Alice in Wonderland Sweet 16

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I am sorry. I am sorry I have been missing from my blog, a place chosen to share my passion and love for cooking! It’s been a whirlwind yet again. Work has been unbelievably busy and then I had to devote every bit of free time to preparing for a special birthday party. Then, things got crazy again. But I hate making excuses, so I will just say please accept my apologies for not posting here as regularly. I am hoping I will post weekly on Saturdays! Perhaps that’s a binding agreement I am making to myself that I hope to keep! 🙂

So, back to what has been consuming my free moments! Very special Sweet 16! Wait, not just any sweet 16, Alice in Wonderland themed Sweet 16! My primary focus was to make a very special cake and other treats that will “speak” the theme without not so much as saying a word! But then again, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the cake spoke – after all, all sorts of things speak in that tale!

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So, I started imaging and dreaming up the design. Should it be topsy turvy? How about a spell-casting magical mushroom? How about Alice diving into Rabbit Hole? I know, I will just pull in little bit of this and little bit of that and that’s what I did. I decided to make a multi-layered cake – starting with a green base to imply forest floor, anchor it with a large mad hatter hat and top it with a whimsical cute china tea cup and saucer. Yes! That will be it! Now, on to making it a reality!

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You see, I am not a fan of fondant at all! I mean, you would have to really give me a compelling reason to resort to fondant. I always prefer the creamy deliciousness of buttercream! But, I decided fondant will be a must-have for making this cake design a decent reality. So, I caved!

What about the cakes? I usually go with a good quality box mix and make homemade frosting and filling. It’s after all icing on the cake that everyone loves right! But in order to make sure the bottom layer will hold up to the top layers and hold the weight of fondant without succumbing to all the weight, I knew I had to go with a sturdy cake like a pound cake. So, I made three different flavors – regular pound for the bottom, grapefruit flavor for the hat and lemon-coconut for the tea cup (and cup cakes).

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You need to plan ahead to make it a bit easier on you to make, assemble and decorate the cake. I made the sauce few days before the party so they could dry a bit. Also, stack the cakes just before party time. Lastly, humidity is an enemy for fondant. So, take precautions to minimize any disappointment! Last time I worked with fondant to make a “tardis” cake, I was horrified to find “tardis” kind of sinking to one side because the fondant was loosening up a bit with the high humidity.

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My ultimate reward was when the birthday girl was completely awe-struck with the cake and so were so were here friends! Was this truly the best I could make? Perhaps not! But was it my best effort at that moment? Of course yes!

I also made other treats to remind of the theme! I made shortbread cookies that looked like tea bags. They were so cute. I found the image for the perfect tag! Needless to say, these little creations were such a huge hit. In addition, I made cupcakes and mini pink lemon mousse in clear shot glasses! The table was set with English tea cups and teapots sourced from antique markets and thrift stores to create the tea party scene.

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All-in-all, after weeks of stressing about it, I think the party and the food were great success! I hope you will have an opportunity to try out this theme sometime! It was a hit with the teenagers, especially because they got to dress up for the party as well!

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