Star Wars BB8 Cake

IMG_1084I have all of my birthday party supplies organized in large zip bags stored in 2 large totes in a closet. This works great to reuse items, mix n’ match crepe paper, balloons and other small items to save money. I have some favorites, as do the kids (I cannot tell you how many Thomas the Train or John Deere parties we’ve had). So when my 5 year old decided to go with a Star Wars theme for his 6th birthday I was elated. I hadn’t used my Star Wars party supplies in 10 years!! So I happily pulled out all of the saved items and began planning. The party we had 10 years ago was a much bigger party which included a fun menu (Jedi Juice, Leia Lemonade, Yoda Soda, Hoth Dogs, Jabba Jello, Light Saber Pretzel Sticks, Wookie Cookies, Naboo Nuggets), Star Wars games (Jedi Training, pool noodle light sabers), a Darth Vader Piñata and an official Jedi Certificate. This time around was a bit more low key. (We have a big party when they turn 5 with lots of friends etc. and then smaller birthday celebrations with 1 or 2 friends for all other parties as we feel they enjoy it a bit more with less kids and commotion.) Anyway…….

As I was planning I checked with the birthday boy about what he wanted for the menu and what kind of cake he wanted. After much debate about the menu he took no time to decide he wanted a BB8 cake. So I assumed I could just do 2 round cakes (one small and one larger) to look like a BB8 laid down and we were good to go. The birthday boy had other ideas. He explained while that while that would be cool a 3D BB8 cake would be “Even more aaawwwesome!” He then quickly drew up some step by step instructions as to how I could make such a cake.IMG_1083

I explained how I was nervous about it’s structure being sound but he assured me that I could handle it. After a few laughs I decided my 5 year old’s faith in my baking ability was enough to give it a go.

IMG_1013I started out with my Betty Crocker Bake’n Cake Pan. It seemed to be about the same size as the BB8  plush he had. I was stuck on how to make BB8’s head though. While shopping at my favorite dollar store The Dollar Tree I found these small class bowls that were not only perfect for ingredients while baking they were exactly the size I needed to make BB8’s head! And a set of 2 for $1?? -heck yeah!

It took 1 1/2 cake mixes to make half of BB8’s body and his head and then another 1 1/2 cake mixes to make the second half of BB8’s body. All in all the baking was very simple. I hadIMG_1012 to bake 2 rounded cakes, 2 insert pans and then 2 of the small
class bowls. I placed the small glass bowls on a tray incase they overflowed. I followed the instructions from the bake’n fill set and all of the pieces turned out great.

After baking I let them all cool. Once I was able to frost the crumb layer I put the insert cake piece into the rounded pice and then wrapped them in clear wrap before putting them in the fridge to set.

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Left: Insert Cake Right: Round Cake

The next day I was ready to build the cake and do the final later of frosting & decorating. IMG_1071

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1072I started by cutting off a small portion of the top of one of the rounded pans so when inverted it would sit without wanting to roll. I wanted to be sure BB8 wasn’t going to roll away ;).

Then I inverted that base piece, frosted the flat portion to ‘glue’ the two base pieces together. After a nice layer of frosting I placed the IMG_1073second base on top making a nice round cake ball. (This is what I did 10 years ago when my first born asked for a Death Star cake).

I then frosted to fill in the gaps around the ball.

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After trying to get the sides as smooth as I could I was ready to prep for the pipping. I used the lid of a tub of frosting to make 4 initial circles that would later be pipped.

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I decided it would be easier to do the pipping on the base before putting BB8’s head on so I got started right away. I used chocolate frosting with black Wilton coloring to make the black (starting with chocolate saves on the amount of coloring to make black). I used vanilla frosting with a touch of the black Wilton coloring for the gray and then vanilla with some orange Wilton coloring to make the orange color.  I used the plush BB8 as a guide and got started. You can see a round wooden piece under the cake base. This is actually a Lazy Susan I got from Ikea which works great for spinning cakes as I decorate.

IMG_0444As you can see I did all the pipping on the base including writing ‘Happy Birthday’ on the base BEFORE putting the head on. Crazy? Possibly, but it worked for me.

SO then I took a couple plastic straws and cut them to place into the base for additional support. In the past I have used disposable chopsticks from a restaurant but I didn’t have any on hand so I decided to go rouge ;).

I gently placed the head on BB8 which was a messy task butIMG_0446 a simple hand-washing remedied the situation.

IMG_1076Finally I added the details to the BB8’s head. I finished with 2 silver candles. I cut the base of one of those candles to make it look more authentic to BB8’s antennas.

 

Boom, DONE!

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IMG_0448My favorite was when he got home from school and was able to see the finished product. He was pretty excited with how it turned out. I guess mama can follow directions. 😉

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As you can see it’s a lot of cake but it was yummy and he was one happy birthday boy.

 

Happy Baking Friends,

May the force be with you!

