Sweet Success | Cupcake Project

Sweet Success

At dinner one night in early 2006, some good friends mentioned that they were trying to decide where to buy cupcakes for their wedding. I surprised myself and others at the table by offering to bake for them (I had never baked a cupcake before – ever!). My friends surprised me by accepting. Their wedding was Dec 31, 2007, and I had exactly nine months to learn to bake wedding-worthy cupcakes.  I baked a new cupcake for them every week and let them choose their three favorites for the big day.  My friends were the reason that I started this blog and I am forever grateful to them for letting me me bake their cupcakes.  I wrote the post below after the big day was over.

I can’t believe it’s over! I’ve been baking a cupcake flavor each week for the past nine months in preparation for one day.

 

Nine Months on a Cupcake Project as Compared to a Nine Month Pregnancy

Pregnancy
Cupcake Project
Weight is always gained. You may gain weight. I managed to only gain a few pounds.
Husbands sometimes gain sympathy weight. Everyone you know has the opportunity to gain weight.
You think about foods such as pickles. You only think about cupcakes.
People you encounter always ask how the pregnancy is coming along. They sometimes want to touch your belly. People you encounter always ask how the cupcakes are coming along. They always want to touch your cupcakes.
Your friends don’t get to choose the sex of the baby. Your friends get to choose the flavors of the cupcakes.
The big day is hard. There isn’t much your friends and family can do other than sit there and try to keep you calm. The big day is hard, but you can put your friends and family to work.
When everyone sees the baby for the first time there are lots of oohs and aahs. When everyone sees the cupcakes there are lots of oohs and aahs.
You do not eat the baby. You eat the cupcakes.
You feel relieved to be done with the labor and have a happy healthy baby, but nervous about what’s ahead. You feel relieved to be done with the labor and now you can relax and party!!

Let’s Back Up a Bit

Last I left you, I had all the cupcakes baked and one flavor (the margarita) frosted. I had left the frosting of the gingerbread latte and the soda fountain cupcakes for the wedding day itself. I expected it to be easy peasy.
I woke up early the day of the wedding and got right to making and applying the cream soda frosting. I was about 1/3 of the way done with frosting the cupcakes when I suddenly caught a huge whiff of gingerbread. Panic struck! Had I frosted the gingerbread cupcakes with the cream soda frosting instead of the gingerbread latte frosting? I called my husband down to the kitchen to put his nose to use. It turns out that, yes, in fact, I had.
Lesson Learned: If two cupcakes are being made at the same time and are roughly the same color, always label the boxes.
There weren’t enough extra cupcakes to just throw them out, and while I thought the combination tasted good, it wasn’t what the bride and groom had requested. I moved on to frosting the correct cupcakes while my husband tackled the task of removing the cream soda frosting from the gingerbread cupcakes. His method:
  1. 1. Scrape frosting off.
  2. 2. Use small amounts of water to wipe off the residue.
  3. 3. Leave them out to dry. (We tried drying some on low heat in the oven, but it dried out the entire cupcake.)
The method seemed to work just fine and no one knew the difference, until now that is.
The rest of the frosting process went smoothly. There was a need for a last minute (a few hours before we needed to arrive for setup) run to the store for more icing ingredients, but overall it went without incident.
The closer it got to wedding time, however, the more nervous I became. My biggest fear was that something was going to go wrong in transport. What if they all turned upside down? Should I have brought extra frosting to the reception site in case I need to re-frost all the cupcakes?

My husband and my friend from Texas ended up devising a system that worked perfectly. They loaded all the bakery boxes into moving boxes and padded the extra spaces in the big box so the boxes couldn’t slide.
My husband was extraordinarily careful on the drive there, taking turns at a snail’s pace. The cupcakes arrived almost flawlessly. They did end up touching each other a bit in transit since I did not have anything separating them. This left little frosting marks in places they shouldn’t have been, like when Grandma gives you a big kiss hello and you’ve got that little splotch of lipstick on your cheek.
The other item that needed transport was the top cupcake. I gave the top cupcake an extra high swirl to make it special. It also made it impossible to fit in the normal-sized box. As the most visible cupcake, I was most nervous about its arrival in one piece. I did take some extra precautions there and made three of them. This, too, ended up working out fine.

The Stand

The cupcake stand was created by the bride’s dad. Using the stand and the entire table, we were able to display all of the 250ish cupcakes I had made. Since the bride and groom had no further use for the stand, my husband and I are now proud owners of a large cupcake stand. If anyone in the St. Louis area has need to borrow such an item, that could be arranged – just drop me an email.

