Saturday, April 21, 2012

DIY what you need to throw a (GF) Blue Dolpin party. (photo heavy)

Ava is crazy about dolphins right now.
  Surprisingly, I couldn't find much out there inspiration-wise for a dolphin party that wasn't a little bit on the cheesy end. I found a pack of color block napkins in shades of blue at Target, and was off and running.  (Have you noticed this is often how it starts for me?  I have no idea why that is.)  I don't know about you but I love looking at other people's parties so I can borrow some good ideas and make mine a success, so I was all over pinterest, nabbing cute and often random ideas.
Ava decided she wanted "real cakes" instead of cupcakes.  I used this gluten free cake recipe.  We are celebrating both her and Adrain (yes, he gets to celebrate with a pretty girly cake.  He promised he was okay with this and don't worry because I made him Indian food and a peach pie for dessert on his actual birthday.) and having two parties on the same day.  I made a three layer 9" cake and a four layer 6" cake and tinted all the cake batter with the same teal food coloring, but used different ratios so that each layer is slightly different in color.  6" cakes are the cutest cakes on the planet.  If you haven't ever made one, you should go forth and do so immediately.  (Oh and remember this little cake platter that I made super gluing an upside down egg cup to the bottom of a salad plate? I love it so much.)

 I ran out of frosting, (this was my crumb coat, above and Becky, this was the photo I was taking while on the phone with you!) so the finished tiny cake isn't nearly as cute as it should have been.  Dangit!
 I used 2 1/2 batches of my frosting recipe (that comes to nearly 12 cups of butter total) to make these cakes, so it is, what it is. (These are the things that happen when you throw real, not staged, parties.)  My kitchen is now coated in a very fine dusting of powdered sugar.
  I used a ton of fluffy aqua frosting to pipe pretty swirls onto her big cake.
 I wanted to do either the same thing on the little one, with two colors of frosting somehow, or ruffles, but I didn't have the right tip for piping ruffles and I didn't have enough frosting for the swirls, so it's a pretty crappy looking, thing.  Please don't laugh.
  I made up for it by sprinkling edible star sprinkles on top.  (Found at Michaels, in the cake decorating aisle.)
 And then once I began dusting things with tiny, edible stars, I couldn't stop so I put some on the big cake too. 
 I printed little initials, cut them out in circles, glued a cake pop stick in the middle and painted glue and glitter on over the letter.  Somehow it seemed fitting. 
I found these adorable notebooks in the "dollar aisle" at Michaels. (Only they were $1.50. LOL)
We needed a blue drink because everyone knows you can't just have water at a dolphin party, right?  I loved the color of this cream soda (though I hate to think what makes it this color).
Simple and sweet. 
 I printed these labels and then used glue stick to attach them to polka dotted straws.  I got these straws at a local store, but I know you can find both the straws and the milk bottles here.

These are the dolphin shaped, Gluten Free vanilla bean sugar cookies.  And they are fantastic.  I piped some aqua royal icing on top.  To be honest, royal icing is my favorite.  I make one batch, tint it with coloring, and then split it in half.  One half gets thinned slightly so that it flows to create a smooth top and the other batch becomes the edge.  It kind of holds in the thinner icing.  The whole thing dries candy-hard overnight and tastes amazing the next day.  Dolphin cookie cutter found here.  Royal icing for sugar cookies found here
 This was the big pastry bag I used for decorating the cakes.  I used a Wilton 2D star tip and jumbo coupler.  (Michaels Craft store) I used "Teal" icing color, also from Michaels.  You seriously need the tiniest amount to achieve color.

The table full of blue pom poms can be created by using this photo from Pinterest. Ava chose musical chairs and pin the tail on the dolphin for her games.  I love that.  Adrain downloaded the theme song from "Flipper" for the musical chairs.  I might have it in my head for the rest of my life. 

Gluten Free Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies:
1 cup sugar
1   cup room temperature butter
2   egg yolks
1  vanilla bean, split down the middle and seed scraped out with edge of knife
2 1/4 cups Gluten-Free Flour Blend (To make this, combine 2 cups rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour and 1 teaspoon xanthan gum. Combine and use what you need for this recipe.)
1/4   teaspoon salt

*Cream sugar and butter in large bowl. Add egg yolks and vanilla bean. Continue beating, until well mixed. Add flour mixture and salt. Beat until well mixed. Cover; refrigerate until firm. 

