This past weekend I was invited to Boston for a surprise party for my friend Erica. Erica’s friends planned the entire event, choosing a Moulin Rouge theme and instructing us all to pretend that we didn’t know anything about the party when Erica asked. Even my arrival was kept a secret up to the very last minute. Sneaky sneaky.
When I asked what I could bring, they told me a bottle of wine. I wasn’t satisfied. “Can I bake?” I asked eagerly. “Sure…if you want to,” they said. Barney Stinson’s words ran through my head. I thought:
I love making themed cakes. It combines my passion for art and sweets. That and it’s incredibly relaxing.
I decided to use Betty Crocker’s gluten free cake mix for this baking adventure to A) make my life easier and B) satisfy myself and the other girls in the party who were allergic to gluten. (There were THREE of us. What are the odds!) We also used dairy-free butter to make everything even more allergen friendly.
I wanted to keep to a Parisian theme, so I decided to make marzipan toppers for each cupcake using symbols from the film and the location itself.
A few nights before the trip I worked on creating marzipan top hats, fans and tiny plaques with my mom. I loved how malleable the marzipan was in comparison to fondant. It rolled out nicely and was easy to manipulate.
I wrapped each piece in plastic, stuck them in a box and brought them with me to Boston where I met up with Erica’s friend, also named Emily. At her apartment, I prepared the cupcakes (yellow cake with pinkish red food coloring) while Emily snapped photos (How nice it was to have a photographer for once! Thanks, Em!).
We later transported the cupcakes to Becca’s house (another one of the party planners.)
There, I taught Becca how to make buttercream icing (with almond extract, delish!).
After, I filled my piping bags and began icing.
I even demonstrated simple piping techniques with the girls, using a 1M Wilton tip. They caught on fast!
Emily learns to pipe…
Becca gives it a go…
…and is pleased with her success…
…though I think she would have been just as happy eating the icing out of the bowl.
Last but not least, we strategically placed the toppers on the iced cupcakes and arranged them neatly for that evening’s party.
The weekend was a huge success, and I was thrilled with how happy Erica was. (You should have seen her face when she opened Becca’s car trunk only to find me sitting in the back seat. Priceless.) Everyone enjoyed the party, the cupcakes, the chocolate covered strawberries and the theme. It was a beautiful weekend. Thanks so much to the girls for planning. And Happy Birthday, Erica!
Me and the birthday girl in Spain, 2008