The theme of the shower was a combination of Alice in Wonderland, gardens, and tea parties. My mom and I had planned out the cake, and I drew up a sketch of what the final cake would look like. It was to have three tiers or red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. Each tier was to be covered in fondant. The bottom tier was to be a garden, and covered with fondant grass, flowers, butterflies, and the like. The second tier was going to be a pale shade of pink with a white fondant bow along the bottom, and the top tier was going to be a tea party setting, complete with an engraved tablecloth and a full tea set. It had the prospects of being a really beautiful cake.
Note that I say, "it had..."
Unfortunately, the cake my mom and I had spent so much time planning out never actually happened. Three days prior to Saturday's shower, on Wednesday afternoon, my mom somehow managed to fracture her hand while adding the green coloring to the fondant for the bottom tier. I know, it sounds crazy, but it actually happened. I guess it makes sense though...mixing fondant colors by hand is hard enough, but it's even harder when you have to mix enough fondant to cover a 16" cake that's supposed to be 4" tall! If you've never added color to fondant by hand before, imagine that it is something like play-doh, but much much much harder. In any case, after a relatively quick trip to the emergency room, my mom was left with a totally bandaged hand, and the next day, a bright purple cast all the way up to her elbow.
Since my mom's right hand was now out of the picture, it seemed like the amazing cake that we had come up with was going to be out of the picture as well. We were in a pretty sticky situation. It was literally only two days before the cake had to be finished, and my mom had a fractured hand. I don't usually get home from my internship until at least 6:30, so the amount of help I could provide was kind of limited. To add to that, I honestly have no idea how to cover a cake in fondant, much less a 16" cake. I've worked with fondant before, but I had never attempted to cover a cake with it, and to start out with a 16" inch cake was only a tiny bit intimidating, to say the least. We needed to come up with a plan B.
Cupcakes seemed to be the only feasible solution. We decided to make 6 dozen red velvet cupcakes filled with cream cheese frosting with fondant decorations. Since my mom had been working ahead of schedule, she had already had the majority of the tea party settings and garden elements ready, so we decided to go ahead and use them to create a centerpiece for all the cupcakes. The plan for the centerpiece was to create a two-tier "false" cake. Essentially, we took two styrofoam rounds to act as cake, and then covered them with fondant to create a garden and a tea party scene. I actually managed to cover the large tier with the green fondant that my mom had been mixing before! I'm not really sure how I managed to cover the bottom tier...sure, maybe I took too long rolling out the fondant and it dried out a little, and it started cracking along the some of the edges, but I was pretty proud of myself, considering it was my first time!
Making all the cupcakes was a challenge though, but fortunately, my dad and my sister both stepped in to help out in whatever way they could. Friday night, the day before the baby shower, I started the long process of baking 6 dozen red velvet cupcakes and whipping up about 3 batches of cream cheese frosting. Let's just say that the baking and filling processes took a really long time! In the meantime though, my mom oversaw my dad and my sister as they made all the tiny fondant decorations for the cupcakes: little teacups, mushrooms, "eat me" cookies, macarons, and delicately folded napkins, to name a few. That also took a really long time, and by the time we decided to call it a night, we had about 7 dozen cream cheese frosting-filled red velvet cupcakes covered in fondant, and a finished two-tiered tea party centerpiece. All the was left to do was finish attaching all the decorations to the cupcakes, which seemed like a piece of cake compared to all the work we had done already!
These are just a couple of the photos I was able to take of all the cupcakes and the centerpiece at the baby shower. The cupcakes were a huge success; everyone loved biting into them only to find a cream cheese frosting-filled center! The centerpiece was the most impressive though. People found it hard to believe that we had managed to pull all of this off, considering that my mom had fractured her hand! It took a lot of teamwork, but we were able to get everything done. We may not have gotten to make the cake we had originally designed, but we did end up creating a fantastic alternative that was just as good, if not better! Enjoy the rest of the photos!