June 30, 2021
What are your childhood birthday party memories? For me, it’s sugar rushes, sweat and The Birdie Song. The 80s delight of biting into pineapple and cheese at the same time. Grabbing platefuls of crisps and party rings. Do you know what I don’t remember, though? My cakes! Am I alone in this? Now I’m a mum I feel bad about it. I’ve seen pictures – my mum made an effort. But apart from the thrill of blowing out candles, the details of those cakes escape me.
I say this to relieve us of some responsibility. I’m a normal sane human for 360 days of the year and then in the run-up to my kid’s party I turn into the worst contestant on Bake Off – wild-eyed, flour-coated and desperate to please. Yeah, sure, I don’t bake ever – but hand me that whisk because I’ve got things to prove to, er, people. One of my friends spent three days carving a cake into the shape of her pet dog and recreating its fur with a fork and fondant icing. And then she cut it up and gave it to a bunch of 1-year-olds.
So why do we do it? It could be to show off, but I think it goes deeper than that. Birthdays stir up a mix of emotions: pride, sadness at how fast our kids are growing, and love – so much love. We channel it into buying the perfect present, planning the party to end all parties (until next year) and whipping up a storm in the kitchen. So I’m here, on one of my saner days, to give us permission to cut corners. Here are 5 foolproof ways to create an amazing cake in minutes. Use the time you save to have a drink and feel proud of YOU for raising an amazing human.
Top a cake with their favourite characters
You’ll need: mini toys of their favourite characters, ready-to-roll icing, a store-bought cake (we love this decorate yourself cake from Waitrose, £7).
It couldn’t be simpler.
Use a simple stencil to let their age take centre stage
You’ll need: a store-bought cake, ready-to-roll icing, sprinkles, card, scissors, a pastry brush and a little water