Throwback: Maria Emma's 2nd Birthday Party

One of my first #sidehustle projects last fall after I got assigned a longer term project in Houston was catering a Princess Sofia themed birthday party for a friend's daughter. 

First things first, I had to figure out how on earth to price cupcakes in a way that didn't leave me destitute while simultaneously didn't offend my friend. I researched nearby bakeries, tried to calculate costs (and gave up), read posts on the internet with how-tos about pricing, and finally settled on providing my friend with 3 options, so that she could choose the option that she was most comfortable buying.

We finally settled on
3 dozen cupcakes with themed toppers and a round 6-inch layered cake. 

She, like me, was a big fan of "white cake" and buttercream icing, so I had a few favorite recipes to turn to.
6-inch, 4 tiered cake with buttercream frosting
Thanks to Pinterest, my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe comes from Glorious Treats. The recipe below yields about 15 beautifully perfect cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup oil (vegetable, canola or extra light olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
In short, preheat oven to 350F, combine the ingredients, blend the wet ones, then mix it all together. I almost never have cake flour or buttermilk on hand, so any of the suggestions online for how to substitute those items work just fine in this recipe.

My frosting recipe, on the other hand, I will guard with my life.

All I will willingly tell you is that 1) it starts with an old Wilton recipe and contains mountains of fat, and 2) the second batch of it for Maria Emma's birthday party accidentally was a little more flavorful than planned. (I may or may not have knocked over and into the batch an obscene amount of almond extract.)