Parents, I am sure you have been to one of those "play palaces" where kids have their birthday parties...you know, with the wall to wall slides, pneumatic foam ball launchers,padded obstacle courses and requisite screaming kids? This is where we hosted Bib's 2nd birthday party a couple of days ago.
What happened to the good ol' days when you went to your friend's house for cake and a rousing game of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" or "Heads Up 7-UP"???
We never had play palaces when we were kids
We didn't receive loot bags
or get manicures and mini-facials at the spa
There wasn't take-out pizza for eats
or places that would host craft parties
and athletic centres and music schools hadn't yet realized the earning potential of catering to moms and dads hungry for kiddie venues and professionally supervised celebratory activities outside their pristine homes
Clowns that performed magic shows and gave out balloon animals were not the norm
Bouncy castles were yet to be invented
we kids were breathless
hearts pounding in our ears
running hiding laughing
aaah. the good ol' days.
I was a tad busy this past weekend making Bib's 2nd Birthday cake.
whoo. piping buttercream "Pooh Gold" stars: not for people with mamby pamby hand-eye coordination
I decided on chocolate cake...that's a no-brainer in this household. I know Bib likes dogs but I had a brand new Winnie the Pooh cake pan that I had yet to use and though I'm not so fond of piping stars, I did it anyway. It's repetitive and tedious, and that carpel tunnel syndrome thingy starts to happen to me each time--it was quite a pain--similar to the piping of royal icing dots for hundreds of fondant flower centres (remember Ariel's Castle Cake?)
You can buy sets of gel paste colouring by Wilton for the tinting of your buttercreams so that the character cakes will have "authentic" colouring. I went this route because I hate trying to match the colour of the buttercream to the shades I know they should be because the names on food colouring labels are never what they sound like they're supposed to be. I ended up having to add a whole lot of colouring to get the depth of colour I wanted. For Pooh's red collar, I used up to almost half the little bottle of Red (no taste) food colouring. I wonder why they label it "no taste". Who'd want to buy food colouring that gives any weird taste anyway? why give us the option?
Pooh's fur was "Pooh Gold". Love it. ha ha! what a perfect name for the colour. I ended up using a third of the little bottle. However, I also had made too much buttercream for his fur and ended up with leftover Pooh Gold-coloured buttercream. It's now sitting in my fridge and I have no idea what I can make that would look good enough to eat with a buttercream of this ghastly pooh shade.
Making black buttercream is my least favourite task, always. When I start making it, it always appears to be grey. I keep adding a little bit of food colouring until I think our tongues would be stained forever. However, as usual, if you let the buttercream sit a bit, the colour eventually deepens and darkens. I stopped adding colouring when it still appeared greyish while I was mixing and after sitting a bit, the buttercream darkened to black.
Bib was happy with her cake. I admit that nothing will quite top the oohs and aahs of Bebe's 5th year Ariel Castle Cake (nor do I want to be taking on the challenge again quite so soon). When Bib starts talking and is able to express herself well enough to convince me to make her some monstrosity of a Disney-themed cake of her dreams, I'll probably do another one.
Until that time, I'll be sticking to these 2-dimensional cakes. They're pretty easy to make and no-brainers!
It's all about having fun in the play palaces after all ;)