Monday, 5 August 2013

How I cheated on my kids birthdays

Easy and Cheap Kids Cakes

As you've probably guessed, I'm a massive cheating strumpet when it comes to domestic duties. I've been a little quiet this week as all the birthdays in the world just happened at my house!

Kids birthdays are awesome. Really, really, awesome... Kids playing, party food, elaborate cakes, decorations, soft drinks, kids screaming playing, the eventual vomit...Yeah, it's not quite as awesome when you're the one doing all the everything. But children's birthdays are special, and how can you not want to give them everything they want, including that three-tier, hand-sculpted, Barbie castle cake?

So your kid wants a Barbie cake? No problem totally do-able right? Did I mention that to get that three-tier, hand-sculpted, Barbie castle cake, you must spend three days crafting the roof shingles from imported white chocolate with the worlds tiniest scalpel? Or you could just sell your car and pay for a professional to do it for you.

Believe me I've been there. For my daughters christening I made this cake—like made every single bit of it including taking tutorials and learning to make fondant bows. Seriously...I have anxiety just remembering the week it took me to make the darn thing. But can I tell you a secret?

Kids don't care...

Really, they don't care. They don't care if its a $5 or a $500 cake, or if it took five minutes, or five hours to make. They don't care. If they say they want a Barbie/Spiderman/Racing car cake, all they want is for that character to make an appearance--they just gotta turn up with the cake. Which brings me to my point; it doesn't have to be difficult.

Cheap + Easy = Good.

You know all those merchandising companies that have been ruthlessly brainwashing our kids and making EVERYTHING that they simply must have now? We can be creative and use those evil franchises and their gimmicky crap to our advantage. A little imagination and we can skip the work and the expense.

So when my daughter asked for Monsters Inc cakes, I was able to cheat and deliver these!

All it took was a bag of Monsters Inc lollies from the merchandise section of the supermarket and popping them on top of cupcakes. I used a $2 box cupcake mix, which has the advantage of being completely idiot proof. Of course you could cut a few more corners and buy a tray of ready-made muffins and decorate those.

Preparation Time: 10 mins (not including oven and cooling time)
Decorating Time: 15 mins
Cost: Less than $10 for everything!

She loved them—everyone did. And me? Well it saved money and only took about half an hour of my time so it was all WIN! Not to mention it made me look more domestic goddess and less the domestic gnome I actually am.

Just when I'd recovered from the first birthday, it was my son's birthday. He turned two, and all he cares about is cars. If it goes BROOM then basically its good. But my four-year-old YouTube cooking demonstration expert had the answer, and showed me how I could make him a cool racing car cake.

Wonderful, cool music, can't you just picture me boogying to the tune as I effortlessly mold a slab of sponge into this masterpiece...piece of cake right? Are you freaking kidding me, do I look like Liv Hanson?

I had other ideas, cheating ideas.

This racing track cake took about Fifteen minutes to decorate and the kids were so excited about it. Because instead of being a hunk of cake in the shape of a car, it actually had cars on it. Cars they could keep afterwards! It was easy and even the two-year old helped.

Just another $2 box cake, baked in a square tin, and iced (you could use a purchased supermarket slab cake). To decorate I simply cut out a piece of paper in the shape of the road and placed it over the cake, then let the four year old at it with green sprinkles. Then we pulled up the paper, defined the road with a tube of white icing, and the kids stuck mini-cars on the road. Simples. Like really simple, anyone can scatter green sprinkles.

Preparation Time: 10 mins (not including oven and cooling time)
Decorating Time: 15 mins
Cost: Less than $15 for everything, including a whole mini car set he gets to keep!

So next time you have to stress decide what to do for a birthday try the promotional isle at the supermarket. Anything can be a cake topper. Why not ice a round cake blue, cut half a fruit roll up and place it in the middle, then lay a Barbie on top...instant Barbie-reclining-on-a-pool-mat cake!

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  1. Love the ideas, Amber! Wish I had read this blog when my two kids were little. There was the memorable time I tried to make a bright yellow 3D 'Magic Schoolbus' cake for my son. After much cussing he ended up with a 2D flat yellow robot. Luckily at 16 going on 17 he's too old for a birthday cake and would rather hold his hand out for the cash! :)

    1. LOL Thanks Tracey :) Yeah, there's lots I wish I'd figured out sooner :)

  2. Great ideas, I'm going to share them with my daughter!

    1. Thanks Tara! I hope she enjoys them' :)