Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sweet 16th Cupcake Wars Birthday Bash!

Our 16-year-old daughter, Kendall, absolutely loves the Cupcake Wars show on the Food Network. She DVRs it all the time and is really bummed if anyone accidentally deletes an episode before she gets to watch it.  That’s why, when planning her birthday party, I knew just what I was going to do—Cupcake Wars!

I must interject to say that CW has nothing to do with a food fight.  On the show, competitors bake cupcakes and present them to a panel of judges who rate them on taste, presentation, and whether or not they meet certain criteria given at the beginning of the bake-off.  The winner basically gets notoriety.

For Kendall’s party, I kept the theme a secret from her until the last minute.  Her friends (many who also love the show) loved the idea.  I sent the details to them via a video invitation and followed it up with lots of texts (That’s the only kids will communicate these days!).  Many of her friends got busy “practicing” right away.  Some of them bake cupcakes on a regular basis, so they really got into it!  They kept Kendall completely in the dark about the party, which added to the fun.

I reserved the Home Ec room at the high school (it has seven ovens and all the rest).  Since I told Kendall she could invite 16 friends to her 16th birthday, they had to team up or share ovens. On the big day, everyone arrived by 3:15pm, Many of them arrived very-much prepared, with potential supplies...

and even the right clothing!

I showed them the extra reinforcements I had brought.

The girls were asked to create cupcakes that would be judged in three areas:

*How well the cupcake was a reflection of their friendship with Kendall

Then, I let them go to it, and go they did!

Of course, it wasn't all work; there was plenty of goofing around, too...

The grandmas came, and since they weren't baking, they learned how to play Angry Birds on an iPad.

(This was a hilarious experience for all of us, I assure you, and in case you were wondering, yes--Grandmas get just as addicted to Angry Birds as anyone else (once they figure out how it works)!haha

The grandmas also enjoyed checking out the baking progress...These girls made Suessical-themed cupcakes, since Kendall starred in the Seussical musical in middle school.

This is one of my favorite photos:

While the girls were baking, Kendall mingled on and off (they didn't always want her to see what they were up to, and I gave her a present of  Bakerella's Cake Pops book and took out the dough I had made.

She and I learned how to make cake pops and learned a lot (such as not just sticking the stick in and not doing so many at a time.  It makes for a nice photo, but it doesn't work as well as doing them in batches.)  (For the record, dark chocolate cake pops dipped in milk chocolate and chilled are my new favorite food!)

Two hours into the baking, I had to ask the girls to start wrapping it up so that we could eat pizza and get to the judging.

The panel of judges included:
*World-Renowned, Mr.4444
*My fabulous sister, Michelle (who was also our event photographer!)
*Kendall’s boyfriend, Adam

Incidentally, I figured out where Simon Cowell went after Idol; he ended up at Kendall's birthday party; Mr.4444 pulled no punches and was brutally honest.

My very favorite part of of the party was when each of the groups presented their cupcakes and the inspiration behind them; each one was sweet and personal, and Kendall loved them.

There is so much more to share, but I'll leave you for now with a few samples. Aren't these incredible?! (And yes, that's broccoli!) These three are related to summer camp, where the bakers met and got to know Kendall.

The Seussical-themed cupcake presentation looked amazing!

This party was a lot of fun and pretty easy to execute. I have detailed notes for what to remember when planning it, and I'd be happy to share them with anyone interested.  Stay tuned on Mrs.4444 Cooks for the cake pops recipe, too.

And yes, I finally have my feet up! My email box has 455 comments in it. I've read every one and hope to reply to many of them soon!! Thanks for understanding!!!


  1. LOVE this! I love that show too, and what a fantastic idea for a party. Go Mom!

  2. Thats so cute what a fun idea, lucky you were able to reserve the home ec room at school. Happy belated sweet 16 to your daughter.


  3. Yep.
    Hands down.

    Best Mommy in the world.

    Who would have thought of that? How cool?!

  4. Ya can just tell that the girls and the 'grandmas' had a blast!!! Every great judgin' panel need a Simon!

    This was just a marvelous idea!

    Have a blessed and beautiful day sweetie! :o)

    Oops...giveaway...my place!

  5. Fabulous!! What great memories for Kendall!!

  6. Fantastic idea for a party!!! Looks like everyone had a blast!! Even the Grandmas! yay you and HB to Kendall!

  7. great idea for a party! can't wait to see the rest of the pictures!

  8. I wish I could have this for a birthday party! What a great time. :)

  9. Most genius birthday party EVER!!

    So awesome!! Looks like a lot of fun....and very yummy!

    Cake pops are the best. My mother in law made red velvet cake ones and dipped them in dark chocolate for Christmas. SO good!

  10. Ooo - I'm waiting for the cake pop recipe - I wanna make some of those buggers.

    What a GREAT idea for a party!!! Very clever!!!

  11. You win at life for this one. My sister turned 16 today and I am thinking of doing something like this on a small scale for her since my stepmom is fighting cancer and she's getting kind of lost in the shuffle! What awesome cupcakes! :)

  12. No doubt about it, you're a genius! It looks like loads of fun for everybody!

  13. You are amazing.
    My daughter turns 17 on Thursday in BRAZIL! She's on her class trip. I'm missing her so your post seems extra special. Thanks.

  14. This is such a fun idea for a party! I love it =D

  15. What an awesome idea! Very sweet! I forgot that your Kendall and my Kylie are so close in age! Happy Late Birthday Kendall! I am sure she will remember this one for years!

  16. That? Is awesome. You win mom of the year for sure for that one. Can you remind me of that party idea in several years?

  17. wow - I'm thinking the Martha Stewart for teen parties career for you but you are too valuable teaching those kids. I watched the invite video - amazing amount of info and detail. Hey why do those kids need more texts - just watch the video. Your ending of the video is really noticeable and blunt (you might want to crop that off next time). The "cherry on top" was the angry bird playing Grandmas - you could start a blog just with that - not that you need any more blog ideas.

  18. What a clever idea for a party! And your sister did a great job on the pictures. And Mr. 4444 DOES seem to have a little of Simon's bluntness! Good job, Mom. :)


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