Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Neapolitan Layer Cake and Cakeballs

Neapolitan. The culmination of three of the very best ice-cream flavors ever created. A kid's dream in one bowl. The concept is simply divine - and something that probably makes most of us remember our childhoods. I've always loved the color combination of Neapolitan, so much so that chocolate, vanilla and strawberry were the colors included for our Rehearsal Dinner!

Not too long ago I started seeing this idea of a Neapolitan cake pop up all over the blogosphere. After seeing it appear on Sweetopia and then again over at Annies Eats, I knew it was a sign that I must make one of these cakes - and I immediately wished I had thought of this back in 2009! I would have loved to include this cake in our Rehearsal Dinner celebration.

A cake like this should be for a special occasion if you ask me. However, this can be particularly challenging for me since I do not yet have children. It's not that often I can find a 'good excuse' to bake a cake like this! I jumped at the chance to make a beautiful and girlie cake for my sister's birthday a couple months ago. And just for good measure, I thought it'd be a good idea to give cakeballs a shot as well since they are so darn cute!

Since I knew I was planning to include 3 layers of cake, it was important to me to use a 6" cake pan. I wanted height but didn't want to create an absolutely ginormous cake for our small family. Since I knew I'd be baking the cakeballs as well, I split the batter for each cake flavor between the 6" round and an 8" square pan. However, you could use any size combination you desire. I had plenty of batter to create the 6" cake and at least two dozen cakeballs in each flavor.

To get started, prep your cake batter according to your recipe or package instructions, one flavor at a time. (I have yet to find a from-scratch recipe for all three flavors that are truly awesome - so I used boxed cake mixes for the convenience. My preference is Duncan Hines for moistness!) Split the batter between your round pan (the one you'll use for the cake) and another pan for the cakeballs (doesn't matter the size or shape). It's always a good idea to place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of your cake pan to ensure the layer comes out of the pan nicely.

Remove the cake-cake from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, working with the pan designated for your cakeballs, empty the cake into a bowl (literally, crumble the cake with a fork to transfer to a bowl). Using your hand mixer, beat the baked cake until you have even bits of baked cake. Next, add a good amount of frosting (about half a can or 1 C of homemade) in the same flavor as your cake. Mix well; place bowl in the freezer for about 2 hours.

Continue baking and prepping the next two flavors of cake in the same way.

Once your cakeballs have firmed up in the freezer, you will be ready to start rolling them. Using a small spoon or melonballer, scoop out some of the cakeball mixture and roll between your hands to create approximately 1" balls. Place them on a prepared baking sheet lined with wax paper and pop them into the freezer. Flash-freeze balls for at least 8 hours.

Once your cakeballs have been flash-frozen, you will be ready to dip them in chocolate or meltable candies. For these cakeballs, I used meltable candies in the cake's corresponding color. Follow the instructions for melting your candies, remembering to heat/melt slowly. The frozen cakeballs will help to temper the melted candy - but it is important for the candy to never exceed 110 degrees F. (Otherwise, you will sacrifice that 'snap' when you bite into the cakeball and will be left with mushy candy coating or forced to keep them refrigerated.)

Use a small, deep dish for melting the candy. Once you've melted the candy, dip the cakeball with a small fork and shake off the excess. Then, place the finished cakeballs on wax paper to set.

Finish cakeballs with sprinkles or melted candy in the other colors!

(If you have more cakeballs than you can use at one time, freeze them prior to coating them with candy. Flash-freezing the cakeballs allows you to store them in one freezer Zip Loc bag without
becoming permanently attached to one another. Cakecalls store nicely in the freezer for up to two months. Keeping the extra in the freezer lends itself to pretty food to share with friends on a moments notice!)

To assemble your cake, prepare a piece of cake cardboard (I chose to cover mine with brown paper to fit the theme - but you can use colored foil as well), preferably on top of a cake stand or cake turntable. Place your first layer on the cardboard; add a layer of frosting. Add the next layer, top down. Continue with the third layer - frost, then add third flavor, top down. Frost a thin layer of buttercream (I made my traditional recipe and colored it light pink) around the entire cake and on top (known as the "crumb layer"). Allow the crumb layer to set (dry) completely. This ensures you get as few flecks of cake (crumbs) in the finished cake. Add another layer or two of frosting to the entire cake. Decorate to finish as you wish!