The Favorite of the Favorites

The groom gave a mini thank-you speech at the wedding and announced the three flavors of cupcakes that would be served. He mentioned that the soda fountain cupcakes were his favorite. As a side note, I didn’t quite make equal numbers of each cupcake flavor. I actually made fewer of the soda fountain cupcakes. They were taller cupcakes so the batter didn’t go as far. Because of the numbers and the groom’s assertion, the soda fountain cupcakes went like hotcakes (or should we say cupcakes?). The other flavors were also enjoyed, however, I did get several comments that I went a bit too heavy on the salt part of the sugar/salt rim of the margarita cupcakes.
The wedding was one of the best I’ve been to, but even if it had sucked, I would have had a great time. I was so relieved and excited to have pulled it off successfully.
Happy 2008 to everyone! Thanks for all of your support and advice throughout this entire project!

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40 Responses to Sweet Success

  1. SusanIsk January 2, 2008 at 4:52 pm #

    Stef, that is too cool! I hope that you won’t stop blogging now!

  2. Raquita January 2, 2008 at 4:56 pm #

    I am sooo proud of you that it went well!!

    I wish I could have been there!! we should have a Stef finished party serving cupcakes everybody should bring twelve that they like…. this might actually work….

  3. CB January 2, 2008 at 5:43 pm #

    I am coming into this cupcake story post-wedding but being a newlywed myself… many CONGRATULATIONS and best wishes for your new life together! Life only gets sweeter. ♥

  4. CB January 2, 2008 at 5:44 pm #

    ^ PS. this is Clara from cuppycakes! :)

  5. Stef January 2, 2008 at 6:10 pm #

    Susan – I ain’t stoppin this train!

    Raquita – Aww. I like that idea! That would be fun!

    CB – Hmm… did you think this was my wedding? I would not be so crazy as to bake cupcakes for my own wedding. Too much stress without baking. I’ll be sure to pass your congrats onto the happy couple. Thanks!

  6. CB January 2, 2008 at 6:23 pm #

    oops! I may have read too fast! I was gonna say… you are super bride to bake cupcakes for your own wedding. LOL.

  7. Kimberley January 2, 2008 at 6:55 pm #

    Awesome! The cupcake stand was really neat! Is that something you made or you purchased? I am so happy that this all worked out for you! NOW, you better keep baking and posting ;-) And, we finally got to see a photo of you???? LOL :-)

  8. Stef January 2, 2008 at 7:30 pm #

    CB – Hah! I guess I could have been a unique bride who chose to wear polka dots rather than white. :)

    Kimberly – Thanks! The bride’s dad made the cupcake stand. As for the photo of me, it just seemed like the time to do it. I was so proud and excited. I really wanted to pose with my creation.

  9. CB January 2, 2008 at 7:44 pm #

    To each bride their own right? ;) Hey I wore red heels with my white wedding dress (my mom could have killed me but I loved them!)

  10. Splotch January 2, 2008 at 7:57 pm #

    Much awesomeness, Stef!!

    Well done, they look fabulous, and I’m so glad it all went (relatively) smoothly :)

  11. Courtney Watson January 2, 2008 at 8:22 pm #

    They look magnificent (as does that adorable dress!).

    Are you sick of cupcakes, now? Or hooked even more after the feedback at the wedding?

  12. Lisa January 2, 2008 at 11:21 pm #

    It looks AMAZING. Congratulations – what a lucky couple to have you!

    And shame on those peeps who felt compelled to criticize! I’m sure they tasted wonderful.

  13. StLmom January 3, 2008 at 5:20 am #

    Yay! Congratulations! The whole display looks fabulous. Good job — you must be very proud. Are you taking new wedding orders?

  14. Alanna January 3, 2008 at 5:55 am #

    Yay rah! WHAT an accomplishment. You look beautiful, THEY look beautiful, the stand is gorgeous.

    And the best gift of all, the time and love you’ve invested for your friends …

  15. Marriage-101 January 3, 2008 at 7:06 am #

    All that hard work and it paid off! Are you done with cupcakes? Are you done blogging? I hope not!

  16. Tempered Woman January 3, 2008 at 7:08 am #

    Congratulations! You should really be proud~ you put a lot of time and emotional investment into this project. And the pictures look fantastic. I would have have been thrilled to be the lucky couple.
    Now you just have to figure out your next cupcake project…right after you make sure to indulge in some noncupcake destressor.

