Thursday, March 21, 2013

Blue and Gold Banquet

Every February across the United States, cub scout groups are having their annual "blue and gold" banquet--a sort of birthday party to celebrate the establishment of the cub scouting program.  This was my first year to help out with this banquet.  No, I do not have any boys.  I actually have 2 adorable little girls and another girl on the way (my husband is seriously outnumbered around here), but my dear husband happens to be the "cub master" in our church congregation's cub scouting program. He gets to be in charge of things like the blue and gold banquet, pine wood derby, space derby, and other events for the scouts.  Thanks to his new calling I am slowly starting to learn the ropes of cub scouts, even all of their silly cheers and jokes (some of which I can't help roll my eyes at, wondering how they find it so funny, then realizing that I have never been an 8-11 year old boy so I probably will never understand).

When my hubby asked me to make 100 cupcakes for this event, I immediately knew that I wanted to do my blue velvet cupcakes--just your classic red velvet cupcake with royal blue dye substituted for the red.  Topping that with a delicious cream cheese frosting and wrapping up the bundle in a gold foil wrapper would be perfect for a "blue and gold" banquet.

Yes, they were very, very blue. Maybe I'll use a smidge less blue coloring next time.

I had just gotten in the mail my new french star tip.  I have wanted this tip for awhile and was pretty giddy to try it out.  Oh, how I love it--making such pretty and elegant spirals of frosting on top of the cake.

I also ordered in from a fleur de lis chocolate mold to make these chocolate toppers for the cupcakes.  After making all the molded chocolates out of blue and yellow candy melts (I did add extra royal blue oil based dye into the blue candy melts to get the right color), I brushed them with some dry gold luster dust to add some shimmer and make them look a little more like metal/gold instead of chocolate.

The result was this cute little cupcake with an edible cub scout symbol on top.

This was the display I set up in my home so I could take some pictures before heading over to the church with all the cupcakes--I wasn't so sure of the set up my dear husband had in mind.  Sometimes our "visions" are a little different--him more practical, me more arsty I guess.  This is what it ended up being there...

A table set up in the storage closet off of the gymnasium.  He insisted that if I did a display, they had to be in there, so the doors could stay closed until it was actually time for dessert.  I guess he had a point--there is no telling what kind of self control 8-11 year old boys might have when there are 100 cupcakes staring them in the face all evening.  I joked with my hubby that at least he coordinated the backdrop with the evening by having a blue and yellow ladder propped against the wall.  We both got what we wanted I guess--me, the ability to arrange them all cute like little marching cub scouts (and let's be honest, that was probably all for me, since what 9 yr old boy really cares about what something looks like as long as it tastes good), and him the ability to "control the situation" and prevent chaos from breaking out in the middle of his speech...

Oh yes, and a delicious tasting cupcake.  That's probably what mattered most to him and the boys :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cupcake Bouquet

For Valentine's Day I wanted to surprise my sweetheart with something edible, cute, and totally different from other Valentine's day treats I have made for him in the past (brownie chocolate box or conversation heart cake).  I came across The Cindy's Confections Blog that gave a little tutorial on how to make a cupcake flower bouquet.  I was intrigued and wanted to give it a go, especially after making this cupcake topiary for part of my daughters' birthday party in October.  

First step:  bake about 35 mini cupcakes.  That gave me enough to cover my flower pot with a couple leftover.  I chose 4 different flower designs for this arrangement--you can do more or less depending on your preference.  I used tip 81 for the green mums, tip 1M for the pink roses, tips 104 and 233 for the yellow sunflowers, and tip 2D for the pink/yellow hydrangeas.  Looking back I should have taken the extra step to color some icing brown for the sunflower centers, but I was rushed for time and couldn't bring myself to dirty another icing bag, so green it was--still cute but maybe not quite as real looking.

I snagged that pot leftover from my cupcake topiary, filled it with rocks to weigh it down, then took 8 styrofoam bowls, which I used for the top.  Sit one bowl right side up, put the other 7 upside down on top of the first bowl, and tape them together.  Then cover it all with green tissue paper, and put it on top of the pot. I used a piece of clear tape to go around the pot and anchor the bowls to the base.

Then comes the fun part--arranging the flowers. I used 2 toothpicks per cupcake to attach them to the bouquet.  Stick the toothpicks in the bowls first, then carefully poke the cupcake onto the toothpicks.

I started at the base and worked my way up to the top, trying to get them as close as possible to each other.

There still were some little gaps here and there, so I took the advise of that tutorial I mentioned above and got some fake floral leaves to help fill it in and make it look even more real (real flower bouquets usually have greenery, right?)

And that is it.  I was so excited for Chris to get home from work that day and see his bouquet of flowers sitting on the table.  He thought they were beautiful...but more importantly he thought they were delicious.

After all, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, right?!