cakes or cupcakes.
Source: Feast on this! original recipe