  17. Anonymous January 3, 2008 at 1:36 pm #

    Great job Stef!! The cupcakes were delicious. You are amazing. :) -Amie

  18. K. January 4, 2008 at 9:26 am #

    Stef – you did such an amazing job. Your cupcakes were the perfect compliment to B&C’s wonderful wedding.

    Hmmmm…maybe Dan and I will have to think about cupcakes for our STL reception. Interested?

  19. Stef January 4, 2008 at 3:44 pm #

    Wow! I so appreciate everyone’s support. I feel all warm and fuzzy. :)

    Courtney – Thanks! Thanks also for the props on the dress. I had thought about buying a new one, but this one seemed to work perfectly.

    Splotch – Thanks!!

    Lisa – It’s fine. I have very honest friends. I’m sort of the same way. Basically a direct from head to mouth sort of thing. The good thing about it is you know that when someone gives you a compliment they 100% mean it.

    STLMom – I will be doing other weddings, but only select ones. It was such a huge job. I don’t want it to take over my (and my husband’s lives.)

    Alanna – Thanks so much!

    Marriage – See above. I’m not done yet.

    Tempered – You are right about that! I definitely needed some down time!

    K – Thanks so much for the compliments! I would consider it. Let’s talk about it sometime.

  20. Crockpot Lady January 6, 2008 at 9:29 am #

    I’m so glad to read about your success!
    I’ve been following and am intrigued to try the recipes (I’ll need to convert them gluten-free—but I’m not worried.)
    congratulations!
    –steph

  21. Stef January 7, 2008 at 5:51 am #

    Steph – If you come up with a good gluten free cupcake, let me know. I’ve got a friend who has been asking me to make some and I still haven’t ever done it.

  22. Jasmine31 January 31, 2008 at 11:19 pm #

    WOW! That is really neat. Those pictures are awesome.

  23. Neesha February 13, 2008 at 1:04 am #

    you are such an inspiration! i plan to follow your cupcake project 2.0

  24. GABRIELA DELWORTH June 1, 2008 at 5:46 am #

    Wow!

    How amazing!

    Gabriela

  25. Obesebaby August 16, 2010 at 11:15 pm #

    You remind me of Julie and Julia, good work!

  26. Cecilia December 27, 2010 at 9:43 am #

    Hi, Congratulations for your job. I love your web…:) It’s really marvelous. I’m just beggining with the world of cupcakes… I love bakery and I want to begin my hobby like a sweet business. I will travel to USA tomorrow, where Can I go to buy bakery tools…?.
    Thanks & Good Luck.

  27. thewordthatpierces March 21, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    I DID actually make cupcakes for my own wedding, lol. And you KNOW what’s even funnier!!!?!?!?!?! The stand you used at this wedding is ALMOST identical to the stand I was initially building for my wedding (but mine was going to have a pyramid top for me and my husband), but I decided to forgoe that and just get some traditional stand, which trust me, since I made my own wedding dress as well, was VERY stress relieving. :)

    I wish some of my friends would utilize my skills in their weddings, but for some reason, they haven’t, at all. :( I LOVE weddings AND parties and LOVE making cakes for them!!! Though I specialize mostly in allergen sensitive baked goods. :)

    God Bless ~Amy

    lyrafowlpotter@gmail.com

  28. Stef March 27, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    thewordthatpierces – Wow! You made your own dress and cupcakes. So impressive! I can’t imagine.

  29. Anonymous May 10, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

    Your blog is SUPER COOL! i like it :) congrats!
    i love cupcakes, and your story about your begining was so funy, good luck!

    http://www.admovemiami.com

  30. pearse January 25, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    I wish you live near to me. i was looking for a cupcake stand to dispaly cupcakes for my son’s graduation cake. my husband has a handyman power zero. so he can’t make one. i don’t know what to do. i may be stacking cardboard boxes.i donn’t know. brainstorming even in my dreams. any idea. is yours made of plywood?

  31. Stef January 31, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    Pearse – Mine is made of wood. But there are lots of nice ones you can buy online.

  32. Ellen April 10, 2013 at 4:47 am #

    New reader, looking for the “Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake” for my children. Your recipe will present a bit of a challenge (I live in a country where I don’t speak the native language – so finding specific flours can be tricky), but I’m excited to try!

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