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Sweet Success


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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 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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