Cupcakes and Tulle

Ella’s first birthday party was a huge success! Before I give you the fun stuff, I wanted to share some of the small details that went into the party. I wanted it centered around a beautiful dessert table.  While the party itself was inspired by Ella’s favorite things…music, ladybugs, pink and cupcakes! {well, the healthy muffins mommy makes her Winking smile }


On Saturday night, things were not looking so good as far as my baking went. I had to throw away not one, not two….but FOUR batches of cupcakes! It’s so unlike me to ever have that happen. I was making a recipe I have made so many times before…and although the tasted amazing as always {I had batter for dinner—it was eggless Winking smile }, they were cracking and crumbling apart. {Michael was eating it saying how great they tasted, but there was no way I served them looking how they did!} The worst past was wasting two whole vanilla beans in the process. Bummer. I redeemed myself though. Even if I didn’t get to be until close to 2am!

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This cupcake tower was a plain white one  by Wilton that  I found for $5.50!



I bought the ribbon for about $1.60 a reel. I only needed one for the tower {both at Wal-Mart} and a pack of the ladybug and flower decals at Michael’s for a couple of dollars.

I baked the cupcakes in regular liners {thank goodness since 4 dozen got ruined!} and dropped them in these fancy flower ones I found originally at Michael’s then saw the same ones at Wal-Mart for even cheaper so I picked up a second pack.


I baked all-natural red velvet cupcakes and chocolate with a raspberry surprise in the middle {these were my last minute when the vanilla bean kept messing up}. The icing was a cream cheese buttercream icing {<I did 2 teaspoons of vanilla and added a little more powdered sugar and corn starch to stiffen it more}. I used about a tablespoon of beet puree to make some of it pink!


I hung a pinterest inspired clothes line above the dessert table with a photo of Ella from birth-now! My mom made the paper flowers you see hanging above the photos.

We found this pretty patterned paper at Michael’s Crafts and used it for the background. They turned out really cute!



Like I mentioned above, I baked up a storm!


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Cupcakes, mini baked donuts, peanut butter cups (<-if you haven’t made these yet, you are not living!), Ella’s “special” sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free birthday cake {which she loved}


{My mother in law made the chocolate covered fruit…for the health nuts}Winking smile

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and then there was my main attraction, which I worked very hard on!



This giant cupcake was a project, but it was so rewarding to pull off!

The part I was most impressed that I pulled off…

the giant chocolate cupcake liner!


The liner was inspired by I heart cuppycakes, with tips from here, and just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best!

I used my  homemade double boiler consisting of a metal bowl on top of a saucepan with boiling water. I used Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet chocolate and vanilla Tempt Hemp milk.



The cupcake old I have is the silicone one. Once the chocolate was melted I poured it into the greased mold and “painted” it up around the edges. I let it set in the fridge overnight, in the mold…and luckily, the next day, it peeled right off! I heart cuppycakes used a metal mold, but I think for this the rubber one would be easier to work with. I was so afraid of it cracking!


It turned out great! I just doubled the red velvet cake recipe I make all the time, and it worked out, except it was hard to tell when it was finished. There was a little spot that was underdone in the middle of the top, while the edges were browning. Hollowing out the top was good anyway so it would weigh less, and not risk cracking the whole cake. Again, it was eggless so I easily just scooped it out and the rest worked out fine! I cut it down to fit the mold, cut one layer at a time and iced it, gently placing it inside.


The sprinkles were the all-natural beet colored sugar ones from Indian Tree. I probably could have made this with sucanut or sugar in the raw, but I didn’t need one more thing to do!


For drinks, I served homemade pink lemonade. I was so worried about how I would get it all to the place, when Michael suggested I make a “concentrate” of it. He nor I were sure how that would work, but sometime in the middle of the night Saturday when I was so exhausted and couldn’t sleep I thought it out and figured it out! Needless to say, I was up very early Sunday morning squeezing a bazillion lemons!




