Category Archives: Parties

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.

7 Party Entertainment Ideas: How to Pick Them the Quick and Easy Way

Are you stuck for party entertainment ideas?

Planning a party and needing inspiration?

Got something in mind… just can’t put your finger on it?

Before you start any kind of planning, make sure you have the following three points figured out:

1 The type of guests who have confirmed or who you plan to invite

2 The type of experience you’d like those people to have

3 What you can realistically afford cost-wise

Party entertainment ideas succeed with honesty

These three points are essential party-planning juice.

The first two help form the personality of your party.

Whereas using a budget keeps your party entertainment ideas realistic.

• It helps you be honest, i.e. can you afford to hire in entertainment?

• It reminds you to not pick your ideas because someone else’s party has had it (they might have a different budget to yours too)

• Which helps your party stay original to you

If your budget won’t stretch, you can always consider going low-cost. Low-cost doesn’t mean cheap or scrappy.

In fact, low-cost options often bring out more creative ideas. Handmade activities can also fun to consider.

Remember to keep your guests in mind

Don’t go expensive to make your party look good. If no one’s going to be interested, it’s a waste of money.

And your party will be memorable… just in the wrong way!

Here are 7 party entertainment ideas to get you unstuck:

Games, games, games

Whether fun or silly, party games are the heart of any party. They also stop it from going stale. As party entertainment ideas go, games are the least expensive.

  • Choose a mixture of solo and team ones – and keep them nearby during your party
  • For physical games, take into account guests who aren’t so mobile
  • Adjust to include them, but don’t force anyone to play
Teach something unusual

Use your party entertainment ideas as an opportunity to educate your guests.

We’re not talking heavy education here. No homework for anyone.

  • Why not try an activity like line dancing… or learning Tai Chi… or gonzo dinner making.
  • Or get everyone in a fun conversation starter game, to learn more about each other.

Most people won’t be expecting this kind of activity at a party. So if you go down this route, you’ll be keeping your party memorable in their minds, long after it’s over.

Mini talent show

This is where guests provide the entertaining.

Once you’ve got a confirmed list of guests, ask round for any willing entertainers.

If there’s some reluctance at first, throw in an incentive – like a bottle of wine – to entice people to take part. You may only need 3-5 people (depends on your party size).

Then create a performance program, that you’ll hand out as people arrive at your party. Talents could be anything – like:

  • Singing with a guitar
  • Double dutch skipping
  • Their own performance poetry
  • Teaching friends how to body pop
  • Telling a scary story
Group singalong

The perfect songs include well-known rock/pop songs, drinking songs, Christmas carols, campfire songs, chants.

A guitar or piano player isn’t always necessary – but they’ll help encourage people to sing. Even a harmonica will do!

If you’re choosing obscure songs, provide lyric sheets

You’ll never know when’s best to start a singalong, so just play it by ear. You may also want to take your singalong into the streets. This is indeed the most soulful of party entertainment ideas!

Scavenger hunts

Plan these a day or two before your party, including prizes.

If it’s an indoors hunt, be creative with which items to include.

An outdoors hunt won’t require too much planning, as it’ll rely on players’ imaginations. Make sure to set a distance limit though.

  • A successful hunt also needs: copies of the scavenger lists, pen, paper, stopwatch to time the game
  • Players will need a digital camera (let people know in advance to bring).
Trivia games

Adding a gameshow changes up the energy of your party. Quizzes can be played in pairs or small teams, with a ring-a-bell or buzzer aspect. Play for prizes.

Get dancing

A party without music is a party everyone leaves quickly from. Don’t be that party.

If you can afford it, hire a DJ. Make sure you brief them in the style of music you want for the night.

For a more personal touch, creating your own playlists can be more fun – for you – and more rewarding for your listeners/dancers. You can still have someone DJ for you, but this time to your own eccentric music taste.

  • The only downside to creating your own music is you’ll need to schedule time to do it
  • You also have to make sure you don’t get carried away when making them; choosing tracks can be an involving process

It’s important to create an interesting playlist, one that’s unpredictable. Not only will this keep guests dancing, you’ll want to intrigue them too.

