Well, we pulled it off! I can't believe that we pulled it off, but somehow everything came together exactly as planned, and we were able to surprise my dad with his 65th birthday casino party last Saturday night. That's right--Eric and I flew from Las Vegas to throw a Las Vegas-themed party in Delaware. I'm almost 100% positive that my dad didn't have a clue as to the extent of his birthday surprise, although he definitely knew that something was in the works. If he did know about the party, then I think that he missed his calling as an actor, because he has me fooled.
The party transformed a hotel ballroom into a mini-casino floor, complete with poker and craps tables. I was a bit concerned that many of our 100 guests would be apprehensive to gamble, but within seconds of yelling "SURPRISE!", like moths to a flame, people swarmed the tables, betting with chips that were custom-printed with my dad's picture. I originally thought that Eric would have an unfair advantage, what with his Las Vegas ties, but apparently Delaware is home to some of our country's most skilled card sharks, including parents' neighbors--who knew??
Although my mom did the majority of the party planning, I was put in charge of (what else?) the food, which I was more than happy to handle. The dinner was catered by the hotel, but I wanted to make the cake myself, as a gift to my dad. At first, I was going to attempt a huge casino-themed, fondant-covered, gumpaste-decorated cake. Then, I realized that both my time and resources would be limited once I arrived in Delaware, and unless I wanted to cart all of my cake-decorating supplies with me on the plane, I would need to come up with another alternative.
My mom suggested cupcakes, which I thought was a great idea. Cupcakes are easy to serve, easy to transport, and everybody seems to like them. Still wanting to give the cupcakes a unique twist, I decided to make sugar cookies in the shape of casino-themed objects: dice, chips, hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds. Each cupcake was topped with a sugar cookie, and extra cookies were scattered around the display table. After decorating over 100 cookies and cupcakes in detail, my hamstrings are pretty darn sore, but they went over so well with everyone, especially my dad, so it was all worth a few aches and pains.
For the cookies, I used the same cookie dough and icing recipes that I used for my Super Bowl Football Cookies. For the dice and chips, I used round and square cutters (actually, I didn't have a square cutter, so I employed a cut-out top of a Tylenol box to make a square.) The cupcakes, also recipes previously posted on my blog, were chocolate and vanilla-orange flavors. Enjoy!