Sunday, July 4, 2010

An Afternoon Out With Chocolate & Raspberry Cupcakes

This week, I had the honour of doing cake for a housewarming/birthday for a friend who recently moved here from another state (yay!!). Both she and her hubby turned 30, so it was all a bit of a mixed do. Chocolate and raspberry were the flavours chosen, something simple, and the rest was up to me. Since it was for birthdays as well, I decided to do a 6" topcake in addition to the cuppies. It had a slightly different take on the same flavours.

We took the whole family, and so ended up arriving a little bit later than we intended. Read on to find out how Mr Boy did for the afternoon :).

The topcake. No buttercream here. The inspiration for this cake came from picky cook, though the recipe itself is so far removed from the original that I can't even say I adapted it. I literally just used the idea. Turned out yummy though! The chocolate cake has a raspberry puree type filling and covered in creamy chocolate ganache. The ganache is half dark-half milk chocolate. Topped with handmade red blossoms. The birthday numbers were inserted when we got there and set it all up.

I made 48 chocolate cupcakes with raspberry buttercream.

Note to self: 4doz cupcakes is WAY too much for a only 20 people!! Haha!

Three dozen topped with modelling chocolate blossoms, all handmade.

One dozen topped with red fondant blossoms, also handmade.

I absolutely loved the colours on these. And I thought the red provided a bright occasional change from the brown.

All set up. We arrived a bit later than intended, so I didn't worry too much about a perfectly straight arrangement. Just pop 'em on and let people start eating! I think my fondant numbers could use a little work though... I really need to buy some cutters!

So; sometime after lunch, we packed up the whole family and headed out across the city to my friends house. My SIL did offer to babysit one, some, or all kids, but we chose to bring all of them along - even Mr Boy, though I considered leaving only him. The whole experience would be so much easier without autism to take into account, but I didn't have the heart to leave him to spend the day at home while we had a nice time out and about. On top of this, any social experience is beneficial for him. And so with a big smile on his gorgeous face, he toddled out to the car with us.

Since it was afternoon, the little ones napped a bit in the car on the way. This was good, since they needed the rest to tide them over until we got home. But, it also meant that when we arrived, they were both grumpy because they hadn't napped properly. As we pulled into their driveway, little man began to cry. It is an unfamiliar place, so I fully expected this. He wouldn't come out of the car with his Papa - (wrong!) - I had to do it. So I did. We walked inside and he began crying again. Unfamiliar! There were people in the living room already, so I sort of had an audience this time. It's always a little bit nerve wracking when he's throwing a tantrum and there are people close by. Especially when they are strangers. But, what can I do? *shrug* This is life now. Hugs didn't work. Blanky didn't work. Even dummy didn't work. Already tired and woken prematurely from a nap, it was all a bit too much for the boy.

Just backtracking for a second: A little while ago, I had been reading somewhere about tips to diffuse melt-downs. This was at a time before diagnosis, when things were still in limbo and we weren't sure what was going on. I remember thinking: But my boy doesn't do any of that anyway, so it can't be autism. Boy am I glad I read that stuff now. I can't for the life of me remember where I got the info from, so please forgive me for not referring. It might not even have been on the web at all! Anyway, one tip essentially was to bring a toy or gadget - something the child cannot resist - to distract them. This is hard with my boy. He doesn't take much interest in 'things'. But I got lucky this time. In recent weeks he has been into this little shooting toy. Something we got from a Maccas happy meal once. You load the little orange missiles, press the little orange button, and it shoots. He loves it. It was perfect. Very portable, simple, not noisy, and he loves it. So I packed it along at the last minute. So glad I did.

Since nothing else would settle the boy, I pulled out the toy and gave it to him. It worked like a charm. He quieted immediately, and took hold of the toy. Didn't play with it, just held it. I guess it provided that extra measure of comfort that he needed. After this, we were able to continue on into the living room and greet people properly.

Little man clung to me for most of the time. He'd take my hand and try to lead me around the room or make me sit down so he could climb the couch and jump on me. This was a pain. We are trying now to teach him that it is inappropriate to climb and jump on couches - he's getting too big to let it go. So every time he got a 'no Erik, no climbing', he sooked. This happened alot. It was annoying. But honestly, apart from the clinginess, he did really well for the afternoon.

There were no other melt-downs... no major issues. He walked around, snuggled his blanky, clung to me, or clung to papa, nibbled a bit, but didn't really eat much, and just generally hung around. And we hung around, way longer than we had intended! - an indication of how successful the afternoon was for us.

By the time we left, he was so ready to go home. Impatiently waved his goodbyes (with assistance - he still doesn't do this on his own, though he knows what it is now), and happily trotted out to the car with me.

He did so well that afternoon, and I am so proud of him. And I'm very glad I decided to bring him along after all.

Cakes were a hit too :) Hooray for pleasant days!


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