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Come As You Are-ty

Today’s post is in celebration of YOU! We’re having a party here on the blog, and you’re invited to come as you are. It’s IBC’s first-ever Come-As-You-Are-ty!

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As you’ve probably guessed from the title of this post, it’s going to be a fun (and quirky) day here on IBC. For the past two years I’ve partnered with Carnival Cruise Line to share everything from recipes to home decorating tips. Working with them continues to be a joy for me. Part of their philosophy is to invite guests to “come as you are.” The underlying message is that EVERYONE is welcome on their ships.

This philosophy also means that you’re encouraged to be yourself. For example, if you like to get dressed up in a tux or gown for formal nights, you can do that. However, if you’re more comfortable in your floral Hawaiian shirt, then wear that. It’s all good. Of the many qualities I admire in a company, being inclusive and allowing people to be themselves are high on my list.

With that in mind, I decided to create a party around the same idea. So what do you get when you mash up their philosophy and a party? A fabulous Come-As-You-Are-ty!

To kick off the festivities, I created a mascot. Combining my affinity for cats with the uniqueness of a unicorn, I thought a caticorn would work perfectly. Plus, if there was any “animal” that could teach us to be ourselves, a caticorn would certainly be it.

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And this is where the inspiration for the rest of the party began. Is this caticorn not the best thing you’ve ever seen? (A shout out to the fabulous crew over at Dash Creative for designing it for me.)

As with my last Carnival-inspired celebration, I wanted to offer a few ideas so you could create your own Come-As-You-Are-ty.

First, we’re going to need a treat. Of course, it’s going to be a sweet. And yes, it’s going to fit with our caticorn theme.

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We’re making Mason Jar Cakes!

I decided to make these cakes for the party for several reasons. First, they’re something different and unexpected. Second, I thought I could have fun by varying the color between the layers of cake. Serving it in a clear glass mason jar would showcase the layered colors inside. Finally, I had this crazy idea of gluing miniature cats to the lids to make sure this party stuck to it’s quirky theme. There’s a method to my madness.

Let’s start by prepping the jars. You will need: mason jars with lids (I’m using the half-pint size.), super glue (Gel works best.), tiny cat figures, and non-toxic paint (spray or craft). For the cake recipe listed below, you’ll want 24 half-pint jars.

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Begin by removing the ring and lid from your mason jar. Using a small amount of gel-based super glue, attach the cat figure to the center of the lid. Once the glue sets, paint the ring and the lid the color of your choice. (Even though the paint probably won’t come in contact with the cake, I recommend using a non-toxic paint.) Allow the paint to dry overnight.

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Now, let’s move on to the cake.

I created my cakes and frosting to work with the colors and theme of the party. The recipe will give you those directions; however, feel free to have fun with it and use your favorite colors and flavors.

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I wanted my cake to match the jars lids, so I did light and dark aqua. I just added food coloring until I achieved the colors I was after.

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To create some contrast, I dyed the frosting in shades of pink and orange.

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In this recipe, we are using a box cake mix. As I’ve said in the past, I actually like boxed cake mix, but you’re welcome to make your cake from scratch should you prefer that. Bake the cake in a half sheet pan. You’ll be using a cookie cutter to cut round pieces from the cake, and the half sheet pan will give you the perfect thickness.

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With the cake baked and cooled, use a round cookie cutter (the size that fits into your mason jars) and cut out rounds of cake.

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Then layer the rounds in your mason jars. After each layer of cake, pipe or spread a layer of frosting. Shake some sprinkles on the frosting for pizzazz.

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You’ll start and finish the jars with cake. Finally, top each jar with a colorful cat lid, and your treats are ready to be served.

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Mason Jar Cakes

makes 24 mason jar cakes

Here’s what you will need:

  • 2 boxes of cake mix (I used funfetti.)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • Food coloring
  • Colored sprinkles

Begin by preparing both cake mixes according to the package directions. Add food coloring to each of the prepared batters to achieve the desired color. (I used teal gel food coloring.) Bake the cakes in two greased and floured half sheet pans. Follow package directions for baking. You’ll know the cakes are done if a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

In the meantime, prepare your frosting. With an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, and salt for about three minutes or until smooth. Then, one cup at a time, add the confections sugar, mixing between each addition. Next, add the milk until the desired consistency is reached. (More powdered sugar may be added to thicken the frosting.) Finally, beat in the food coloring until the desired color is achieved.

After both sheet cakes have cooled, cut out cake rounds from each. Use a round cookie cutter that is the same size as your mason jar (about 2 1/2 inches in diameter) to cut out the rounds. You will need need a total of 72 rounds (3 rounds per mason jar).

Begin by layering the cake rounds and frosting in the mason jars. Start with a cake round, then frosting and sprinkles and then another cake round and more frosting and sprinkles. Finish off with a third cake round. Top with your cat-ified mason jar lid to complete.

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Voila!

Now tell me, are these not the cutest (albeit slightly weird) things you’ve ever seen? I couldn’t think of a more appropriate treat for this type of celebration.

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These will certainly be an unforgettable dessert for your guests. I also love that since these are packaged up so nicely, your guests can take their dessert or the empty jar home as a little memento of the party. Every party needs a fun favor.

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Okay, just a few more things and we’ll be ready to celebrate.

When planning any party, I always recommend first selecting your color scheme. If there’s one thing that can unify party decor, it’s color. I like to stick to 2 or 3 colors. With this party, I broke that rule and went for a rainbow of pastels. It seemed appropriate.

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With my color scheme in mind, I picked up party hats, party horns, and lollipops. I also shopped my own house for cake stands and napkins.

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My caticorn also made an appearance as a fun graphic element. And as a special treat to my lovely IBC readers, I’ve created a free 5×7″ art printable. I’m hoping this little guy will be a fun reminder to be exactly who you are. You can download my caticorn here.

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Now it’s time for our final Come-As-You-Are-ty element: I’m serving Carnival‘s take on the classic cosmopolitan. They’ve switched up an ingredient or two to make this drink uniquely their own. Any guesses on the special ingredient?

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With its signature pink color, it’s the perfect choice for this celebration.

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However, I’m going to make you wait for the recipe. (Whomp. Whomp.) This post has gone on long enough, and I want to make this party to last as long as possible. Join me back here next week as we say cheers with this delicious Carnival Cosmo and wrap up our Come As You Art-ty.

In the meantime, click on over to Carnival and start planning your next vacation. I know you want to! You can Come-As-You-Are-ty for an entire week!

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.