True Love Waits

We all grew up with the notion that our lives will lead to the iconic “happily ever after” – Disney can take ALL of the credit when it comes to my own history. Yet having seen that life doesn’t always brings you castles in the sky or a plethora of critters willing to  clean your apartment, reality eventually kicks in and brings us to what our childhood equivalents had deemed the “real world”. Yet watching Elizabeth DeVore’s and Christopher Patrick Maguire’s wedding was about the closest thing I’ve ever seen to a fairtytale. They just married this past August in Promise City, Iowa (a fitting name) after two wonderful years together. For their Boston celebration, they asked if I could cater the dessert course with cupcakes. While I still can’t believe that I actually baked that many cupcakes, I was even more surprised at how well they went over – yet for Elizabeth and Chris, it was totally worth it.
So there were two factors that had me somewhat anxious about this task : a) I had never baked more than 40 cupcakes at once and b) where in the world was I going to find space for 120 cupcakes?! I quickly established a game plan: bake 40 cupcakes a night, make creative use of freezer space for the multitude of containers filled with the cakes, prepare garnishes whenever possible, cream the frostings the night before, decorate the morning-of…I don’t know how much sleep I actually got that week, but it all turned out beautifully (and thankfully there is no evidence of the frosting process…I was all but covered in butter and sugar by the end of it!)
Let’s start on the Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Guinness Buttercream: Elizabeth and I have been friends for nearly two years now, and I’ve come to learn that she’s always down for a good beer. This was actually the first cupcake I thought of when she had asked me to bake. The original makes a ridiculous amount of batter: I managed to get 40 cupcakes PLUS one 9-inch cake out of the batch…so for the sake and sanity of my readers, I’ve halved the recipe (but feel free to go for the full batch if you’re willing!)
You don’t have to worry about taking a bite and instantly think “college frat party” – these aren’t like that at all. The chocolate’s flavor is beautifully enhanced by the stout, while the carbonation adds an effervescent quality to the batter. Yet don’t be fooled: like Guinness, these are hearty cupcakes, rich and dense – sure to satisfy anyone who loves chocolate. If you prefer to cloak the taste of stout, omit the Guinness from the frosting and replace it with milk or cream: click HERE to see the recipe for these rich, dark treats!
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting are a classic at any wedding – the scarlet cakes are dessert’s most popular exemplification of “true love.” What’s tricky about red velvet batter, though, is achieving that dark hue…you would be surprised at the amount of red food coloring it takes. I kept adding more thinking, ‘this just can’t be right…I must be going overboard!’ Yet the result was exactly what I had hoped for.
Funny story about these: I made chocolate hearts for garnish by melting chocolate and piping it onto parchment sheets. When transporting them to the actual event, silly me forgot to put them into a refrigerator upon arrival…so I suddenly had a mangled mess of what used to look like perfect little hearts. Though I managed to salvage most, I was at least 10 garnishes short. I ran (in heels, of course) to the nearby corner store, bought 4 bars of Hershey’s special dark, ran back and quickly made additional garnishes. How this worked I will never know, but the fact that the bride didn’t find out until later that evening proves it was a complete success 🙂 Click HERE to see the recipe for these loving sweets!
So I saved the best for last, and I say “best” because of the number of recipe requests and compliments for these Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. I actually thought these would be the “leftover” flavor, but there were hardly any to be seen by the end of the reception. The cake is perfect – just the right amount of lemon with a beautifully tender crumb, with a cream cheese frosting to round it all out.
Their true beauty was thanks to the garnish: a pineapple flower. When I saw this adorable idea (a Martha Stewart creation, no less), I knew it would be perfect for the occasion. I didn’t realize that it would also be quite messy and time-consuming (though not as much as the frosting undertaking, ahem)…but the result was absolutely perfect! Aside from their visual appeal, they were also quite delicious (I’ve always against non-edible garnishes…) So all-in-all, these took the trophy for “best cupcake of the day” – click HERE to see how to make these show-stopping beauties!
The musical pairing for this was a no-brainer – as you read from the beginning of this post, Elizabeth and Chris have a love that is truly remarkable. They have both been through some really tough times, and yet their devotion has never waned. The wedding was, in a word, “magical” – both the bride and the groom were glowing, from the start of the ceremony to the end of the party. I don’t think I saw a single moment where they weren’t simply beaming. For the service itself, they asked Christopher O’Riley (host of From the Top, and a close friend) to perform. During the Sand Ceremony, he played his arrangement of Radiohead’s True Love Waits…this song is too perfect, and I couldn’t think of anything that would be better suited for this post. While I still can’t say that I believe in fairytales, Elizabeth and Chris have certainly proved that dreams can come true – enjoy!

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