I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. On one hand, it’s an easy way to quickly search for meal or design or fashion inspiration. On the other hand, it’s an easy way to throw myself into a total inferiority complex/shame spiral. Everything on Pinterest, especially involving babies, is just so perfect. Like intensely, cutesily, professionally styled and photographed kind of perfect. And I’m just not. I’m that person whose hair always has flyaways, I most likely have a coffee stain on my shirt, and I once went out to Starbucks while wearing two completely different shoes (by accident, of course). I’m not a perfect Pinterest mom (or food blogger, for that matter) and I’ve been okay with it (for the most part). Well, at least until Lemon Baby’s first birthday rolled around.
Lemon Baby is not only the name of my food blog, but it’s also our nickname for our second child who just turned one last week. She’s full of sunshine and loves lemons as much as I do, hence the nickname. I wanted an elegant, small gathering (Champagne not optional). I wanted to make her smash cake myself, and I wanted it to look awesome. I came up with the idea of a dessert and champagne party because duh, they’re my two favorite things. I had one limitation: budget. Although I didn’t have an exact number I needed to stay under, I needed to do this as inexpensively as I possibly could.
This is a unique post because normally I post original (or inspired) recipes. For this party, I somewhat relied on the Great Bakers such as Bakerella (via Pioneer Woman) to do the grunt work for me. For the cake balls and Rice Krispie pops, I am linking to other sources. I followed these recipes and just added the glitz and glam of the Wilton gold stars and sprinkles instead of the recommended decorations. For the Rice Krispie star pops, I dipped them in the same candy coating as the cake balls instead of using the decorating gels, then decorated them with the sprinkles.
Meyer Lemon French Macarons
Chocolate Chip Buttercream Sandwich Cookies
Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream
Glitzy Chocolate Cake Balls
Lavender Ombre Smash Cake
“Rice Krispie” Star Pops
Starfruit Champagne Punch
Whenever you have a major event like this, something is bound to go wrong. In this case, three somethings went wrong. Although I’ve made probably fifty batches of nearly-perfect French macarons in my life, the second batch of lemon macarons failed. They never developed feet (those ruffles on the bottom that macarons usually have) and some of the shells cracked across the top. I blame the humidity.
My microwave died, so I tried melting white chocolate in a double boiler, and it never actually thinned enough to dip. The cake balls (which were originally supposed to be cake pops) were too heavy and ended up falling off the stick into the candy coating. I removed the sticks, cut each ball in two, reformed them, dipped them into the coating, sprinkled them, and called them cake balls. Mic drop. The lesson here is this: for every perfect Pinterest post, there’s a stickless cake ball swimming in Candiquik.
I ordered this lavender tablecloth from Amazon. Hobby Lobby came through with sparkly gold cupcake wrappers (which disguised my not-so-perfect cupcake crowns), and an adorable gold sparkly “Happy Birthday” cake topper. Target’s Spritz line of party supplies was a godsend–I picked up gold plates and napkins and treat boxes, as well as a little gold pom pom garland for her high chair. I also snagged a mylar/burlap metallic banner from their dollar section (kind of like this one). Lacking a pretty, white cake stand, I purchased this from Target, but the rest I borrowed from friends.
The “Like a Boss” and “Eat Well, Travel Often” frames I borrowed from baby’s nursery, as well as the Eiffel Tower and the gorgeous painting I commissioned by my dear friend Allison. Use what you’ve got, right?
One of the pitfalls of motherhood is the expectations we have for our children’s behavior. When I spent a few hours making a baby-sized cake for her sole enjoyment, I expected her to be overcome. “All this, for me?” Her eyes would widen in gleeful anticipation. She would, with the delight only a one year old baby can muster, grab handfuls of the delicious confection and shove them indelicately into her rosebud mouth, eliciting the oohs and ahhs of our closest family and friends.
Or, she could, as we sang “Happy Birthday” to her and I brought the cake over to her high chair, reach for the lit candle. Of course, my reaction to my child’s outstretched hand over a hot flame was to pull the cake out of her reach. Big mistake. I’m pretty sure there would have been fewer tears had I let her actually touch the flame. This child cannot handle having anything taken away from her, much less the two-layer sugar bomb I had just unwittingly dangled and removed. She absolutely flipped out. When Lemon Baby flips out, (usually because her brother has snatched a toy from her), she tends to throw her body forward and sort of face-plant on the floor. This she did, but in this situation, she hit the cake before the floor. As you can imagine, face planting into a cake did not improve her mood. What did (and the only thing that could) improve her mood was a mouthful of buttercream. See the progression below:
Bottom line: Pinterest is awesome. Birthday parties are awesome. Babies are awesome. Just don’t expect them to not reach for the candle. And when they do, and they are madder than a wet hen, just shove some buttercream frosting in their mouth.