Like a harbinger of doom the by now six year old started asking questions in the car on the way to his party. Quite chirpily, he enquired “What happens if a mammy dies when a baby is in her tummy? Like, if her body stops working?” Now, there is no baby in mammy’s tummy and nothing quite so tragic befell us between our house and the swimming pool but we didn’t escape the day drama-free nonetheless.
I know what you’re thinking. Who would have a pool party for a six year old? Why would you do that to yourself? Luckily having read this cautionary tale I had checked the T’s & C’s: parents did not need to accompany the kids into the pool. That meant one hour of coffee drinking and viewing gallery sitting for us. Nice one.
The cake made it in one piece. The kids arrived with all their swimming gear. The husband and another parent accompanied them to our assigned changing area while I waited in the lobby for the last kid to arrive. And then he reappeared. Holding the wailing three year old and cupping a hand over his mouth and under his chin. Years of dentist bills flashed before my eyes in an instant, cold hearted cow that I am. I rushed over to examine the debt, I mean, the kid and it turned out to be a gash under his chin. Gained by slipping off a bench while his beleaguered dad was trying to stop a gang of six year olds turning on all the showers while still fully clothed. *sigh*.
I took the injured little bro while he returned to fire the big kids into the pool. Once they were taken care of and some first aid had been administered we spent the next hour running about getting paper stitches and finding a new top to replace our toddler’s blood stained one. So, standard birthday party then.
As far as the birthday boy was concerned everything was fine and he and his friends emerged for well deserved pizza and cake. They had a ball in the pool with 2 staff members leading them through relay races, water football and treasure hunts. Another parent that stayed told me that; I only saw about five minutes of it.
At midnight the night before I was looking at what looked like a really shit snowman and trying to cut out the words Star Wars from icing. I was cursing the cake, but let’s roll back a bit…
The kid is Star Wars crazy. Two weeks before the party I searched ‘easy Star Wars cakes’ on Pinterest. A week before I searched ‘super easy Star Wars cakes’ on Pinterest. The BB8s looked fantastic but they were all 3D. No way, no how. Then Maud suggested I go 2D. Well, duh! A flat droid it was to be. I got some reference pictures of the cute roundy star of the moment and the Star Wars logo and off I went.
The day before I made the cake itself: I stuck with the tried and tested Nigella Buttermilk Cake that I used last year. It’s delicious and moist and this time I added lemon rind as well as vanilla because grown ups like birthday cake too. I made 1.5 times the recipe to get 3 layers. The third layer I cut in half, stacked the 2 halves and cut out BB8’s head.
It was his actual birthday that day, so we had birthday donuts to mark the occasion. Otherwise all that was on offer was the off cuts from BB8’s head and I don’t think the candle would have even fitted.
That same day I made lemon buttercream frosting and dyed it a pale orange because BB8. I put it between the cake layers, gave the whole thing a good crumb coating and put it in the fridge overnight.
I bought white and orange roll out icing. I dyed a small bit black for his eye (?) and used silver food paint for the details. (Food paint! I feel like I should jazz up all my meals with it now.)
The details were quite easy but a bit time consuming. I made these the night before and stored them on greaseproof paper in airtight containers. They were made with such fancy utensils as: a glass, various scone cutters, a straw and a sharp knife.
The day of the party I did all the finishing touches. (Pro tip: Don’t book the party too early if you think you’ll have lots to do on the morning of. We went for 130 and it was just about enough time, though I did buy a carpet that morning too…that’s another story) I rolled out the white icing in two sections and covered the frosted cake. I added all the pre-made details and added a few more (all the strips on his head). I painted a few silver lines, covered the board in the left over icing and stuck on the letters I’d made.
It was uneven, it was lumpy in places, and there was plenty of patching around the base – I’m never going to make a living from it but I love making my kids birthday cakes even if I make no other cakes in the year. Finally, I showed the birthday boy. I think he was pleased.