Pink Heart Society regular, Kate Hardy, is talking about indoor fireworks, cake and celebrations - complete with a very special recipe!
The last couple of weeks have seen some big milestone birthdays in my house - our son turned 18 and my husband turned 50. So that meant celebrations - everything from a posh dinner party in a former Regency rectory through to barbecues and lunch out and more partying...
But one of the most important parts of celebrating is the cake. I'm very fortunate in that I have a very, very talented friend with a cake business. She does all my milestone cakes, and I think she excelled herself this year.
Also, it's what you put on top of the cake. We did normal birthday candles when the children were small. I've used sparklers. I've used 'angel flame' candles (where the flames are different colours). Candles that relight themselves (that was mean but very, very funny to watch our son trying to blow out the candle to make a birthday wish). Musical candles that play happy birthday. And probably the tackiest of all was one that looked like a flower, then opened up to reveal more flowers and lit the candles in the middle of the flowers, rotated, and played happy birthday. We were almost crying with laughter by the time it stopped. (If anyone knows of anything more outrageous than this that I can get in the UK, please, please tell me - the next birthday in the house is November and I'd love something extreme for my daughter) But my favourite of all is cake fountains (you will see more of those later - and, yes, I do sneak them into books!).
The first one cake from the milestone celebrations was the joint cake for the posh dinner party. My husband and son do archery together, so that was an obvious choice for us. (One of the arrow flights says 'Gerry 50' and the other says 'Chris 18' - and as son likes chocolate cake and husband likes vanilla cake, we did this one as a marble cake.)
You know what I was saying about cake fountains? Had to be one each...
The second was for son's birthday. His career plan starts with a chemistry degree, so this was an obvious one as well. (He guessed, though. I asked him where I could find a periodic table with the right colours. 'Oh, are you doing my cakes Breaking Bad style, with my name spelled out in the periodic table?' I forget that he knows me well enough to know how my mind works!)
Round the outside, it says 'Happy Eighteenth Birthday' And isn't that Bunsen burner fab? And there had to be a cake fountain, too... (Apologies for the blurry pic - the other ones are clearer but the cake is surrounded by his friends and I don't want to invade their privacy.)
And the final one was for DH's 50th. He loves watching the motorcycle racing, so again this was an obvious one.
Cake fountain? Why, yes! (Two. AND candles. Over the top? You bet!)
Whenever we throw a party, there's always a request for cookies and cheese stars. Preferably a double batch so people can also take some home. I've given up trying to save them for mealtimes, because everyone knows I'll have been baking at the crack of dawn... so the first thing they do after hugging me hello is to go hunting for the cookies in the kitchen!
I've posted the recipe here before, but I think it's worth repeating because they are SO nice. And very, very easy. (Just don't ask about calories or saturated fat. Enjoy the moment!)
8oz butter, room temperature
4oz white sugar
8oz light brown soft sugar
quarter teaspoon vanilla essence
18oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 packets choc chips (white ones are really nice!)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Cream butter and sugars until uniform. Beat in eggs and vanilla essence. Add flour and baking powder; beat until smooth. Add choc chips. For best results, refrigerate the lot for 1-2 hours. Dollop lumps of dough (I use a dessert spoon) onto a baking tray lined with foil, leaving 2 inches between. Bake for 10-12 mins, or until golden, and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Have you got the perfect party cake recipe? Share it here!
Kate’s latest releases are It Started at a Wedding... from Harlequin Mills & Boon (the follow-up to Plague Squirrels), and Bachelor at Her Bidding, her first book for Tule Publishing.