I have no idea how professional cake makers deal with the stress! I love making cakes for friends as it is lovely to be asked and trusted with a cake or cupcakes but when they are for an adult’s party it can be even more daunting: there is a big difference between an 8 year old’s idea of a great cake and an adult’s! And probably more so after a few drinks…
My friend Deborah is celebrating a “big” birthday – I’m not mentioning any numbers – and planned a party to match. Drinks, dancing; I knew it was going to be a great event. The caterer, Miranda, makes the most amazing food so I knew the nibbles would be outstanding. Even more pressure!
Deborah’s husband Anthony asked me to make some cupcakes that would be handed out during the evening, that would essentially serve as a little gift both to Deborah and from Deborah: she didn’t know anything about them. They were to say Debs with a kiss.
You can get cupcake toppers with pictures of whatever you like: they are printed out onto special edible icing or rice paper templates. I tried phoning and emailing a company a friend had used and recommended. Disappointingly, I am still waiting for them to reply…
So I took a chance and went with an internet search. I ignored the company that had a picture in its gallery with a major spelling mistake and emailed this company, explaining exactly what I was looking for. Within minutes Helena had called me back and told me exactly what she could do. Within a few hours we had settled on a design (which she did for me) using the party colours (pink and silver) and they were in the post that evening. I can’t recommend Helena highly enough if you ever need cupcake toppers.
However when they arrived I realised that they weren’t quite what I was expecting. They are super thin icing and are designed to cover the top of a cupcake, which I should have known, whereas I was envisaging a topper I could stick into the buttercream that stood up. And so instead of ordering the cupcake topper size I should have ordered fairy cake size. You can tell I’m a novice at this and won’t be making that mistake twice!
So I spent a long time rolling out white sugarpaste, sticking the toppers on to it and then cutting it out with the smallest round cutter I have:
Then I had a major panic that they didn’t look good with chocolate icing on chocolate cupcakes! I tried various icing techniques and had a bit of a meltdown. Not helped by the weather as the icing was literally melting. After a lot of deep breathing and an extremely helpful chat with my friend Gilly I managed to produce some cupcakes (recipe here) that I was relatively pleased with.
I think sometimes you get an idea in your head and when it doesn’t work out quite how you had imagined it is difficult to see the finished result as anything but a failure.
I used pink and silver cupcake cases, silver balls and strawberry sugar sprinkles to tie in with the theme.
Deborah’s party was actually almost a month before her birthday: with an August birthday you need to have the party before the end of term or everyone is away, even when you’re an adult! Anthony asked if I could also make a birthday cake to have with the family and a cup of tea on the day after the party.
I thought carrot cake might be a good option and made sure to check (discreetly!) that Deborah liked carrot cake. I had never made sugarpaste carrots before but I found a great tutorial online. They were really fun to make:
I also used my new alphabet cutters for the writing. I so need to do a course in writing with icing! If you’d like the recipe for the carrot cake and icing you can find it here.
It was a brilliant party: everything was perfect, including the weather, which is a major achievement in this country. I know a lot of work and planning had gone into it, to the point where it seemed that it was no effort at all. Thank you to Anthony for letting me loose on the cupcakes and cake and Happy Birthday Deborah! Thank you for a wonderful party and I hope you enjoy your birthday as much as your party!