Monday, 22 April 2013

A rainbow birthday party

The past week has been a bit crazy around here, with preparations for R's rainbow-themed 5th birthday party taking up most of my time. Once I did the calculations and worked out that we had invited 19 children, 6 grandparents, 5 other adult relatives plus the many mums and dads who would most likely stay for the party, I had a total freakout about the catering and started frantically preparing any adult food I could think of that could be made well in advance and frozen or stored (for the record, I made these potato latkes, some sweet potato patties from an Ottolenghi cookbook and a huge container of Proud Italian Cook's pita bread crisps, plus - on the day - her cannellini bean dip - incredibly delicious).

K and R helped make lolly necklaces, which are sweets wrapped in a cellophane roll and tied between each sweet with tiny bits of ribbon. Use a length of string to tie up each end and make the whole thing into a necklace and you have a very pretty lolly-bag substitute that your guests can wear home. We did the same thing last year... I guess now it's a tradition.

Filling the pinata was a much-anticipated event. They insisted on sorting all the sweets first. Kind of a shame to have to destroy something so beautiful...

And of course R had to have a rainbow skirt, which I foolishly decided to sew myself. It took about an hour just to find six colours of the star fabric, as they were cunningly hidden in different places around Spotlight. I was initially going for spots, but after digging out red, yellow, blue, green and purple I discovered they didn't have orange. Turns out it also takes rather a long time to hem, gather, pin and sew six ruffled layers - my estimate of how long the skirt would take me was wildly optimistic. And once the thing was done it reminded me disturbingly of something a clown might wear, but hey, it was for a rainbow party after all. Now if you're thinking there are seven colours in the rainbow, you are correct - I just decided for practical reasons to condense blue/indigo into one colour.

I couldn't pass up an opportunity to make my beloved Mexican tissue paper flowers again, despite the feeling that my preparations for the party were getting a little excessive:

In the spirit of rainbows the children ate fairy bread, ice-cream cupcakes with sprinkles (directions here) and rainbow fruit skewers before playing pass-the-parcel (accompanied by K playing 'Smoke on the Water' on his guitar) and a home-made game with the very catchy title of 'pin the coin in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow'. Then came the destruction of the aforementioned pinata and the consumption of excessive amounts of sugar.

Had enough of rainbows yet? I'm a bit over them myself at this stage, but let's continue anyway. Since I made K a pinata cake last year R hasn't stopped talking about wanting her own 'smash cake'. I made the shell with white chocolate this time, and decorated it with smarties and rainbow rocks. The cake and the shell are relatively simple to make, but the rainbow decorations were a late-night labour of love. Below left you can see what I put on top of the cake before the 'shell' went on:

And here you can see the cake just after it was whacked with a ceramic pestle by an overexcited five-year-old.

We got lucky with the weather and had a beautiful sunny Autumn day. And there's my baby's fifth birthday party done and dusted, until next year. If you read this far, give yourself a pat on the back!


  1. The cake not only looked good, it was also yummy

  2. I just came here from a google search for cakes. What a creative idea. Loved the rainbow themed party, genius.