Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Party Problems

Em and Camille threw Merle an awesome Pre-Birthday party this past weekend. We thoroughly enjoyed it. It was such a fun spin on the normal Baby Shower (not that Baby Showers are bad at all, I just loved their creativity and spin on things). Birthday parties are a blast. Well, any party is a blast really. I just love parties and putting together events. If I were a cat and had 9 lives, in one of them I'd be an event planner. Where we live just isn't very conducive to being an event need somewhere with more people really. But I do love our rural area. 

Anyway...Merle's Pre-Birthday Party has me in a party mood, so I thought I'd go through our submissions and pull out some that have to do with party planning and shin-dig shenanigans.

So...what's the staple of any party? The food. We try so hard to put forth food that not only tastes fantastic, but that looks like it belongs in a food museum as well. Sometimes we end up with both good looking and tasty...and sometimes they are just one or the other. Or in sad cases...neither. So to start the post off, I give you a few Party Palate Pinstrosities:

Original Pin #1
I do love me some gummy bears (just not in ice cream...they get too hard and weird in ice cream). This cake is fun and colorful and sure to please just about any kid! 

Amber's son loves gummy bears, so she decided to give this a go for his birthday, but as the post didn't have any instructions, just a picture, she had to wing it.  Here's how hers turned out:

Pinstrosity #1

Amber says, "I told my son it was a gummy bear avalanche cake. NAILED IT!"  

Round stacked cakes can be a booger. I've only made one and it took me a while to get it not too lopsided or full-of-crumb frosting. The hardest part? Getting the bottom pretty! The plate/board is so hard to keep clean and/or to wipe clean. That's why I stick to pan cakes (where they only come out of the pan when you cut it up and serve it). I'm just not that adventurous. So when I see people try these round stacked cakes, I applaud them, regardless of how they turn out.

 So cakes aren't the easiest. What about cupcakes? 

Original Pin #2
I'm impressed that Tré even attempted these. I would look at them and think, "How cute! But not a chance." I'd give up before even trying. So hats off to you Tré. In his email he explains, "My daughter turned 1 last Wednesday, so we planned a Rubber Ducky themed party for her this weekend.  I got a little cocky and decided I'd try these."

Pinstrosity #2

"Well, a few things didn't go as planned...  The frosting I used to hold the head and tails on was too warm, so they started falling apart. Then the beaks refused to cooperate; I don't know what was supposed to happen there.  Then we put the eyes on with the frosting too warm, and that all melted...  I ended up with weeping zombie ducks.  My daughter still loved them, but really..."

Zombie ducks, bahahaha. I love his description. At least the daughter was happy! 

So the cake isn't always a success...but drinks. Those are the easy part, right? Hehe. 

Original Pin #3

You know how this turns out...I love this. Jen says, "I threw a baby shower for my best friend this weekend. I was using Pinterest for inspiration for a lot of decorations, foods, and games. One pinterest project went particularly wrong, however. Since the theme of the shower was penguins, we decided to take this punch recipe and use penguin rubber "ducks" in place of actual ducks. Furthermore, we were not able to find blue Kool-Aid and thus used the suggested replacement of blue Hawaiian punch. Let's just say the punch didn't turn out exactly as shown on the pin... "

Pinstrosity #3
"Our punch was a polluted mess! The color of the "bath water" turned out to be more of a green-brown murky color! Then, we put the rubber penguins in and they all fell over...
The bright side? It was delicious and quite hilarious. We named this new recipe 'Global Warming Punch.'"

Once we have the food figured out for a party, if we have extra time and energy the next step would be the decorations. How fancy do we go? Just the food table? The entire room? The entire house? The front porch? Here's a submission with party decorations that didn't quite match the Pinspiration:

Original Pin #4
This was a pin uploaded to Pinterest. I've spent nearly an hour trying to track down the original pinner/creator but I keep hitting dead ends.  But here was the caption on the pin: "Took $1.00 table cloths, cut slits and braided the tops to create fun party wall cover ups for my daughters birthday party at home."
Marissa saw this and gave it a try. "The pin said to use three table covers from the Dollar Store, and I did buy 3.  However, two were rectangular and one was round so I ended up using two.  As you can see I FAILED lol."

Pinstrosity #4

Luckily, the food and decorations don't make or break a party. Sure, they help...but you don't need a Disneyland worthy party for your guests to have fun and for the party to be a success! 

Thanks to our awesome readers/submitters for the party Pinstrosities!


  1. The gummy bear cake. Make a stacked round cake is easy enough if you use a home made medium/stiff butter cream frosting, if you use the store bought using it will slide, all over the place.

