When I say I love baking competition shows, I mean it. Around the time my oldest was preschool-aged and making her own friends to invite to parties, I was learning all about cake decorating from cake shows. I love learning by watching and it really helped that my mother already had all the tools ready for borrowing. Over the years, my middle girls have developed their love of them alongside me. When it came time to decide on a theme for Lily’s 9th birthday party, we landed smack dab on a cake wars theme. From there, it was all about the planning.
Some of my favorite cakes over the years!
Cake Wars Party Invitation
I’m a fan of including pictures of the birthday girl (and party guests like in my Detective Party) into the whole party planning process. For a true Food Network feel, I went the route of setting up the photo as you might see on a show billboard. With a few fun graphics, the picture was ready to be paired with a backing. Simply printing the party details on fun paper makes it an easy task.
If you’d like an easy to update Canva Invitation Template (seen below) fill out the quick form.
The Ice Cream Round
Call me what you will (crazy, a glutton for punishment), but I love to amp up my party plans. Just doing cake seemed like a missed opportunity to throw in all the stops, so I decided to add an ice cream round. Be warned; when you peruse Pinterest enough, you may find you’re overly inspired and ambitious. So in much of the way of a Pinterest junky, I saw way too many easy ice cream recipes made in zip lock bags to not to give it a try. Little Sprouts Learning was the site that really inspired me, so I used the recipe there. My girls and I had already been accustomed to making our creamy desserts in the ice cream maker, so it really didn’t feel like that big of a leap to do it in a big instead.
- Heavy Cream
- Whole Milk
- Quart size zip lock bags
- Gallon size zip lock bags
- Variety of extract flavors
- Ice Cream Throw ins
Spills, Messes, and More
There’s no getting around the fact that this Cake Wars Challenge was going to be a mess. It was a good thing my husband was not in the kitchen to see the milk spills and the candy scatters because he would have lost his gourd. I had set out the measuring cups and the bags and throw-ins all around the kitchen island. I wasn’t about to try to set up stations for each child with extract and all the things because I wanted them to choose their own versions of flavorings and throw-ins. The biggest problem with this process was that the little gals all needed help pouring the cream and milk into the bags, so with only my two hands to help combined with the impatience of the children, we had an island of mess to contend with.
Do yourself a huge favor to avoid my experienced pitfalls. Provide each ‘competitor’ with a bowl or oatmeal container cut in half, etc, for them to use to hold the bag upright while they put in all the ingredients. This will save paper towels and mental angst.
My other piece of advice; buy a bag or two of ice. You’ll see that the recipes that say it’ll only take 5 minutes for the ice cream to start to solidify. It was really not working well for my party crew and I think it boils down to the girls not putting in enough ice and rock salt in their bags. I would recommend you divide the ice and rock salt into the galloon size bags ahead of time to store in the freezer in preparation for the girls to grab when they are ready.
Our Itty Bitty Judge
What’s a cake wars competition without a judge?! Our judge was our very own ice cream and cake-loving 6-year-old. As each child competitor finished their ice cream creation, they took their bowl over to the judge for a taste test. She would get one bite (with a clean spoon) to try it out before the competitor could eat the rest themselves. Most got an excited thumbs up from our little judge while others found they would prefer not to eat their creations. Let’s just say mixing extracts might not turn out to be so tasty! Lessons were learned.
After they finished their cakes, it was time for a commercial break. The girls went downstairs to play together, while the cleaning crew (aka mom) went on set to clean and prep for next round.
The Cake Round
The only way I could imagine this round working was to bake a bunch of cake rounds beforehand. I made strawbridge, vanilla, and chocolate 4 inch round cakes ahead of the party. They were cooled and cut flat, so they would be ready for selecting and pairing with the icing and extras.
- Variety of Same Size Cake Rounds
- Store bought Icing flavors
- Icing Bags
- Cake Decorting Icing Gels
- Icing spreaders
- Rolling Pins
- Paper Plates
- Small Cake Boxes
Bakers At Work
Round 2 kicked off with excitment to get all the desired decorations and food additives. Quite thankfully, these gals weren’t hard set on perfection, so it wasn’t too long before their masterpieces were ready for judging on the basis of design and flavor.
Cake Wars Takeaway
With the judging complete, it was time only a matter of cleaning the aftermath while the girls played.
Cute little cake boxes housed the pretty cakes to take home as party gifts.
To merge the ice cream round with the cake round, we had a homemade Neopolitan ice cream cake per the birthday girl’s wishes. While it was obviously messy, this Cake Wars-themed birthday party was a hit!
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