Sunday, August 28, 2011

My First Wedding Cupcakes!

A little less than a year ago, a close friend of ours approached me and asked if I would be interested in making 100 cupcakes for her wedding.  I was pleased as punch!  It was very flattering to have someone invest that amount of faith in something you love to do that they would ask you to do it for all of the guests at their WEDDING!

But the best part about all of this was the story that I get to tell because of it.

I started planning the moment I accepted, batting around recipe after recipe and trying to remember which flavors the bride and groom had praised at past events. After a few midday and late night conversations with the bride and a house-warming tasting party at the couple's new house...

 ...we decided on a Key Lime cupcake

a Chocolate Chunk and Peanut Butter cupcake

and a Raspberries and Champagne cupcake.

100 cupcakes didn't feel too intimidating -- only 8.5 trays worth of baking!  I knew I could do it in a cinch. Except for one thing.... this wedding was 2,500 miles away in Sandpoint, Idaho!

I certainly had my work cut out for me in terms of planning and processing how we were going to accomplish this trip. Her parents had recently built their beautiful new home themselves in the middle of gorgeous farm lands.

They unfortunately did not have a standing mixer for me to use so I knew I was going to have to make the batter and buttercream here in Pennsylvania.  But how was I going to get it there? I managed to secure a Styrofoam shipping box and four 24-hour ice packs so I had originally planned on shipping everything!

After a few dozen phone calls to shipping companies galore, I realized that shipping overnight to a remote location such as Sandpoint was going to cost me upwards of $500!!!!!! Neither the bride nor I were prepared to absorb that cost (understandably so!) so I had to start the wheels turning again.  I made a few more phone calls and wound up on a three way conference call with a wonderfully pleasant woman from Southwest Airlines and an equally helpful woman from TSA.  They conferred and told me that my cupcake batter would be considered a "non-flammable gel" and that I would be welcome to check it on my flight.

And so, very early in the morning before our 3 p.m. flight, I got to work! I purchased 10 large tubs of tupperware and painters tape and filled each tub with a different batter, labeling each with what was inside. I was completely relieved to see that the tubs fit just perfectly inside my shipping box, so I sealed her up and headed off to the airport!

I was so shocked at how easy it was to get through security.  I checked it in (for free! thank you Southwest!) the oversized baggage section and the officers asked me a few quick questions.  When I told them it was batter and buttercream, they seemed more excited than concerned!  When we arrived, after one transfer, in Spokane, Washington, the box showed up with the rest of our luggage with one or two dings, but no substantial damage.

I decided not to open the box until the next morning when I started baking. I didn't want the batter to go bad at all and I wasn't quite sure how everything fared during the flight. Turns out I probably should have opened it up to let it air out much earlier!  The batter and buttercream were both frozen nearly solid!  I was most worried about my Italian Meringue Buttercream which is a very specific menu that is nearly impossible to create without a stand mixer. It curdled quite a bit during the freezing and unfreezing process, and I freaked out just a bit.

I thank the lord that I had my friend Lindsey by my side to help calm me down and assure me that everything still tasted and looked great.  I'm not sure I could have done it without her there. She gave up a day of her vacation (while PID and her fiance were at the beach with our other friends) to help me with the chocolate design, the baking and the frosting.  It was a blessing!

After about 4.5 hours of baking and decorating, we finished all 102 cupcakes and put them in the refrigerator for the next day's wedding.

It was a lot of hard work, but I was really pleased with the results!  And the wedding?  By far the best and most beautiful wedding I've ever been to.

Congratulations to the brand new Mr. and Mrs. and thank you so much for the opportunity to try my hand at baking for a wedding! 

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