Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone! I think this is one of those holidays that you either love or hate. I for one, happen to love it, but not for any romantic reason. I’ve just always enjoyed an excuse to share a little extra love! (and chocolate!)
Speaking of sweets, one of my little sweeties happened to have a birthday earlier this month and we celebrated with a sugary treat of a cupcake party.
Our family can’t get enough of those baking competition shows on the Food Network, and we thought it would be fun to re-create a party just like the show, Cupcake Wars.
We invited twelve of her classmates to attend, then broke into 4 teams of three to create our kids’ baking challenge. Each team had a theme that they needed to try to stick to for baking and decorating. My daughter chose the themes, but the girls were randomly sorted into each one: 1) Flowers, 2) Fashion, 3) Valentine’s Day, and 4) Animals.
I had pre-mixed up a batch of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cake batters, so the girls could decide which flavored cupcake they each wanted to bake.
Then each team had access to “add-ins” for their batter including mini-marshmallows, strawberries, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips or peppermint chips.
They got to decide which flavor combos might taste best.
We popped each cupcake liner in the pan in rows of 3, so we knew which team’s cakes were which. Then into the oven they went.
Of course, we needed a couple of activities to keep everyone busy while the cupcakes were baking, so I planned 2 simple crafts.
First we decorated plain white aprons with fabric markers that had already been personalized with each girl’s name. I got a 12-pack of aprons for a pretty reasonable cost through Oriental Trading’s website.
Then we took plain plastic spatulas and jazzed them up a bit with some decorative washi tape on the handles. This entire project cost me about $7. I found the spatulas at Walmart, 88 cents for a 2-pack.
By the time we finished up our crafts, the cakes were done baking and we placed them inside our “blast chiller” aka our garage, which was about 10 degrees! #wisconsinwinter
While cooling, we opened presents and had a snack.
Then once they were ready, we began decorating. I had purchased a package of plastic paint trays through Amazon to use for the cupcake decorating. They worked perfectly.
I had pre-poured a whole bunch of different sprinkles onto the paint trays and this prevented a lot of “over-dousing” as they decorated. We even had candy-eyeballs and sprinkles in the shapes of all different animals, flowers, etc.
Then they placed their cupcakes in the center of the tray and with the help of the grown-ups, spread their frosting in the color of their choice onto the top and started to create.
I have to give these girls credit! They ran with their themes and worked as a team to each create a great looking plate of cupcakes. Each one was super creative and original.
Then came the best part of the party. I had asked a few of my family members to come and act as the judging panel for the cupcake war.
They included my grandfather, my aunt and her daughter, my cousin. All “experts” in the baking (and tasting) field!
We set up a judging table where each team had to display their trio of cupcakes, and the judges scored them on creativity, taste, texture and presentation. It was so much fun to watch the judges get really serious and into it.
The girls were totally excited with anticipation as to who would score the most points.
In the end, two of the four teams tied for 1st place and each member was awarded a baking prize. I had a mixing bowl full of little trinkets like measuring spoons, cups, cupcake liners, a whisk, etc. as the prizes.
Then each girl got to sample a little bit of the cupcake their team created.
As thank you favors we gave each girl a goody bag filled with a cupcake themed pad of paper, eraser, stickers and pencil. And they each got a cute “to-go” box (also from Oriental Trading) with a colorful & tasty pre-made cupcake inside.
This was definitely a fun way to celebrate our sweet February birthday girl. I couldn’t have pulled it off without the help of my mom & sister who graciously helped me prep and oversee the party.
As they say, it takes a village…or in this case, a lot of sous chefs in the kitchen!