Thursday, April 23, 2015

Glamping Slumber Party Extravaganza and S'more Cupcake Recipe

Emma's Glamping Slumber Party

This was a party that I had been wanting to plan for a long time!  My husband was going to be away on a business trip and I thought, what better time than while he was gone.  This was my daughters first official slumber party, and of course, being me, I had to go all out!

I utilized two rooms in my house, one for the actual "camping" and one for the food/activities.  For the decorations, I went with a pink chevron/burlap color pallet, keeping it a bit with nature (burlap), but girly at the same time (pink chevron).  For the "camping" room, I found this wonderful tutorial on how to make an A-frame tent and thought that would be perfect for the girls to camp in.  Let me tell you, I am not one with a power tool, but I seemed to put this piece together without any problems.  Of course with the help of my ever so crafty mom, who helped me hem up the fabric and attach the connecting pieces of elastic.  I made a super cute "Happy Campers" sign out of an old piece of scrap wood, burned around the edges with sticks from our backyard forming the words.  What is camping with out a camp fire?  I formed "logs" by rolling some old paper grocery bags and used a brown sharpie to make wood grain lines.  For flames, I used orange, red and yellow pieces of tissue paper and construction paper and placed battery operated, flickering tea light candles in several places under the papers.  I also gathered some long sticks and placed large cotton balls on the ends to mimic marshmallows.  The girls really got a kick out of it.  To provide more of an outdoor ambiance, I took several different shades of green paper streamers and hung them all over the room to make it look as if they were camping under the limps of a large tree.  I also sealed off the room with two large, brown plastic table cloths so that it would be dark, even during the day.  To add a little extra pizzaz, I hung white christmas lights on the ceiling to look like bright stars.
For the table decorations, I covered each table with a burlap table cloth.  For the centerpieces on the tables, I picked several different kinds of wild flowers and placed them in a mason jar, and surrounded that with a couple large pinecones.

For the food/dessert table decorations, I used a large burlap table cloth, and set up a runner, using several plastic "grass" squares I had gotten after Easter at Hobby Lobby.  I used a pine tree that has made several appearances in my parties on one end of the table and a cute pink lantern at the other end of the table (also from Hobby Lobby).  Scattered about the table were acorns and mini pinecones with food labels on them for each food item.  For the centerpiece of the table, I made a mini version of the A-frame tent with a small hanging lantern inside.  For the serving pieces on the table, I used several things that I already had that worked quite well with the theme of this party.  I had a wood slice cake stand that I got from World Market, a flat wood slice from Michael's, a large glass leaf platter, several "bare" cake stands that I got from several years ago, tin soup cans and some serving baskets that I made from this awesome tutorial!

For the food/desserts, I wanted to keep it simple and of course stick with the camping theme.  What better food than hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly "tent" shaped sandwiches,  cheese puff "campfire flames", pretzel "match sticks", acorns (made from a hershey kiss, mini Nilla wafer and a small butterscotch chip),  hazelnut "twigs", "bait" (goldfish), "walking sticks" (wafer sticks), trail mix, dirt cups (chocolate pudding, crushed oreos and a couple gummy worms), S'more marshmallow pops and delicious S'more cupcakes (recipe below).  We ate the food on tin pie pans and drank "bug juice" (fruit punch) out of mason jars.  All of the food created quite the spread and needless to say, nobody went to bed hungry!

After the delicious food, we took on some fun camping activities.  While it was still light outside, we went on a nature scavenger hunt, finding things such as different colored leaves, different shapes rocks, feathers, bugs, pinecones, etc.  All the items were gathered in a paper bag and checked off of a list glued to the front.  After the scavenger hunt, we came inside to paint birdhouses.  We had also planned on drawing with sidewalk chalk, but we ran out of daylight.

For the party favors, I put together a "hobo" bag on a stick using a bandana and more large sticks I had gathered outside.  Inside each bandana was a flashlight, magnifying glass, water bottle, bug sunglasses and a disposable camera for capturing their favorite moments of the party.  Each guest also got a small pillow to sleep with and a hair bow that matched the color of the party.

We finished the night in PJ's, telling "scary" stories by the "campfire" with lots of giggles.  This party was probably one of my favorite ones to plan and it made it even better to see all the happy faces on the girls!

Hope you enjoyed this little Glamping Slumber Party run down and that you can gather some awesome ideas for your next party!

Until next time, enjoy this delicious recipe for Chocolate S'more Cupcakes!

Chocolate S'more Cupcakes


For the cake:

  • 2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar 
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed) 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup boiling water 
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares) 
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted 
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
For the Marshmallow Frosting:

  • 8 large egg whites 
  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar 
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside. 
  2. Sift 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix ingredients together on low speed. 
  3. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add boiling water and stir to combine; set cake batter aside. 
  4. Place graham cracker crumbs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl; stir until well combined. 
  5. Place 1 tablespoon graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Use the bottom of a small glass to pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Reserve remaining graham cracker mixture for topping. 
  6. Place 2 teaspoons chocolate in each muffin cup. Transfer muffin tins to oven and bake until the edges of the graham cracker mixture is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill each muffin cup three-quarters full with cake batter. Sprinkle each with remaining chocolate and graham cracker mixture. Return to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer muffin tins to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely. 

For the frosting:

  1. Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes. 
  2. Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. 
  3. Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe frosting in a spiral motion on each cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the frosting, taking care not to burn the cupcake liners. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container, up to 2 days.