Today was a good day. Even though the day started with me sliding sideways and backwards in my car down an icy street, everything turned our great! I was heading to the store early in the morning to get dry ice to pack with our cupcakes for the Love in Bloom: A Wedding Planning Event for all Seasons at Powell Gardens and my street was covered in a layer of ice. I slid, but did not panic and was able to avoid all the parked cars and mail boxes. I picked up 4 bags of rock salt as well as dry ice while I was at the store.
Love in Bloom was a bridal event that set vendors up with a theme based on one of the four seasons. Powell Gardens wanted to take advantage of the Cupcake craze and had a cupcake contest as a part of the event. The bakeries that attended had to decorate a table with a cupcake spread that went along with the season they were assigned. We signed up for the event and as soon as we received our assigned season, Spring, we started planning. We felt confident we could come up with great cupcake flavors to go along with the season, but cake decoration was never one of our strong points. We worked out a plan, a rather ambition one, and went to work. When we saw the lineup of other bakeries that were attending, we knew we had to be at our best to even be competitive. The cupcakes were to be judged by flavor, how well they complemented the assigned theme, creativity and overall appearance. Our cupcake display is pictured below.
We drove very carefully and made it to Powell Gardens without any problems. It did take longer than we expected, but we got there and were ready to unload the car. I slipped a few times on the way inside the building, but I had rock salt in the car. I surrounded the car with rock salt and made a path of salt from our car to the building. No more problems with slipping. We saw many vendors we knew, and had a great time catching up. Some we knew for years, such as Mike from Freeland Photography and Laurel from Living Moment Images. Others we met more recently but enjoy visiting with them just as much, like Andrea of Andrea K Grist Floral Designs and Sherrie from Sherrie’s Cake Magic. We took our time unloading the car and started setting up. The foundation of our display was our cupcake stand. This was the 3rd stand I made, and it was designed with this event in mind. It was a four tier stand and the top 3 tiers were shaped like flowers. There was a different spring colored flower pot in between each tier. A close up picture of the stand is available below.
The bottom tier of the cupcake stand was the only square tier. I got the idea for filling this tier with grass covered cupcakes to make it look like the ground. We made a chocolate cupcake and hand frosted over 100 cupcakes to fill up the base. We made our buttercream frosting and Amy got it the perfect green by adding, adding and adding more food coloring until she was happy. We got two bags, and two grass tips and went to work. I don’t frost cupcakes often, and it was apparent why during this process. I used about 2 times the amount of frosting and did half the cupcakes as Amy. It looked like my grass needed to be mowed while Amy had a well manicured lawn. I convinced myself that it would look more realistic when they were mixed together on the stand. And they did, they did not look bad at all on the stand.
The next two tiers were covered with cupcakes Amy made on her own, and she did an amazing job. This was her first time working with fondant, and it is not one of the easiest ingredients to work with. She made about 80 vanilla cupcakes, and covered each one with a spring colored fondant disc. There was pink, green, blue and yellow cupcake tops. She added small while flowers to some, piped designs on others with frosting and some were topped with hand crafted lady bugs and bumble bees. The bees even had little wings! They took a lot of time and patients to make, but they were a hit. We overheard many customers talking about how cute they thought they were, and asking if they were edible. Everything was edible except the tooth picks.
The top tier of the stand had our big cupcakes. We had 2 jumbo cupcakes, one for the bride and one for the groom. When we do weddings, we make a jumbo cupcake in their favorite flavor that they can use to feed each other. They were both dressed for the occasion, the groom’s cupcake had a tux and the bride had a beautiful gown and tiara. We had our mega cupcake behind them, it was massive and again it was all edible. It had a white chocolate wrapper, the top was covered in white fondant and was accented in purple fondant ribbons and bows. We worked on this cupcake at the last minute, we were up late last night trying to make a bow out of fondant and attach it to the cupcake. It was not perfect, but we got it done and we were both happy with the results.
We brought 6 different flavors to this event, and it was hard to say what was the most popular. People kept coming back for more and more, and that’s just fine by us. We brought 800 minis with us for people to sample. We even sent cupcakes some with some of the brides, and left some for the wonderful people at Powell Gardens. The flavors we brought were Apple of my Eye, Pucker Up, Rouge, Life by Chocolate, Very Berry and of course Peanut Butter Dream. At about 2:30 we went to find out how our cupcakes did. Mike from Freeland Photography offered to take pictures, and I was glad he did. We have a semi pro digital camera, and we never just hand it off to someone especially without instructions. Handing my camera off to Mike there was no question in my mind that we would get some great pictures, and we did. Thanks again Mike. The judges started announcing their scores, and we were so flattered to see the number of 10s we received! 3 of the 4 judges gave us 10s for cupcake flavor. Amy and I were grinning ear to ear because of the results. They tallied up the score and announced that The Sweet Tooth won!
We returned to our booth, and were excited about the visits and congratulations we received from vendors and guests. We thought it was pretty funny when people came by and said they had to try some of our award winning cupcakes! It was such a great day, and well worth all the hard work. We look forward to following up with all the brides we met with, and doing many events at Powell Gardens in the future.