Sometimes, a girl needs a good challenge. Something she really needs to do b/c it’s fun and rewarding even though she barely has time to breathe… or b/c she’s just mental. I’d like to think this is a little of both =)
A while back, one of my friends referred her engaged friend to me and suggested that I do her wedding favors. (To be consistent, R also recommended me to do the baked goods for the bridal shower.) Her friend was planning a Mardi Gras-themed wedding and wanted party favors that could double as escort cards. I got really excited about being hired to do this and had sooo many ideas, I kinda went overboard in making suggestions. haha But the lovely bride-to-be and I finalized the favors to be cake balls. This would probably be best option for easy transport and set up since the guest list had about oh, I don’t know…like, 400 guests. Other options would have been nice, but just for the sake of making things easier for organizing and alphabetizing purposes and having gone through last minute things on my wedding day (i.e., sorting escort cards while getting my hair done an hour before the ceremony), I wanted to make things go as smoothly as possible for her. So we decided to have cake balls and small cube favor boxes and labels.
The bride was very on top of things (or “on the ball”, if you will) and ordered the favor boxes and purple tissue paper to be directly sent to my house. We decided on cake flavors (vanilla with rum buttercream and chocolate with rum buttercream) and two balls per box (twss) and one would be yellow and the other would be green. I really wanted to do something “New Orleans” and found a perfect fleur-de-lis mold to make white fondant pieces for the balls. Combined with the festive purple tissue paper and glossy black boxes, I think these are a great depiction of Mardi Gras-themed favors.
First thing I did was calculate how many ingredients I needed and how much of each. Almost four dozen eggs, bitches! A couple gallons of milk, LOTS of butter… I could go on. Obviously Vin was not as excited about the prospect of these things taking over the kitchen as much as I was. So I got the first step over with and baked sheets and sheets of vanilla and chocolate cakes. It was kiiiiinda insane if you saw my dining table. While those foil trays of cake cooled, I made gallons of vanilla rum frosting. I love how the bride humored me and went along with my suggestion to do a different flavored frosting. Rum flavor for Mardi Gras… how could that crazy delicious combination go wrong?
This time, I had a little help. Vin assembled 200 favor boxes for me. My sister came over and helped me break down the cakes (the edges of the vanilla sheets had to be shaved off so the white cake wouldn’t have brown bits) and crumbled them in my awesome Ninja processor. There were piles upon piles of fluffy cake bits that took over six huge foil trays. I took one tray @ a time and mixed the frosting in with my hands. It was kind of therapeutic just mashing it all and rolling out cake balls. And luckily, I’m not into manicures. haha
It took me a little while to get the hang of dipping the balls since dipping cake pops are easier. The method suggested in Bakerella’s cake pop book seemed messy; there was too much excess candy coating drying on each ball and it didn’t look clean. I wanted each ball to be as neat as possible, so that took a little extra time getting minimal amount of candy coating spreading on each ball. Multiply that by 400+ b/c I had some mess ups, too. I finally got it down to a system of dipping the cake ball in the chocolate candy coating and carefully prying the ball off with a fondue stick (another wonderful multi-use tool).
I set the balls aside to dry and I pressed out each individual white fondant fleur-de-lis designs by hand. I carefully shaped the fondant pieces onto the balls before they dried and cracked, and once they were all set I wrapped one yellow ball and one green ball in purple tissue paper and boxed them all up. The whole process from start to finish took me longer than anticipated and an unexpected crisis came up, but I finished the job and did it well… I think…
I packed 195 little shiny favor boxes into a large packing box (SO close… the other 5 boxes were transported in a separate box) and away we went to deliver the goods the day before the wedding. I was so nervous that the bride wouldn’t be happy with what I made, but I got a message from my friend R saying “She loved ’em!!!” Phew! =)
Congratulations to S and B!!!
And now, I’ll catch up on a little sleep before making desserts for two Thanksgivings…