Pink Lemonade


2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 cup 100% Cranberry Juice

1 1/2 cups maple syrup {more or less, to taste}

12 cups filtered water {taste it as you go, we may have added a little more}


for the concentrate, easy for travel!


pour 2 cups lemons juice, the maple syrup and the cranberry juice in a mason jar. Once you are ready to serve, add 12 cups of filtered water and the concentrate to a pitcher with ice. Taste it, if it’s too strong still, add more water. If you think it needs more maple syrup, add a little more {make sure to bring it if you are traveling off-site!}


I realize now I never got a photo of the finished product in the beautiful pitchers! I was at my moms earlier and snapped a iPhone photo of what she had left to give you an idea of the color….even though these photos are terrible:





I’ve heard so many stories about babies being overwhelmed (naturally) at their first birthday party, or being super tired or crashing in a sugar coma after their first slice of cake, ever. This concerned me. I wanted it to be about her, and not scare her or overwhelm her.

We considered not doing anything big, but the party planner in me had a hard time resisting throwing something with lots of pink and decorations. I have a pretty big family, and the guest list for her party could have easily topped over 100 people..but we ended up scaling down and focusing this as more of a kid party, centered around Ella’s needs. Her naptime, her interests (music!), and her favorite people aside from her mommy and daddy (and grandmoms)…kids!


Let me tell you….this little girl was PERFECT!

She had the time of her life!

No crying, no fussing, no sugar comas. Maybe a little wound up by the end of the day with her constant adorable squealing in delight with all of her new presents…but there’s nothing wrong with that!

The party was 2:30-4:30. We had the musician coming at 3 to set-up for a 3:15 start. Guests could come, eat, and then be entertained for 45 minutes before we did the cake:






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She had a blast…the kids had a BLAST…it was PERFECT! Even my family full of serious musicians {who were all expecting it to be just “corny” kids music, but okay with it} said they were entertained by the guy we hired! He was great!!!

He even had us doing the parachute at the end!



Ella loved all of the kids and they love her!



We sung happy birthday…




Then served all the desserts to the guests! Cupcakes, donuts, and I ended up slicing and sending everyone home with a piece of the giant cupcake…


All in all it was an amazing, wonderful and perfect day!!! Ella got so many wonderful gifts…including about 15 bathing suits and bikinis. We will definitely be spending a lot of time at the pool this summer Winking smile

I can’t believe she’s ONE!

I also want to take a moment to just say I could not have done ANY of this without to help of our amazing family and friends. A BIG thank you to all of them!! My mother in law pretty much catered it, Nona made her infamous meatballs as per Michaels request. My mom was amazing as usual…she has been helping me for weeks plan and make decorations, and she did so much running around the day of the party filling up balloons, picking up my favorite salad from her restaurant to serve, and many other small details. My brother came home from RIT and and he and his friend helped with all the heavy lifting.  My sister in laws were a HUGE help setting up…and our amazing friends and family helped clean up at the end so we would get out of the room before they charged us a dollar minute for the extra :/

See you soon with some fitness posts!!!

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  • Reply nicole

    wow you did an AMAZING AMAZING job! everything was gorgous!

    May 8, 2012 at 8:54 am
    • Reply laury

      thanks, Nicole!

      May 8, 2012 at 8:39 pm
  • Reply thehealthyapron

    YOu out did yourself Laury! Love all the little details! Gives me LOTS of inspiration for next year!! That giant cupcake looks AWESOME! Kudos to you!! ps. and you look glowing!

    May 8, 2012 at 9:56 am
    • Reply laury

      It was so much fun to plan!!! Thank you!

      May 8, 2012 at 8:39 pm
  • Reply Trainer Kjirsten

    You did such an amazing job on Ella’s first birthday party! Can I hire you in January for Cameryn’s first birthday? 😉

    I love how you made all the desserts with all natural ingredients, I actually put his post in my favorites to reference it when Cam’s birthday rolls around!

