I'm obsessed with dessert tables.
I suggested to Vale that I take a shot at my first dessert table at Lucy's 1st birthday and, obviously, Vale agreed. Once we decided on "Candy Land" as the theme for Lucy's party, off we ran. We had Kristi (aka 'The Hookup') searching for goodies in Texas, Vale scoured Etsy, and I took it to the drawing boards. Even my mom was in on it, taking me on trips to Homegoods and Michaels to get some loot while we were in NY.
I could have gone crazy buying stuff, but I tried to keep this party within some sort of reasonable budget. I did not let myself buy any new plate, cake stands, or apothecary jars (as much as I would have liked to). Nonetheless, I think we pulled off one heck of a dessert table and I'm officially obsessed with the overall party planning, just as much as the baking and cake decorating.
Paper bunting for a flag banner was a really simple, but cute decoration. I used different patterns of scrap paper sheets, cut them up into triangles, punched holes in the two corners and threaded some string through them.
I sketched the design of the cake and really like the idea of keeping it simple with just the path and not throwing on all the characters or candy. I made 6 different colors of marshmallow fondant and cut them into the curvy path before gluing them on with tylose paste (edible glue).
Kristi made the big lolly pop decorations by painting the backs of paper plates and sandwiching them together. She shipped them to Vale with the dowels and Vale wrapped 'em in cellophane and and tied it with a cute bow. Lucy's proud parents, Mark and Vale, on the left. Lucy, the birthday girl, and Aunt Madie on the right.
Rainbow Twizzlers played the part of a friendlier "Lord Licorice". Lucy's Name Plate on the Candy Land Cake was representin' "Mr. Mint".
I brought my "Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake" print over to Vale's house. It just seemed appropriate. Madie is helping me place the adhesive dots that my mom and I got at Homegoods. The chocolate milk with blue striped paper straws are for "Gloppy" -- the chocolate/molasses swamp dude. "Queen Frostine" (who has since been demoted to "Princess Frostine" -- which makes NO sense so I chose to ignore that fact) took the form of homemade cupcake cookies. I made the "cupcake wrapper" using white and blue stripes of icing and dragged it up and down with a toothpick to create the pattern. The "frosting" is actually frosting and they are topped with edible sugar cherries that Vale found at Michaels. Madie brought over the little Wonka Runts (as well as Taffy and Gummy Frogs). Those plain ice cream cone cookies were just for Lucy since she can't really get after all this sugar just yet.
The kids made some candy necklaces as an activity at the party. Oscar makes it look like a surfer necklace for some reason. Cool guy.
Love this pairing:
Another activity I thought of when Vale gave me these adorable European cherry lollipop candies (ordered from Stephmodo) was to have a little "Pin the Cherry on the Cherry Tree" (like Pin the Tail on the Donkey) game for the kids. I gave the cherry pops a little paper stem with double sided tape and Cole and Madie helped make that pretty paper tree.
I am sort of exhausted here, but also kinda psyched I pulled it off.
Mmmm, chocolate milk.
Surprise! The cake is RAINBOW inside, except in the order of the Candy Land path. Lucy was PUMPED!
Mikayla has the cutest little profile. I'm loving this photo.
The bottom tier of cake was a Chocolate-Chocolate cake for those who don't like to eat rainbows?
Lucy was into the rainbow cake. For SURE.
Cole had to work during the party but showed up just in time for cake!
Georgia showed up in time for the cake that fell on ground.
And that's a wrap!! Can't wait for my next dessert table project. Oh and Vale put together a slideshow too. Some photo overlap between us but still lots of different pics in there too!
For the cake, I made two kinds of cake. The bottom tier of cake was a Chocolate Chocolate Cake.
Chocolate Cake (adapted from King Arthur Flour recipe)
2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Hershey's special dark cocoa
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very soft
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coffee extract
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
4 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour your choice of pan(s): one 9" x 13" pan, two 9" round pans, three 8" round pans, or the wells of two muffin tins. You can also line the muffin tins with papers, and spray the insides of the papers.
Place a strainer over a large mixing bowl. Measure in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa, and sugar. Sift/shake the dry ingredients through the strainer into a mixing bowl, to eliminate any lumps.
Add the butter and mix at low speed for 1 minutes. With the mixer running, add the oil and continue mixing until the mixture looks like sand.
Combine the vanilla with the milk and coffee or water, and add all at once. Mix for 1 minute at low speed, stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then mix for 30 seconds more.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well at medium-high speed between additions.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl, and mix for 1 minute more. The batter will be thin.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan of your choice. For layers, divide the batter among the pans. Smooth out the tops of the layers with an offset spatula or the back of a tablespoon. For cupcakes, scoop by the heaping 1/4 cup into the prepared muffin tins.
Bake for 34 minutes for a 9" x 13" pan; 28 to 30 minutes for 9" layers; 24 to 26 minutes for 8" layers, or 21 to 23 minutes for cupcakes.
The cake is done when the top springs back when very lightly touched in the center, and the edges just begin to pull away from the edge of the pan. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and place on a rack to cool before removing it from the pan.
Chocolate Frosting (adapted from Annie's Eats recipe)
2 lb. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
12 Tbsp. Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder
12 Tbsp. boiling water
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
4 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces of shortening
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, about 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until the cocoa is dissolved. Add corn syrup to help give frosting a nice sheen.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, shortening, confectioners’ sugar and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
Add the melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1-2 minutes. Beat in the cocoa mixture until well blended. Let it cool longer if the chocolate is too runny. It will firm up a bit.
The top two tiers were RAINBOW CAKE (in candy land path order), which was inspired by the Whisk Kid.
Here are all my favorite pictures in a little photo album: