Turning Three: Emma's party at Scallywags

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Emma, my mother's other daughter, turned three last week. She's my half-sister; we're 23 years apart.

And, as no three-year-old's party is complete without the essential baked goods, we got stuck into the kitchen! Cue: a giant two-layered moist chocolate cake covered in buttercream.

The problem with a cake like this is that it simply does not appeal to small children. If I were making it for adults I'd finish it off with white chocolate shaving rolls or chopped up chocolate whispers, but this is no ordinary cake: it's for a three-year old.

You need Astros and edible glitter and icing and marshmallows. Astros, by the way UK, are the most amazing things ever! They're tiny little biscuit balls covered in chocolate and coated in candy. We stuck them into the cake around the outside to make it a bit more colourful and appealing.

This is the top-view of the cake. That's Barney, by the way. It took us a really long time to make this cake and I was completely relieved when Emma screeched with delight, pointed and said, 'Narney!'. Job done.

There were mini cupcakes too, of course, decorated with edible pearl glimmer balls, smarties, and edible stars. We baked them in edible cases (like ice-cream cones) and iced them with plain purple and yellow buttercream frosting.

Isn't it festive? This year we had the party at Scallywags - a play place in Claremont filled with children's play things and a nice, big seating area for the parents too. It meant that we simply arrived with our things, set up, and let the staff serve coffee, tea and cakes and clean up afterwards too.

This area is more for the smaller children, but, behind me is a jumping castle, a giant 'doll house' for the girls and a play castle for the boys. There are also heaps of dress-up things and the kids can help themselves (creating a lot of mess that you don't have to clean up).

There was a lot of dressing up and running and playing and balloons and laughing. All good things. That's Emma on the left in purple with the butterfly face-painting. I'll show you a close-up soon. The face-painting wasn't great - a bit wonky and in all the wrong colours, but the children loved the novelty!

... and any party where two Spidermans (they can't possibly be Spidermen because there is only one Spiderman, you see), a dragon and a geisha get together and ride on a smiling giant bug - well, it's bound to be magical, isn't it?

Here's Emma again, looking extra cute and hard at play dressing up like a butterfly/geisha/birthday girl. It's tough being three.

The adults also had their own treats set aside in the chic little 'coffee shop' section of the play place where parents can sit down and have a latte while their kids become princesses and dragons and fire-fighters. I don't particularly enjoy scones (gasp, horror, I'm fully aware of what I'm saying!) but there were some anyway, purchased from the Scallywags bakery.

Yesterday I wrote about my wedding-dress-making-expert-baking-aunt Robyn. She baked this beeyootiful carrot cake that features all sorts of interesting bits and pieces inside including nuts and Turkish apricots. The icing is a sort of cream cheese frosting flavoured with a hint of lemon. It's delicious. I'm going to ask extra nicely if I can  have the recipe before I go back to my kitchen in London.

The adults were also invited to eat from the children's table, if they liked, where they could eat crisps (Simba Twistees are amazing), cupcakes, small sweets, orange quarters and vienna cubes with rosa tomatoes.

Needless to say it all went down very well! Emma was delighted with her Barney party, her cake, her friends and her purple balloon. The jumping castle was fantastic and the dress-up items were great too.

It makes me wonder - when do we stop having parties like these? Is it because our role models change? Our interests? Our friends? What if I want a Jane Austen themed party next year, with a Jane cake, bonnets and writing desks? Do they even make Jane Austen themed jumping castles?

My dear friend Lauriane has very kindly informed me of the existence of the hilarious and must-have Jane Austen action figure:

We're on the right path! Now, what would a Jane Austen cake look like?

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  1. Wow! What an amazing party for your little sis - and yes she is super cute. The cakes are gorgeous. I agree with you, proper birthday parties should be de rigeur for grown ups too - jelly and ice cream, fairy cakes, Ribena!!! I LOVE the Jane Austin figure and am off to track it down! xxx

  2. I love how that giant chocolate cake turned out!

    Scallywags looks awesome (cute name as well). I love jumping castles at kids parties too (and my bu and I usually jump around on it for ages once all the kids are done at my niece/nephews parties, which elicits insane looks from the other adults).
    You know, key words with kids parties...someone ELSE cleaning up afterwards :-)

    How cool is that Jane Austen action figure?!?
    If I were baking a Ms. Austen cake, it would be a desk with a book (Pride and Prejudice), a quill pen and an ink well. Of course, it would take me about a week to complete, and be totally inedible once I'm done (cake art is generally not a strong point with me).

    Hope you're having a fun time catching up with your family!

  3. @Andrea: YES! And jelly oranges, crisps, marshmallows, and all those colourful sweets I buy for small people but never for myself... I am also absolutely ordering a Jane Action Figure, she'll take pride of place (ha!) on my bookshelf ;)

    @Juanita: I also ALWAYS jump on them - and last year we got an enormous castle-shaped jumping castle (complete with turret and dragon!) so how could we resist?
    I love your Austen cake - they have her writing desk on display in the British Library which sounds exactly like you're describing. And if you baked it, I'd eat it: come on, it's JANE CAKE! :)

  4. The Barney cake tasted as good as it looks! Imagine we had grown up with the option of an Austin doll instead of the Barbie option...we would be happier, stronger, better people. ;)

  5. What a wonderful party for Emma! Being a carefree three years old. I sure hope you got that cake recipe-it does look good. Glad I stopped in-enjoyed reading this post.


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