So mix popular songs with obscure ones, musical scores, songs in different languages.

You know you’ve mixed a great setlist, when you’re asked “What’s this song? I’ve never heard anything like it" or “Where can I find that song?"

Make copies of your playlist for friends who ask for it.

How to Plan Your Wine Tasting Party Ideas 
(in 10 easy steps)

Wine tasting party ideas - unlabelled bottles …And once you nail down the budget and wine for your tasting, pulling off your wine tasting party ideas will be a cinch.

  • Your friends will be guaranteed an unforgettable time, as well as enjoy a new appreciation for wine.
  • You’ll also be organizing an event that features alcohol, yet doesn’t need people chugging it down to enjoy it.

But before you enjoy all this success, you need to plan your wine party ideas. Not easy, when budget is involved.

And if you don’t know much about wine, knowing where to begin can be even more of a headache.

Being a newbie to tastings myself, I’ve come up with 10 steps to help you with yours.

Two points about these wine tasting party ideas

1. Everyone you invite needs to know it’s a wine tasting, not a drinking party. The objective is to educate in the art of flavor. So be careful who you invite.

2. A blind tasting is the type of wine party I’ve enjoyed and will show you here. This is where the tasters won’t know which wine is in which bottle. This tasting is both fun and easy to do.

Your 10 steps to successful wine tasting party ideas

Pre-planning decisions

Step 1 – how many wine tasters to invite

This is up to you. But bear in mind, the more people you invite, the more wine you’ll need – and the more pressure on your budget.

As you’ll see below, the wines you choose will have been selected for a specific reason. Some of them won’t be cheap.

  • For that reason, limit guests to a few close friends (8-10 people), especially with your first tasting.
  • That way, you can use it as a testbed for future events, where you may decide to up the numbers.
Step 2 – decide when to have your tasting…

Choose a time and date. Once the date is set, use this checklist to work backwards from it, deciding what needs doing.

Step 3 – … and where to host it

Ideally, your location should be roomy enough to accommodate a few tables and chairs, plus space for mingling.

  • A dining room or large lounge is the perfect option.
  • If not, consider hiring a function room in a restaurant. If the weather’s okay, throw a garden party tasting.
Step 4 – the number of wines versus the budget

Deciding which wines to sample (and how much to buy) is never easy, when you’re also trying to set a realistic budget at the same time.

  • Some wines may end up costing more than others, so it’s vital you set a budget ASAP, to avoid surprises.
  • But you also don’t want to come across as a tightwad.

Easiest way to do Step 4? Use a wine-tasting theme

This isn’t the same as a party theme. Here, the wine itself is the theme.

  • Showcasing the same brand of wine but from different vintages, is one example.
  • Another is tasting wines from various wineries, yet with the same vintage.
  • A third way is by picking a region and sampling different wines from it.

Who pays for the wine?

You, as host, can’t be expected to pay for all of it.

  • So divide the total cost by the number of people attending. That way, everyone contributes a small cover charge.

Start buying the wines

Step 5 – seek advice from a reliable wine merchant

Unless you know your wines, consider drawing on such expertise.

  • Make sure you tell them your theme and budget limits. That way, they can suggest what suits your wine tasting party ideas the best.

As well as buying your wines…

  • Stock up on a few palate cleansing foods, that tasters can switch to during the party.
  • Think plain bread, crackers and other flavorless nibbles.
Step 6 – create an “Evaluate the Wine" worksheet…

…for tasters to jot down thoughts for each wine.

  • Adapt an Excel spreadsheet, with numbers for the wines down the left; and columns for taste, aroma and palate along the top.
  • Make sure there’s enough space for comments and you have pencils.

Set up on the day of the tasting

Wine tasting party ideas - a wine party Step 7 – start decorating your tasting room

Tables should go along the edge, with chairs and mingle space in the middle.

  • Cover each tabletop with a white cloth, and decide how many bottles to place per table.
  • Include a tray of clean wine glasses, a pitcher of water, and a small spit bucket for tasters to use.
  • Set aside a separate table for your palate cleansers, along with napkins, plates and water.

Uh, a spit bucket?

Remember, these are wine tasting party ideas, not drinking ones.

