Minnie Mouse & Lemonade Make a 2 Year Old Happy!

LeahsBirthday_Table

My ideas for a lemonade stand themed party began brewing shortly after Leah’s 1st birthday last year (I couldn’t keep myself from thinking about it!). I love the color yellow and the idea of lemonade for a summer party with all the lemon-themed treats and cupcakes we could have.

LeahsBirthday_DIY

As the year progressed and Leah developed a love for all things Mickey and Minnie, I thought it would be cute to include touches of her favorite characters. I knew yellow would be a dominate color, but after adding Minnie into the mix, I also included pink…which worked well for pink lemonade too. Some of the DIY items included the invitation and party signs, Minnie/Micky paper lanterns, bunting, and party favors for the girls. We also collected “change” for No Kid Hungry, which totaled $54 at the end of the day!

LeahsBirthday_Cake

Some of the items I decided not to do myself this year were the cake and cupcakes. I splurged on cupcakes, deciding to allow the experts to do their thing. Since I splurged on the cupcakes, I kept the cake inexpensive by purchasing an $8 cake from BJs Wholesale, which was the perfect color right off the shelf.

LeahsBirthday_Minnie2

Kupcakes & Co. has created Minnie Mouse cupcakes for clients in the past, so I knew their capabilities to make them look good. I used one on top of the cake, to jazz it up, along with a glittery candle and cake bunting that matched the window bunting.

LeahsBirthday_Desserts

They also began offering Pink Lemonade cupcakes earlier this year. It’s a sweet cupcake, but kids like sweet (and some adults, like my husband). With those facts in mind, I was swayed to let someone else take this task off my plate.

Kupcakes & Co. Specialty Flavor – New Twist on Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
The cupcakes decorated like Minnie Mouse were a special flavor, made just for Leah! Well, sort of.

LeahsBirthday_Minnie1

Their Strawberry Lemon cupcake is lemon cake with strawberry frosting, but I love their strawberry cake and lemon frosting (the reverse), which I’ve tried from other cupcakes, so I asked if they could put those together for us instead of the usual, and they did! The flavor combination differed from their standard and everyone really liked it. The lemon frosting isn’t too sweet and the cake is light. It was the perfect summer cupcake.

LeahsBirthday_OreoPops

In addition to sugar cookies (some with a lemon glaze), rice krispie treats, and candy, we also had Minnie Mouse Oreo Pops for dessert. This gave our guests another fun, non-lemon flavored, personal-sized treat to enjoy (they were fairly easy to make, after a test run earlier in the week—let us know if you want to see more about how to create these pops).

LeahsBirthday_Flags

One thing we forgot to pull out were the cupcake flags. A few of the Pink Lemonade cupcakes would have been cute with some little flags in them, but the table didn’t really need the extra decoration in the end.

LeahsBirthday_Leah

Leah loved all the Minnie Mouse touches, the candy that was within reaching distance, and of course the cupcakes (or at least the frosting). It was a great day, filled with love from family and friends that came to celebrate my little girl!

If you’d like to see more from the party, you can check it out on Catch My Party, where we were featured again on their homepage, and Fizzy Party, where we more about the party details.! Also, the party designs (without Minnie Mouse – just lemonade themed) will be available on our new Etsy Shop, Eye2Eye Design, so keep an eye out for that!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)

Catch My Party

Featured! Cupcake Parties, Crusader Style

One of the best things about parties is the food. I love party food and I especially love the desserts. But I also enjoy hosting a good party, making guests feel welcomed in my home and making the guest of honor feel special. With parties becoming somewhat of a hobby, I recently joined the Catch My Party community to share photos, which included Crusader Stacy’s “Cupcakes and Tea” bridal shower.

Stacy has been married now for 2.5 years, but it seems like the ideas from her party are still current! Catch My Party loved the “Decorate Your Own Cucpake” bar we had for guests and featured it as a “Party of the day” on their homepage and also on their Facebook page!

BridalShowerTable_CatchMyParty

We came up with the idea as an alternative to the typical bridal shower activities and games. The guests knew Stacy’s well-established love for cupcakes, so taking part in one of her favorite things was fun for everyone.

