All posts by Partycurrent

Kupkase: You’ve Never Eaten Cakes Like These Before

Kupkase logo If you love quirky party food, or are looking for inventive ideas to brighten up your next event, you’re in for a real treat, with UK company Kupkase.

Based in Streatham, south London, and in business since 2013, Kasey Klarke, founder of Kupkase, has been passionate about cake all her life. She lives, breathes and bakes cakes, from cupcakes to layer cakes and more. She even studied cake-making at a unique art school in Canada – how’s that for total commitment!

And her cakes are turning heads in major ways. Just in the last couple of years, Kupkase has been honored with the following awards:

**KUPKASE: SHORTLISTED – THE BAKING INDUSTRY AWARDS ‘RISING STAR’ 2014’**

**KUPKASE: HIGHLY COMMENDED BEST SMALL ENTREPRENEUR, STREATHAM BUSINESS AWARDS 2014**

**KUPKASE: PROUD FINALIST, 2013 NATIONAL CUPCAKE AWARDS **

Taking time out from her schedule, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kasey for Partycurrent.com. Below you’ll discover the roots of her passion, how she goes about creating her extraordinary products, the types of cakes she makes, and why even your workplace can’t live without her.

Hi Kasey, thanks so much for doing this interview. So what’s your first memory or personal experience with cupcakes?

Kupkase - cupcakes featuring different fruity and creamy toppings Well, cake has been such a big part of my life it’s hard to filter it down to that very first moment. I think it has to be making fairy cakes with my mom as a holiday pastime when I was small. I would make the cakes and my sister would make the pastries (mince pies were her forte).

My mom was always pottering in the kitchen, whipping up something or other, and actually used to teach baking in one of my classes at school. She has given up the kitchen now though, and leaves the baking to me.

You studied at the Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts in Canada. What was the turning point in you where you decided to make cupcakes your career?

Kupkase - tiny cupcake in a heart-shaped box I had always wanted to run my own business, I just didn’t know what in.

Then one day at an office Christmas party, I was eating cupcakes a friend’s wife had brought in. They looked and tasted awesome. Always on the lookout for a great cake shop, I asked her for the address. She said she’d made them and had got all the stuff online to make them look shop-brought. “What!" I thought, “That’s it. I’m going online and getting my cakes out there."

After making cakes for friends, family and workmates, I felt I had hit on something I was willing to work my ass off for, change my life for and go without sleep for.

It wasn’t a major plan. One day I just said “this is what I want to do. Now, how do I do it?" and went for it. I’m not restricted to cupcakes by the way; I also make layer cakes, occasion cakes and made my Mothers wedding cake when she re-married. I learned loads from the University of YouTube and was desperate to get better and really do this cake thing. That’s when I signed up to train at Bonnie Gordon’s College.

Can you briefly describe your process? What are the most delicate or difficult parts?

Kupkake - 3 cupcakes, each on its own pedestal On my website I offer a collection of popular design layer cakes which take on average half a day to complete from scratch, but nothing about cake is brief! Just recently I made a wedding cake covered in very delicate, handmade sugar roses. I crafted each petal individually – it took all day to make only 20 roses…… then I had to color them!

Actually baking the cake is my joy. I love working with ingredients and nailing the flavor I’m looking for; it’s also the swiftest part of the process. It’s the decorations which take the time and these are the most important aspect as they show your personality, creativity and skill and set you apart. They’re also the client’s favourite bit as it’s the details which make the cake unique and personal.

Custom design cakes can take anything from 3 days to a week and beyond to complete so being prepared and organised is imperative. I’m always flicking through fashion and design magazines for inspiration, even furniture magazines and sites online, and wondering “how can I turn that into cake?" There is so much to digest and make use of creatively.

Running a business in cake design does not come easy to me. It is stressful, but I love the challenge and more than that I love adding to other people’s lives.

I love seeing a customer’s face light up when they see the cake and light up again when they eat it.

It’s very satisfying and totally worth the effort it takes to deliver great cake. Good cake takes time and a lot of energy; it really is art you can eat.

What’s the most unusual or weirdest design you’ve been commissioned to make?

