Evan’s Second Birthday: Food
Even though I spend the majority of my pre-party planning on crafts and decorations, I spend 75% of my money and day-of preparations on food. I love food. Food is the reason I have parties at all.
Here’s an overview:
2. Marshmallow lollipop
3. Cucumber sandwiches
4. Mini quiches
6. Mini doughnut cookies
7. Hand-made chocolate truffles made by and shipped from my friend Erin
8. Caprese salad sticks
9. Fruit salad
10. Veggie plate
11. Cheese and cracker plate
Now here’s the deets:
Leftover cake batter (because I had to TRIPLE the recipe to have enough for the cake but only needed a little bit of that 3rd batch) turned into mini cupcakes in polka dot wrappers topped with peanut M&M’s on a cake stand from BJ’s.
I came up with these on Thursday morning when I found marshmallows on sale at Target. I stuck them on sticks and dipped them in colored melting chocolate and sprinkles. The little stands are Styrofoam balls cut in half and wrapped in tissue paper. They were SO EASY and delicious and popular with the kids.
The cucumber sandwiches were the only thing we ran out of. It’s just Wonder Bread with garden veggie flavored cheese spread and cucumbers, but they are SO DELICIOUS. And I even used the secretly whole wheat white bread to make them a little healthier. The mini quiches are store-bought and my absolute favorite party food in the world. They have been since I was about 12, when I decided eating mini quiches automatically made me look both older and classier.
My mom used her grandma’s recipe to make Swedish meatballs and I used my awesome crafting skills to glue felt circles to colored toothpicks to make them fancy. One of us worked a lot harder than the other.
My friend Kimberly sent me a link to these a couple weeks ago when I mentioned I was looking for round food and I fell in love with them. I actually baked and decorated them last weekend and stuck them in the freezer. They defrosted beautifully and were both adorable and delicious.
This idea came from Amy at Soup or Salad Blog – tomatoes, piece of basil and cheese. I just picked up the little mozzarella balls from the salad bar at the grocery store and made my aunt assemble them for me. The cute little stand was from last year’s birthday party!
Even all my fruit was round, thanks to my mom’s mad melon balling skillz. Cantaloupe. watermelon, red grapes, green grapes, blueberries and black berries. You can also see the corner of my round veggie tray – cucumber, carrots and radishes cut into circles.
I didn’t get a close up of the truffles Erin made, but there were extremely yummy and also adorable – she somehow put colored polka dots into the coating. She did vanilla and strawberry for the kids and then orange liquor and Kahlua for the grown-ups. I ate the leftovers for lunch. And dinner.
And finally, my cake:
It is not as pretty as I had imagined. It also doesn’t have the precise color coordinated stripes of dots I had planned on before I realized the “20-25 minutes” it took to bake this batter as cupcakes was more like 50-60 minutes in large cake pans in my crappy oven. Then I ran out of batter and when I tried to make more I was a cup of sugar short. Luckily, my run to the grocery store didn’t end up ruining anything besides my plans to make the frosting perfectly smooth and delicately place all my jelly beans in exact lines.
You know who cared about the uneven frosting and the random dots? NO ONE. Not a single person, including me, cared that the cake didn’t look like it was from a professional baker.
The main reason is because it was DELICIOUS.
I ended up making it all from scratch, using recipes from I Am Baker for everything. The cake is white cake with buttercream frosting and lemon curd filling (the recipes are in those posts, but you’ll have to scroll for them – which shouldn’t be too much of a hardship because her cakes are GORGEOUS). When I test drove the cake as cupcakes last weekend they were perfect. When I tried to make it as cake it stuck to the pan and came out a little dry, but honestly, it was such an easy recipe I’m sure that was baker-error and I can do better next time. I kept apologizing for the dryness, but I may have been the only person who was bothered by it.
The frosting is like store-bought cake frosting, which I love but no one else does. It is very sweet, but the lemon curd filling tempered the sweetness. The filling was DELICIOUS. I should have cut each cake layer in half and done three layers of filling in each tier, just to get more lemon curd into each slice. I may have put lemon curd on toast for breakfast today. And lunch. And dinner.
The number of sweets in my house (all the baked goods combined with all the candy from the decorations) is EPIC. I need to have another party just to get rid of the food from my first party. But I heard from all the guests that despite the sugar overload their kids all slept REALLY well on Saturday night and spent all day Sunday talking about the “balloons!” and “ball pit!” at “Baby Evan’s party!” I call that a success. An extremely delicious success.
p.s. I need to add that NONE of the food would have gotten finished if not for my amazing family’s help. My mom and my dad and my aunt never batted an eyelash when I insisted they cut every slice of cheese into a circle or told them to ONLY use certain colors of jelly beans on the cake. They cut and slices and cooked and arranged so I could focus on my cake. Even E helped with the food when he wasn’t wrangling toddlers and babies. Thank you all SO MUCH for the help!