BridalShowerTableTop

We were able to find candies and decorations that matched the shower colors (and Stacy’s wedding colors), which kept the station looking elegant. We also had pre-decorated cupcakes for those that just wanted to eat (or needed help getting their creative juices flowing), and cupcake-to-go-boxes for guests to make extras or take their dessert home for later.

BridalShowerTable_Cake
(My decorating skills have definitely come a long way!)

BridalShowerTable_Boxes

The containers worked out perfectly as party favors and doubled as decoration, stacked in front of the cupcake bar. Ever since having an option for guests to take treats home, we haven’t looked back. Now it’s a must at every party!

BridalShowerTable_StacysCucpake
(Crusader Stacy’s cupcake…even then she had a knack for decorating!)

The cupcakes ranged from beautiful to humorous, but all were “sweet” with their wedding and love themes.

BridalShowerTable_GuestCupcake

It’s great to think back on this party, remembering how much fun everyone had, and how special Stacy felt. She was glowing the whole time, and after having hosted multiple showers herself, it was finally her turn to be pampered.

If you’d like to see more photos from this party, you can view my gallery. We also shared the party with Fizzy Party, who featured the full party on her blog.

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)

Catch My Party

Kupcakes & Co.’s Grand Re-Opening: Unveiling Their Boutique Celebration Room

GrandRe-Opening_Brochure

Just a little over a week ago, we mentioned that Kupcakes & Co. (Elkridge, MD) would be debuting their new Boutique Celebration Room during a Grand Re-Opening. This past Saturday, the Crusaders were there to show our support, sample some new items, and get the full scoop on what the new space looks like and has to offer.

GrandRe-Opening_Room

Kupcakes & Co.’s Boutique Celebration Room has three large tables, plus buffet tables and benches along the walls for additional seating, with natural light pouring in from the front windows and small chandeliers (fit for a boutique) hanging from the ceiling. For now, the space will be available for adult parties only, with table settings, various food items, and staff provided for your event. Their brochure outlines some great options, ranging from the “Standard” (which provides the basics: 1 staff member and 1 cupcake per person, while you bring in the rest of your needs), to “Brunch” (which includes: 2 staff members, place settings, non-alcoholic drink options, and a selection of brunch offerings). On the day we visited, each table was set up with a different theme to give the guests an idea of how they could use the room:

Bridal Shower Brunch

GrandRe-Opening_BridalShowerTable

The Bridal Shower table showcased the brunch offerings, which included cupcakes and cookies, ready to eat or take as party favors. Champagne or wine can be brought in by the host to add to the celebration!

GrandRe-Opening_BridalShowerDetail
(Close-up of the packaged cupcake and provided place settings.)

The brunch package would also be great for a baby shower, tea party, or small family reunion.

Cupcake Decorating Class

GrandRe-Opening_DecoratingTable

I think most of us can agree that an afternoon of eating and learning how to professionally decorate cupcakes sounds like a lot of fun. I was surprised to see that the guests don’t just decorate one cupcake each, but are given six! Kupcakes & Co. even provides a cupcake for nibbling on while you decorate, that way you aren’t too tempted to dig into your creations before showing them off to your friends and family.

GrandRe-Opening_DecoratingDetail
(Close-up of the decorating techniques that will be taught and goodie-bag.)

When you book the Boutique Celebration Room for a decorating class, you not only take home six cupcakes, but also a goodie-bag filled with tools and decorations so you can continue to practice embellishing your own cupcakes at home.

Cupcakes & Cocktails

GrandRe-Opening_Cupcake&CocktailTable

Cupcakes & Cocktails…the ultimate girls’ night! You bring the booze, and Kupcakes & Co. will provide everything else.

GrandRe-Opening_Cupcake&CocktailDetail

In addition to fabulous sweet treats, Kupcakes & Co. will also provide a selection of cheese, crackers, olives, bread, and mixers to pair with your drinks. I asked if they had any plans in the works for hosting their own Cupcakes & Cocktails night and it sounds like it is a possibility, so we’ll be sure to share any information we get on future events.

