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P-A-R-T-Y… or not!

I would estimate that I receive between 2-5 requests each week, throughout the year, to provide birthday party cooking classes. Honestly, I could do that full time and have a real business…that is until those requesting find out the cost of such a party.

The real problem with the cost is not that a cooking class is about $50 per person. Most parents are fine with paying $50 for their child to participate in a 2 to 2  1/2 hour cooking class. But when they realize that they will not just be paying $50 for their child, but for at least 9 of their child’s “closest” friends, to the tune, of at least, $500 (the minimum for a private class is 10 students – or party goers, in this case). Now that is a different story… trust me, I understand!  Four hundred and fifty dollars is a heck of a lot to pay for a birthday party.  But, if you are willing and happy to pay that amount, I will happily work with you to find a mutually agreeable date, put together a menu, and get your party on my calendar. Or… if you, like me, think that’s too much – then I have some helpful ideas on how to “Host a Cooking Birthday Party” of your own, with some “ crafts help” from Family Fun Magazine. Major Disclaimer: I am not crafty – so even I was to do your party for you, well, the crafts – you are on your own – I am a cooking teacher, not an art teacher – not by a long stretch!

How to “Host a Cooking Class Birthday Party”

Menu:

Individual Pizzas
“Salad on a Stick”
Mini-Bundt cakes or cupcakes

(1 for each guest)
1 large decorated birthday cake

(homemade or purchased)

and Ice Cream


Parent Do Ahead:

  • Send invitations. Tip: Write or print them on recipe cards
  • Purchase or make aprons and/or hats (they will also double as a take-home gift)
  • Purchase or prepare homemade pizza dough. (May be done a day in advance and refrigerated)
  • Purchase and prepare ALL ingredients for pizza toppings, cupcakes and frosting, salad, and beverages.
  • Prep all pizza topping ingredients (place in disposable bowls and cover with plastic wrap – a day in advance and refrigerate)
  • Make cupcakes/mini-bundt cakes and the frosting. Divide frosting and color each batch, place in separate zip-lock bags. (May be done a day in advance and refrigerated). Don’t forget to add the ice cream to your shopping list!
  • Print out recipe packets for each child in large text as “take-home” gifts

Day of Party – Party Time

11:00-11:30 – Guests Arrive

Immediately upon each guest’s arrival, involve him/her with the craft: Decorate Chef’s Hats and/or Aprons using markers, sharpie pens, glitter glue, etc.

  • Hats: Purchase paper chef hats or make your own with this LINK from Family Fun Magazine.
  • Aprons: Purchase aprons or make Dish Towel Aprons – again, this LINK is from Family Fun Magazine, but be warned – you need to be able to sew… see – this is why I can’t do this stuff, I can’t sew!
  • Once decorating is completed; wash hands, don aprons and/or hats, move to another area and get cooking!

11:30-12:00 – Individual Pizzas

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Provide each child with a small ball of dough- the LINK to recipe on this very site is here. Just make a double batch of the dough and it will be enough for 8-10 individual pizzas. Set out sauce and pre-prepared toppings and let each child make their own mini pizza.

Identify individual pizzas by penciling each child’s name onto a pizza-size square of parchment paper. Have child place their dough on the parchment, once shaped and have them “top it” there.  Set aside pizzas while you clean up the area. When ready to bake (at about 12:30) you will transfer to oven by  simply sliding the “pizza-topped” parchment squares onto baking trays or pizza stones.

12:00-12:15 –  The Smelling/Tasting Quiz

Allow young guests to explore their senses by having them smell and taste various food items while blindfolded and try to correctly identify them. Have an older child or another grown-up, besides you, supervise the game while you clear the pizza area and prepare the “salad-on-stick” area.

Smell: cinnamon, chocolate, coffee, vinegar, peanut butter, and soy sauce.
Taste: powdered sugar, olive or pickle, berries, lime, celery, licorice, butterscotch, and salsa

12:15-12:30 – Salad on a Stick

Put the pizzas in the oven and while the pizzas bake, have the children assemble salad on a stick with wooden skewers.  Provide a dip or ranch dressing, for dipping or drizzling.

Ingredients:

  • cherry tomatoes
  • pepperoni or salami slices
  • bell pepper slices or pepperoncini
  • mushrooms
  • cheese cubes
  • small iceberg lettuce wedges
  • cucumber slices

12:30-1:o0 – Lunch

Pizza and Salad time!

Immediately following lunch, decorate the cupcakes or mini-bundt cakes while the gift are being opened.

1:00-1:30 – Decorate Bundt Cakes/Cupcakes and Opening of Gifts

Below is a recipe for Mini-Bundt cakes and here is a LINK for the special pans if you want to make them. Or make your life even easier and just purchase or make cupcakes. Any grocery store bakery will sell you undecorated cupcakes. Please DO NOT expect your guests decorated little bundt cakes to end up looking like this beauty

from Nothing Bundt Cakes – because in all honesty, it will look something more like this…

but that’s OK, because to your child’s guests, this IS beautiful!

Set out mini-bundt/cupcakes, several zip-lock “piping bags”  (A ziplock bag with one corner snipped off) of colored frosting, and various sprinkles and toppings. Allow the guest to take home their decorated cake. (Purchase small cardboard cake boxes from a baking supply store to bring their masterpieces home in. Locally, you can find the boxes at ABC Cake Decorating Supplies) Put out the large cake, light the candles, sing Happy Birthday, enjoy the cake and ice cream and then send them on their way!

Oh, and be sure you’ve had fun too! Because even though, at the end of it all, you’re still left with the clean-up – you can rest assured that you’ve given a real gift to not just the party girl/boy, but the gift of cooking to all the little guests too!

Mini Bundt Cakes

Cake Batter

2 cups sifted flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1stick) unsalted butter, softened
1  1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Frosting
1/2 cup (1stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
2 pounds powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Milk as needed

Cake Batter: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour (using flour from the 2 cups above) 6 mini-bundt pans.  Set aside.

Sift the remaining flour, baking powder and salt together onto a sheet of waxed paper.

Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of a standing mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with milk.  Stir in the vanilla and evenly divide between the bundt pans.  Bake on the center rack of the oven for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Loosen the sides of the cakes with a thin knife and allow cakes to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before removing to the a rack to cool completely.

Frosting: Cream the butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy, add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and mix until fluffy, add milk , if needed for desired spreadable consistency.

Frost the cakes and decorate as desired.

Makes 6 mini cakes


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