I have a on-going, complicated love/hate relationship with the kidlets’ birthday parties. I find them stressful and exhausting; probably because I don’t like children very much… they are unpredictable and overly energetic and have minds of their own from an unreasonably young age. But I have very fond memories of the childhood parties I attended so I have kept up with annual parties for both kids from the beginning.
The parties always end up bigger and more expensive and more stressful than even I can predict and experience would dictate but nevertheless we plug on.
We have only ever attempted one joint party previously. The last one was five years ago and I am still seeking therapy. Let’s not revisit that particular horror story.
Instead let me tell you a happier story. The story of our Luna Park party held last Sunday. I am not exaggerating, but I am possibly being lazily forgetful, when I say it was the best party ever.
Let’s start with the food.
Inspired by my new friend Suze of ChocolateSuze fame I decided to make a Chocolate Box Cake – cake, chocolate, lollies… what’s not to like.
It’s a really easy cake and, apart from the Rainbow Cake from last year, the cake the kids got most excited about. I used Julie Goodwin’s Neverfail Cake recipe with some added lemon zest which results in a really lovely dense, tangy cake. I would suggest even a novice cook can make this cake without too much heartache. The decorating is a no-brainer: cover with buttercream icing (I made my own but store bought would be just fine), make a “fence” with KitKats (I used White Chocolate KitKats because I love them and white chocolate doesn’t make kids go quite so nuts, apparently) and then fill it in with lollies of choice.
In hindsight I would say don’t use jelly type lollies, or at least not the lolly snakes. They are really hard to cut through and cause some grief at cake cutting time. However the kids (big and small do love them) so maybe have a stash nearby for when it’s time to serve.
Another new favourite for kids parties is No-Brainer Sausage Rolls.
These require almost no effort for a great result. You need a packet (1 kg) of baby frankfurts, 4 sheets of puff pastry, 1 beaten egg thinned out with a little milk and a couple of teaspoons of sesame seeds. Pre-heat oven to 200C fan forced and line two or three large trays with baking paper.
I cut the puff pastry into rectangles about 8cm x 9cm which is just big enough to roll a frankfurt in with a little sticking room. I used the pastry offcuts to make more rectangles.
Once you’ve neatly rolled your sausages into your pastry blankets (and made sure the pastry ends are sealed nicely) place them on the baking trays, brush with egg/milk mixture, sprinkle with seeds and bake until golden brown and puffy. Time will depend on the ferocity of your oven I guess.
The good thing with these is they are good hot or cold so ideal for picnics.
Now onto the party. For kids this age (Miss M is turning 8 and Monkey Boy turned 14) Luna Park is a great venue. OK, it is expensive-ish but on the positive side it’s not at home, it doesn’t cost anything for parents who just want to hang out and supervise or enjoy the glorious Sydney Harbour location and there is plenty to keep the kids very happy. Our gang literally ran themselves ragged and had an absolute ball.
Happy birthday to my sweet, exasperating little people.