Last month, I hosted a baby shower for one of my friends who was pregnant with her first child, a baby boy! Yesterday was his birthday, so I'm sharing this post today in honor of the most adorable baby Ben! I asked Leah for some suggestions on the food, and more importantly, the cake. She told me that it's not dessert unless there's chocolate involved, so I tried my best to deliver! I made a basic chocolate cake, filled it with white and dark chocolate ganache, then iced it in dark chocolate buttercream, and decorated with ombre blue gumpaste flowers. The cake felt like it weighed 20 lbs., and there was enough to send the whole top tier home with the expectant Mama. I feel like that far outweighs any gift she got that day, am I right pregnant ladies?!
When planning the shower, I knew it would be an intimate group of just a dozen or so, so I tried to make it a classy luncheon. I didn't want a theme, necessarily, but incorporated soft blues with gray and silver. I tried a few new DIY projects, and then stuck with the party essentials, like flowers and candles.
I'm not on pinterest, but I've seen blogs link to the yarn wreaths that seems to be sweeping the craft world. I made this one very simply using a straw wreath (though, next time I'd use styrofoam) wrapped in wool yarn. I looked at a few blogs for directions on making the felt flowers, and sewed a few petal flowers and then winded felt roses. The invitations were from http://www.tinyprints.com/, and then a simple white baby's breath bouquet filled the foyer.
The mantle was simply decorated with a deep blue vase with more baby's breath and white hydrangeas. I had an Anthropologie candle on hand that matched the glass color, and smells divine, so I also placed it up there. The favor for the day was chocolate chip M&M cookies with blue and grey M&M's (I found these at Party City).
I know games can be overdone when it comes to showers, so I just made one simple game, Baby Price is Right. I tried to pick higher priced items and told guests to round to the nearest $10, which made adding up the difference easy. I used stock photos of each item, hooked my laptop up to the TV and showed the photo of each item so the guests had a better idea of what they were pricing. Of course, the mom-to-be and another pregnant guest were the winners, they each got a gourmet chocolate bar.
For drinks, I kept it simple but added variety by purchasing a few types of Italian Sodas from World Market. I also had champagne for mixing, as well as soda water, and garnishes like marischino cherries, blood oranges and limes. I found cute paper straws at Michaels for just $1
I don't have wine charms, so I printed each guests name and tied it to their glass.
For the table decor, I found some silver and blue Christmas bulb ornaments on clearance at Target, and just filled a hurricane vase with them and added a silver tape candle to the center.
While I didn't blog all of the food, I will share the menu (non-vegetarian):
Chicken and Artichoke Melt Crescents
Crabcake Sliders with Avocado and Chipotle Aioli
Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette
Mini Caramelized Onion and Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes
Quinoa Salad with Cranberries, Feta and Pepitas
This cake is 2 tiers, with 4 layers of cake and 3 layers of ganache in each tier. It's chocolate to the extreme! I made the cake layers somewhat thin rather than bake fat layers and slice them, I think it's just easier to bake off thinner layers. I also used 2 layers of white and 1 dark ganache on the bottom, and reversed the top, but you can also just use all dark or all white. I served it with coffee, but you might also want to offer milk!
Chocolate Truffle Layer Cake
Dark Chocolate Cake (doubled)
2 c. granulated sugar
1 3/4 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. dark cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. hot coffee
Preheat oven to 350*
Line 2-11" pans and and 2-8" pan with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla.
Stop the mixer and sift in sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
Turn mixer back on low and mix for 10 seconds, slowly add the hot coffee while the mixer runs.
Once all the flour is absorbed, turn mixer off, scape down the sides and turn the mixer back on for another 10 seconds, do not overmix!
Pour batter into pans until it is equally distributed.
Bake for 25-27 minutes, until puffed and center is set.
Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert and remove from pan, cooling to room temperature.
Repeat process until you have 4 cakes in each of the 2 sizes.
1 lb. white chocolate, chopped
3/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. heavy cream
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. heavy cream
1 lb. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
In a medium glass bowl over simmering water, melt white chocolate, stirring frequently.
In a small saucepan, heat cream and butter until it bubbles at the edges, slowly pour into melted white chocolate, whisking at the same time.
Set aside to cool for 1-2 hours, until ganache holds its shape.
Chop dark chocolate and place in a mixing bowl.
Heat the cream until it bubbles around the edges, pour directly on chocolate, stir slowly and melt chocolate, whisk as it becomes incorporated, then set aside and cool for 1-2 hours, until ganache holds its shape.
1/2 lb. butter, at room temperature
8 oz. melted semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2 lbs. confections sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 c. heavy cream
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and chocolate.
Slowly add half of the confections sugar, then the salt and vanilla extract.
If icing is already too thick, add a splash of cream.
Add the remaining confectioners sugar, and more cream if necessary.
Keep the icing covered well in a cool place until you ice the cake, refrigerate if it will be more than a few hours, then bring to room temperature before using.