Without doubt that award goes to the ‘Hens’ who love a penis cake. I pride myself on making classy cakes even if it’s an intimate body part, so if you want a gold coloured penis or bejeweled vagina that you can eat… Kupkase is your gal!

Which is the most popular of your cakes? And why?

That has to be the signature ‘BOB’ Kake. It’s completely gold with the look of dripping chocolate ganache which features big, gold glitter letters on the top. I first made it for an ex-rugby star whose girlfriend wanted to gift him something special without hitting the jewelers, and I came up with this idea and named the cake after him.

He came to visit me a few weeks later to say thank you because he loved it so much. I felt like I was meeting a celebrity, “OMG. It’s Bob!" I screamed before posing for pictures. He must have thought I was nuts.

You also do cakes for work. Can you tell us more about this?

Kupkase - the Office Pop Up Luxe on display (these are cupcakes for the workplace) Yes. I offer Office Pop-Up Luxe (pictured right), a cupcake pop-up station which can be ordered for the office as a fun treat. It’s great for Christmas parties or celebrating special projects or just ‘cause it’s Friday.

It’s not an ordinary cupcake station though – each person gets to create their cake on demand. They choose how they want their cake to be and it is put together and decorated for them on the spot. I think of it as an interactive, cupcake event.

I also offer a bespoke cupcake subscription service for the office called Be The Worlds Best Boss which is designed to boost morale and productivity and demonstrate appreciation in the workplace.

I started Kupkase as a hobby whilst working in an office and whenever I brought cakes in, and it totally changed the vibe and energy for the day. This experience encouraged me to create products especially for the workplace. When people are happy they deliver their best work and great cake makes people beam with happiness.

You offer many types of cupcakes – from the KK Specials to the Layer Kake to the Kakepots. Can you briefly explain the differences between them?

Kupkase - creamy cupcake in pink cake wrapping, sat on a pink china stand Sure. Kupkase is known for its Kupkakes and bite-size Mini Kupkakes which people love, because the frosting is rich and creamy and not too sweet so the cake is enjoyed to the last bite.

The Layer Kakes are great for birthday cakes or other celebrations; triple layers of various flavoured sponges and creams when you need great cake to go a long way.

If it’s sweet I love it, so I created KK Specials which is home to other treats like brownie platters, alcohol-filled chocolate covered strawberries, cookies, etc.

We do novelty cakes and wedding cakes also and my favourite pet project the Kake Pots – indulgent, individual cake desserts; layers of cake, cream cheese, fruit compotes and crunchy biscuit arranged beautifully in a re-useable WECK jar.

These can be popped in the post and mailed to far away friends or clients or kept as a special treat for yourself. They are cake luxury personified all in a little pot; I just love the Kake Pots. My goal is to get them on the shelves of the big foodhalls and supermarkets one day, mark my words.

What would you need from a customer if they came to you tomorrow wanting to order your cakes?

You can come to Kupkase with as little as “I need a cake for 6-8 people" and we go from there.

It’s always good to have an idea of your budget so we can keep the ideas on track to suit you, other than that the world is your oyster. But, don’t come the day before saying you want a cake in the shape of a boat ‘cause that will just lead to tears – yours not mine.

How early would they need to make that order?

For Kupkakes, Kake Pots and Layer Kakes at least 2 days before to be sure of getting your order filled. For novelty or celebration cakes a week to 2 weeks notice and for big cakes and wedding cakes at least a month to get your order filled.

Finally, for any cake lovers out there who are not yet cupcake lovers, do you have any parting words?

You need to try a Kupkase Kupkake.

# # #

Thanks again, Kasey, for giving us an amazing glimpse into your world of cakes.

If you’d like to know more about how Kasey and Kupkase can help you with your next event, be sure to check out her website www.kupkase.com. Please note, Kasey can only accept orders within the UK at present.

You can contact Kasey at kakes[at]kupkase[dot]com, and 020 8769 0184. You can also follow her on Twitter @kupkase.

Must-Have Halloween Origin Trivia Quiz

Although celebrated every October 31, the Halloween origin stuff is never given that much thought.

