I’ve written before how I find organising my kids’ birthday parties quite stressful. Does everybody find this, or do some people love it? There are just so many moving parts – that the actual week of your child’s birthday ends up being chaotic. You are also desperate for them to have a memorable birthday, but being kids, they are quite unpredictable little beings.
This year Ben really wanted a jumping castle at his party, so we got a Spiderman one and what a score those things are – they keep them entertained for HOURS. We also ordered a pinata and they look like fun, but the thing would. not. break, so we ended up having to tear a hole in it while the kids scrambled for sweets and BEN cried because he hadn’t managed to deliver the fatal blow. He also whacked me around the face with the stick (by mistake) so that is the final time pinatas are welcome at my house thank you very much.
He had a blast with his friends for nearly all of his party, but then he had a meltdown as we gathered to sing happy birthday to him. Literally sobbing in my arms as everyone sang and tried to make him happy. Talk about timing. And then I tried to help him blow the candle out, and he got cross because he wanted to do it himself. So yes, things do not always go as planned.
But one thing that really worked well this year was the cake, and a few people have been asking about the recipe, so I thought I’d share it here. For starters, a big thank you to my friend Ali for giving me the idea – it was lucky we caught up a few weeks ago and chatted about it! I love baking and I love cake, but I wanted something a bit different this year, so when Ali mentioned this idea, I was keen to give it a try! I also find that kids often leave half eaten cake around afterwards and it seems like such a waste of ingredients and money.
Ice Cream Cake Recipe
(I use the word “recipe” loosely, as I’m not even sure if you can call this a recipe? )
- To start with, figure out what sort of cake your little one wants (i.e bunnies, superheroes, trucks etc). Ben wanted Spiderman so I contacted the Baking Tin, who have stores in Claremont and Ottery, and they said they could print a suitable picture on to an edible sugar sheet for me. At R70 for an A4 sized topper that you can print any image on (even photos of the birthday boy/girl) – it’s such a winner. It keeps for quite a long time, so you can pick it up a few days before and store safely until needed.
- The day before the party, get two tubs of vanilla ice cream (I used Gino Ginelli with vanilla pods) and let them soften slightly.
- Chuck the ice cream into a mixing bowl and then throw in some Smarties or crushed Oreo pieces (what I did), or even bits of chopped up chocolates (Bar One or Crunchies could work). Mix it around until it’s even.
- Line a circular cake tin (the spring form kind) with wax paper at the bottom.
- Spoon your slightly mushy ice-cream mixture into there, smooth the top out and place it in the freezer for about 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, whip up some whipping cream until thick.
- Once the ice cream is back in its solid state again, take the cake out of the freezer, leave it in the tin but top it with a thin later of whipped cream (save the rest for later).
- Cut the cake topper if necessary (to fit the top of your cake), then peel the plastic layer off, and smooth the picture on top of the cream layer – making sure there are no bubbles on top.
- Put the ice cream cake back in the freezer for around 3 hours.
- When it’s time for cake, take the cake out of the freezer, use a knife all the way around the sides to loosen the cake from the tin and then release the spring form tin very gently as you place the cake onto a pretty board.
- Remove the wax paper from the bottom (if it comes off easily, but was no biggie to leave it on – just make sure you don’t serve it to kids;)
- Smooth some of the whipped cream around the sides to make it look nice and even.
- Decorate however you wish – I used some stars and a silver number five from the Baking Tin, plus some blue and red Smarties/Astros. I also sprinkled edible glitter on top because why not.
- Don’t forget a candle! I was sure the number 5 had a wick on it, but on discovering it did not, I had to grab the stub of a dinner candle from the dining room and plonk it in the middle!
Serve a scoop of the ice cream cake to each child in little paper cups with wooden spoons. You can also go to town and let kids decorate their own with baby marshmallows, jelly tots, chocs etc. Two tubs of ice cream served just over 25 kids, so if it’s a smaller party, you can simply adjust quantities.
Honestly, I’ve never made a birthday cake that kiddies came back for seconds and where there was virtually nothing left at the end. Ben even told me very seriously afterwards: “that was a very nice cake Mommy”. Of course, we’re going into winter now so ice cream cakes may not be your thing – but I figure kids will eat ice cream in virtually any weather, so it’s nearly always a win!
Have a lovely week.