Cinco de Mayo is around the corner and what better excuse to have a fiesta!? I have given it a lot of thought and Mexican food is right up there with my “all time favourites”! I’m that girl who will pay extra for avocado or guacamole, without any hesitation. I think my husband makes the best pulled pollo and carnitas. Even after eating in Mexico for a week, I crave his homemade tacos. We don’t have any Mexican background in our family, just a major love for their food and culture. While I’ll take any opportunity to drink margaritas and eat tacos, it wasn't until a few years ago when I started to wonder, what is Cinco de Mayo really all about?
While sometimes it is mistaken for Mexico’s Independence Day from Spain (one of the most important national holidays in Mexico) Cinco de Mayo is actually a celebration of the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, way back in 1862. It was significant because even though they were poorly armed and outnumbered by nearly 2:1, they managed to defeat the well armed French fleet. A year later, the French returned with many more troops and defeated the Mexican army and established an empire that ended up only lasting for about 3 years. The Battle of Puebla was a short lived victory for Mexico but it represented a morale boost, that helped establish a sense of national unity and patriotism. Funny enough, they don't even really celebrate it in Mexico. Acknowledged in California first, in response to the resistance of French rule in Mexico, it became more of an American thing and has grown in popularity over the years. Cinco de Mayo is actually virtually ignored in Mexico. Who would have thought!?
I wanted to share a bit of the history because being a Canadian, this wasn’t something that I learned about in school. In the the United States some school districts hold special events to educate students about it’s historical significance. Today, Cinco de Mayo is acknowledged in several parts of the world and celebrated by enjoying Mexican cuisine, music, dancing and culture. I really appreciate the fact, that a devastating part of history can be turned around, into an awareness and appreciation of a heritage. I think it brings a sense of respect and international unity, which is something the world can always use a lot more of.
Now that I’ve finished with the little history lesson, I hope to inspire your own fiesta. I wanted to go with something a bit unconventional because well, that’s just how I roll! I decided to go with a pastel colour palette, for this Fiesta styled sweet table. I started by pulling inspiration from a super cute Mexican style table runner and paper banner from Mesa Chic Parties. They have the prettiest table linens and party supplies that are handmade in Mexico. The trendy cactus napkins and plates by Meri Meri are from my favourite local party shop Paper and Parties. To pull everything together, I included some pretty little succulents from West Coast Gardens.
I always like to incorporate other local businesses on my sweet tables and it wouldn't be a Mexican fiesta, without some authentic churros! Ana, the gorgeous lady behind Lola's Churro Bar made these delicious, strawberry filled churros. Not only do they taste amazing but they are Vegan friendly, egg free and dairy free! Ana uses a recipe that has been passed down through three generations, from her Great Grandmother "Mama Lola". It doesn't get much sweeter than that! To top it all off, I used some glittery cactus paper toppers from my friends at Paper and Parties. These cupcakes look ready to Olé! Olé! Fiesta all Day!
I made these margarita inspired cupcakes and cactus cake pops, using lime cake batter and a tequila, lime buttercream. This was my first time using alcohol in buttercream and I would definitely use less in the future, because the tequila caused it to separate a bit and effected the consistency of the frosting. They tasted absolutely amazing though so, no complaints about the flavours! The final touches for the margarita cupcakes, were paper straws from P+P, a sugared rim and lime wedges on the side to complete the look.
Jenaya of Poppy and Lace is a talented local artist, who made this custom, water-colour art, based on a fun quote that I gave her to work with. I'm such a big fan of her work, she's done a few custom pieces for me and she always brings my vision to life! My sugar cookie recipe is perfection so, I always try to include them on my sweet tables whenever possible! They are one of my most popular treats. I kept these cactus cookies simple so, they were fun and easy to decorate. The royal icing on my sugar cookies is a great way to tie into the colour story of each sweet table.
My intention for this post, is to leave you feeling inspired to enjoy a Fiesta of your own! Cinco de Mayo falls on a Saturday this year and it is the perfect reason to celebrate and treat yourself. When I think of Mexico the first two things that come to mind, are lots of colours and flavours! This sweet table combines both of those things beautifully. I'm truly thankful for all of the times throughout the year, when we can find different opportunities to enjoy the sweet things in life.