A little while back, I proclaimed to be done with baking until after we have settled into the chaos of being parents to 2 wild and crazy girls, but my friend Brandy (of www.windywilsons.blogspot.com) made me such a great offer that I couldn’t refuse. She is the ideal baking “client” as she made very few specific requests. She wanted cupcakes with white frosting and sprinkles. Done.
After seeing how cute these rainbow sprinkles could be on O’s special cupcake at Melissa’s wedding shower, I decided they were a good starting place. And what better to go with rainbow sprinkles than rainbow wrappers. These were delicious, adorable and seriously one of the easiest baking projects I have done in quite a while. It was exactly the kind of project I needed to take my mind of the drab, dreary winter but not over exert myself at this point in my pregnancy with only a week left before the big Cookie Monster Bash.
This type of wrapper is the most basic: not customizable, available for instant download (thus eliminating the need to plan very far ahead), and the most affordable. I found this one on Etsy.com as usual in the FabulousPartyDesigns shop.
As usual, O was chomping at the bit to get at these cupcakes long before we even made it to the party. Her current method of consumption involves licking only the frosting, as if it were an ice cream cone, and discarding the cake. A girl after my own heart. Who needs the cake? (I’ve been playing around with filters on photos that I have taken with my phone. My iphone 4 is so outdated that the pictures rarely turn out well, especially when shot indoors in a low light situation. Filters can save a pretty sub-par pic.)
One of my favorite ways to show O that I love her is to cook or bake something just for her. It is something intrinsically maternal, and Brandy feels the same way about motherhood. She made this simple smash cake, and we coordinated perfectly without even discussing it! Baby C was so delicate in the destruction of her treat, focusing only on the frosting and rainbow sprinkles. She was uber calm, as she went about this sensory experience, so calm, in fact, that she was not at all disturbed when her big brother climbed into her chair to give her a hand. She smeared the frosting sweetly on his face and hers until they finally decided that they had had enough. LOVE.
Along the way of our journey with infertility, I met a truly special person. Sara, the former leader of my RESOLVE infertility support group, became an instant lifesaver for me. We first bonded over the fact that we both were able to successfully conceive and deliver a healthy baby girl but then really struggled to give our little girls a sibling. Sara held my hand through all of the uncertainty, answered my questions via email, text, and the occasional hysterical phone call. She always offered a kind an encouraging word, all the while fighting her own battle. When we at last arrived at our first IVF cycle, Sara assured me it was less scary and overwhelming than it really seemed. She remembered each and every time I had an appointment, sending a quick text on the morning of to say “good luck”, “fingers crossed” or just a “let me know how things go. i’m thinking of you.” I was amazed that someone could find the time to be so selfless and caring as to be so truly on the ball regarding somebody else’s cycle. Heck, my own husband couldn’t even keep up with all the appointments. Every woman going through IVF should have a Sara. And I hope to someday be able to pay it forward to one of our fellow infertility sisters.
I’m happy to report that Sara is only 1 month shy of delivering her second child, a BOY! Her kids will be almost the exact same number of years apart as mine will be. When Sara asked me if she could buy cupcakes from me for her daughter’s birthday, I promptly told her no but offered to do them for free. It was really the least I could do for her, given what an amazing friend she has been to me throughout the past year.
Since Sara is about ready to pop. the party was a small, casual gathering of family members. She didn’t really have a theme but mentioned that her daughter likes fish and that they plan to take her to the Shedd Aquarium next week. I saw these cupcakes on Pinterest a long time ago and have been looking for a reason to make them ever since. They are simple and silly yet cute, fun and delicious.
Above is the photo from which I modeled my own cupcakes. Pretty close, right? (Excuse my poor photography. We were running behind so I didn’t have enough time to properly compose a shot. Instead, I just snapped a few with my phone. Either way, you get the idea.)
I hear the cupcakes were a success, and the birthday girl was quite pleased. Can’t wait for the arrival of Sara’s little one. She is truly a deserving mother.
