Don’t you hate it when one of the kids’ birthdays rolls around and you’re really financially embarrassed? Usually, the number one expense is the gift, and most people want to take care of that first when money is tight. Decorations, cake and other expenses can be figured out after the present is taken care of, when times are hard, but what if there simply isn’t enough money left over for all of that? Well, you’re going to have to cut corners somewhere, and hopefully, without the child ever knowing!
One thing that can get mighty expensive is the birthday cake itself. Purchase it at a bakery and it’ll cost plenty. Buy one at the supermarket and you can save a little over bakery prices but will still need serious money to purchase one. If you’re left with only a few dollars to spend on the cake do something totally different this year. Let each child make his or her own cake and you’ll save a fortune!
Making individual children’s cakes is the perfect idea for young children. Purchase snack cakes, such as Little Debbie or other brands, and each kid can get creative, have a blast, and still end up with a delicious cake. The snack cakes often come in a box of six or more, for a buck or so, but sometimes come in packs of two. That means each $1 – $2 box of cakes offers a treat for 12 children! Of course, the small cakes aren’t that impressive fresh out of the wrapper, so you’ll have to do something about that.
What child wouldn’t love decorating a cake just the way he wants it? Spread out a plastic tablecloth, place a square of cake on each plate, then let the kids get busy creating. For a couple of dollars you can purchase frosting gel that dispenses from a tube. These tubes make it easy for kids to write their names, draw simplistic pictures or just scribble on the cakes. Purchase one or more colors then let the kids draw and pass the tube to the next child. Purchase at least two different types of cakes – kids love choices!
There are any number of inexpensive things you can put out for the kids to use as embellishments. Small candies, sugar sprinkles, candy sprinkles, shredded coconut, mints, nuts, fruit pieces, chocolate or butterscotch chips, gummy candies, red hots or even assorted cereals can all be used to create the perfect cake. Keep in mind the age of the children when selecting the embellishments. Really little kids might have trouble with the tube icing. Older kids might prefer to spread can icing over their cakes with disposable knives. Young kids, of course, will have more trouble with certain things, like sprinkles, than they would with larger embellishment goodies.
You’re going to have quite a mess on your hands – if not an all-out brawl – if you place the goodies in the center of the table and let each person fend for himself. Instead, place a little of each item on a small plate beside the cake plates, or ask each child to pick two or three decorative goodies. Let the kids start drawing and passing around the tube icing while you’re asking the others what treats they want. Place the selected embellishments on small plates and let them get started.
Although the cakes come in many different varieties shapes of squares, rectangles, octagons or circles make the best individual birthday cakes. Avoid snacks that are cylindrical since it will be difficult for the kids to keep the goodies attached. Let kids decorate with just the tube icing or offer assorted embellishments so they can get truly creative. The decorated snacks don’t necessarily have to be just for children; even adults will enjoy making their own special cakes.
You don’t necessarily have to serve cake squares for kids to decorate. Cookies or brownies work well, too. The decorating of the cookies, cakes or brownies can be for a special occasion or just as a way to entertain your own family on a rainy day.