Sweet Tooth x 300

So now you know that Deborah is a Mrs.!  What you don't know is that she and Rundy invited 300 people to the wedding and then worked their proverbial tails off in preparation, and that their work blossomed into a beautiful day.

Debbie and Rundy worked non-stop in the weeks leading up to the wedding, and many people who love them contributed to make the day unfold smoothly, without undue stress crowding out rightful joy.  Debbie bought some buckets of sunflowers, and lots of people gathered wildflowers, but Rundy's mom grew the bulk of the flowers for the wedding bouquets, centerpieces, corsages, and boutonnieres in her gorgeous flowerbeds.  Titi and Becky (and Cadie & Cassie) arranged the flowers, Cassie did the girls' hair, and Evan and Justin were Chief Kitchen Magicians, because even the food was a homegrown affair.  Rundy's family took over preparing coleslaw, baked beans, and meat for 300 (!), mom and Wendy made fruit salad for 300 (helped along by 2 church friends), others pitched in with vegetable trays, drinks duty, and everything behind the scenes, and since I wasn't doing anything, I offered to make the wedding cupcakes.

I'm a procrastinator by nature, but I knew this was a big enough job that I'd have to break out organizational skills ahead of time to make it happen, so I researched recipes, sourced ingredients, and made a baking plan a few weeks in advance. (Pat me on the back, please. This may never happen again.)

I made 432 cupcakes in three flavors and four kinds of frosting in the two days before the wedding, decorated them in time for the rehearsal dinner, and it was only insomnia that shortened my sleep.  I was in bed by ten o'clock!  What is this world coming to?!

If you find yourself in the position of making 400+ cupcakes in a short amount of time-- because, hey, you never know-- here are a few tips.

1. This post gave me the brilliant idea of pre-mixing all the dry ingredients in handy double-batch sizes ahead of time, which is what convinced me I could make the cupcakes without dying in the process.

2.  This website was invaluable!  I used it to convert 12- and 24-cupcake batches to the total amount of cupcakes needed of each flavor, which made it much easier to total all the required cups and pounds of ingredients needed.

3. I added tons of stabilizers-- corn starch and dry meringue powder, as well as (blecch) some vegetable shortening in place of butter-- to the frostings so they wouldn't melt in case of high heat and humidity (which ended up not being an issue).

4. Have 4 muffin pans handy, so that you can prepare a batch on the counter while another's in the oven, and there's a constant rotation. No-brainer.

5. For transporting cupcakes, large under-the-bed shoeboxes are great.  I used ten bins that held 40 cupcakes each, and then two smaller under-the-bed boxes that held 25 each.  I don't remember where I came across this tip, but use shelf liner inside the bins to keep the cupcakes from sliding into each other during transport.  I didn't have much shelf liner on hand, so I cut it into narrow strips to place under each row of cupcakes, and it was mostly successful.  Fully lining the bins would have been even better, though.

6. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Make sure you have a Mildred to help you add decoration to the cupcakes as you frost them, otherwise you'll never make it to the rehearsal dinner.  Having a 3 month old baby who sucks her thumb instead of crying when she's hungry is also handy, though you may end up forgetting to feed her more than twice for the day because you're consumed with cupcakes.  Be prepared for the wash of guilt that will come in the aftermath.

Here is a funny picture.  I wasn't a jerk to my children while making the cupcakes (an act of God, surely), but I could tell I was starting to get edgy a few times, because Millie would discreetly switch the music pouring from the speaker to this.  HA!  And it worked, too.

I have no pictures of prep. work, but I snapped a hasty picture of each kind of cupcake as I made them. When Millie asked why, my honest answer was because I was afraid they were all going to get smushed in transport, and I wanted Debbie to see how pretty they looked before they were ruined.

Chocolate with buttercream frosting:

Chocolate with peanut butter frosting:

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting:

Vanilla with peanut butter frosting:

 Vanilla with chocolate:

Several of you asked for recipes at the wedding. I can't remember who wanted which recipe, so here are links to them all. I didn't try out any of the recipes ahead of time, but I chose cupcake recipes that boasted moistness and that gained it from less expensive oil instead of Greek yogurt. For frosting recipes, I was looking for stability without a total loss of taste.

Vanilla cupcakes:
*Instead of using pricey cake flour to make light cupcakes, as the recipe calls for, I simply substituted 2 tbsp. of cornstarch for an equal amount of flour in each cup (i.e. one cup flour - 2 tbsp. flour + 2 tbsp. cornstarch).

Chocolate cupcakes:
These were attractive to me because they contained no eggs or butter! My fridge was stuffed to the gills with ingredients already, so I was happy to not have to find room for more.

Carrot cupcakse:
I increased the spices, to taste, especially the cinnamon, and I added more carrots per batch, also. (I think at least five cups of shredded carrots per 24-cupcake batch instead of three.)

**For all the frostings, I used heavy cream in place of milk and whipped the frostings for a while.

Vanilla Buttercream (stabilized):
Oops. Wilton has taken the recipe I used off their site in the last two weeks.  This recipe is similar, only the one I used didn't have whipped cream powder in it.  In addition to the cornstarch the recipe calls for, I also added dry meringue powder and more vanilla, to taste. I wouldn't recommend this recipe for taste-- it was more like storebought frosting-- but it's supposed to remain stable in high heat and humidity, which is why I used it.

Chocolate Buttercream:
Yummy. I added cornstarch in addition to the meringue powder for stability, but the chocolate flavor was pronounced enough that you couldn't even tell they'd been added. I added a bit more baking cocoa than the recipe called for, too, perhaps 1/2 cup per batch.

 Cream Cheese Frosting:
A standard, yummy recipe, but it began melting as soon as I pulled it out of the fridge to frost the cupcakes. I added meringue powder, cornstarch, and a ton more powdered sugar until it held its shape a little better, and it still tasted good.

Peanut Butter Frosting:
 Added cornstarch and meringue powder to the recipe, but the flavor was still excellent. I also added more powdered sugar for stability, but I don't know if I needed to. The frosting ended up being quite substantial, perhaps too much so. (It was stiff enough that my hand ached piping it out, so, yeah, probably too much..)

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