Grandson Capt. Adorable turned 3 this past weekend, and his mom (my older daughter) wisely decided to celebrate by 1) a family trip to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, where the Captain’s favorite thing was “I touched a sting ray!” and 2) a family — grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins — party with all the essentials of cake, ice cream and munchies. (Of course, it was so cold that day that we forgot the ice cream. Oh well.) I thought she was smart in forgoing the fun but insane kid-frenzy type of party they’d had for the Captain’s second birthday. “After all,” she said, “his family are his most important people.” So props to her for keeping it simple. But that’s totally them — do-it-yourself to save money and because you’ll probably end up with something better anyway. For instance, the Captain requested a Dinosaur Train (he loves that TV show) cake, and since no such decor could be found anywhere, his artist-and-art-teacher daddy printed and cut out the cake decorations on his own. Brilliant! Add the cake and his favorite people to two other of the Captain’s favorite things — blueberries and tractor rides on Grandad’s farm — and it was a perfect third birthday!
I promise you: These miniature cupcakes — “petit fours” in northwest Alabama-ese — are as yummy as they look. Here in my town, if you’re having any kind of party you’ve got to have petit fours from the Victorian Tea Room. They are so soft and tender and melty you barely have to chew them up. If it’s a celebration, you’ll find Victorian Tea Room petit fours. Over the years, I’d say I’ve served hundreds of them here at our house. When Older Daughter got married, she had four — count ’em, four — Victorian Tea Room wedding cakes that tasted just like big petit fours. People still come up to me and say, “I’m dreaming about those wedding cakes.” Yes, indeedy. The kind folks who make these will decorate the tops any way you like — flowers, baby shoes, class years in school colors. And even though Older Daughter has grown up and moved an hour away and has her own house and her own family, she adheres to tradition and wanted Victorian Tea Room petit fours for Capt. Adorable’s second-birthday party. And, really, they’re perfect for toddlers. Plus, adults gobble them up like them, too. As her contribution to the Captain’s party, Younger Daughter wanted to decorate them herself. So we ordered four dozen plain and YD tapped into her inner cupcake-artist to create these beautiful little bites of adorable cuteness. The plan was for me to do some, too. However, you see the polka-dot ones in the upper left-hand corner? And the one with the big gloppy dot in the middle? That was the one I started … until YD gently took the tubes of colored gel away from me and suggested that I merely observe. She was right. Also: We should have ordered five dozen, because they went fast. Check out the Victorian Tea Room at http://victoriantearoomcatering.com