Why do you wear masks on Halloween? Was pumpkin always the original vegetable? Why the heck do you ring a bell on Halloween anyway?

With these many mysteries in mind, comes this Halloween Origin trivia quiz, that’s part super-fun, part gob-smacking education.

You can also play this game as part of a bigger quiz show night, by combining it with other trivia games on Partycurrent.

Here’s are your Halloween Origin trivia questions.

1. What vegetable was traditionally carved before the pumpkin?

a. Beetroot
b. Melon
c. Turnip
d. Swede

2. What is the day after Halloween called?

a. All Sinners’ Day
b. All Saints’ Day
c. After Hallow’s Day
d. Hallowmass

3. What does the Halloween color orange represent?

a. The harvest
b. The twilight
c. The burning of spirits
d. The voice of spirits

4. What was the 6th most popular adult Halloween costume of 2009?

a. Bat
b. Pirate
c. Hangman
d. Cat

5. Apart from eating, how else are apples used on Halloween?

a. Bobbing for apples game
b. Good luck charms to hang on doors
c. Carve for miniature Jack O’ Lanterns
a. Protective potions using apples

6. Why do you wear masks on Halloween?

a. To protect our faces in case the dead attacks us
b. To keep the dead from recognizing the living
c. To protect the dead from seeing us happy
d. To stop the dead from touching our faces

7. How long does it take a pumpkin to grow?

a. 30-60 days
b. 40-80 days
b. 60-90 days
d. 90-120 days

8. Halloween is the third largest US party day of the year. Which is the second?

a. Christmas Day
b. Super Bowl Sunday
c. Thanksgiving
d. New Year’s Eve

9. Barnbrack is a traditional Halloween food. What is it?

a. A fruit cake
b. A meat dish
c. A pumpkin punch
d. A special bread

10. How do you spell ‘Sow-en’, the Celtic harvest festival where Halloween originated?

a. S-O-W-H-U-A-N
b. S-A-H-M-H-E-N
c. S-A-M-H-A-I-N
d. S-A-R-H-A-R-N

11. Jerry Ayers is the world’s fastest pumpkin carver. How fast was he?

a. 22 seconds
b. 37 seconds
c. 45 seconds
d. 53 seconds

12. In England, are white cats believed to be?

a. Bad luck
b. Good luck
c. Devil’s luck
d. Spirit protection

13. What was the trick originally in ‘trick or treat’?

a. Knock on the door and then run away
b. Throw water at the person opening the door
c. Sing a song to the person giving you the candy
d. Recite a good luck protection spell

14. What is Nos Calan Gaeaf?

a. Halloween in Irish
b. Halloween in French
c. Halloween in Icelandic
d. Halloween in Welsh

15. What does the color black signify in Halloween?

a. Death
b. Darkness
c. Uncertainty
d. The Devil

16. The pumpkin is related to the potato…

True?
or
False?

17. Halloween is the second most commercially successful holiday after what?

a. Easter
b. New Year’s
c. Christmas
d. Thanksgiving

18. Why do we ring a bell on Halloween?

a. To welcome the spirits
b. To scary away the spirits
c. To dance with the spirits
d. To comfort the spirits

19. Who was Jack O’Lantern?

a. A banished demon
b. A mischievous elf
c. A guardian angel
d. A shifty villain

20. In question 10, I asked you to spell ‘Sow-en’ (‘sow’ rhymes with ‘cow’). What does ‘Sow-en’ mean?

a. End of summer
b. Start of autumn
c. End of sunlight
d. End of autumn

Halloween Origin trivia quiz – Answers

1. c. Turnip / 2. b. All Saints’ Day / 3. a. The harvest / 4. d. Cat / 5. a. Bob for apples game / 6. b. To keep the dead from recognizing the living / 7. d. 90-120 days / 8. b. Super Bowl Sunday. New Year’s Eve is the 1st. / 9. a. A fruit cake / 10. c. S-A-M-H-A-I-N / 11. b. 37 seconds / 12. a. Bad luck / 13. c. Sing a song to the person giving you the candy / 14. d. Halloween in Welsh / 15. a. Death / 16. False / 17. c. Christmas / 18. b. To scary away the spirits / 19. d. A shifty villain / 20. a. End of summer.