Slicing into a cake like this is always so exciting. So much anticipation is built up and it's so fun to see how all the colors work together as one cake. I'm looking forward to creating more cakes with multi-colored layers!

To finish the experience, the Neapolitan cake and cakeballs were served with - what else? Neapolitan ice-cream! It was a birthday party after all. :-)

Click here for an excellent buttercream tutorial!

Ingredients Needed:
1 box or recipe chocolate cake
1 box or recipe strawberry cake
1 box or recipe vanilla cake
1 can or 1 C chocolate frosting
1 can or 1 C strawberry frosting
1 can or 1 C vanilla frosting
'Chocolate' Wilton meltable candy
Pink Wilton meltable candy
'Vanilla' Wilton meltable candy
Cake cardboard
Parchment paper
Wax paper

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

You might see some changes 'round here!

Dear Readers,

Over the past few months, you may have noticed there have been some renovations happening here at Krafts and Konfections. I'm so happy to have finally dedicated some space on my humble blog for my brand - Simplicity Creations.

Simplicity Creations is split into (what I consider) two logical areas: event planning and 'konfections'. Events and sweets typically go hand in hand - and they both happen to be passions of mine. If you are in need of event services or some sweet treats to have on hand at your next event, please see my Sweet Treats and Simplicity Events tabs near the top of this page. Here, I have outlined some of the details for services and products I offer to the Indianapolis metro area and beyond. Please feel free to contact me for a free consultation or quote!

I look forward to hear about your party planning or sweet treats needs!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Will Blog for Food!

Ah, it has been quite some time - but I'm still here! And I'm still cooking and baking in my every day life, taking photos and holding on to the details so that I can share them here.

Here is a sneak peak into what I've been up to... a longer post is soon to come!

Truffles as Gifts

Neapolitan Cake and Cakeballs

Paper Pom Poms

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tarts
I hope your summer is going amazingly well! I'll be back with more very soon.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fruit Pizza

A simple yet delicious (and addicting) treat, Fruit Pizza, has been a family favorite for about as long as I can remember. Whether because it's an absolute cinch to prepare or because it's so dangerously delicious, this variation of Fruit Pizza is definitely my favorite (and the only one I really care for, honestly).

Normally, this recipe is spread on round cookie / pizza baking sheet. However, I was taking these to a party and thought it would be better served as individual "pizzas". The base of the pizza is a standard sugar cookie, with a cream cheese "sauce", bananas, whipped cream, strawberries and topped with granola. So YUM and so SIMPLE.

I think one of the things that makes me love to bake so much is the chemistry that takes place when the right ingredients are combined. I recently learned (via America's Test Kitchen) the way to make perfectly level / even cookies. The trick is to use the same measurement of baking soda and baking powder. It's so simple, yet many recipes do not include both in the ingredient list. The sugar cookie recipe I used included the soda, and so I added the same amount of powder. Voila! The cookies came out super level with no affect to the taste.

Fruit Pizza
Yield: 1 pizza pan or 12 3" individual cookies

1 Batch sugar cookies (homemade or store-bought)
4 oz. cream cheese
1 C. powdered sugar
2 bananas
Granola (optional)

Bake cookies; cool completely. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Spread on cookie(s). Slice bananas about 1/4" thick. Place on top of sugar. Cover bananas with whipped cream. Topped with sliced strawberries and granola.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day - Dog Cookies!

Happy Birthday, Sweet Paco! That's right - our little lucky charm turns two years old today. We are so blessed to have him in our lives!

Paco is ready to party with his St. Patty's Day hat!
For your viewing pleasure, here are both dogs donned in party hats. Note how thrilled the old lady is, while Paco seems to think it's fun. I guess it's always fun when it's your birthday! :-)
On to the cookies! This year for Paco's birthday, I decided to make shamrock shaped cookies for his "cake". (He also needed something to share with his friends in order to celebrate - duh.)
Cookies packaged for some doggie friends
While visiting Chicago with some good friends of ours, we took some time to do a little shopping in Lincoln Park. We happened upon the cutest little doggie boutique where I picked up a fun organic dog treat cookbook! They have several divisions within the cookbook (much like with any "normal" cookbook), one of which is a new treat for each month. For March, the authors included this spinach and Parmesan concoction that sent our pups' tails wagging.  
Since my shamrock cookie cutter is quite large, I used the bone shape that I have as well.