    The look as if the "fringes" were not mesaured, or cut strait. They look cute enough but you have to measure and have a fairly steady hand I would think.

    1. Seconding the store bought vs homemade icing. Store bought always slides, even if the cake is cold.

    2. Home made icing, and then being sure you cut the rounded tops off of the cakes. Other wise they slide, bend, and crack.

  2. Oh man - I could not stop laughing at Global Warming punch. Hilarious!

  3. I learned a tip to keep the plate clean while frosting a cake years ago. Use pieces of waxed paper. Not too big though. Many smaller pieces are better than a few large ones. Place them around the edges of the plate, overlapping as necessary before putting the cake on it. You want part of the paper under the cake and the rest covering the plate edges (I hope that makes sense) then, place your cake on the plate and waxed paper, and frost. When you are finished, carefully pull out the waxed paper. You *should* end up with a clean plate! Naturally, I rarely remember to do this myself.

  4. Round layer cakes: tear strips of wax paper and put them under the edge of the bottom layer, frost, then pull them out. No mess on the dish. Also use evenbake cake strips for flat layers. Or make your own with rags or old towels.
    That is all I got. I consider myself pretty cake-venturous, but I would never try those duck cupcakes. She is braver than me!
    Now I want gummy bears in the worst way. I'm off to vending.

  5. I agree and will add that before you put the unfrosted bottom layer on the cake plate, take 2 inch wide strips of parchment or waxed paper and lay it on the plate in a somewhat circle so that when you frost the cake you can just slide the pieces of parchment out from under the cake and your plate is still pretty.

  6. A few more cake tips: Frost your cake with a thin layer of frosting, I suggest a good home made butter cream, and refrigerate for about 10 minutes. Then add another layer of frosting on top of that and it should be crumb free. Dip your knife in hot water, shake the excess off, and smooth out your frosting. Also when frosting a cake after you have spread frosting on the cake and are ready to get more on your knife, scrape the knife off in another bowl. That way there won't be any crumbs dropped in your main bowl of icing.

  7. A tip I use for frosting cakes is to bake the layers and then freeze them. Take the cake layers out of oven after they are finished baking and let them cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Put parchment paper on a cookie sheet(s) (might need more than one depending on the size of the cookie sheet and number of layers). Take the layers out of the pans and put them on the cookie sheet. I usually let them freeze overnight. Take the layers out when you are ready to frost. Even out the layers by cutting some off the top if necessary. Frost while the cake is still frozen. I don't get crumbs in the frosting and for me it's much easier to frost. The cake thaws out pretty quickly but frost at least an least an hour before you plan to eat it. I do realize the downside to all of this is you have to plan ahead a little but it works.


  9. The gummy bears look like little lemmings running off a cliff! I have a horrible time with frosting, so I can commiserate with her, but I did have to laugh out loud. And the penguins...funny, funny, funny.

  10. My daughter (30) just emailed me this link. She said the ducks reminded her of me, for her 1st birthday I made one large duck cake, the head was attached using skewers, but the weight of the frosting made it too heavy and it fell off, LOL. It was my own fault, instead of using the correct beaten eggwhite based frosting I used my usual butter cream frosting, my bad. I couldn't serve a headless duck to the party guests so I tossed it in the bin. After having my memory jogged I am going to have another go, this time using the correct frosting. Figure I can either email a photo to my daughter "NAILED IT!" - or can send it to you if I fail again.

  11. Here is a tutorial for the braided backdrop. It's not for the original pin but same thing.

  12. The problem with the layer cake was that the cake layers were not cool enough. Honestly, a layer cake is an all-day project. You have to make the cake batter and bake the layer cakes, then let them cool COMPLETELY then lop off any part of one of the cakes that might be dome-shaped with a serrated knife (I recommend just eating this part). Place pieces of wax or parchment paper around a cake stand and then set your cut-off cake layer on first. plop between 1/4 and 1/3 of your icing on top of this, even it out with a butter knife, then top it with your other layer. Next do the sides. I like using a butter knife. Instead of trying to go up and down, smooth it around the cake. Then do the top and fix the areas where the top and sides meet. Then you can put your gummy bears on. you're really going to want to press them in pretty hard. You can do the same kind of thing with m&m's or pecan halves or almonds or whatever you want. Just make sure that if you do m&m's you serve the cake soon or else the dye will bleed. Then you remove your parchment from the bottom of the cake and no more messy cake stand. Put the lid on it and refrigerate it to help the icing firm up a bit. And you're good. You can also do this in two steps by making the cake and frosting one day, putting them both covered in the fridge, and then decorating the next day. Also, this is always going to work better with homemade buttercream frosting as opposed to the shortening-filled store-bought kind. And it will taste better too.


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