Some of my best memories growing up were of my birthday. I always loved to surround myself with friends and family, not for the gifts, but because even at a young age I realized that birthdays were more fun when you invited everyone you know.
When I was five we invited my entire class to Chuck E. Cheese for pizza and skee ball. Later on it was nachos and soda at the skating rink or popcorn and soft pretzels at the swimming pool. As I got older and wiser I realized I could invite more friends if we stayed at home. I sent invitations out weeks in advance and always told people to bring a friend. If they called and asked if they could bring 10, I'd shrug my shoulders and say why not? I love meeting new people, but they'd better bring food.
As guests would trickle in the word went around that there were only two rules— absolutely no alcohol and you break it you buy it. The first rule my parent always enforced, they even kicked out a rule breaker or two, but the second they usually let slide. Except for the time the band put a bass guitar through my mom's new entertainment center window.
That night I was sure I'd never live to see 18.
These are the types of memories I hope my son has one day. He's still too young for a large group of friends, so I send out invitations to the grandmas and grandpas (even the great grandparents too), to aunts and uncles, to cousins, to friends. Since we live so far away not many can join us, but no matter what they'll always be invited celebrate with us on his big day.
I keep the menu simple, we have a chili buffet including Donna's White Chicken Chili, Buttermilk Cornbread, Crock Pot Baked Potatoes and beer. Instead of concentrating on the food I spend all my time working on the cake. It's the centerpiece of the party, with a different theme every year. If my son's face lights up when I set it in front of him I know it's been worth all the effort.
As soon as the party is over and little man is tucked into bed, I start browsing Pinterest, there's only 365 days until I do it all over again.
Minion Banana Bar Cake
serves approximately 10 - 12 (see notes below if you need to feed a larger crowd)
Blue Number Candle (mine came from Target)
2 - 3 cups blue m&ms (see notes)
2 packages of fun-size Twix bars (see notes)
9 inch cake layer, any flavor
2 cups buttercream icing, any flavor
bowl scraper or spatula
spool of ribbon, yellow or blue
- The Despicable Me Beach Day Set I used as a cake topper has a ton of pieces, you'll want to put it together before you frost the cake. If you do this while the cake is cooling it might distract you enough so you won't eat all the decorations. Unless you stress eat, then hide the decorations first... you have been warned!
- Allow the cake to cool completely before beginning, preferably overnight. Apply an even layer of frosting to the top and sides of the cake. It doesn't need to look perfect, you'll be covering the whole thing with candy.
- Press Twix bars into the sides of the cake, then tie a ribbon around the outside to hold it all together. Don't skip this step, if the room heats up you'll come back to find your floor littered with Twix bars. Trust me, I've learned this from experience.
- Top the cake with 2 - 3 cups of m&ms. The amount will vary depending on how tall your cake is.
- Place the Despicable Me Beach Day Set and candle on top, light the candle, then go surprise your lucky girl or boy.
This tutorial is easy to adapt to feed any size group. A 9 inch layer, as used in this tutorial, will feed 10 - 12. You can also make this a 2-layer cake, but you'll need double the buttercream and full-size Twix bars. Don't forget to trim down the cake layers if they're too tall. For really large groups purchase additional fun-sized Twix bars and m&ms, then decorate a sheet cake.
I'm still tweaking the recipe I used for this cake. For those of you who are curious, it was bittersweet chocolate with salted caramel buttercream frosting. An absolutely delicious combination, if you ask me. I'll be posting the recipe sometime late in November as part of the series of sponsored posts I do for Chocoley (you know, the place I buy all my chocolate making supplies for my ridiculously cute candy making tutorials.)
I picked out all of the blue m&ms from three large bags then used the rest of the colors to make Lucky Mix aka White Trash and Cranberry Walnut Trail Mix. If you don't have a three year old willing to take on the tedious task of sorting colors you may be able to find them in the bulk bins at the supermarket. My store sells individual colors for $9.99/lb or you can buy them directly from m&m/MARS Inc.
Technically you only need 32 fun-size Twix bars, but go ahead and buy extra. By the time I was done decorating the cake my extras had all walked away.
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