I am a massive fan of maximum effect for minimum effort when it comes to birthday parties.
I love throwing my girls a cracking party with food that hasn’t been solely spewed from a packet, but I don’t want to spend days cooking, baking and decorating sh*t either. I really admire mums that put on an amazing spread with a cake that took hours but I am not that person.
I’m organised but time-poor.
I loved that when people saw this cake at Inky’s 3rd Birthday Party, they cooed, “Ooooooh, I’ve always wanted to do a Barbie Cake but they look sooooooo hard.” This cake was MAD easy. The only tricky thing is maybe making sure that the actual cake cooks, as I used two packets of cake mix in an odd-shaped Dolly Varden cake pan, but after that, you’re apples. I used butter icing in different colours and demarcated the rain”bows” with the same colour smarties. Bunged in a cheap doll torso (accidentally ripped it’s legs off) and VOILA, a kick-arse impressive cake that took me maybe 45 mins to decorate. Laughable. When we came to cutting the cake, I whipped the doll off the top (without her legs) and you should have heard the gasps! One mum shuddered, “Are her legs still in the cake?” So we got cake and a bit of Theatre as well. Winning.
Inky invited 8 kids + random sibs + parents for morning tea/early lunch.
The snack list:
- Teacups. So easy to assemble and they look cool. Put a Tic Toc bikkie on a plate, stick a marshmallow on it with melted white chocolate, then stick a freckle on top of that also with melted chocolate. For the “handle” I went through an entire packet of Lifesavers trying to cut the bloody things in half, before giving up and using jelly jubes instead. I made these two days in advance and stored them in an airtight container.
- Chocolate Crackles. Hands up if you remember as a kid, chocolate crackles made out of that infernal Copha that stuck to your upper palate in a celebration of kack? I sure as hell did, so when I chanced upon this recipe, I died and went to heaven. 2 cups x Coco Pops, 2 cups x Rice Bubbles, 150g mini-M&Ms, and 2 cups x melted white or milk chocolate. Mix all ingredients together and whack into mini patty cases. I’ve made it with Popping Candy for bigger kids, too. I made these a day in advance and stored in the fridge.
- Chips, crackers, carrot, celery and dip. Because Aldi.
- Fruit. My dirty little anti-mama secret is that I HATE chopping fruit. So I bought blueberries, strawberries and grapes – fruit I didn’t have to cut or de-seed.
- Popcorn. The microwave poppeable stuff.
- Fairy Bread. Scout was in charge of the Fairy Bread. So wonderful, having a 7 year old that can like, do stuff.
- Homemade Chicken & Vege sausage rolls. I whipped these up in the morning (super easy) and stored them in the fridge before putting them in the oven.
- Homemade Chicken nuggets.
- Spinach and cheese triangles. Straight from the freezer to the oven.
For the adults:
- Cheese platter. Blue Castello, Brie, Avocado dip (the spicy “oh sad, the kids can’t have this one” type) and olives with crackers.
- We had a bunch of old-school games planned – Statues, Giants Treasure, Musical Chairs, but the kids were having too much fun just hanging. Fancy that, 3 year olds that all got along – like living in a parallel utopia. I made a bunch of “stations” so kids weren’t clogging the halls – a “dress up” station, sandpit station, drawing station inside (aka the sensory deprivation tank). We also invested in a trampoline not long ago, but not a *cough* party essential.
Melbourne Mum’s Top 5 Tips for a kick-arse party:
- Don’t refer to yourself in the third person. It tends to put off your guests.
- Make as much as you can in advance. I froze the “skirt” cake a few days before the party and defrosted it the day before in the fridge. Not only did freezing make the cake easier to decorate, it meant I could be more organised on the day.
- Hit-up party warehouses for inexpensive shiz. There a couple of awesome ones in Sydney Road, Brunswick, but they are everywhere. I’m not a fan of goody/sweet bags, particularly not for 3 year olds, but if you are or if your kids consider them a birthright (i.e. most kids past age 4) warehouses are your go-to.
- Write the corresponding gift your child receives from a guest on the back of their card (as soon as they get it). I like to send out thank you emails or cards (yes, I’m one of those people) and I like to personalise ‘em.
Do you have a go-to cake or party snack that is easy, but impressive?