Cake Decorating Birthday Party for Lucia
Lucia the birthday girl and her 4" decorated cake
I made two batches of Flour Bakery Yellow Cake. This is seriously the best yellow cake on the planet. Made with cake flour, this cake has a terrific crumb and flavor. It's a winner. (See this post for the cake with a chocolate ganache frosting and check out Amazon for the book).
Since parents and siblings want to see the beautiful cake, I decided to have the kids decorate the cake and take it home whole. I made some chocolate cupcakes to decorate and eat at the party with ice cream.
Agnes found Betty Crocker Fondant Topper kits at her local Vons store. I've never seen them before. Although the directions to microwave them for a short time freaked me out (you wouldn't do that with "real" fondant, right?), the fondant worked out. It was convenient because you didn't have to dye fondant (crazy messy), it gave you more than enough for 10 little cakes and it came in many colors. Worth it for a party. I ended up kneading all of them by hand instead of using the microwave because, just my luck, I feared I would end up with a melty mess. The kit comes with some cookie cutters, and Ag had a slew of small cutters too.
We colored buttercream, put it in disposable plastic pastry bags and used basic round and star tips. We also put out a bunch of toppings such as colored sugar, sprinkles, chopped candies, mini M&M, and all things kids (and adults) enjoy.
If you want to host a cake decorating party, here are some hints: (I've never done anything like this before)
1. Have more frosting than you imagine any human should consume. We bought two bins at the cake decorating shop and it was close (I had the kids go really light in the center of the cake). Make a few batches of buttercream. If you don't use it all, you can always freeze it.
2. Close off frosting bags with rubber bands or binder clips. I don't frost much (that is the beauty of bundt cakes, cookies and coffee cakes) but I can handle a piping bag. But a 7 year old may not get the physics of squishing the bag in their cute little hands. Next time, I'll be sure to tie off the ends of the piping bag with rubber bands or binder clips.
3. Bake and freeze the cakes. In my cake decorating class, we always worked with frozen cake. It is easier to cut and shape. Don't go crazy prepping the frosting and baking cakes the day before the party. Bake the cakes a week earlier, wrap each one tightly with plastic wrap and freeze. Besides you'll probably need to make a few batches to get enough cakes (unless you have endless numbers of cake pans)
4. If you don't have 4" cake pans (or whatever size you want to make), just make sheet pans or 9 x 13 of cake and cut out circles of the correct size.
5. Parchment paper is your friend. I purchase pre-cut half-sheet parchment sheets by the THOUSAND box at my local restaurant supply house. I used it as a placemat for each kid, as well as practice sheets for demonstrating piping frosting. Wax paper would work too.
6. Many hands need many people. Luckily, Ag's mother and mother-in-law were on hand to help serve lunch and help the kids at the "fondant station."
Happy Birthday Lucia! It was such a fun, sugar filled day! :) - mary