10 years ago, I flew down to St. Louis with my then boyfriend to meet his entire family. We had only been dating about 5 months, but things were serious already. My first encounter with the Anschutz/ Goodnick clan would be at the 50th anniversary celebration for B’s grandparents. At the time, I was fresh out of culinary school and working 2 jobs: one as a baker at Julius Meinl (an Austrian coffee shop in Chicago) and the other as the fish cook at the very fancy Ambria (a Spanish/ French fusion restaurant that has sadly since been retired). The cake for this celebration was purchased from a local shop and transported to the event — unassembled — in the trunk of B’s mom’s car. Of course, the layers slid around and crashed together, leaving them less than desirable upon arrival. My MIL looked to me to fix the disaster. She handed me a rubber spatula and a can of Pillsbury frosting. With rookie baking skills and no stores open in their tiny town, there was little I could do. I was humiliated. She ended up slapping some baby’s breath in front of the damage and calling it a day, but I was scarred. I was supposed to be a baker. Why couldn’t I have fixed the cake?
Fast forward 10 years, and B and I have been happily married for 8.5 years ourselves. I no longer feel the need to impress the clan, who are now part of my family. We have a crazy intense toddler and one on the way. And, we live a 5-hour drive from the location of the 60th anniversary celebration. But, I just couldn’t help myself. I had to volunteer to make the cake for the party. 10 years of embarrassment would be remedied with fancy cake for the 60th. Well, it didn’t quite turn out that way. Life was crazy leading up to our trip down south & I am TIRED. I stressed big time about the cake surviving transport all the way down there. Still, I assembled the cake, packed the car carefully, and drove like a nun with precious cargo. We made it in one piece without even a scuff. When I saw the flowers that were intended to dress up a very plain cake and hide the imperfections, I cringed. The roses were huge and would have looked best on a cake 4 times the size of mine. With no other choice, I pouted and sulked — I’m blaming the pregnancy hormones — and sent B to the store to find better flowers. Of course, we weren’t in the teeny town of Staunton this time, and there were stores actually open, but our options were quite limited. I did what I could with a slew of white daisies and sat down lamenting the fact that I could not have a drink to take the edge off.
Still, the cake was a hit. Everybody loved the super smooth buttercream and the extra sweet raspberry filling. (Few party guests opted for slices of the store bought birthday cake that accompanied mine on the dessert table.) And, what really matters here anyway? Two people got the chance to celebrate 60 years of life together with their family and friends. They were surrounded by their 3 daughters, 6 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren. I’d say that’s what counts. How many of us will even be lucky enough to make it to 60 years together? B’s grandparents were young when they married (one barely 20 and the other in her teens), not like modern couples who wait till their late 20s or even 30s to tie the knot. Just living that long — and not killing each other — is reason enough to celebrate. Congratulations, Carol and Dean. I know I am sure grateful for your time together since without it, I wouldn’t have that sweet, sweet O or my awesome hubby.
My college roommate is still one of my favorite people in the whole world. So, when her son turned one, I was eager to make his smash cake. Corey’s mom selected a jungle theme for the party, and I sent her a bunch of photos on Pinterest so she could pick out a style that she liked. This is the one she chose:
I came pretty close, right? Well, we won’t see it on “Nailed it” anyway. (She also favored this lion cake, but I wanted to try out a new style.)
As a general rule, we should probably stop singing “Happy Birthday” to one year olds. They don’t seem to enjoy it very much.
Corey recovered nicely and after a few minutes snuggling with his mama, he was more than ready to dig into his very own cake.
He REALLY got into it (not like this birthday girl).
Seriously, I don’t think I have ever seen a more enthusiastic smasher (though this birthday boy came close and my own O did a pretty destructive job at her smash cake photo session).
He was even giving out high-fives to his cousins, who wanted in on the mess!
That was one enthusiastic kid! It was worth every second of my efforts to see this little/ not-so-little guy attack that cake. Congrats to his mommy and daddy on surviving the first year and raising such an incredible boy!