The Grand Re-Opening was also the perfect platform to debut a couple of new items. We Crusaders sampled EVERYTHING that was offered (would you expect any less from us?), some of which is tried and true, and some of which was new to us, like the Cinna-bon-bons. They were amazing. But the (non-cupcake) stand out for me was the new Bliss Bar.

Bliss Bar

Kupcakes_BlissBar

Appropriately named, the Bliss Bar is a cereal bar, with marshmallow, chocolate chips, peanut butter, and white chocolate. It’s light in texture and yet still rich in flavor.

Pink Lemonade Cupcake
The Pink Lemonade cupcake also made its debut. I’m very excited about this cupcake for a couple of reasons. One, it is perfect for summer! And two, it will be making an appearance at my daughter’s second birthday party (there will also be a new combination, never before done by Kupcakes & Co., so you’ll have to look out for more to come on that next month!).

Kupcakes_PinkLemonade

The Pink Lemonade cupcake is a lemon cake with extra zest and topped with a pink lemonade frosting, then sprinkled with lemonade crystals. It definitely has a different “zing” that a lemon cupcake. I only had a bite, but Stacy was able to elaborate, saying that the frosting was very sweet and tart. Maybe too sweet for her, because she couldn’t eat it all. However, the cake was perfectly pink and citrus-y. We both loved the simple, festive, and cute decorations.

Orange Creamsicle Cupcake
Earlier in the month, Kupcakes & Co. also added their summer seasonal cupcakes back on the menu. There was one we hadn’t tried, the Orange Creamsicle, so Crusader Stacy added it to her cupcake collection (she had also purchased the Pink Lemonade above, Peach Cobbler, and Key Lime).

Kupcakes_OrangeCreamsicle

Stacy really liked this cupcake and said it was, “much more subtle than the Pink Lemonade cupcake, with a nice orange flavor.” She added that the, “cream flavor balanced it really well.” Sounds like one that I need to try this summer!

If you’d like more information about the Boutique Celebration Room, you can visit Kupcakes & Co.’s website or Facebook page. They have more photos on their Facebook page, so you can see additional details of the beautiful decor. I’d love to host a tea party for my friends in the new space, with cheddar chive biscuits, scones, and biscotti. The tough decision would be: Which cupcake to serve?! If you could throw a party at a cupcake bakery, what type of party would you like to have?

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)

Caroline’s Cakes Cupcakes Fly High

CarolinesCakes_TowerClose

Crusader Stacy recently posted about a day of cupcakes in Orlando, FL with our good friend Marina, who is expecting a baby boy this June. Although I wasn’t able to join them on this fun expedition, I received the honor of designing the invitation and corresponding party pieces for Marina’s Maryland baby shower. Since the father-to-be, Tim, is a U.S. Marine and works in the airplane field (I’d mess up his title, so I won’t even try) the selected baby shower theme was “Taking Flight.” With this theme in mind, I designed the invitation with a cute airplane and incorporated some fun patterns that were used on signs, party favors, and the (very important) cupcake toppers.

PartyPhotos

As the cupcake experts in our circle, the grandma-to-be (affectionately referred to as “Mom Cook”) was hosting the shower and contacted Stacy and I for a recommendation. Although we hadn’t tried Caroline’s Cupcakes in Annapolis, MD, we suggested that she grab a cupcake from them as a sample. Caroline’s Cupcakes is super close to where the party was (also the same place as our favorite high school hang-out house), making it very convenient. Mom Cook tried their cupcakes and decide that they would be best.

CarolinesCakes_CarrotCakePlain

She opted for a single flavor, carrot cake. The party was during brunch time, so it was a great selection. Caroline’s baked the cupcakes in white wrappers and kept the tops unadorned, allowing us to dress them up ourselves.

