Trophy Cupcakes and Parties: Level Up Your Baking Skills

Learning to Frost
Practicing Frosting with the Right Tool / Photo: Kelly Knox

I am not a baker by any stretch of the imagination. I can use the box mixes to make passable birthday treats, but that’s about the extent of my prowess in the kitchen. So when I got my hands on Trophy Cupcakes and Parties, a cupcake cookbook and party planning guide, I decided to take the opportunity to level up my baking skills.

While the book may be daunting for geeks like me who are not handy in the kitchen, the party themes and activity ideas in the book are fantastic for any parent stumped on what to do for the next family birthday party.

Trophy Cupcakes is one of Seattle’s favorite cupcake bakeries. Known for using high quality ingredients and carrying a unique assortment of flavors, shop founder Jennifer Shea carries these same ideas over into the cookbook. While I might not have Valrhona cocoa powder from France as recommended in the book, I do appreciate the advice to pick better ingredients if I truly want to up my baking game. The book also includes valuable tips on how to frost a cupcake (a skill I sorely need to practice) by using the right tools. I had to Google “offset spatula” to see just what I should buy, and now I feel a little more like a real baker after adding one to my kitchen.

cupcakes-and-partiesThe assortment of cupcake recipes in  Trophy Cupcakes and Parties is dazzling. One day I might work my way up to Banana Cream Cheese Cupcakes or Lavender Crème Brûlée Cupcakes, but for now I’m content to practice vanilla and red velvet. While my first attempt at Vanilla Buttercream Cupcakes didn’t work out very well, I’m eager to try again.

The cupcake recipes in the book are great to have, but the book really shines when it comes to party themes and decorations. Of course the first one to draw my eye was the “Superhero Training Camp Party.” The author encourages letting children use their own imaginations to create their own heroes, rather than just having a Superman or Wonder Woman theme, to spark their creativity and make the party feel like it’s really theirs. The book also includes ideas for a superhero crafting station for guests, an activity for party-goers, and of course, a recipe for cupcakes to serve.

Trophy Cupcakes and Parties might not immediately seem like a geek-friendly pick, but the party ideas inside will appeal to many geek kids out there. Themes include a Forest Fairy Tea Party, a Life Aquatic themed first birthday party, and a soiree for preschoolers based on The Very Hungry Caterpillar. If you prefer to host birthday parties for the kids at home, Trophy Cupcakes and Parties is definitely worth a look for the decorations and party activities alone.

GeekMom received this book for review purposes.

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Kelly Knox is a freelance writer in Seattle, WA, where she contributes to local parenting magazines. She also writes for StarWars.com, Geek & Sundry, and more. You can find crafts and art projects for geeky families at her blog The St{art} Button.