It’s been a while, a pretty darn long while since I’ve been “hired” to bake a large amount of items for a wedding, birthday, or party. I’ve pushed my bakery dreams on the back burner since I’ve taken a different route in the hospitality world, but it’s okay with me because I still get great opportunities to make things for family and friends like my most recent “job”.
So I set off to make 300 cupcakes of 3 different flavors, a small vanilla cake, and deliver everything to the Cincinnati zoo in one piece. Here’s how it went….
Phase one started on Thursday with weighing ingredients and making the actual batter and frosting. Red velvet, lemon, vanilla, and chocolate batters and cream cheese, vanilla, and chocolate frostings were tucked away for phase two the following afternoon.
Phase two on Friday consisted of baking…and finding places to set the cupcakes while they cooled. Phase two actually led me to freak out mode since the oven got too hot and things began to burn. Holy hell, stopping time.
Phase three was for baking completion, as well as frosting and decorating…a lot of frosting and decorating with chocolate, cream cheese, and vanilla frosting and homemade cupcake wrappers made up of doilies and scrapbook paper.
Phase four…delivery. With help from my sister and brother-in-law everything made it over the hills of Cincinnati and to the zoo completely safe and sound. For the actual delivery we got to drive through the zoo to the reception location… we got eyeballed like we were the newest exhibit.
Set-up was quick and painless thanks to my sister’s help….the small space of the table though definitely reminded me of how in need I am to make a cupcake stand.
A pretty cool thing about having a wedding at the zoo is that they will offer to bring some of the animals around for guest viewings, some guests even have the opportunity to meet the elephants. You also get to experience the usual suspects pecking around like the gorgeous peacock, walking around like nobody’s business.
All in all…mission accomplished.
Red Velvet Cake
makes between 20-24
Adapted from Kiss My Bundt Bakery
1 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp lemon juice
2.5 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1.5 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup Buttermilk (or 1 cup 2% with 1.5 Tbsp lemon juice)
2 Tbsp red food coloring
- Set the oven to 350F
- In a mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and 1 cup of the sugar, set aside. In another medium sized bowl, combine the melted butter, 2 eggs, and 3/4 cup sugar. Whisk well. Next, add the vanilla extract, and lemon juice and mix.
- Add the dry mixture and the buttermilk into the batter in thirds, mixing just until everything is incorporated before adding the next portion. When complete, add in the red food coloring until well incorporated and distributed.
- Portion into baking liners and pans. Place into the pre-heated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or until you can touch the cupcake and it lightly springs back. Pull out and allow to cool for at least an hour before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 lb (2 8oz packages) cream cheese, soft
1 stick unsalted butter, soft
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Cups + Powdered Sugar
- Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl and whip until combined, add the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar, one half cup at a time and whip well after each addition. Add up to 4 cups to get it the the consistency you would like it. If the frosting becomes too thick, add a dash of milk and then mix.