  • Tasters are encouraged to spit out the wine they taste, not swallow it. That way, they can evaluate the wine with a clearer head.
Step 8 – prepare the wine

If your wines are in the fridge, remove them an hour before the tasting, to warm them up.

  • Uncork all bottles, making sure you remove their labels.
  • Wrap each one in red paper (like in the 1st photo), marked by a number.

If you want to join the blind tasting, ask a friend to number the bottles instead. That way, you’ll be as clueless as the other tasters.

Step 9 – get ready to start the tasting

As soon as everyone’s arrived, explain how your tasting works, including the spit bucket thing. Give each person a copy of the worksheet and a pencil.

Then let them loose.

Step 10 – close with a sharing session

It’s here tasters share their thoughts about each wine, including guesses as to which is what.

Impart your newly acquired wine knowledge as well, they’ll thank you for it.

Step 11? – post party

Have everyone help you clear up. What happens after is up to you. You may want to lay on some proper food or drink the leftover wines.

How do you like to round off your wine tasting party ideas? Let us know here.

Images: ccarlstead, HerryLawford

10 Creative Ideas for a Wine Tasting Party

Looking for ideas for a wine tasting party?

Below you’ll find 10 creative ideas, to suit a blind tasting – which is where tasters won’t know which wine is in which bottle.

When you throw a blind tasting, you’ll be teaching your tasters to spot the subtleties in taste, palate and aroma of your wines. A blind tasting is also a lot of fun.

Before you go ahead with any wine tasting plans, be sure to read these 10 steps on how to plan a wine tasting.

  • A tasting involves the careful selection of wines, made more difficult when you’re trying to budget for them too.
  • Some of the wines won’t be cheap, or may need buying directly from the vineyard itself.

However, once planned, you’ll be guaranteed an unforgettable time with friends.

Wine-themed ideas for a wine tasting party

This isn’t like a party theme. Here, the wine itself is used as a launchpad for your party.

When approaching these ideas for a wine tasting party, make them as specific as possible – “Red wines from Australia" is too broad.

But at the same time, avoid going too narrow, e.g. “wines from Croatia". This option may cause a headache, when it comes to finding the wines.

  • Not feeling too knowledgeable about wine? Make sure to seek out a reliable wine merchant for tips.

1. A vertical theme, as it’s known, showcases the same brand of wine but across different vintages – e.g. Cabernet Sauvigons from 1995 to 2000.

2. Alternatively, use a horizontal theme – which means tasting wines from various wineries, only with the same heritage.

3. A third way is to taste the same wine yet made in different parts of the country, e.g. Chardonnays made in California with those made in Burgundy, France.

4. Or play labels against each other – e.g. Glass Mountain Merlot versus Markham Merlot.

5. Or colors off each other – e.g. Sangiovese, Zinfandel and Malbec are all types of reds, which again vary in themselves according to their wineries.

Theme the party itself

Party themes are a lot of fun – yet make sure not to go too overboard with your ideas.

The actual wine tasting is itself the central activity of your party – so any theming should be subtle.

6. Go for a saloon bar effect, by adding cowboy party touches to your tasting.

7. If the weather’s okay, and you have a garden, plan your tasting as a garden party. A wine tasting is a nice way to start the Spring.

8. You near the beach? Combine your tasting with these beach activities.

9. Ask everyone to dress up in formal attire (dresses, suits, ties) – either contemporary style or from another decade (50s, 60s, 70s).

Use the holidays as ideas for a wine tasting party

10. You can throw a wine tasting at any time of the year. But consider timing your tasting with a specific holiday.

  • Think: a fun work party to kick off the Summer. Or a fun Christmas get-together with friends, with wine as gifts.
  • Alternatively, you can celebrate the ‘back to nature’ approach of a Winter Solstice party with a tasting. Make sure to pick local or regional wineries for this.

Image: philip.bitnar

Western Party Ideas (How to Organize Yours in 6 Simple Steps)

Mix a few Western party ideas to your party fun – and you’ll have everyone slapping leather and having a hoe down in no time.

And there’s plenty of modern-day inspiration to choose from.

