Yeah, I said it. Naked. Chocolate. Cake. Before you get carried away, I must confess that the nakedness of this cake simply refers to its' lack of frosting. A naked cake is when the sides are not frosted, leaving the cake’s layers and filling exposed.
How did I do it?
The night before the party, I baked my layers! I used a basic chocolate cake mix from a box, (#sorrynotsorry) and store bought vanilla frosting. I bought two containers of each because I wasn’t sure how much I would end up needing. (Especially when I try something for the first time, I round up when it comes to supplies!) I also purchased an 8 inch round cake pan from Michaels. It was $7.99, so I only bought one. Part of me knew buying more than one would have made the process easier, but I was too cheap to spend over 20 dollars on the cake pans alone, even though, I will use them in the future. Maybe one day I'll learn, but thankfully this time it turned out alright.
- I mixed one box of the cake mix according to the directions on the back of the box.
- I sprayed the cake pan with pam cooking spray and filled it about ½ way full with the cake batter. I used a measuring cup to try to keep each layer as even as possible
- Popped it in the oven and baked until it was done. While layer one was baking, I stored the batter for layer two in the fridge.
- I let the pan cool as much as possible and then let the cake itself chill on a cooling rack. Then I filled the pan ½ way with the same amount of cake mix as layer one.
- While layer two was cooking I realized I would not have enough cake batter for a third layer. I debated if two layers would be enough but I knew I needed that third layer, if for no other reason than because the height of three layers would really make the cake. I made the second box of cake mix and knew immeadiatly that I made the right decision.
- Once all 3 layers were cooled off, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and stored them in sealed containers in the fridge overnight.
The day of the party I leveled off the tops of each layer with a serrated knife, as best I could, so that they were all equal in height. The levelness didn’t prove to be too big of an issue, because the filling/frosting helped mask any imperfections. I used pink food coloring to make the frosting a gorgeous hot pink.
I placed the first layer on the cake pedestal and spread some frosting on the top- all the way to the edges, but not over to the sides. I repeated with the other two layers of cake. Yes, I put some frosting on the top. It was necessary for color, as well as for the adorable cake toppers. They look like they landed on a pink candy cloud, a la a Katy Perry video.
You can thank the dollar spot at Target for those mystical ponies. I liked how the one added the right amount of purple to the mix, as well as a fun mascot for the party.
The cake was delicious. I wouldn’t change anything about how I did it, except maybe have it more often.
I knew I didn't want anything cutesy, red, or overly Valentine like. While looking around for supplies at Michaels and Target, I felt drawn towards the fuschia, hot pink, and neon items. So, I jumped on the "all pink everything" train and never looked back. No reds allowed!
I fell in love with the bag of iridescent pom-poms from the Valentine's Day section at Michaels. (I took out the reds, of course.) They added the perfect amount of color for the tablescape- not to mention a cool texture. I happily threw some more on a tray for the bathroom vignette.
Next, I punched the paper hearts for the garland. I used the light pinks I already had in my stash, added the floral paper- from the inside of the envelopes- a simple black card stock and lastly, a glittered gold. I had all the hearts punched out waiting, and threw them under the sewing machine, literally at the last minute, as my first guest arrived! I love decorations that can be completed quickly, yet add such a great amount of color.
The metallic silver, gold, and pink tassels were more of a challenge. Party one's tassels (check them out here) were a flatter silver gold. I really liked them for NYE, and I figured I would reuse them, with an added pink for this party. I went to Michaels to check out their tissue paper options and saw the metallic collection. They were kinda overpriced though, I think $3.99 for each color, so I passed and decided I would try something else. The week before the party, I hadn't found anything better, and I still had those shiny beauties in my head, so I bit the bullet and splurged for 3 packs (1 of each color). What I didn't count on, was that the metallic texture wouldn't work the same as the matte tissue paper. I had to work quickly, and sacrifice perfection for "good enough" on these. The best part of course, is that you can't really tell they were sloppy and difficult to complete. In the end, they did their job: add a splash of special.
The pink wine glasses were one of the first things I decided on for this party. Sacramento's Antique row came through big time! Vintage pink wine glasses for $8 make me so very happy!
See that pretty pink up there? I made that happen. :)
With all the neutrals I had planned, I knew my tablescape was going to need some color. I painted a couple wooden napkin rings I had lying around, with a bright pink acrylic craft paint, but then I couldn't fit the white cloth napkins that I already owned, inside the rings. Fail. Note to self: check for fit, before you paint.
So, I decided I would color the napkins themselves. They were plain, and white, and probably purchased on sale at Cost Plus. I got the RIT dye pack at Michaels. All they had in the pink family was this fuschia color, and a light pink. I envisioned more of a hot pink feel, so I went with the fuschia and hoped for the best.
I followed the instructions on the back of the package (for the most part). I took out the biggest pot I own and boiled lots of water. I didn't measure it exactly, clear I was feeling rebellious. I added the dye and the napkins. I ended up letting those bad boys simmer in there for a LOT longer than the box called for. When I took them out after the suggested time, they didn't seem pink enough, so I kept leaving them in for 5-10 more minutes. Finally, I decided time was up and I rinsed them with cold water, and washed them on delicate in the washer, with a little laundry soap. When I took them out they were PEACH. Salmon. Coral. Not fuschia, and definitely not hot pink. Thankfully I hadn't dumped my dye out yet, so I dumped them back in the pot and let them hang out for maybe another 30 minutes. After that, I rinsed them in the sink with cold water and let them air dry overnight on the clothes drying rack. The next morning they were a bit crunchy, but after a run under the iron they were good to go. Not the softest napkins I've used, but their texture wasn't as important as their color.
I found the perfectly simple black and white striped table runner on etsy. The silver polka dot dishes, I borrowed from Becca- how great is her classy wedding china? The gold chargers I got for like $1.99 a piece at Michaels.
It's no secret that I believe invitations can be a tone setter for their party. Sure, I could have simply texted my girls the details for this one, but I had an urge to create a paper invitation. Also, I LOVE snail mail. I played around with hand lettering for a couple nights. I wrote, and wrote, and wrote, on different scratch papers. I tested out different sized fonts and styles and colors. And it was fun! I took trips to Michaels for the card stock, and floral printed paper. I hope those who received these bad boys in the mail felt the joy that I put in to them.
I messed around for a while with the letter size and spacing. I knew the flat white needed something else and painted on some gold paint at the last minute. Perfect amount of shine. I had always wanted to try envelope lining, so I was really happy when I found that floral paper. It wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but it did the job. I used this tutorial as my guide.
The polka dot paper above is the backside of the card in the first photo. I used a black ink pad and pencil eraser to achieve the classic print. The little pink card was a dress code suggestion. The jewels in this shot were what I wore that night! Thanks Rocksbox for the earrings. That bracelet is Kate Spade from 5 years ago.
I used the date stamp to print over and over on a tiny card, then highlighted a single stamp with the same pink marker I used for "galentine's day" on the first card. I really liked the way the stamp spacing made it look like a pre printed patterned paper. On the backside of the Feb. 13, 2015 print, I used a heart stamp I already had, and wrote my address underneath it.