Make them for your pup or pups today! And you can thank me later.

Spinach and Parmesan Dog Cookies
1 C. Oat flour (I use regular rolled oats and chop them up in a food processor)
1 C. Brown rice flour
1.5 C. Packed fresh spinach
1/2 C. Grated Parmesan cheese
1 Egg
1/4 C. Water

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Puree the spinach leaves in a food processor until smooth. Combine all ingredients together and mix until dough forms.

Roll out on a lightly floured surfaced to 1/4" thickness. Use a shamrock, bone or other shape to cut out cookies. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet (you can put them quite close together as they don't spread much while baking).

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Transfer and let cool completely on a wire rack (my dogs really enjoyed them while they were still slightly warm - who doesn't enjoy a freshly baked, warm cookie?).

Store cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Source: Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cookies for a Cause

Happy Valentine's Day! (I know I"m a few days late...) This past weekend, some great friends from our small group and I had the privilege to serve some of Indianapolis's less fortunate. As a group of 5 couples, we've committed to doing a service project together once every other month and with each rotation, a different couple gets to choose who to serve. For the month of February, our sweet Lauren wanted to help a newer organization, Circle City Relief. CCR is a ministry partner within our church that collects un-purchased pizzas from Little Caesars and distributes them to those who need food. Every Sunday for the past year, CCR has spread the love of Jesus Christ by passing out pizzas and clothing, serving hot soup, establishing relationships, and praying for those who show up to IPS School 60 to take home some food and hopefully some hope.

So many cookies!
While preparing for our service project, the ladies and I thought it would be a nice gesture to provide cookies for the people we would be serving. Given the timing, it only seemed appropriate that we tap into a Valentine's Day theme with these heart-shaped cookies. When we approached the CCR leader with our plan, she loved the idea. She let us know that they were expecting 200 or so people... GASP. What did we get ourselves into? Instead of freaking out, we turned the opportunity to get together for brunch and just have fun in the kitchen with the girls!

(Side note: I served this spinach and cheese strata, my sister's famous coffee cake, OJ and coffee. I didn't think to snap photos prior to our enjoyment of the food but both recipes were perfectly lovely for a simple brunch!) 

After piping an edge to the cookies, here we are flooding the royal icing.
For the cookies, we went with my favorite sugar cookie recipe and because I've been sort of a royal icing addict lately, we went with royal icing for the smooth texture and yummy flavor. I go into more detail on royal icing here.
Our collective favorite cookie.
In hindsight, we definitely should have gone with a simpler icing - buttercream, perhaps - due to our time constraints and the sheer number of cookies we needed to turn out. Fortunately, we were able to ice the cookies quite quickly... but the drying process was more lengthy than desired for this type of project. Normally, the drying process wouldn't necessarily be an issue, but we had agreed to package the cookies in bags with ribbon.
With a little added flair.
After the ladies left my house, I placed all the cookies on my island to get an official "count". Glad I did - we only had about 150 and needed 200! We had many cookies left, so I simply whipped up a batch of buttercream and created a simple design for the remaining 50 cookies. I also added a touch of the pink buttercream to the royal icing cookies for a little added flair.
Here is what 200 packaged cookies look like. :-)

Lauren and I passing out cookies.

Fortunately for our group and the people we were serving, we were blessed with a beautiful, sunny day! Several hundred pizzas and over 200 cookies were passed out in just under 1.5 hours.

For me, I often take fresh, homemade baked goods for granted because I have a kitchen with an oven and the means to purchase ingredients. Some of the people we served were actually shocked that we would make cookies from scratch just for them. Yet for me, I felt absolutely blessed to be able to bring a bit of joy to folks who don't normally get to experience the fresh-made goodness of a cookie. <3

Just for fun, I thought I would also share some of the special Valentine's Day cookies I made for my Granny, who turned 83 on the 14th. I used the same cookies but decorated with leftover buttercream.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Basketball Birthday Cake

If you have read my previous post, you know that my husband is a basketball fanatic. When it came time to celebrate his 25th birthday last year, it was quite obvious to me that his birthday cake should be, well, a basketball.