    I’m so happy all your hard work paid off! I was seeing your tweets about hte cupcakes and hoping everything would turn out great for you and it looks like it did!

    Happy birthday Ella! 🙂

    May 8, 2012 at 10:04 am
    • Reply laury

      Thanks, Kjirsten!! I would love to plan Cameryn’s party 😉

      Yes..the cupcake debacle was a nightmare, but my mom predicted that meant the party would be amazing, and it was!

      May 8, 2012 at 8:41 pm
  • Reply Wendy

    ooooh good job Mommy!!! That looks fantastic! I love the laundry line of photos. So creative. And the desserts,….well you know, nothing else to say except they look perfect!

    May 8, 2012 at 10:16 am
    • Reply laury

      Thank you, Wendy!!

      May 8, 2012 at 8:41 pm
  • Reply Danica @ It's Progression

    You did so much for her party! Everything looked beautiful. And I love that you still used healthy substitutions with all of your baked goods!

    May 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm
    • Reply laury

      Thank you! Yes..still sugar, but less of it and better choices as far as the ingredient list went!!

      May 8, 2012 at 8:42 pm
  • Reply Lisa@Healthy Diaries

    It looks like you pulled off an amazing 1st birthday for Ella!!! What a great mommy you are Laury! I know Ella won’t remember her 1st birthday, but she’ll have all these amazing pictures to see just how special you made it for her!

    May 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm
    • Reply laury

      Thanks, Lisa!! I can’t wait to hear about your shower!!!

      May 8, 2012 at 8:44 pm
  • Reply the delicate place

    you did such an incredible job laury! that giant cupcake is superb! your makeup looks flawless too! what a sweetie, maybe she was so well behaved because she knows how loved she is by all! your mom is an all star! so glad i got to meet her, she saved my butt too (hey dead iPhone).

    May 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm
    • Reply laury

      Aww thank you!!! Yes, my mom always comes through with stuff like that! Ha! I’m glad you got to meet her too!!! I was thinking about you the other day, you have to text me next time you’re in the area! We can do a KOP trip or something 😉

      May 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm
  • Reply Lisa

    SOO cute! Wow. You did a great job Laury. Ella looks absolutely darling, and you look gorgeous as well! Everything you did looks beautiful, I am seriously impressed.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm
    • Reply laury

      Thank you, Lisa! She was a little darling!!! 🙂

      May 8, 2012 at 8:46 pm
  • Reply Julie (A Case of the Runs)

    Such an amazing spread! Good job! Now I want to make those PB cups…

    May 8, 2012 at 3:52 pm
    • Reply laury

      Definitely make them!!!!!! They are better than the real thing! I wouldn’t steer you wrong 😉

      May 8, 2012 at 8:46 pm
  • Reply Heidi

    How sweet! You really went all out. Everything looks amazing. Ella is so beautiful…just like her mom!

    May 8, 2012 at 3:53 pm
    • Reply laury

      You’re too sweet! Thank you!

      May 8, 2012 at 8:47 pm
  • Reply Katie

    What’s up supermom?!?! Incredible.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:57 pm
    • Reply laury

      Thanks, Katie! Miss you!

      May 8, 2012 at 8:47 pm
  • Reply Lisa

    Wow. I am speechless at the amount of time, effort, and love you put into this party. Ella is one lucky girl to have a mama like you!!

    What an amazing party—and the pics are great! That giant cupcake is so awesome!!! I would have been really nervous about that one.

    Thanks for sharing a re-cap—you should be a party planner (healthy kid birthday parties?!).

    May 8, 2012 at 6:54 pm
    • Reply laury

      Thank you, Lisa…that means a lot!!

      I LOVE planning parties…and I like your thinking!!!!!!

      May 8, 2012 at 8:49 pm
  • Reply Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie)

    Omg Laury everything looks amazing, what an incredible birthday party. I cannot believe it’s already been a whole year! You really can do it all 😉

    May 8, 2012 at 9:39 pm
    • Reply laury

      Thank you, Jenny!! I know…it’s crazy!

