Sunday, February 26, 2012

We Are Young*

{pink & pink balloons}
Violet's third birthday party was a success! There were no injuries, few tears and lots of giggles. No one felt like laughing the night before the party at 2:00 am, but that is beside the point.

I think "Emily and her adventures with the compost bin" might be a more fitting title for this blog than Lovely Infelicity. I'll start with the punch line: I had to throw out my first attempt at a cupcake shaped birthday cake. It was 11:30 pm when the cake hit the bin.

On Friday after Violet went to bed Jeff, Julia and I kicked in to party-prep high gear.  We baked Martha Stewart's yellow buttermilk cupcakes (for the kiddos to decorate), we made Magnolia Bakery vanilla buttercream icing (in pink and white), we made banana chocolate chip muffins for the mamas (and made sure to have a healthy amount of Baileys on hand for their coffee), we cut fruit, made bunny shaped sandwiches and organized the food table. Julia also painstakingly strung cupcake holders and doilies to make a beautiful streamer to decorate our dining room window.

As you may recall Violet had a cupcake themed party. A cupcake shaped birthday cake seemed like the obvious choice. We borrowed a mould and I whipped up Beatty's Chocolate Cake. I greased the pan well with butter and popped the cake in the oven. As soon as I pulled it out I knew something was amiss. The bottom of the cupcake had risen well above the top of the cake pan while the top looked rather flat. I didn't think too much of it and put the cake, still in the pan, on a cooling rack.

Removing the cake from the pan was the first debacle. It didn't want to come out. I used a silicone spatula to navigate the ridges of the depths of the pan and eventually I was able to get most of it out. Unfortunately, the cupcake shape was seriously compromised.

One of our party guests was unable to have buttercream (she can't eat dairy) so I decided to substitute margarine in the Magnolia recipe. I have three words for you: it doesn't work. Period. We decided to ice the bottom of the cake with white frosting and the top with a bright pink. I tried to smooth the paste like margarine butter cream over the crumbly surface of the deformed cake. I could feel my face getting red. Calm down, I thought to myself, you'll be able to fix this.

I was wrong.

When I put the cupcake shaped, margarine icing adorned cake on the cake plate and stepped back there was silence from the gallery. Then it hit me: the cake looked a lot like a certain male appendage. You read that correctly. The cake looked like an erotic cake, baked by a lactose intolerant maid of honour planning a bachelorette party. I don't know if was our colour choice or the misshaped cupcake form but this cake was obviously too explicit for a three year old's birthday party.

You can guess what happened next. Into the bin it went. Gone the way of so many baked goods before it.

There is no picture. I was too upset at the time.

11:30: start cake #2. This time I used a bundt cake pan and real chocolate buttercream icing (we made a special cupcake for our lactose intolerant friend). There was no way I was risking another erotic cupcake debacle at that hour!

Enjoy a few pictures from Violet's special day.



{violet tulips}

{round two: a cake appropriate for all ages}

{craft time: decorate cake boxes}

{fishies at the birthday girl's request}

{Julia's fruit rainbow}

{the spread}

{everyone got a prize after pin the cherry on the cupcake!}

* this song captures the chaos of party preparation perfectly ;)

Today's recipes can be found: 

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