When I began contemplating a basketball birthday cake, I knew a standard two-layer cake would not cut it - I had to come up with a way to make it rounded (3D, if you will). I've seen other people make several layers in an 8" or 9" cake pan, and then cut the cake into the desired shape - but I felt that would add extra, unnecessary step. I began scouring for ideas in my own cabinets - and then it hit me. I would use a glass bowl to bake a cake and then flip it upside down to create the 3D effect I desired. Using a glass, heat resistant, oven-approved bowl (gotta love Pyrex!) I received at one of my wedding showers, the game was on!

I did a trial run using my genius new method and found that (1) cake mix requires 55 - 60 minutes in the oven (!) but that it didn't affect the moistness of the cake (a very good thing). For Francis's cake, I used (2) cake mixes and ended up baking for 70 - 80 minutes in the oven. Again, I had good luck with the consistency and texture of the cake - but I think the (1) mix cake actually tasted better.

To create the look of an actual basketball, I used black (pre-made) icing to create the striping and a multi-dot tip (Wilton #233) to resemble the "grips" of a basketball. (The numbness in my hand and wrist from "squeezing" the icing bag that many times returned a few days later!)

Here is Francis blowing out his birthday cake, with the help of Camryn.

Other desserts for the party included banana pudding (Francis's favorite) and 7-layer bars.

Overall, I'd say Francis was pretty impressed with the basketball cake and I was pleased with the outcome. The only thing I would change is the consistency of the border icing. Since it was very thick, after several hours, the border began to pull away.

I'm already thinking of other ways to incorporate other rounded shapes into cake creation - perhaps I'll go with another passion of his... Golf!

Happy Birthday, Baby!

We Have Another Blogger in the Family!

Friends, please welcome my darling husband to the world of blogging. Over the past weekend, he decided to take the plunge and delve into these frequently charted waters for himself to see what blogging was all about. He chose a topic that is near and dear to his precious heart - basketball - and quickly became addicted to creating posts!

 PassDribbleShoot, authored by Francis H. Ramirez, III, dives into his love for basketball. As you read his posts, you'll start to understand why the guy is such a fanatic about the sport of basketball (and that he's actually a better writer than he gives himself credit to be!). My husband is pretty much the epitome of a baller - he plays the sport, lives the sport, and breathes the sport. In fact, basketball is actually much more than a sport to him - it's more like a way of life, a means of survival when the cards dealt to him made his situation seem pretty bleak to some folks. Through his stories of how he became introduced to the game and his journey to play college ball, I hope that you will be able to see how God sought and pursued Francis through the game of basketball. 

Here is Francis with the team at Rochester College (who happen to be two time National Champs during his tenure!). Francis and I will both be forever indebted to the College - and we have God to thank for leading us there. And while He led us to RC for very different reasons, without his pursuance, we would not have met.  Even more, without the College, neither of us would know God the way that we do now.

So if you like basketball or know someone who does, let them know about PassDribbleShoot. Francis's posts will cover all things basketball from his perspective - and his passion for the game will hopefully inspire others, as he does for me on a daily basis!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Football Rice Krispie Treats

If you are in need of a last minute Super Bowl party snack, I have just thing. These yummy Rice Krispies treats are fast, easy and fun to make! Not to mention, they are super cute.

Start with the tried-and-true Rice Krispie Treat recipe:

6 C Rice Krispies cereal
4 C Mini marshmallows (or (1) 10 oz bag of large marshmallows)
3 T Butter

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the marshmallows; stir until melted completely. Remove from heat and stir in cereal.

Pour mixture into a 9x13 inch pan. Spread with a buttered spatula or a piece of wax paper.

I smoothed on a layer of crunchy peanut butter and then made a simple ganache for the top.

Simple ganache:
1 1/2 C chocolate chips
1/2 C heavy cream

To make them party appropriate - I cut them out in the shape of footballs and added "laces" with buttercream icing.