Image: Mark J P

 

9 Must-Have Halloween Party Game Ideas

The best Halloween party game ideas needn’t cost the earth, especially when considering how one-off Halloween as a holiday tends to be.

The best spooky ideas are also the ones that are inclusive. Not everyone will be into dancing or drinking after all, and you want everyone to feel looked after.

None of the Halloween party game ideas here need massive advanced preparation for you to pull them off. But you may need to invest in a few items, such as pumpkins, stationery and music equipment.

Let’s get you started.

Pumpkin Relay

Before your party buy as many pumpkins as you think you’d need (preferably one pumpkin per team of 2-3 players is best). Make sure to carve a face out of each pumpkin, saving all the pieces that make up the eyes, mouth and nose. Mix these pieces from the different pumpkins together in one pile.

Once your players are divided into their teams, each team sends one person at a time to fetch a piece to take back to their assigned pumpkin.

If the piece fits, the next player in their team takes a turn, otherwise the previous player must return to the pile for another piece.

First team will all the right parts wins!

Chain Ghost Story

Need spookier Halloween party game ideas? Nothing is more scary than our own imaginations.

Sit everyone down in a circle, preferably in a semi-lit room. Have the first volunteer make up a few lines of a scary ghost tale. Provide this person with a flashlight so when they tell their story, they light up their face as they do it.

They then nominate a new person to continue the tale, passing on the torch. This person now adds a few lines, before passing the story on. Keep going until everyone’s had a go or until the story wears itself out.

  • You can also make this into a drinking game, where the new storyteller must take a swig of something before adding their spooky share.

To add suspense, you may want to play some eerie creepy music in the background. You can also ask a friend (whose not part of your party) to make strange noises in the house for you, while the game is playing (for example, a sudden closing door or footsteps on the ceiling).

Record the story as it goes, along with people’s reactions, so you can play it back later.

Imagine I’m…

To plan this game, buy a deck of index cards (up to a 100 is best). Number each one. Then, on the blank side, jot down one object, person or symbol associated with Halloween, for example, Broomstick, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Zombies.

Get everyone sat together and nominate the first player to pull a card from the deck. Give them 30 seconds to describe their life as the object on the card, only without saying what that object is. Everyone else must guess. The player who gets the most cards guessed in the available time wins.

Halloween Suckers

Cut up 10-20 pieces of paper into symbols associated with Halloween, such as cats, bats, witches’ hats, pumpkins, ghosts, vampire teeth, bones, random limbs. The pieces need to be the size of a biscuit. Place all your shapes in a pile inside a bowl or “cauldron”.

Now give each player a straw. Taking it in turns, they each get 30 seconds to pick up as many of these Halloween pieces as they can, by sucking it up with a straw. Fastest player wins.

Name That Spooky Music

You’ll need a CD player along with a few CDs that are compilations of Halloween-related music for these Halloween party game ideas. These can include soundtracks of horror movies and TV shows, well-known pop songs about death, horror, and terror, and other spine-chilling tunes.

Play the first few seconds and see which player can name it the quickest. Keep track of points awarded.

Award a bonus point if the player can guess certain trivia about the song correctly – for example, year the film was made; the lead actress; the next line in their horror pop song.

Blind Man Walking

First of all, make sure the room your game is being played in is safe – no cables to trip over or sharp corners to bang your head against. Then pin up as many balloons as you can.

Blindfold your first player, and spin them on the spot until they have no idea where they’re at. Give the player a pin.

Now nominate a second player, whose job is to instruct their blindfolded friend to walk in a certain direction to find balloons to burst. The first one to find all the balloons in, say, two minutes, is the winning team of two.

Have lots of fun with this, by leading players in the wrong direction, so they smack into something… all in the name of fun of course!

Who Is The Murderer

Get everyone sat together again and give each person a playing card. No one must show their card to anyone; it’s for their eyes only. The player who receives the King of Hearts is the murderer (so make sure this card is somewhere close to the top of the deck as you’re distributing).

