Tuesday, March 4, 2014

2014 Academy Awards Party - Cake Mama Style

Danny and I have now hosted an Academy Awards Party for 14 years.  Danny will say it's 15 years, but we really didn't host one that first year.  We celebrated the Oscars at his parents' house back when we were first dating, we invited some friends from college over and we themed a few food items. Back then I made a cake decorated to look like a penny and one to look like a nickel and we called that "The Sixth Sense", and I made a taco dip topped with green lettuce and named that one "The Green Mile."  We've since stepped up our game and began hosting them in our own homes.  But that first one still sort of counts, I guess.  It's when we ignited the Academy Awards "spark"!!

Danny has always been into movies.  He loves films and enjoys seeing them, watching them over again, talking about them, thinking about them...everything.  He loves them!  And he recently started a podcast with our good friend Mike.  If you'd like to listen to them discuss movies and share their hilarious opinions about them, check them out here... You can also download them on iTunes.   I'm admittedly along for the ride.  I have the reputation for liking something "light" and easy.  Animated features are a sure bet for me as are romantic comedies.  But I digress.  We both love the Academy Awards and all of the build up to the greatest awards program on television.

And because we've been hosting them for so long, it's sort of like a well-working machine.  We wake up early the day the nominees are announced and there begins our month-long brainstorm for menu items which I'll get to in a minute.  About a week prior to the event, we begin decorating the house.  I got these movie reels from eBay a few years ago.  Just this year, however, I thought about hanging one on my front door instead of a wreath.  Cute!

And, over the years, we've collected the Academy Awards Official Posters and the last 15 years or so of Official Programs from the ceremony.  I've practically become friends with the staff at the Academy!!!   

And a few years ago, I came across these Paparazzi figurines that I hide throughout the house.  They are photographers or interviewers and they're about 2 1/2 inches tall.  It's a fun game to have the guests look throughout the house to see if they can find them all.   If anything, it can pass some of the commercial time throughout the program.

I find myself picking up items throughout the year and finding new uses for them.  For example, this popcorn container from the Target dollar bin was out in April a few years ago.  I picked up about five of them and set them aside for our party and here are our centerpieces.

I also came across some black cloth napkins on clearance at Target a few years ago and picked those up.  I used them last year when I hosted a very small dinner to celebrate the Oscars.   I love how the place settings turned out.  All nice and fancy for the event.   I keep the colors to red, gold, black, white and champagne.  Any flowers I choose are usually white and red.  I just love how it turns out.

The one thing that I really wanted to try again this year was making the chocolate Oscars.  I got a mold last year and attempted it then.  They turned out okay, but I learned from my mistakes.  This year, I used Yellow Wilton Candy Melts and then sprayed them with edible gold shimmer spray.  MUCH better.  I made about 35 of these this year and it took the majority of a full day to do them because I only had one tray which makes 3 of them at a time.  I'll invest in another tray for next year.  

Once the Oscars were all dried, I wrapped them in small plastic bags and tied them shut with ribbon that I found at Walmart.  It reminded me of film and it certainly fit the color scheme.  Guests all received Oscars at our party on their way out.  :)  

Now for the food.  It's a big deal.  We think about our menu for a month and brainstorm fun and creative names for everything.  Our guests now try to guess what we'll be serving and we look forward to sharing what we came up with as everyone arrives for the night.  The rule is, all of the themed food has to be based off of an Actor, Director, Producer or Picture nominated that year.  


"Filled With Meat-A" (Philomena)
Asian Chicken Rolls with Sweet and Sour Sauce

"Lupita Nyonion Dip" (Lupita Nyong'o)
Onion Dip

"American Ruffles" (American Hustle)
Ruffles Potato Chips

"Her-mus" & Chips (Her)
Hummus and Chips

"Leonardo DiMushroom Caprios" (Leonardo DiCaprio)
Stuffed Mushroom Caps

"Pigs in a Blanchett" (Cate Blanchett)
Pigs in a Blanket:  Cocktail Weiners, wrapped in bacon, covered in butter and brown sugar.  Oh.My.God.  SOOOO good!!!!

"Crood-ites" (The Croods) and "The Hobbit:The Desolation of Fruit Tray" 
(The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug)
Crudites & Fruit Tray


Amy "Sam" Adams (Amy Adams)
Sam Adams Beer

"Melted Frozen" (Frozen)

"Judi Punch" (Judi Dench)
Fruit Punch

"Blue Jasmine" (Blue Jasmine)
A delicious alcohol beverage made by my Father-in-Law

(I got these frames at IKEA a few weekends ago.  They worked wonderfully for displaying the menu names)

Main Courses:

"Captain Phillies" (Captain Phillip)
Philly Steak Sandwiches

"Dallas Fryers Club" (Dallas Buyers Club)
Fried Chicken

 Side Dishes:
"The Wolf of Waldorf Salad" (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Waldorf Salad (made by my Mother-in-Law)

"12 Years a Slaw" (12 Years a Slave)
Cole Slaw

 "Mashed Potatoes and Gravity" (Gravity)
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy


 "Chiwetel Chips-Ahoyofor" (Chiwetel Ejiofor) & "Chocolate Barkhad Abdi" (Barkhad Abdi)
Chewy Chips Ahoy & Chocolate Bark with Cashews

And the show stopper...

 "BAKED NEBRASKA" (Nebraska)
Baked Alaska

And then I got to bring out my torch.  Hee, hee, hee!!!

A layer of my chocolate cake, then a layer of vanilla ice cream, a layer of chocolate ganache with pecans and cake crumbs, a layer of raspberry sherbet, a layer of ganache with pecans and cake crumbs, then a layer of french silk ice cream and a layer of meringue.  

Finally, the end of the party.  At the beginning of the party, guests can submit their best guesses as to the winners of awards on a ballot.  We keep tabs of those ballots throughout the night and the top three winners receive gifts.   This year, my Father-in-Law and Mother-in-Law came in first and second respectively.  And well-deserved I might add.  Marcia takes great care of our girls during the weekend so that Danny and I can focus on the party, and John becomes the jack of all trades and does all of the web maintenance and ballot tabulating.  (The third place winner, Steve, wasn't present for the photo.)

We had a GREAT time with GREAT guests and so much laughter and fun!  What did you do to celebrate?

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