~M

 

 

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Yet Another John Deere Birthday

 

It was no surprise to me when my tractor lovin’ little boy told me he wanted his 4th birthday to be a ‘John Deere Birthday’ theme. He and my 6 year old son both had already enjoyed John Deere birthday parties in the past so I already had some John Deere decorations in my stash of supplies. (Frankly, my older boys had done repeated Thomas the Train birthday parties year after year so this was pretty common place in the Menne house…AND saves $ to reuse items!) I got out all of the John Deere party supplies and started planning with the almost 4 year old. He quickly decided he wanted a “big John Deere combine cake!” I wasn’t sure what that was going to look like because the thought of making an actual combine seemed overwhelming. I asked him about a sheet cake with a combine ON it or making one with frosting but he wanted a “real big combine” so to the world wide web I went hunting through images of John Deere cakes until I stumbled on this amazing blog A Quiet Life in a Loud House which had not only the best, most amazing John Deere combine cake but also had awesome DIRECTIONS!!!! I was over the moon excited to give it a try. Her photos were great and explanation was perfect. I have to give her credit for the whole thing! Decorations I used leftover John Deere napkins, party hats, balloons, crepe paper and signs from last year’s party. I got a green table cloth, green and yellow napkins, yellow cups, yellow plates and green plastic silverware all from the dollar store. I also found green and yellow ‘grass’ that is used for Easter baskets but it wasn’t the plastic kind so I grabbed a couple of those bags to fill glass cylinders to add to the color. I had white and yellow flowers left over from a baptism celebration the previous week which also were great to add to the tables. The last thing I did was raid the toy room to use the small John Deere toys the boys have as decorations.

The Cake I found some scrap pieces of 2×4’s in the garage and covered them with aluminum foil. I had to make sure it would fit on my round cake base. Then I baked #2 9×13 cakes. I started creating the combine cake by cutting the appropriate pieces ensuring it would fit on the wood base. I used skewers I had left over from another party to help hold pieces together. I frosted it and then added a cut bendy straw for the auger just as Lora did in her blog. I also used ding-dongs and donettes for tires and big wheels. (The boys liked eating the left-overs). I was wondering what I was going to do for the combine head but was able to find one of the boy’s toy combines had a removable combine head. Sweet! I attached it to a popsicle stick and it totally fit! I was then able to push that popsicle stick under the front of the combine to look attached to the actual cake. Needless to say I was pretty pleased with myself. I think the hardest part of was locating candy corn but my husband was able to find a bag for me. My son so so happy when we filled the hopper with the candy corn. He really thought it completed the cake. I used the rest of the cake pieces to make a square cake which worked great as a ‘tractor in the field’ kinda cake. I decided to make it look like the farmer was planting although I know plants aren’t instantly visible it was necessary for a 4 year old. I used a small toy tractor and frosting for this cake. Nothing too fancy. 😉 I made the lines on the cake with a frosting comb and used a small star tip for the ‘plants.’ Done! We ate the ‘field cake’ at our small family celebration on his actual birthday and ate the ‘big combine cake’ at his birthday party a couple days later. He liked them both and was thrilled with turning 4.

Cowabunga Birthday!

My 5yr old was super excited to have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle party for his 6th Birthday. He really enjoyed checking out all of the cool pictures of other kids parties online to decide what he might like. Honestly I think planning was as fun as the party itself.

As always I try to execute my children’s birthday parties spending as little as possible. I want them to have wonderful memories of their birthdays and I want them to feel special. I just don’t want or don’t feel the need to break the bank in the process. After all, we live on a budget. 🙂

This cowabunga birthday turned out pretty well and did include some DIY. It does take time for those parts but it saves money. Here is what we did..

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I used a photo from the web and inserted it into Microsoft word. If I remember correctly I was able to print four per page. I also opted to do a screen shot and save it as a JPEG so I could email his friends from school as I didn’t have their addresses. (The address & RSVP are cropped out for privacy. They were at the bottom).

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I made the piñata using discarded newspaper & one of those dollar store punch balloons. After it dried I cut a hatch opening, covered it with snipped crepe paper, added the eyes & mouth (construction paper) and then filled it with candy. I did learn the hard way that I should use a small square if cardboard to support the holes where it hangs so it doesn’t break away from the string before the kids bust it open. My hubby helped me with that one,

IMG_6597The kids treat bags were made of green bags I found in the wrapping paper section of the dollar store. I used crepe paper, construction paper & sharpies to give them the ninja turtle look. They contained a ninja turtle cup, stickers & other small green trinkets from the dollar store. They worked well for the kids to put their piñata candy in as well.

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Decorations were pretty basic. Crepe paper is a standard supply for me. (I have a laundry basket full of party supplies organized in large zip bags so I can easily find the colors of balloons or crepe paper I might need). I used balloons, crepe paper, construction paper & sharpies to make Ninja Turtle heads. I found a fun round green decoration at the dollar store and did the same thing to it and hung it above the table. For the birthday sign I used my scrapbook die cutter to cut ovals of 2 sizes, glued them together & used a green sharpie to make them look like turtle shells. I then printed off the letters using a free downloaded Ninja Turtle font. I also snagged all of his Ninja Turtle toys to add to the decorations.

