Well we’ve entered birthday season in our household. We have three of our kids birthdays in four weeks, so I am always busy with cakes and parties. The system around here is that one year they get a smaller birthday party (2 or 3 friends) and the next year they get to invite their whole class (same gender as them). This year is a good year because we have two small parties and one big one. So far, the weather has always been warm and dry for the two early June birthdays, so the round (blow up ring type) pool gets a lot of use. One year we had three water stations in our yard for Katrina’s birthday: slip and slide down the hill, a silly wiggly sprinkler and the pool.
Somehow we end up having at least two, sometimes three little parties. One kids party, one with our own family, and one with Grandpa and Grandma, and family. Those are small affairs, but you still want to light some candles on a cake and sing “Happy Birthday” right? So that means having several cakes or lots of cupcakes. I like making the cakes/cupcakes myself, and have learned a few tricks to make them look nice, without tons of work. If I know we need two cakes, I will make two round cakes out of one cake mix, or 12 cupcakes and one small cake. My kids love spice cake (think carrot cake without raisins, carrots or nuts) with cream cheese icing so that’s usually what I make.
I have several decorative cake pans that bake the cake into a shape… think Pooh Bear, a party hat and tilting layered cake. A really useful purchase was a cupcake stand that displays them in tiers. Decorative paper liners make cupcakes look more festive. I have also bought neat candles at Walmart, which make everything look nicer for minimal expense. When icing the cakes or cupcakes, I have disposable plastic pastry bags with steel decorator tips. I usually do two colors, white and another color. I usually ice the cake in white with a thin metal spatula, then add food coloring, and put the colored icing in the pastry bag for decorating. Here are a bunch of pictures of cakes I have done over the years. Nothing too professional but I think they’re festive enough.
This Pooh cake was tough to ice and a bit of a flop:
Using same frosting, different pastry tips: I used the tilted cake pan:
Nice cake stands dress things up: Handy cupcake stand:
Tea party: Chocolate cake and vanilla cake:
Bowling party means bowling pin cake:
Two kinds of cupcakes, vanilla and spice cake:
Two cakes for a shared party. Spice cake and vanilla cake which was sliced in half, spread with stawberry jam and fresh strawberries, topped with whipped cream and strawberries.
Kite cake, turned a square on end, twizzlers for the tail:
What are your tricks for making birthdays festive? Do you find that you end up celebrating birthdays multiple times?