CarolinesCakes_TowerCloseup

The cupcakes from Caroline’s were very good. There was a home-baked, comforting quality about them. The cake was super moist and spiced just right. The cream cheese frosting was a perfect balance of sweet and savory, which was great for my first cupcake of the day, and was a nice complement to the full party spread. Caroline’s also specializes in layered cakes and they are no stranger to special orders for every occasion. Even though I’ve only tried one cupcake (so far) I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them again.

CarolinesCakes__TableSpread

The party was a lot of fun. I enjoyed spending time with people that I don’t see often enough and being the crazy friend that talked Marina’s baby bump (she’s seriously the cutest pregnant chic ever).

CarolinesCakes_BabyBoy

Having my little girl has given me a greater appreciation for what new parents go through and I am so excited for my friends to be entering this next chapter in their lives. Sure there are challenges and it isn’t always easy, but their baby is entering a family that has hoped and prayed for his arrival. Marina and Tim will be amazing parents and all of us will shower their baby boy with so much love…this party was only the beginning! Congratulations Marina and Tim. We can’t wait to meet your little man!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)

Ready to Pop! Push Pops

Not that this will surprise anyone, but I love baby showers. And bridal showers. An excuse to celebrate with food, games, gifts, and a room full of women? Sign me up! A friend of mine, Lyndsey, is expecting a baby girl soon, so that means that I recently got to attend her shower. But it wasn’t just any shower…it was hosted by her sister, Guest Crusader Jessica, of Poundcake Press. Jessica is a very talented designer who loves cupcakes as much as the rest of us. I knew this party would be great, including all the fine details that don’t go unnoticed by a party lover.

Party_Cake
(Party signage designed by Poundcake Press. Visit their Etsy shop to see more great invitations and stationery.)

Jessica came up with a great theme and coordinated the food, decorations, and signage into one cohesive look. The pink cake was amazing, with four pink layers and sprinkles that looked liked glass beads. But the real star (other than the momma-to-be, of course!) were the push pops. I’ve been wanting to try cake push pops, so imagine my excitement to see them at the party. I should have known, since the theme was “Pop!” Duh! I grabbed one right away, with permission from the host, and I’m glad I did because they went FAST.

PushPops_2
(Cake push pops lined up in DIY stands.)

The push pops were chocolate-chocolate with colorful sprinkles. I love that the containers are so easily available to us DIY party lovers now. I think the best part of a cake push pop is the experience. They are fun and nostalgic, reminding me of the ice cream push pops I used to eat as a kid. And with the stands that Jessica made, they added that extra “Pop!” to the dessert table.

PushPop_1
(Push pops make eating cake so easy and mess free!)

I was honored to be a part of the celebration and happy to indulge in all the treats. Lyndsey, who will be an amazing momma, and Jessica, who will help her little niece become the perfect little cupcake lover, are wonderful ladies to be around. They laugh easily and often, and it’s contagious, so anytime I get to see them is always a great day. Throw in some sweet treats and I’d call it a perfect day!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)

Baking Adventure: Tea Party Cupcakes

TeaPartyCupcakes_All

Our friend was putting together a tea party for her daughter’s 10th birthday, so when Crusader Stacy and I were asked if we wanted to help make cupcakes we immediately began brainstorming. We’ve been wanting to host an adult tea party of our own, but this event would have elegantly dressed tables, fun stations for nails, hair and dress-ups, and a photo booth, so we knew these cupcakes couldn’t be ordinary.

Stacy&Jenn
(Crusader Stacy and I also got to have a good time with the dress-ups and photo booth. Photo by Kenneth Adam, who donated his services for the day.)

Stacy suggested an idea she found, using chocolate or royal icing to create a “handle” on the cupcakes. After having experimented with royal icing in the past (and knowing how temperamental white chocolate can be), I choose that option. The birthday girl had one request, she wanted the cupcakes to have filling. Since she loved the Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes we’ve made before, I made those using a different raspberry filling and also made Vanilla Marshmallow cupcakes, a new flavor for me.

TeaPartyCupcakes_ChocolateRasp

The Vanilla Marshmallow cupcakes were very simple. I used yellow cake box mix, added in a packet of vanilla pudding mix, and then filled them with marshmallow fluff. For the frosting, I started with store-bought frosting and added in some extra butter, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla extract, until the taste and texture was where I wanted it. Then I divided the vanilla frosting into two parts, so that I could match the color to the party theme.

