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30.11.11

Party on down: Cake


Cake. Caaaaake. The very word sends most children into raptures, so it's no surprise that even with all the ridiculous fussing we parents do for kids' parties these days, the caaaaake still rules the day.

If it pleases you and makes life easier, you can buy in every decoration and every single other item of food at your child's party, but you better believe that a home made cake is a necessity. It doesn't have to be a difficult cake and it absolutely doesn't have to be perfect, but you've just got to have a go. Bringing out the shining cake at the end of the party and seeing the shining faces that go along with it - that's parenting nirvana to me.

Logistics. Depending on complexity of cake, start the day before, if not even earlier. Bake the cake(s) you need, cool them and then freeze the cake. Yes, freeze it. It thaws absolutely fresh and a cool cake is a lot easier to ice than an out-of-the-oven-on-the-same-day cake. Just make sure you allow it to completely thaw before you ice it. Condensation makes icing slide right off. Not that I would know...

Aim to serve the cake a good half hour before party closing time. It takes longer than you think to light up a cake, deliver the cake to much fanfare, sing the birthday song, do the X claps for luck, blow out the candles, take out the candles, search for the knife, cut the cake, fight off the many little fists that go grabbing for the bits with the most icing and serve the cake. Yes, longer than you think.

One more thing... remember to cut more pieces than you need so you can offer them to the parents at pick up time. It's a nice gesture and a great way of moving all that excess cake!

Easy cakes

Maximum impact can be achieved with no skill whatsoever. The key is packet cakes and lots and lots of lollies.

Easiest party cake I ever made.

No, wait, this one was... see, marshmallows are the king of cakes.





Fondant icing cakes

For Capper's mermaid party back in the day, I forgot I had no cake skills whatsoever and attempted modelling with fondant icing. Do not attempt modelling with fondant icing for the first time on the morning of a 2 o'clock party. It's sticky and it's hard to colour (I don't care what the books say) and it just doesn't act like clay at all. Don't worry, you'll get there in the end, just make sure you keep putting that icing back into the fridge whenever it goes gooey and do leave enough time to finish the fish...

The mermaid and the blobs.

Ah, that's better... Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with me... [Source]

Little cut-out shapes seem like a much more sensible approach to fondant... [Source]



Smoke and mirrors cakes

The 'smoke and mirrors' approach to cake decorating. A pretty banner, multiple sparklers, a well-chosen candle... tah dah!

When in all else fails, stick appropriate figurines on. They almost (almost) look like you might have made them along with your melting castle. A flag or two is also very handy for diverting attention away from epic fails.



Shut the front door cakes

Some people are just uber talented and produce the sort of cakes that no-one wants to cut. These are the kind of cakes that we bookmark on pinterest with full intentions of rolling up our sleeves and having a go. And then we look really closely at the masterpiece in the picture and then go out and buy a Pattinson's Patisserie cake instead. It's not so much inspirational as depressing, you see. Divert your eyes...

This is also a Harry Potter cake, no figurines required... it's just tear inducing, really... [Source]

Do you think they were having a 'I'll take your Everybody's Doing It Rainbow Cake and raise you a Very Complicated Matrix Cake' moment? [Source]

Yeah, yeah, but does it taste good? (How's my life: I'm heckling cakes forgodsake). [Source]



Of course, you could just go with the smoke and mirrors approach and stick a toy Buzz and Woody on top of a Greens Vanilla...  [Source]

Ah, never mind. Cake is cake, right? Caaaaake... you can't go wrong, I promise.

You'll find loads more party cake porn on my pinterest board. If you need an invite to join pinterest, just drop me a note and I'll figure out exactly how one does that...

Next time: Tables

[First image found here]

25 comments:

PinkPatentMaryJanes said...

Oh yes, I'm a big believer in the home-made cake. They're NEVER perfect, but oh, my gal thinks I'm the best mum in the world for making it. I've never thought about freezing the cakes - I hate the freezer on our fridge, but I could triple wrap it and then freeze this year couldn't I?
ps: this year? A pink poodle - hello marshmallows!

Christina said...

Love it! I never thought I was going to be one of those Mum's who was into making special cakes for parties. I laughed at the Women's Day cake book my mother gave me before Cohen was born. Shame on me, I am one of those Mum's now and I love it. What better way to celebrate than to be creative and be able to eat your masterpiece?
:)

Jayne said...

Oh my goodness - the marshmallow one with the kit kats around the side ... I just fell in LOVE !!! Must remember that one!

tahlia @ the parenting files said...

all of these are just so gorgeous. My aim is to make a special party cake for each birthday of my little ones. And one day the fondant experiment will begin :)

m.e (Cathie) said...

as you know I am a "make your own party cake" kinda mum and I love every minute of it.
as long as you have bags of marshmallows a cake can be created.

loving your party series ♥

Beth @ Achoo You said...

Okay I really do suck at decorating cakes now but hey loads of icing a fork and it's all good. Awesome as usual hun x

Jen R said...

