Don’t sweat the cake Mom
We love parties! That’s why we started this business. Kids, parties, families, food, fun, video games, laser tag, music, dancing, laughter and of course more food. Many of you will hear me say how I wish Game Trucks had been around when my son was younger. Oh the weeks and days of planning to give your kids the perfect party. Moms are all the same. Whether you stay at home, work 2 jobs, work from home or are just lucky enough to have won the lottery- we all want the same thing for our kiddos. Birthday party memories that will be amazing enough to have stories shared for years to come.
I remember one birthday in particular when my son was little. At the time he lived and breathed anything Thomas the Tank Engine. We had a riding train with track in our living room, train tables in both the family room and his bedroom and of course the portable “Thomas pack” that housed a few precious trains and track pieces for any outing. My husband used to say that he was watching our retirement drive down those wooden tracks! Being the amazing super-mom that we all strive to be I decided I was going to make a replica Thomas train cake for my little darling. How I envisioned his little eyes lighting up while he realized that his Mom had been able to create such a masterpiece with her very own hands. The envy of the other mommies when they laid their eyes on my creation. The gasps as the other kids took in such an amazing cake. Oh how silly we can be!
In reality I stayed up all night trying to make a 3-layer train shaped cake with an inverted ice cream cone “stack” all in the perfect shade of blue. Wait- what was I thinking? I wasn’t even a very good baker back then. But as all young mothers will do I jumped right in and started mixing flour and sugar and eggs. No box cake for my little angel- I would make it from scratch. How hard could that be right? Looking back, I realize that you actually have to double and triple recipes to end up with enough cake to work with. No worries- 4 batches later and I was ready to begin. Carefully cutting and shaping each piece to layer and form that much loved engine. Next came the buttercream icing that would complete my masterpiece. 4 bags of powdered sugar later (after my very patient husband made a late night run because I ran out) Thomas was beginning to take shape. Blue, strong and majestic my little engine cake was. Finally, the stack on top and a few carefully placed strands of black licorice later and my cake was complete! Just in time to hear the footsteps of my birthday boy stirring down the hallway.
In reality folks my cake didn’t turn out quite the way I had envisioned. More akin to the Pinterest desert fails that you see people post. My sweet birthday boy was very excited to see the cake unveiled at his party but not as excited as he was to play with his friends. Yes, the other mommies politely oohed and ahhed over my creation and choked down a slice of my slightly heavy and VERY sweet cake. The kids were all blue around their faces with remnants of icing and the party was an exhausting success. To this day I still make Joey a cake every year and he seems to have developed a taste for a very heavy vanilla with buttercream cake. The themes have changed over the years as he grew. We just did Mario Kart this past July (yes for his 20th birthday). The funny thing is if you stop and ask him about his Thomas the Tank engine cake he doesn’t remember that birthday as well as the others. He can rave about the Lillo and Stitch cake that took all of 15 minutes to decorate or even the Shark themed ocean cake that was super easy. The point is don’t stress over the little things. Your kids are going to love every party just because you took the time to make it special. You are going to have very different memories about birthdays and pretty much every other big event growing up. Kids are easy- no pre conceived expectations. Throw together a box cake, stop and pick up some Dollar Store balloons and like magic you are a Rock Star. Of course you can totally score some points by turning it into a Game Truck and Laser Tag party- just saying!
I’m going to share my go-to party snack that is easy as pie. I’m sure there are a hundred variations online somewhere. We like to mix it up depending on the holiday or event. Throw in some red and green sprinkles at Christmas, Orange and black ghosts for Halloween and whatever candy your crowd goes crazy for. This is one of those little things the kids will remember- popcorn mix ups.
Make a few bags of microwave popcorn (or air pop if you are totally awesome) about 2 bags total
Pick your families favorite candy, cereal, sprinkles, dried fruit or anything they love (about 2-3 cups total)
- Peanut butter (about ½ cup)
- Mini-marshmallows 1 bag
- Chocolate chips or baking chocolate (1 bag or bar)
Directions: Line a pan with parchment paper to keep it easy. Throw the popcorn and marshmallows into a big mixing bowl. Melt the chocolate and then stir in the peanut butter. Mix peanut butter and chocolate into the popcorn- toss to coat. Mix in your topping selection. Spread on pan, refrigerate to chill. Cut or break into pieces and enjoy!
Enjoy! I’ll be happy to test it for you at your next party!