To “kill”, the murder simply blinks at another player, who simply drops dead. When a player thinks they know who the murderer is, they need to shout out “I know who the murderer is”. If someone else calls out too, both players must say the name they suspect at the same time.

If they guess correctly, the murderer is out and a new round of the game can begin. If they’re both wrong, both players are out and these Halloween party game ideas continue.

Ring Around the Pumpkin

For this large-scale version of Ring Toss, buy at least 5-10 different-sized pumpkins, painting points on them. Arrange your pumpkins with the highest score furthest away from the start line.

Players take it in turns, by trying to throw a hula hoop around a pumpkin. Each person gets 3-4 goes each in the available time, with their scores added up. Player with the highest score wins.

Murder in the Dark

Need more scary Halloween party game ideas? A slight variation on the previous Murder game, players are again seated (preferably around a table this time).

But this time, each person gets a small piece of paper that must show no one. All of the pieces must be blank, except for two – the one that says “murderer” and the other with “detective”. The detective announces themselves straight away, whereas the murderer stays quiet. Before the lights go off, everyone must play one hand in the center of the table. Now turn the lights off.

To “kill”, the murderer simply touches the victim’s hand, who in turn must scream and drop dead onto the table. Lights back on, “body” still dead, the detective must now question everyone to find out whodunnit. If the murderer isn’t found after 3 questions, the lights go off again. And the murderer “kills” again.

Keep going, until the culprit is found.

Image: JD Hancock

 

Killer Christmas Office Party Game (Part Drinking, All Santa)

Without a doubt, any Christmas office party game you choose have to be memorable and out there. They need to combine teamwork with a sense of spirit, and bring everyone together – across as job titles – in an easy way.

If that sounds like a tall order…

It is, since most co-workers dread the annual company office party. In order to convince them to come along, you need to devise games and ideas that help them forget they’re at work. Alcohol usually helps.

Which is why Raise Your Glass to Santa is a Christmas office party game you need to add to your annual event. Designed as a party warm-up, to be played just before you all sit down to eat, you can also play it post-food. It’s an excellent way to help everyone relax, since your entire group will need to play. There are no prizes to win here, either. It’s just about having fun, no competition.

How to set up this Christmas game

You’ll need everyone sat around a dinner table to play. People will need to be on their feet for the majority of the time, so make sure you’ve got enough space between in your dining area for movement.

There’s also dance routine element to this game, but it’s nothing too complicated. As the party host, you’ll be leading the game, which means you’ll also need to learn the game first and know the moves inside out, before using it on your team.

How to play this Christmas office party game

Introducing the game

Everyone sits around the table with a drink. That drink doesn’t need to be alcoholic, but it needs to be in a wine glass. Make sure everyone’s glasses are full.

As the party leader, let everyone know you’re going to honor an old Christmas good luck ritual of drinking a toast to Santa. Try and introduce this in a very informal, storytelling kinda way; people may actually believe you!

Ask everyone to pay careful attention to what you’re doing, as they’ll be joining in afterwards. Explain your steps as you go along.

Once you’ve finished, say ‘Now let’s go it together’.

Now lead everyone in repeating your moves. Keep this brisk – don’t pause for slower or confused players or explain anything.

Like with all fun party games, the laughs will come from players getting it wrong, as they try to remember the sequence.

Introducing the dance routine

To start things off, you’ll (the party leader) be doing the dance routine on your own. Make sure everyone’s sat down and watching.

1. Stand up. Pick up your glass between thumb and index finger.

2. Raise the glass to your chin and say ‘I raise my glass to Santa Claus for the first time.’

3. Take a sip from the glass (with a sipping sound), sit down and place your glass on the table with a distinct thump.

4. Wipe your mouth with the back of your hand – first to the left, then to the right.

5. Tap the table once with your right hand to the right of the glass. Then once with your left hand to the left.

6. Tap the table from underneath, once with your right hand, and then with your left.

7. Stamp your foot on the floor, once with your right foot, then with your left.

8. Stand up, and then sit down again.

Toast Santa for a second time

Once you’ve sat down, stand up again, with your glass between your thumb and index finger. Raise the drink to your chin and say ‘I raise my glass to Santa Claus for the second time.’