      May 8, 2012 at 9:59 pm
  • Reply Pure2raw twins

    Laury you are amazing!! looked the perfect birthday party!! Ella looked so cute

    May 8, 2012 at 10:17 pm
    • Reply laury

      thanks, ladies!

      May 10, 2012 at 9:09 pm
  • Reply Shanna like Banana

    My dear friend you are amazing! So many special touches and a dessert table to make anyone’s mouth water. I am especially impressed with the giant cupcake. And what a brilliant idea to have a musician! Genius! Ella looks so so happy and so did you mamma! Xo

    May 8, 2012 at 10:30 pm
    • Reply laury

      thank you, lovely friend!!!!

      the music was the best idea I had! I highly recommend it!!!!!!!

      May 10, 2012 at 9:09 pm
  • Reply Gillian

    Are you wonder woman or what?! This is beyond impressive – the giant cupcake (and little ones), the decoations…so lovely and thoughtful. And you look beautiful as well.

    May 9, 2012 at 7:43 am
    • Reply laury

      Hahaha….thanks, Gillian…no not at all!! Thank you for the sweet compliments 🙂

      May 10, 2012 at 9:08 pm
  • Reply Maria@healthydiaries

    What a great 1st birthday for Ella! Not only did you create such a great sweet table but you still managed to keep everything healthy. That’s awesome! I know Ella will look back at these photos and appreciate all the hard work you did!

    You looked gorgeous by the way!

    May 9, 2012 at 8:27 am
  • Reply Julia

    The small photo with Ella underneath this yellow thingy with her hand in the air and her amazing facial expression is just priceless. It was cracking me up!!! So adorable!

    Looks like a lovely party. It’s gonna be great to look back on later, when Ella is celebrating her sweet 16…:-)

    May 9, 2012 at 8:30 am
    • Reply laury

      Thanks, Julia that’s one of my favorites and it really captured her morale that day. SO full of joy!!!

      May 10, 2012 at 12:02 am
  • Reply Sherry

    Hi Laury!
    We met Monday at the pool 🙂
    It is fantastic to follow all of your creativity and healthy, wonderful ideas here! It was great meeting and chatting with you and the girls. Thank you for posting Ella’s birthday party. I was wondering what did you do about presents? Did you wait until afterwards to open them? Also did you post the recipe you used for Ella’s smash cake? I am doing red velvet cupcakes at Maddie’s party, but I want to do plain vanilla for her cake.
    Hope to see you again soon! Thanks!

    May 30, 2012 at 10:10 pm
    • Reply laury

      Hey Sherry! So glad you found the post 🙂

      For the presents I brought them all home because we only had 2 hours and had to be out of the room by the end of the party! That and it was too chaotic to jot down who got what for thank you cards! Many of my friends also told me they just went through them later. I think it all depends on the size of your party and where it’s held. If it’s something intimate at your house I think opening gifts there could work!

      I did not post the recipe because I am saving it for a special project…it was not plain vanilla though. I found it to be hard to make it without a ton of sugar without adding a lot of fruit! Email me if you are interested in the recipe I could send you what I did.

      Here’s a list of first birthday cakes, I got ideas from here:

      I did use about 3 Tablespoons of maple syrup in the whole cake, and bananas & raspberry’s to sweeten it. The flour was a gluten-free flour blend I bought at whole foods. It was eggless too (I used ground flaxseed mixed with water and apple sauce simmered), and dairy-free.

      This is another great recipe…you can sub for GF flour or use GF oatmeal ground up and millet flour.

      The icing was this:

      I did not use stevia for the baby, but I used like a teaspoon of date sugar. She seemed to enjoy it!

      Let me know if you have any other questions! Hope to see you and Madeline again this summer!

      May 30, 2012 at 10:39 pm

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