TeaPartyCupcakes_GreenMarshmallow

I was really pleased with how the colors turned out. They matched perfectly! The cupcakes were very sweet, but for a bunch of 10-year-old girls, that was good. It turned out to be a very chic party and all the girls had a terrific time!

TeaPartyCupcakes_PeachMarshmallow

I’ve never been to a better tea party. Even if I was there as “the staff” I had a great time and picked up some ideas for when Stacy and I do finally have our own party.

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)

A Baking Adventure: Princess Cupcakes for Our Princess Niece

I’m not exaggerating when I say that Lylah, my 3-year-old niece, talked about her birthday party for 3 months. It started when her little sister, Lily, turned 1. “It’s my party? Those are my presents?” she would ask. Then when Leah turned a year old, we got the same questions, only to answer, “No Lylah, those are Leah’s. But your party is next!” As soon as items were purchased for her party, I was greeted with, “Auntie Jenny! Look at my princess party!” For the next few weeks, she talked about her princess party, which would have (of course) princess cupcakes.

We had all the fixings for a perfect 3-year-old princess party: My sister purchased a Wilton kit that had a Disney Princess cupcake stand, cupcake liners, and picks, and also bought the Disney princess frosting transfers. Crusader Stacy purchased purple metallic liners, which would be a complementing color, and I provided extra pink sugar crystals. Stacy came up with a plan of action for the frosting transfers, which included rolled fondant. After Leah’s party I’m now the fondant “expert” in the group, so I volunteered to help with the cupcakes.

I baked and frosted the funfetti and chocolate cupcakes the day before the party. We used Duncan Hines Strawberry Shortcake Flavor Creations for the pink frosting, which I had to add confectioner’s sugar to in order to pipe.

I did my best to pipe a flat swirl on the cupcakes that would be getting fondant circles placed on top.

I was really nervous about the transfers. I didn’t want to mess them up, because we didn’t have any extras, so I practiced with one a few days early and it worked great. The ink on the transfer didn’t get funky after a couple of days, so I was able to calm down a bit about preparing the cupcake decorations in advance.

The night before the party I prepped the fondant-transfer decorations, to place on the cupcakes the morning of the party. I rolled out the fondant, like I did for Leah’s birthday cupcakes, this time using the larger cutter to fit the whole top of the cupcakes. Then, following advice I found from Google searches, I used a damp cloth (AKA: a wet paper towel) to moisten the top of the fondant. The instructions for removing the transfer from the sheet worked perfectly and they peeled off easily.

I was really proud of trying something new again and it turning out well. The fondant with the transfers stayed perfect through the night (stored in an air-tight container), so the next morning I was able to finish up the decorating.

We rolled the edges of the frosting in sugar crystals, just to give it a finished look. Plus, a princess party needs a little extra bling!

I figured we would have enough time to sprinkle sugar on the pink frosted cupcakes when I got to the party location. Well, I’m glad I waited because as soon as I got in the car, on the way to the party, I noticed that the pink frosting had slide right off the tops of the cupcakes. It was a disaster. I’ve decided that moisture is a big issue with the Duncan Hines frosting and they are better off being left out to “set-up” (which is a problem when you want moist cake). Luckily I was going to be early anyway, so Stacy and I went into cupcake-rescue mode. We scrapped frosting and reapplied it to the cupcakes, sprinkled, and double-lined the wrappers, to hide some of the mess. The results? Not too bad.

Although it’s not exactly what I had envisioned, no one noticed. We did have a few pink survivors, which stayed at the forefront of the display.

The cupcakes with the fondant and transfers still stole the show and the birthday girl was giddy with delight over her princess cupcakes.

There was one casualty of this experience: my batter dispenser. A fallen hero, really. Cupcake baking hasn’t been the same without it, but it put up a good fight. So long, kitchen accessory. You shall be missed (until I’m able to get a new one)…

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)