It was a long 12 hours. Yep, that's right, 12 freakin' hours. There weren't many meltdowns--maybe just one and a minor one at that. It was really just a lot of waiting around for cupcakes to bake and then washing dishes.
The setbacks? There were a few. The first was running out of strawberries and then vanilla extract. Luckily Sean was around to lend some moral support and make a late-night run to the grocery store to pick up said items, as well as extra heavy cream, which came in handy. Another setback? Forgetting to measure out the right amount of chocolate for the whipped chocolate ganache frosting and then doing it midway while the heavy cream was cooling down. My initial ganache recipe was therefore f'ed so I had to improvise and am happy to say that it turned out marvelously, despite the clumps of chocolate stuck in the frosting tip. Thanks to Sean and his days at the Sobey's bakery, he was able to let me in on his "frosting tip under running hot water" trick.
Let's back up to the process a bit though. I was kind of given free reign with the wedding cupcakes, which initially made me really nervous. The bride's comments were something along the lines of "whatever they are, I know they're be great" which made me feel good that she had so much faith in me, but also made me nervous because I knew the cupcakes had to be spectacular. I think that's why I pulled out all the stops. The cupcakes chosen (or suggested by me and approved by her) were a strawberry and toasted coconut cupcake with vanilla bean and coconut rum buttercream as well as a double chocolate fudge cupcake filled with dulce de leche and topped with a whipped dark chocolate Kahlua ganache. Initially the toppers were supposed to be chocolate shortbread cookies with embossed initials of the newly married couple. I did a test run about a month back but in all honesty, the photographed cupcakes didn't look spectacular. They tasted great but they didn't look very awesome. Who really wants a miniature cookie sticking out of a cupcake? I decided to go with dainty little sugar flowers instead and I'm glad I did because it really suited the classy black and white theme of the wedding. I made the sugar flowers a week in advance and am really glad that I did. Putting on the silver dragees took three hours alone because it involved piping the royal icing with my left hand while placing the dragee with my right hand with a pair of tweezers. Insane work, I tell ya! It is not for the faint of heart. It was tedious and time consuming and certainly fiddly. But the flowers looked so cute and perfect afterwards.
The majority of the cupcakes were made the night before, finishing up the last batch 12 hours before they were due. I then woke up five hours later and made the last batch of cupcakes--making extras for any mishaps--and then began frosting. Surprisingly, I didn't feel tired, but there was a LOT of yawning later in the day and perhaps a little bit of a nap at Corey and Bryanne's place. In total there were 144 cupcakes. I planned on making extras as "back-ups" for the car ride to Oshawa. I wanted to be able to swap out the "casualties" that didn't make the car ride over for the "good" ones. I didn't really plan on making THAT many but because of the two different recipes I was using, it just happened to make that many. It was okay; I didn't hear my co-workers complaining.
Piping the cupcakes wasn't too hard. I had piped cupcakes several dozen times before and have pretty much perfected my piping skills. There were a few that didn't look so hot and those are the ones I asked Sean to scrape the frosting off so I could re-pipe them. Thank goodness for the extra set of hands because I really needed them. As I piped, Sean placed the sugar flowers on top of the cupcakes. (FYI: I used my trusty 1M tip for the piping.)
I was done at 12:58pm, two minutes before my self-imposed 1pm deadline. Sean and I packed the car in about 30 minutes and made our way to Oshawa. The traffic, for the most part, was non-existent, so the car ride took about 45 minutes and the entire way there I was internally fretting about what would happen should we get into a fender bender. How would I salvage the cupcakes? Could they even be salvaged? What if the accident was so bad that Sean and I couldn't make it out right away? What if the "jaws of life" had to come get us out? All kinds of crazy thoughts were running through my head and at one point, when we hit a blip of traffic, I'm pretty sure I was about to have a panic attack. my heart started racing and my palms were getting sweaty and I was worried that we wouldn't make it to the reception hall in time for our 3pm deadline; I still needed time to set up the cupcakes! But we made it there in time, accident free, with plenty of time for me to van-vaner with the cupcakes on the cupcake stands made by the bride and her bridesmaids. It took about 30 minutes to set up the cupcakes (deciding whether to alternate the cupcakes on the same tier or whether to separate them was a bit of a pickle that Sean didn't understand) but afterwards, they looked marvelous. And I have to admit, I was a proud Cupcake Mama.
I set up all 102 cupcakes, took a few pics for the memories and then sadly, said goodbye to my babies:Stay tuned for part two...featuring more photos!