Well, another epic 30th birthday celebration has come and gone. These cupcakes had quite the adventure. I packed them up nice and tight in my fancy two-level cupcake carrier for transport from Brooklyn to Chelsea. Here’s a fun fact: people cannot control themselves when they see people carrying food, specifically cupcakes. Everywhere I went someone made a comment about the cupcakes. They were never very original either — a lot of “I’ll hold those for you!” and “Can I hold one?” Clever, really.
Simplicity was the name of the game as far as the cupcakes themselves were concerned. My no-longer-in-his-twenties brother requested plain old chocolate cake with white frosting, which was always his favorite of our mom’s cakes. After the chocolate-raspberry madness, this was a welcome respite…and didn’t require nearly as many sticks of butter. Naturally I went for my trusty copy of Martha’s Cupcake Book (I really need to start branching out) and whipped up a batch of her One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes. Dense, moist, and the perfect base for the world’s best Fluffy Vanilla Frosting. I’ve never had so many people comment on how ridiculously good it is. They literally stop mid-bite to rave about it. It’s everything you never knew you wanted from frosting. Magic. Pure vanilla magic.
Elaborate usually wins out over simplistic when I bake. But I was surprised how many of my friends were fans of the basic chocolate-vanilla combo. When I was baking the cupcakes, my roommate’s boyfriend asked what kind I was making. When I replied “chocolate” he followed up with “and?..” Well, and nothing. Just chocolate cupcakes with white frosting. He was shocked. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you make plain cupcakes before.” He’s totally right. I usually get just a wee bit carried away.
Which I eventually did anyway. Not with the cupcakes, but with the DISPLAY. Oh yeah…
Why yes, those ARE photos of my brother from over the years adorning my oh-so-simple cupcakes. My mom had sent me a bunch of hilarious photos of Drew growing up and I knew I wanted to incorporate them somehow. However, decorating a bar is a lot more difficult than decorating your apartment, regardless of how friendly the staff is.
The people at the Chelsea Brewing Co. were amazing and not only stored a dozen balloons hours before the party, but made room for the cupcake carrier in their refrigerator. My gratitude is typically expressed with baked goods and what’s a party without back-up mini cupcakes? I didn’t go crazy this time and make an extra batch though. I had a bag of mini’s leftover from Hallie’s party that I had ingeniously tossed into the freezer. They were just what I needed to finish off all of that magical frosting. A little dollop on top made them the perfect treats for staff at the bar to thank them for all their help.
As for those photo toppers, I printed out the pictures, cut them in circles, and then just used the STICKER MAKER I had lying around my apartment. Wha? Sticker maker? Who has a sticker maker just lying around? Typically, no one. Unless you used to work for a TV show that gave random stuff away left and right. Somehow I ended up with a sticker maker. It has been collecting dust for about two years and caught my eye as I sat at the table trying to figure out how to affix the pictures to their little toothpicks. I busted out the sticker maker, which oddly enough, required no batteries or electricity. Awesome, right? It was like a 19th century-style hand crank sticker maker (I’m pretty sure they had those…). I was a hand-cranking, sticker-making fool and ended up with a pretty great way celebrate 30 years of Drew’s life in pictures. A cupcake with a dash of nostalgia is always welcome.