Modern Co-ed Baby Shower

My new favorite shower activity! The guests fill out a birthday card for each year of the baby’s life, giving advice or telling a little story about that time in their own life. The new parents can give their child one each year and be just as excited to see what each one says!

This past weekend I hosted my third and final baby shower of the year, and came away with some wonderful new friends and a couple of great recipes to share with you.   I wanted this party to feel effortlessly casual and fairly un-baby-shower-ish, so I kept the food simple, decorated with bold, modern balloons and only had a few games, none of which were cheesy!   [All photographs courtesy of Aimee Almstead Photography]

Delia’s Pot Roast

While the classic pot roast was also delicious, my usual recipe was a bigger hit!

  • 5lb. beef rump roast, some fat trimmed
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 28oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into 8 wedges each
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil

Salt and pepper the meat well.  Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Sear each side of the meat in the hot oil until browned all over.  Put the meat in a crock pot and cover with the rest of the ingredients.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until extremely tender and falling apart.  In the last 30 minutes, check to see if it need more salt or pepper.  Serve with roasted potatoes or your other favorite vegetables!

Starters: Ricotta, Fresh Figs and Sea Salt on Nut Bread and Red Wine Poached Chorizo with Rosemary on Ciabatta.
Dinner: Arugula, Nectarine and Marcona Almond Salad, Two types of Pot Roast, Roasted Fennel and Potatoes, and Grilled Green Beans.

Never underestimate the simple beauty of white crepe streamers!

These might be the best cupcakes ever! Soft vanilla cake filled with cool, creamy pudding, frosted with pillowy vanilla frosting and covered in lightly sweetened toasted almond slices. YUM.

Burnt Almond Cupcakes

makes 2 dozen cupcakes

This recipe has a lot of steps, but it’s completely worth it, trust me!

1. Make the icing starter

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.  Slowly pour in the milk and continue whisking until smooth and blended.  Pour through a mesh strainer into a heavy bottomed saucepan set over medium heat.   Whisk the mixture constantly until it thickens considerably and it becomes difficult to stir.  It will bubble quite a bit, so be careful not to burn yourself.  This took me about 4 minutes, but it could take up to 10 minutes depending on the heat.   Pour into a bowl and set aside until later.

2. Make the cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.  Combine the flours in a small bowl and set aside.  In a mixer on medium speed, cream the butter until smooth, add the sugar and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Lower the speed and add the eggs, one at a time until well incorporated.  Add the dry ingredients in 2 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla.  Beat until everything is incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, but don’t overbeat the mixture.  Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, about 2/3-3/4 full.   Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before filling or icing.

3. Make the pudding filling

  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 cups cold 2% milk

Whisk together until thickened and pop in the fridge for later.

4. Fill the cupcakes

When the cupcakes are completely cool, fit a pastry bag with a large, round icing tip.  I used a Wilton #12.  Poke a hole into the center of each cupcake with your finger to make room for the filling.  Fill the bag with the pudding and push the tip down into the center of the cupcakes, squeezing gently until the pudding comes out around top.   Don’t worry if there is a little mound of pudding on the top of each cake because you will cover it with icing later.   Pop the cupcakes in the fridge while you make the frosting and almonds.

5. Toast the almond slices

  • 4-6 cups sliced raw almonds, divided in half
  • 6 tablespoons sugar, divided in half

Do this in two batches!   In a large pan over medium heat, toast half the almond slices, stirring constantly until warmed through and just starting to brown.   Sprinkle half of the sugar over the almonds and continue to stir and toast until the sugar is melted, coating each almond, and the mixture is a medium golden brown.  Pour onto a sheet pan and continue to stir until slightly cooler so the sugar doesn’t harden all of the slices together.   Repeat the process with the other slices and sugar and let cool completely, stirring occasionally to keep everything separate.  Fish out any clumps of sugar that may have not melted in the mixture.

6.  Finish the icing

  • Icing starter, COMPLETELY cooled at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature, cut into chunks

In a mixer fitted with a whisk, on low-speed, blend the icing starter with the vanilla and stir until combined.  Add the butter, one chuck at a time until well combined, about 2 minutes.  Turn the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.   Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip with the frosting.

7.  Finish them off!

  • cooled and filled cupcakes
  • frosting, in a pastry bag
  • cooled almond slices, in a large bowl

Pipe the frosting onto each cupcake and dip the tops into the almond slices to cover them completely.  Repeat until all the cupcakes are frosted and covered.  Store in the fridge until 1 hour before serving.  It is important to set these out 1 hour to 1.5 hours before eating so the butter in the icing can soften.

My new favorite decorations are silver star balloons! Instead of fighting against the modern, edginess of our apartment with baby pink and rattles, I went with something that actually “belongs” in the environment.

The parents opening their goodies!

I printed up a celebrity baby name game and it was really fun to try to figure out how “with it” everyone really was. The person with the most matches won a linen picnic tote from my shop and a vintage brass envelope necklace.


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3 responses to “Modern Co-ed Baby Shower

  1. sarah

    Beautiful! I want one of those cupcakes! 😉

  2. Rebeca

    Hello! Will you please share source for the numbered cards for the birthday card activity?

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