photo of a birthday cake Title: Toddler-Net Birthdays
At Home Park or Pool Party Facility


At Home
Park or Pool
Party Facility
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Your children birthdays are usually fun for them, but a huge stress for you. You can't completely avoid this stress but it's certainly possible to minimize it.
Keep in mind the main rule for kids birthdays: the number of children is equal to your child's age plus 1. It's OK to invite lots of family members but this is more for you than for the kid if he's younger than 3. You can make a huge party but your child almost surely won't be able to play with all the kids. For him it will be more about opening a pile of presents after. But if you do the party at a gym where you can invite about 20 kids, why not to do this- you pay the same money for 5 or 20, so invite a lot. This way you can keep in touch with many more families.
Basically there are two main choices for you: organize a party on your own (at your place, by the pool or in the park) or leave it to somebody else (remember, almost every kids’ place does birthdays). But don't forget goody bags! You can pick up some ready ones at party stores or on the internet, or you can make them on your own (you can get much better stuff for the same money).

You can find many gifts and party supplies for kids birthdays at Amazon. There you can also share you kid's wish list with family and friends and even get personalized gift suggestions.

And of course there is the cake. You can order it at your favorite bakery or here is the cake and cupcakes recipe for the bravest ones:

Birthday cake.

Sometimes when I look at the ingredients in a store bought cake they remind me of a chemistry lesson : so many chemical terms and unfamiliar words. The guilt grows inside me, but I buy it anyway if I don't have time to bake it myself. But if you have the time and energy, and some bake ware, it could be very satisfying to make a cake at home ( I'm not even going to talk about the price difference). Even if you are not a baking expert and your cake won't look fancy , it will taste great and be so much more healthy ( if we can use this word to describe a cake).
But there are moments when I look at kids licking the frosting from cake or cupcakes and throwing away the “main” part, and I think, maybe everyone would be happy with just cups of the chocolate frosting itself. But then where would you put the candles?

Anyway ,here is a couple of recipes that I chose as most simple and successful.

1. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting
2. Chocolate cupcakes.

1. Yellow cake with chocolate of marble cake
(Teaspoon = tsp
Tablespoon = tbsp)

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs and 1 yolk, room temp.
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 small can of peaches (pineapples)

Set rack at the middle in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Use two 9 inch round or 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan. Line bottom with buttered parchment paper.

Combine dry ingredients (sifted flour, salt, baking powder) and set aside. Combine eggs, milk and vanilla extract, set aside. In a large bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape the bowl and beater often. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the metal spatula.

(Instead of simple Yellow cake you can make it marble; pour 2/3 of the batter into the pan. Add 2 tbsp cocoa powder to the remaining 1/3 of the batter, mix well, and pour unevenly over the yellow batter. Stir carefully with a spatula. Smooth the top)mixing the batter

Bake cake(s) about 25 to 30 min., or until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean.
Cool in pan on a rack for 5 min., then turn out onto a rack , remove paper and let cool completely.

Carefully slice each cake in half horizontally. Brush inner sides with juice from canned peaches (pineapples). Sandwich the cake layers with frosting, spread the remaining frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Decorate it as you like or just sprinkle with festive sprinkles.

Chocolate frosting (I use frostings that don’t have row eggs in them):
First variation: 1 cup whipping cream
8 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate
Stir over low heat until the chocolate has melted. Cool , stirring occasionally.

Second variation (I prefer this one):
10 tbsp sour cream
10 tbsp sugar
10 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tbsp unsalted butter
Combine sour cream, sugar and cocoa. Stir over medium heat until smooth and bubbly, add butter, stir until it dissolves. Cool , stirring occasionally.

2. Chocolate cupcakes.
(Teaspoon = tsp
Tablespoon = tbsp)

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temp.
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with festive paper liners.

Sift together flour, soda, baking powder, cocoa, salt and set aside. Separately combine milk, eggs and vanilla. In a large bowl beat butter and sugar until fluffy, add alternately flour and milk, starting and ending with flour. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 15-17 min. Let cool and frost with your favorite frosting. You can use one of the frosting recipes for the cake.

Copyright 2009