Roll out dough on surface sprinkled with gluten-free flour, and cut in desired shapes.  Place 1 inch apart onto parchment lined cookie sheets.

 Bake at 350 for 8 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely and then remove from cookie sheets.

Fluffy Cake Frosting: (In my world, there really is no other.  It is fabulous.  And fluffy.  Did I mention that?)
*Beat 4 1/2 sticks room-temperature butter and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar until pale and fluffy.  Gradually add an additional 5 1/4 cups powdered sugar.  Add 1 1/2 tbsp milk and 1 tsp real vanilla extract.  Beat until pale and fluffy.

And that's it folks.  Now I'm off to party.  Happy weekend!!


  1. Absolutely gorgeous! And the little cake looks perfect too. You are so talented. The dolphin cookies are my favorite part!

  2. now that is THE cutest party ever!!
    & you are looking awesome.
    ava is so precious!!
    the girl with the dolphin tattoo :)

  3. Love, love, love the dolphin themed party! You totally rocked it! And I love the picture of you and your sweet girl at the end.

  4. Happy Birthday to Ava! She is adorable and you are a fantastic mom! I hope the party was a huge sucess.

  5. what a lovely birthday. Love the ruffles of frosting. I have seen that all over pinterest and they just look like yummy little cakes.
    Ava looks so sweet in that pic with that sweet gray flower headband.
    As always you are truly a sweetie and shared the recipes. I can't wait to make those cookies sans the icing. I like just simple cookies.
    Hugs girlie, have a great weekend!

  6. I look forward to all of your parties! -- especially the "photo heavy" ones. You take beautiful photos. I love your beautiful home, and you have beautiful parties. Well done all around! ;) Happy Weekend!

  7. I really love the dolphin party theme and I think both cakes are beautiful. Ava is absolutely adorable with her haircut. Happy birthday Ava!

  8. Oh my word. It's all so beautiful I can't stand it. The cake is gorgeous. I can't believe you whipped that up WHILE on the phone with me. This should be in a mag. Tell sweet Ava happy birthday from me.

  9. simply usual. And that cake is perfection, I have no idea what you're talking about!! :)

  10. Wow! It's all gorgeous. You're like a professional party thrower. It actually makes we want to bake a cake and buy fun straws. Happy Birthday to your daughter.

  11. You really outdid yourself? The cakes are amazing and look like professional cakes! I see another business starting! I love Ava's jumper, did you make that too? All the details are spot on. Hope it was a fun day? Happy Birthday to your darling daughter!


  12. everything looks incredible. you and your girl are such beauties. my favorite part is the way you did the frosting. so scrumptious and gorgeous all at once. rock on, mama! happy birthday, sweet Ava!!!

  13. You always brighten my day with your humour, style and gorgeousness..sweet, simple but with so much heart..Happy b/d from Australia xx

  14. What a fantastic mom you are! Everything looks picture-perfect. Happy birthday Ava!

  15. YOu are amazingly talented....artistic and such a baker!! And the cakes are beautiful!!!!

  16. I just had a 5th b-day party for my granddaughter Saturday.... it was hodgepodge thrown together pink princess theme....I'm so disorganized, Wish I could casually put together beautiful get togethers like you do... oh well at least I can enjoy yours.

  17. I love that you included all the details for us! I'll be bookmarking it for later! What adorable cakes and table decorations, so creative you are!

  18. My goodness! You are one talented lady. I love every single thing and the details are amazing. I look so forward to your posts. They are always inspiring me to explore my creative side. (of which, I have none!)

  19. Beautiful birthday party! Every detail is so pretty.

  20. this party is DARLING! LOVE all the turquoise! the dolphin cookies are amazing! BUT what really stands out to me is the BEAUTIFUL photo of you and your daughter! wowza! That's a framer!

  21. I'm just now seeing this post..I LOVE the cakes that you made, beautiful! And, the picture of you and your Ava is beautiful.

  22. I love the party!! How do you make the swirls for the cake icing? Also do you have a 6inch round cake pan? Thank you for your help!

  23. I know this is an older post, but has such great ideas...I'm hosting a new linky party at

    I would love to have you!