This was the third time that I hosted a cake decorating party. The first two times they were run as fundraisers for our preschool and they were fun and successful! Fyi I charged $15 per cake decorator but $20 is probably a better rate:).
The last time I hosted this party it was for my daughters birthday. And boy was it SUPER fun!!! We had about 30 children coming so I knew it was going to be a little bit of a challenge. But hey I'm always up for a challenge lol. All the kids had SOOO much fun and myself as well watching and helping them:)!
So here is my quick tutorial on how to host a cake decorating party!
BTW I don't have a huge house so we had to be create on how we cleared out the entire living room,
dining room, and kitchen to make everything work!
Step 1. PrepBuy all of your ingredients one or two weeks prior to the party. I used Betty Crocker cake mixes in Chocolate. My formula is for every 2 cake mix boxes use one LARGE Jello instant pudding mix and one EXTRA egg (and follow the recipe accordingly). I also made my buttercream, however, despite my homemade intentions I bought fondant at Michael's.
Step 2. BakeBake all of your cakes about 3 or 4 days prior to the party. I used six 6" pans at a time filling them
just over 1/2 full and baking them for about 40 minutes at 345F (the lower degrees allows for slightly more even rising). When the cakes are done I pull them out and place a cutting board on top of the cake dome poking out of the cake pan to 'squish' it down. This avoids the need to cut it out avoiding a mess and any wasted cake. After about 30 seconds remove the board on top and now you have even baked cakes!:)
Once slightly cooled invert the baked cakes onto a cake board or plate. This will be what the child will use to decorate the cake on. I have used cardboard cake boards or the foil coated boards as shown above. To source these look for a Cash and Carry, try to buy some supplies from a local cake maker or cake decorating shop, or craft shop (Michael's or Hobby Lobby). However you can always use disposable plates!:)
Once all your cakes are cooled FREEZE them. This might depend on your freezer...I have a dedicated freezer where I can freeze the cakes unwrapped for best results. However, my regular freezer can cause freezer burn so in that case I would put it in a tupper but not plastic wrap (the plastic wrap can cause softening which makes it more difficult for kids to decorate).
Step 3. IcingBuy or make your icing about 2 or 3 days prior to the party. I use the following buttercream recipe: http://everybakingmoment.com/recipes/janis-buttercream and make about 1.5 batches per 15 cakes (roughly). Storing at room temperature is just fine for this. If you do store it in the fridge make sure to bring it to room temperature prior to the guests using it for decorating!
The day of the party fill decorating bags with a few different icing colors. In my case I used pastel blue, pink, purple, and green. I also used different style tips for different colors to make it more fun!
Step 4. Set-up
After having done this a number of times I found the most effective and efficient way to set up is to designate specific tables. Once the child is done at the Frosting Table they can move on to other decorating tables:
Table 1 - The Frosting Table
On this table set up lazy Suzan's, I used six lazy Susans each with a small square of non-skid material to allow for holding down the cake to the turntable and one small off-set spatula for icing. Also allow for bowls of icing. In this case I placed two bowls between each pair of turntables (see pix:)).
Table 2 - The Piping Table
On this table set up your colored icing bags. This is where the kids move on after frosting and if they want to do some pipe work.
Table 3 - Fondant Table
For this I had taken the fondant that I bought, split the whole batch into three and colored them a matching pastel pink, blue, and green color. I also set this table up with small fondant rollers. No need for additional powdered sugar this fondant was very similar to marshmallow fondant and did not stick to the plastic table covering! I also placed on the table fondant molds and cookie cutters for the kids creation:).
On this table I placed sprinkles and other decor items. I used to decorate cakes so I had extra flowers although I did have to limit them per child. You can also fill the table with candy or sugar decorations from the craft store.
Step 5. Cake Boxes
Provide some sort of box for the kids to carry the cake home. The cake decorating is the party activity AND the party favor! I used retail cake boxes because I used to sell cakes and had these left over, however, even in bulk these boxes are expensive. You can also find cake boxes at the craft store or you can try to cut cost if you save and use Costco-style cardboard boxes.
Some Party Tips:1. When a child arrives give them their cake straight from the freezer FROZEN
2. Use a sharpie to write the child's name on the cake board or their box
3. We didn't have a cake! My idea was for kids to cut their cakes and share it with their families but really that was going to get crazy messy and complicated. Plus the kids get really connected to their cakes so everyone liked the idea of saving it for later. My girls definitely enjoyed us eating their cakes for the next few days;).
That sums it up!! It is a lot of work but SOOO much fun!
Have a great party!