  • The cowboy movie genre is still in vogue (like the 2012 film Django Unchained).
  • Boot-cut jeans, leather boots and big belt buckles are commonplace.
  • Modern singers like Kelly Clarkson and LeAnn Rimes have country roots.

So there’s no time like the present to start developing your Western party ideas. Here’s how to that in 6 simple steps.

Step 1, Western party ideas for invites

Create a Wanted poster — Find a photo of your main guest and copy it into a blank Microsoft Word document. Then use a free cowboy style font – like ‘Western Cowboys’ – for your party wording. Be creative with your wording – like:

“Wanted – For the most evil haircut ever!”
“Reward $100 – For being the best kisser ever!”

Print your invitations. Use a lighter to singe their edges very carefully, to give them an aged look.

Create a Cowboy Hat invite — Draw an outline on brown card, and cut. Choose one side for your party details. On the other, decorate it with a sheriff’s badge made of gold glitter.

Step 2, Ideas for fancy dress

Dressing up Wild West style is A LOT of fun.

There’s so much to draw from – for example, cowboy and westerns movies, country music, traditional cowboy history.

  • Think bandits, cowboys and girls, buffalo, chieftains, the big town sheriff, the bank robber…
  • Even getting everyone in cowboy hats (like in the photo) changes the party mood instantly.
Step 3, Western party ideas for decorations

Transform your party room into a homemade cowboy saloon bar. Display beer bottles on a shelf behind the bar area. Keep your tables small, with low seats grouped around them.

Set aside a separate room for a water pistol shooting range.

  • Hang up rope lassos along the walls
  • Have a hat stand for cowboy hats, fake pistols and tomahawk axes
  • Hang larger poster versions of your Wanted invites on walls and doors
  • Change your usual light bulbs for yellow light bulbs
  • Buy inflatable cacti and spot these around the room
  • Cover your seating in fluffy brown and white throws, overlapping them to give the impression of cowhide
  • Dress up a rocking horse with its own saddle.
Step 4, Western party ideas for activities

Cowboy Movie Charades — Write your movie titles onto slips of paper, then jumble in a hat. A player pulls out a name and everyone must guess their movie. Your titles could include The Magnificent Seven, Brokeback Mountain and Wild, Wild West.

Cowboy Dancefloor — Get everyone on their feet with a cowboy disco. Start slapping leather to these sample tunes:

  • Jolene – Dolly Parton
  • Come Monday – Jimmy Buffett
  • Achy Breaky Heart – Billy Ray Cyrus
  • The River – Garth Brooks
  • I Don’t Feel Like Dancing – Scissor Sisters
  • Stand By Your Man – Tammy Wynette

Old West Slang Trivia Quiz — Draw up a trivia quiz of 20 questions, testing your guests on their knowledge. Give each question four answers (a, b, c, d) to make things harder.

  • For example, “Where do you go when you go to a ‘hoosegow’?"
  • Answer: “Jail".

Water Pistol Shooting Range — Use either a separate room in the house or your backyard for this activity. You’ll need a wall, 6 empty cans and water pistols. Work out how far away to put your fans by testing the firing range of your pistols.

You can make the cans harder to knock by weighing them down with golf balls. Split players into pairs, with the fastest to knock down all six winning.

When playing indoors, make sure you’ve got plenty of towels on the floor.

Show Classic Cowboy Shows — Play these in the background or later as a chillout activity with popcorn and taco/dips.

Learn Line Dancing — Get everyone learning the moves together of this classic dance. Here’s a step-by-step video to help you get started:

Step 5, Party ideas for food

Go with big traditional American western food here in your cowboy party menu. Here are a few ideas:

  • Steaks, fried chicken, wings
  • Corn on the cob, baked beans
  • Potato salad, popcorn
  • Tacos and chips with salsa dips
  • Homemade apple pie with ice cream
  • Serve root beer and American beer brands
Step 6, Western party favors

Send everyone back to the modern day with a few fun party favors, like:

  • Cowboy hats
  • Plastic sheriff badge
  • Sheriff-badge and cowboy-hat shaped cookies
  • A DVD of a classic western
  • Water pistols

Image: Daniel Orm

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Creative Party Ideas for Busy Urban Seekers