Monday, January 31, 2011

Clown Party Invitations

One of my favorite people on this earth is my sweet niece Camryn. Since the very first time I laid eyes on her, I've been totally in love with her. I say this all the time - but I don't know how it would be possible for me to love my own children any more than I love my nieces and nephews. Since Cam was a very young toddler, I've noticed a very special connection with her that I cannot explain in words. She affectionately refers to me as "Mousie Mommy" and I really hope her "Mousie-phase" doesn't end any time soon! I'm sure my closeness with Cam has a lot to do with how close I am to her mother (my sister), Sherry. Sherry is 13 years my elder and was like a 2nd mom to me growing up. As an adult, I appreciate her even more now that we are such great friends! She is the person I look up to the most in this world and I wouldn't be who I am today with her powerful maternal influence.
Sweet Cami and I

Camryn was born on December 23 - that's right, just 2 days before Christmas. Sherry's original due date was January 9 and I can still hear her say, 'Oh no! I feel so bad, her birthday is going to be so close to Christmas!' (Bear in mind, Sherry said this somewhere between her water breaking and all of us rushing to get her in the car to go to the hospital!) Since her birthday is so close to Christmas, Sherry devised a plan to allow Cam to celebrate her birthday with her friends - celebrate her half birthday in the summer!

Camryn's half birthday party was in my sister's highly qualified hands, but I had the honor of creating the invitations! (Yah! My favorite part of any party!) The theme was 'Circus' and so the search began for high quality circus-y images that didn't include some scary clown. Since clowns are innately scary, imagine my surprise when I came across this adorable clown girl! She was the perfect image to carry through the party. I used the image on the 'thank-you' tags for the goody bags (left) and on the invitations (right - although, this was a first draft). I positively love 'her'!
Using some gate-fold cards I had on hand from a previous project, I created the invitation below. The Clown Girl was matted to shiny green paper (positively my favorite paper of all time - the Thank-you tags were matted on this paper as well). One side of the image was glued (left) with the other side (right) Velcro'd to keep the invite closed.
Here is a view from inside the gate-fold. I included the pertinent details of the party in the larger middle section, with other notes on the side panels. The invitations that went out to guests had eyelets attached to close the top of the center, then the ribbon was looped through. Labor intensive, but it helped finished the look quite well!

Just for fun, I thought I'd include a pic of the cupcake stand. What would a party be without the cupcakes? One of the [many] things my sister has taught me is to include various icing designs when including cupcakes for parties. I tend to be a bit uniform and matchy-matchy with things, but I like the visual variety this route offers. I incorporate this into all of my cupcake designs now! (And, it's a nice gesture to those people who do not particularly care for a cupcake drowning in frosting, whoever those crazy people might be.)

The Cupcakes
Camryn and her party peeps!
Cam and her BFF Chey Chey

Vendor Credit
Paper - Paper and More

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Candy Buffet

2009 was a year of significant change for me, for both my career and personal life. My company was purchased by a large competitor, Francis and I got married, and we bought a house. All three of these life events are incredibly stressful but also very exciting. Luckily for me, with my my wedding in May and my company's holiday party in December, I was able to plan two very fun gala events in this same calendar year. Planning my office party was an excellent opportunity for me to do what I love the most (plan events - and get paid for it) and to include things we were not able to do for our wedding due to budget constraints. The #1 thing I was excited to include was a candy buffet.

The hubs and I enjoying my company holiday party.
Candy Buffets are growing in popularity and are popping up in all sorts of events from baby showers to wedding receptions (and, obviously, corporate holiday parties!). I wanted to create a candy buffet with that fit within the color scheme I had selected for the party - purple and silver.  
I began scouring the internet for bulk candy sites - and there are plenty out there! However, for me, there were few with very many purple options. Finally, I was able to find a site that not only organized their candy options by color (genius) but had many yummy sounding treats in my desired color scheme! I was able to create a selection of candy that was both tasty and pretty, which was my goal all along. I purchased glass in various shapes from Home Goods and added height under the table cloths to create visual interest.

The Cast of Characters
  • Rock Candy
  • Purple Gumdrops  
  • Grape Licorice 
  • Sugar Plums (could be called "super yum")
  • Grape flavored Old Fashioned Candy (in stick form)
  • Grape fruit slices (there were also VERY good - they are like the lemon/orange/lime slices you can find many places, but way better because they are grape - a flavor I happen to love)
  • Silvered almonds (these were really expensive but were the first to go!)
  • Silver wrapped chocolate mint truffles
  • Silver wrapped chocolate caramels 
  • Silver wrapped toffee licorice (yuck - this was the only disappointment) 

For each of the candy options, I included a hang tag with the candy variety attached so that people knew what they were eating. :-)

Grape Fruit Slices
Silvered Almonds

Sugar Plums
Toffee Licorice
Having a take-home option for the candy was really important to me. I found these cute silver boxes and placed purple tissue paper inside to continue the color scheme. 

