It’s been quite a while since I planned my last kid birthday party. In fact, the first and only birthday party we’ve ever done was for Axa’s first birthday. It was quite a gala affair, complete with multiple party games, sugar-free carrot cake, and even real scrapbook-style homemade invitations. Since then, we haven’t really done birthday parties, partially because we’ve been slow-traveling all over the world and things have been crazy, and partially because I’m just not one of those Pinterest moms. We usually go somewhere special as a family to celebrate a birthday, like SeaWorld or the Zoo, and I make cake and the birthday child’s requested meal, and then we open presents as a family.
But this year, well, we’ve been in Florida a whole year and a half almost, so I guess you could consider us settled in. And Raj decided he really wanted a birthday party. So here is actual pictorial evidence that we invited over multiple people to help us celebrate Raj’s sixth birthday.
Tony and I still weren’t up for a work-intensive party, but Axa and Raj were happy to make the invitations themselves, along with some lovely party decorations. And in a stroke of genius, we decided to have the party at our community pool, thus eliminating any potential mess at our house, as well as the necessity for planning any other games and activities. The weather obliged by not raining, thundering, or hurricane-ing, but it was cloudy enough that we had the pool to ourselves. And no, of COURSE that’s not my daughter committing the cardinal sin of running at the pool.
After an hour or so splashing around together, we called everyone out of the pool so Raj could open his presents.
There was cake too, upon which I predictably spent all the energy I didn’t spend on the rest of the party. I used this delectable recipe for Decadent Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake, and not only was it delicious, but it didn’t even fall when I took it out of the oven. I am not a really awesome cake baker, so I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I followed some online advice I found to freeze the cake overnight, which did indeed make it easier to frost, as well as keeping it nicely moist. So I unexpectedly had no problems with the cake part of the cake. Fortunately. Because I wasted a pint of heavy cream and an hour on two batches of caramel glaze that ended up more like caramel ooblek and rock caramel respectively. Actually, I suppose it wasn’t really wasted, since nobody in this family turns up their nose at caramel in any consistency.
Still, the fact was that smooth, rich, creamy caramel glaze was not happening for this cake. This was not an entirely unexpected result, since I recall eyeing the perfect caramel in the Smitten Kitchen recipe dubiously when Raj singled it out as his birthday desire. So I had a backup plan, in the form of the honey cream cheese frosting that is my stand-by. Serendipitously, today was also the day we picked up a huge bag of fresh blueberries from our church food co-op, so I had something interesting to put on the cake. And the blueberries did go rather nicely with the cream cheese frosting.
A good time was had by all, especially Raj, and neither the planning nor the clean-up caused any nervous break-downs for his parents, so I’m thinking we can call this party a success. Happy birthday Raj, and many happy returns of the day!