Repeat the routine as before – but do everything twice! So:

– Two distinct sips from your drink
– Sit down
– Put glass with two thumps
– Wipe your mouth either side twice
– Tap the table four times (two to the right, two to the left)
– Tap the table four times underneath
– Stamp your feet two times on either side
– Sit up and sit down twice.

Then say ‘All together now’.

And this is where the real fun of this Christmas office party game begins.

Now everybody does it. You can sit down and watch them as they go through the entire routine.

Toast Santa for a third time

Once everyone’s finished and sat down, say ‘Stand up again, because we’re going to do it again, but three times’.

Lead everyone first.

This time, everyone together raises their glass to Santa Claus for the third time and repeats the routine, doing everything three times.

Toast Santa for a final time… but with a twist!

Once everyone’s finished, you say, ‘I now raise my glass to Santa Claus for the last time. Then start the routine – BACKWARDS. This time, players only need to do actions once. So:

– Sit up and sit down
– Stamp your feet once on each side
– Tap the table underneath once on each side
– Tap the table once on each side
– Wipe your mouth two times
– Pick up glass and put it down with a thump
– Stand up,
– Take one distinct sip from your drink.

Once on your feet, sit down and now say ‘All together now.’ Have everyone do this backwards version of the routine together.

A slight variation of the game

If you feel getting everyone to jump it together and do everything three times is too much, you might want to have everyone join in just before you toast Santa for a second time. That way, you give everyone the chance to practice the move together.

Then, when all is done, and you say ‘I raise my glass to Santa Claus for the second time’, you can now all do the routine (twice) before sitting down and letting everyone continue a third time.

This really is a seriously crazy game. Other Christmas office party game fun won’t seem quite as sane afterwards. But if you’re game for more Xmas mayhem, why not try these…?

Counting Chocolates: A Unique Party Game: Interview with Creator, Owly Dave

Do you love chocolate so much you’re counting chocolates in your sleep? I hear you.

And when you love parties as well – combining chocolates and party games makes for a potential explosive concoction.

Fortunately, songwriter Owly Dave has read our minds, with his brilliant Youtube game, “Counting Chocolates”. Owly joins us today to reveal more about how this game came to be.

So, Owly, can you tell us how you came up with this game? What were its origins?

The idea just popped into my head! I have no idea why. The tune just suited a fun song.

How did you decide which chocolates to include?

I wrote down all the chocolates I could remember, I paired up the names that rhymed, and I looked at which ones had a double meaning.

The chocolates here all sound like UK brands, e.g. Marathon, Double Decker. Are there plans to release a similar game featuring American brands?

I don’t know American brand names – except ‘Hershey Bar’ which I did include although I’ve never seen one. I think ‘Ritter Sport’ may be an international brand?

What kind of stuff do you write as a songwriter? Pop, musicals, rock, etc?

I just write songs for fun – although some of the subjects are serious. The styles are vary – many are folky but some are a bit rocky. The subjects include; escapism, childhood, romance, modelling, death, shopping, ancestors, lesbians, flying, war, wildlife, weather, memory loss, anti-war and environmental protest songs.

Is that your voice singing in the game?

Yes, I’m the only person that sings my songs!

Do you have any plans to create more games like Counting Chocolates?

I never plan to write songs; they just happen. My latest song is called ‘There goes Charlie’ which is a disaster song about a little boy who ends up being a bit of a hero. I finished writing it on Monday, recorded it on Tuesday, and played it in a Folk Club the next night (last night). Fortunately everyone loved it! My next song might be a party game or not – I have no idea!

Lastly, Owly, how do you like to chill out, when you’re creating such original party games?

My life is very busy with work at the Barn Owl Trust and I hardly ever get to chill out. Everyday I try to have a walk with my partner Jaine and our lovely dog Maizie.

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Thanks Owly, for taking part. You can check out his Counting Chocolates game here.

Image: Jonathan Reyes



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