OMG they are some serious cakes!! Little Bit wants a rainbow cake this year but only the blue and green layer so I should be able to manage that...have to confess it will be the first Bday cake I have ever made for my children!! I dont think they mind I havent made cakes for them :)

LionessLady said...

Hysterical Bron! That kitkat and marshmallow combo is to die for. I have made all my smalls birthday cakes thus far and one of their favourite things to do is to scroll through photos of them and plan all year about what the next one will be! I panic and work myself up into a state about it all and just keep muttering under my breath that I am creating memories!!!

Kate Sins said...

I'm with Jayne - marshmallows and kit kats. Perfection.

But that matrix cake... that's really something.

I'm on duty for the train cake this year. Looking forward to doing a better job than the first time. I learnt the hard way - double the icing mixture recipe or you spend way too long scraping and scraping the bowl to get the last little bit!

Taylor Made said...

Ooooh I have a birthday very soon and I think you have just inspired me to make myself a special looking cake this year...now just which one is the question!

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

Oh my goodness!!! BabyG is only 6 weeks old and now I am already stressing about all those birthday cakes I have to make over the coming years!!

I agree with you - nothing tastes as good as homemade cake. Growing up I remember spending countless hours pouring over the Womens' Weekly cake book, trying to decide which one I wanted for my birthday. I was also lucky my mother was uber talented when it comes to decorating cakes. I hope I have at least a smidgeon of that gene!

K xx

Amy xxoo said...

It is my son's 2nd birthday in 27 days ( oh yes, 2 days after Xmas .... ) and i'm thinking of making him an Elmo birthday cake. I'm a pretty handy baker so i'm thinking it shouldnt be too hard - its just his face so it'll be fairly round, some red icing and maybe fondant eyes and mouth. Easy....right?

Shell in your Pocket said...

what cute cakes! I love sprinkles-
sandy toe

Laura D said...

I love making my kidlets home made birthday cakes. My eldest and middle kids have their birthdays 6 days apart so after the kindy, playgroup, school, party cakes it all becomes a bit much!... but I still love it :)

My rule for kids party cakes is - butter cream and lots of lollies. I will not make fondant cakes because although they look nice, all my kids really want is icing and lollies!!

Easiest and most applauded cake I've ever made was a simple round cake with lollies and a cute cake topper: http://www.coolest-birthday-cakes.com/coolest-fairy-birthday-cake-33.html

Love your pink marshmallow cake Maxabella :)

Janine said...

All I can say is... WOW! You even have me believing I can maybe do this!

Poppy Loves said...

WOW WOW WOW. I have complete cake baking inferiority complex now. I am overwhelmed with amazement. I have to sit down.

Vanessa said...

Totally agree with home made birthday cakes. The smile on your child's face is the best present ever.

Jodi @ Lipgloss Mumma said...

I tend not to go overboard with themed parties and the like, but I do like to bake a memorable cake. Some fantastic ideas here, my fav would be the first marshmallow cake and I like the one with the coloured lollies too. x

Paula said...

Wow! You had me at pink marshmallow cake. And the Very Complicated Matrix Cake made me laugh and blew my mind at the same time. I had a crack at a pink robot cake this year. Remodeled and decorated two shop bought sponge cakes. The icing was so sickly sweet that the adults gave it the swerve but it was a big hit with the birthday girl and she still remembers it. Hope you have a great weekend, Bron x

Cheryl Vacation said...

So many wonderful ideas, so creative and I doubtless tasty... I wish I was a kid and I had a birthday everyday!

Crystal said...

You've made some gorgeous cakes! I love the toadstool one, I wonder how hard it would be to make..? x

emma @ frog, goose and bear said...

I agree - for the kids it's all about the cake. It hate making the cake. I enjoy every aspect of kids parties (as you may know ;) but I do not enjoy the cake part. I stress and it normally ends up with lots of mishaps the night before! It is absolutely all about smoke a mirrors for me baby! My best cake however (that got the biggest wow factor moment), ended up being a round bowl of melted chocolate which covered up a completely messed up rocket cake and became a moon!

ChinkyGirLMeL said...

There is beauty in imperfections. I've never tried to make a homemade cake before. I've made cupcakes but making a big cake takes a lot of work.Kudos to those who have the patience and are artistic enough to bake a whole cake. =)

Rhonda said...

I've never done homemade cakes! I was always too afraid. But not anymore. I'm going to start with this years Christmas/The Hubs birthday party.



floridagirlinoklahoma.blogspot.com

Simoney said...

I'm with you on cakes, maxabella... plenty of ways to disguise "epic fails". Oh my goodness, what lollies and icing can't disguise isn't worth knowing about.
I love your marshmallow cake AND your mermaid cake - I am NOT impressed by fondant icing on cakes. Yuck. that stuff is not yummy at all. Give me buttercream and lollies any day, please.
xxx

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