As my passion for cupcakes grew, so did my love for desert tables. I asked a friend of mine to gather a group of ladies together for a cupcake tasting party. The goal of my party was to offer my cupcakes to a new audience and get feedback on my flavors. For a month and a half I planned a menu, bought lots of decorations and baked and baked and baked some more. The hardest part for me was deciding what flavors to make!
Since I had chosen six flavors, I knew I was in for a lot of work. I did as much as I could the day before the party. I did all my baking, and prepped some of the appetizers. I had very detailed design plans for each cupcake, including photos for inspiration, a list of materials needed and a decoration plan. I tried to stay as organized as possible. The day of the party was so exciting; I managed to stay pretty calm, up until about two hours before it started.
Here are the flavors I chose:
Biscoff Cookie Bliss: Vanilla cupcake with Biscoff cookie dough center topped with Biscoff buttercream and caramel drizzle
Oh My Apple Pie:Vanilla cupcake with fresh apple pie filling topped with cinnamon Swiss meringue buttercream. I made these two ways, both in the cupcake form and as to-go in jars!
Pumpkin Up the Jam: Pumpkin cupcake with pumpkin mousse filling topped with cinnamon Swiss meringue buttercream
Triple Chocolate Brownie: Chocolate cupcake with chocolate ganache filling, brownie batter frosting and topped with chunks of brownies and more ganache
Chocolate Raspberry Dream: Chocolate cupcake with fresh raspberry filling, topped with chocolate mousse, a mini chocolate cupcake and more fresh raspberries
Red Velvet: Red velvet cupcake with white chocolate ganache filling, topped with cream cheese frosting
For my table decorations, I had to be creative, since I did not want to invest too much money in elaborate food displays. I knew it was important to have a variety of levels to display my cupcakes. I wrapped boxes in brown craft paper, burlap and lace. I really loved the way the boxes turned out. I got some mini pumpkins and wrapped them in ribbons to use as fillers on the table. I originally saw the idea on Good Housekeeping. I just think they are so stinking cute.
I purchased four square plates, which held nine cupcakes each. I lined each plate with a colored piece of paper. This is a tip I learned from the Amy Atlas blog, (if you like party planning, I highly recommend following her blog). I also purchased the black cupcake stand at Target and the glass dessert tray from Ikea. I shopped for inexpensive decorations in the dollar section at Target as well. I am very happy with my purchases because I know I will use them again!
I made a display cake with a Styrofoam cake dummy and fondant. I completed the cake the weekend before the party. It was only my second time working with fondant and it was my first experience using a cake dummy. Keep your eyes peeled for a future post about this!
Once the party started and guests started arriving, I was finally able to relax and take it all in. It was so rewarding to see how everything came together after all the planning. I really loved hearing what people had to say as they tasted each cupcake. I had such a wonderful time planning the party and I can’t wait to do another one!
Here are some helpful tips I learned in planning my party:
- Be prepared: Make one master shopping list so you limit those last minute grocery runs; Avoiding the grocery store the day of the party is almost impossible. However, you can help yourself and purchase extra ingredients that you might run out of; items such as butter, vanilla extract and powdered sugar. In the weeks leading up to your party, I recommend keeping an eye out for sales on ingredients you will need.
- Know your food: Plan your menu to share flavors where possible. I had two vanilla based cupcakes and two chocolate based cupcakes. It made the baking process a lot easier since they shared similar ingredients. The possibilities are endless with fillings, frostings and toppings, so don’t worry about offering a variety. I highly recommend not trying something new on the day of your party, you don’t want to have any surprises.
- Make extra: You never want to be shorthanded when it comes to cupcakes or frosting. There is always a chance of one getting ruined along the way. I made sure to make my frosting recipes 1.5X the regular amount so I did not come up short.
- Stay within a budget: It’s so easy to get carried away with decorations. Shop the dollar section at Target. Each target carries different things, stock up when you find what you like, because they may not have it when you go back. Make sure to save all your receipts if you plan on returning unused decorations.
- Be flexible: One thing you can count on, is unexpected changes the day of the party. If you are careful in your pre-party planning, you will be able to easily adapt.
- Ask for help: I absolutely could not have pulled it off without the help of my friend Erica (who co-hosted the party with me) and several other guests who happened to arrive early. They leant a hand in whatever way they could. My boyfriend helped me so much during the pre-party planning, and listened to me talk about if for two months, bless his patience! He is the best! Don’t be afraid to ask, because you likely can’t do it on your own!
For more great tips, visit the Landee see, Landee do blog. I read this article a few times and it really helped me out!