A candy buffet is many things for an event: beautiful decoration, entertainment and parting gift for your guests. They can be quite pricey, but could also be the show-stopping piece your event needs!

Vendor Credits
Embosser - Paper Source

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

DIY Floral Centerpiece

Waaaay back in May of 2009, my beloved husband and I wed. We had almost exactly a year to plan for the wedding and I literally enjoyed every second. I never felt like the planning was a burden - in fact, I pulled out my wedding binders (yes, plural) nearly every day to brain storm, plan, or execute a particular facet or project for the Big Day. For me, it's the details that make an event unique and I wanted to put my special touch on our wedding without breaking the bank (read: source and make myself). One of the challenges of planning the dream wedding Francis I had hoped for was our limited budget. We were mostly on our own for our wedding financially, which made including some of these ideas difficult. Having some experience with event planning prior to my own wedding, I knew that flowers would be a significant expense and immediately started thinking about ways to reduce the cost. I had the crazy idea that maybe, just maybe, I might be able to actually do the flowers myself. Since I had no prior experience working with flowers, I knew I would be putting my research game to the test. 

Unknown to me prior to my research, there are MANY wholesale florists out there with farms in countries like Ecuador. I was nervous in the beginning about ordering my wedding flowers through a website. I mean, what if they sent the wrong color? What if they didn't arrive when promised? What if they looked like complete junk when they arrived? Luckily, many of these sites have sensed these fears from their customers and include sample packs - they even market them specifically as "wedding sample packs". I started with a certain company and when the wrong colors showed up on my doorstep, I knew they would not be the "one". I was not discouraged (largely due to the fact that they offered a refund...) and I went forward with sampling another site. Flowers and Freshness not only got my sample pack order right, but the flowers turned up on time and absolutely beautifully packaged. The nice thing about ordering flowers farm-direct is they are not in full bloom when they arrive. They arrive with the petals tightly closed and with all thorns and leaves attached - but this ultimately means your flowers (in my case, roses) will stay fresh for almost 2 whole weeks.

Here is how the flowers came packaged. I scheduled them to arrive 2 days prior to the wedding.
Here are some very special ladies de-leafing (word?) the stems. We had quite the assembly line going!
Here are the flowers in water - we cut them and set them out overnight to open up before working with them. 

Since we were planning a semi-formal reception for after the wedding, we opted for something low key and casual for the rehearsal dinner. The difference allowed us to not only include more guests (specifically our grandparents, who are not traditionally invited to the RD), but offered variety in the wedding events that weekend, specifically for those who may not be comfortable in a formal setting.  

We had our Rehearsal Dinner in my sister's back yard, poolside. Since our wedding was in May, we were *fairly* certain the weather would be perfect for an outside event. As luck (and many, many prayers!) would have it, the weather was absolutely perfect that weekend. We seated 30 people along the edge of the pool and we were able to rent the tables, chairs and linens quite cheaply from Best Rentals here in Indy. 
We went with a Neapolitan color scheme for both decor and wedding party outfits. (Hey, it made for better pictures!) For the centerpieces, I wanted something simple and chic that would blend well with the outdoor nature and laid-back style of the event. Several years ago (before we were even engaged - I mean, when you know you know :-), I found a picture in a magazine of flowers somehow attached to a box and then covered with ribbon to emulate a "present". I loved the idea and held on to the photo. When the time came, I decided it might be best to insert the roses into a piece of water-ready foam on 5 sides. In the picture below, I added the (strawberry colored) flowers only on the top layer and included a 3" wide cream colored (vanilla) ribbon with a smaller brown (chocolate) ribbon to save on flowers. Other centerpieces included flowers on all sides (except the bottom, obviously).

Here is an example of a centerpiece on a tambourine. We used these white tambourines to add a bit of height to the tables. (Since my husband is of Latin decent, it only seemed appropriate.) Each place setting also dubbed as a short note to each important guest - thanking them for being a part of our special day and how much they mean to us. The tiny sombreros are fastened to the note cards with a color coordinated prong.   
Here is a top view of the centerpiece. I just loved these flowers and the color scheme really helped make the pink (err, strawberry) pop. 

Working with these flowers was really fun. And, it was really cool to be able to contribute to the wedding events in such a fun and beautiful way!

Vendor Credits: 
Ribbon: Michael's
Notecards: Paper Source