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The food was easy; homemade pizza, green Kool-aide (green slime), and Ninja Turtle fruit & veggie trays. I found green napkins, cups, plates, napkins & plastic table clothes that I had leftover from a previous John Deere party that I was able to use-score!

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The cake was actually made of a batch of cupcakes. It meant a ton of frosting but was so easy to serve. The white frosting was dyed green and I started with chocolate frosting and added dye to make the black frosting.

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My son loved this party. His exact words were, “It was awesome!” The smile on his face was rewarding but I also liked how inexpensive it was to pull-off.

Happy party planning!

“Old Computer” Themed Birthday

My sweet boy turning 8 was so excited to have his ‘Golden Birthday’ he began pondering what theme he wanted for his party months in advance. When he settled on what he referred to as “Old Computer” theme I had to laugh. What is that? He explained to me that he liked old computers and wanted a computer cake. He loves minecraft so I thought he wanted that type of computer theme but he quickly clarified for me. He was thinking of the old Apple II from 1984. HA! This is so far beyond what I thought he knew about the history of technology!! After I wrapped my head around all of that I decide this should be easy and man was it! I started with some old dot matrix printer paper we had gotten from my in-laws. You know, that paper with the holes on each side…yeah that stuff. I printed off banners and signs using the Minecraft font which looks like the hold school font. ( I downloaded it for another Minecraft party I had done). I then glued the words onto the old-school printer paper. Bam, done!  Continue reading

Minecraft Madness

My 10 year old and well frankly my 8 year old and almost 6 year old are all obsessed with everything Minecraft. As I read in another Dad’s blog, unless you’ve been under a rock-Minecraft is all the rage with 8-12 year old boys.

We’ll my 10 year old recently had a birthday and in fact it was his golden birthday so he decided it needed to be extra special but the word he used was, “Epic.” Under a bit of pressure I checked out many blogs and photos of Minecraft cakes and birthday parties.

Here is what I came up with under the direction of my kids because honestly am pretty clueless about this Minecraft business.IMG_3979

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Minecraft Cake: We used 2 cake mixes and experimented with cereal treats. We ended up making the trees out of straws, cereal treats and fondant. Steve is made of cereal treats and fondant. (I made the fondant myself with a easy marshmallow recipe) In order to make it authentic we had to add a ‘torch’ so the candle was stuck to Steve’s hand with a tooth pick.

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I googled to find the Minecraft font and then watched a YouTube video on how to install it. (very handy that YouTube!)

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After checking out many blogs I decided to use balloons, construction paper and crepe paper to make spiders.

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The treat bags are just green bags with construction paper. A cool idea from another blogger. Check out his way-cool blog here Dad-Geek-Gamer

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I think this is a birch tree?? Lots of paper taped up to make one for them to chop down I guess. Another idea from the blogger cited above.

The kids made their own axe’s from cardboard, crepe paper and tinfoil. They seemed to like it but not as much as playing the actual game. It was a real gamers kinda’ party and they all had fun.

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Happy mining folks and remember, “Don’t mine at night” 😉

Monster High DIY

My one and only little girl turned 8 on Valentine’s Day. Lucky me to have a little princess on such a lovely holiday right? 😉 Well every year I ask her what kind of celebration she would like and if she would like me to make her cake or buy it. It seems for many of my kids the actual birthday cake is a large part of the birthday present. I like to surprise them with it sometimes but other times I let them select it and then help make it.

We’ll in this case she requested a ‘Monster High’ birthday and asked that I make her cake. She was nice enough to tell me that although I used to teach Home Ec I am not a professional and she is okay with the cake not being perfect. (S0 glad she had her expectations in check)IMG_3242

After searching the web for various Monster High cakes I selected three I thought I could pull off and let her choose from there. She picked the one with the doll in it and told me we could use one of the dolls she already owns. She brought me ‘Draculaura’ who apparently has the same birth date. Being this was my first time making this type of cake I decided to document it.

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1. I didn’t want to buy a new cake pan so I used the Betty Crocker bake & fillpan which I already had.

2. I baked according to directions but added an 8″ round pan base to help give it more height. (Those dolls are tall!!)IMG_0760

3. I used a long knife to hollow out a section for the doll to stand although she was still a bit too tall so I bent her legs to make it work. 🙂

4. Per request I used black and pink frosting. (FYI: If you start with chocolate  frosting it’s much easier to make black frosting)

IMG_08015. I followed the pattern on her actual dress to make it look as if it was one  large dress.

6. I used a piece of styrofoam cut in a circle as a base which I then wrapped with tinfoil. I didn’t want to put candles on the actual cake so I used the tips of my frosting tools to make holes in the foam base to push the candles in.

7. Ta da! Perfect? – No. But she loved it and that’s all that matters. 🙂