Friday, March 15, 2013

Flashback Friday - Carnival Birthday Party with Roller Coaster Cake

Its a flashback to my daughter's 5th birthday party!  This is one everyone remembers - largely because of the weather.  It was wet - really wet.  It poured cats and dogs and then poured some more.  We always had the whole family on both sides invited for my daughter's birthdays which meant the potential for about 100 people.  So we held it at the park so it didn't matter how many people came.  
I had worked for a couple of weeks making large carnival booths out of cardboard appliance boxes free from a local distributor, spray paint and items scrounged from around the house.  The day before the part it was still raining and forecast to rain the entire day of the party.  We knew we would have access to a covered pavilion and it wasn't supposed to be too cold so we decided to stick with the park.  We had already asked people to bring a change of clothes and towels for the kids because we usually did a water balloon fight at the end of the party.  So I scrounged up some more items from around the house that could be used for smaller carnival games and nixed the boxes (the kids still had fun with those at home another weekend).

We had a tub of bubbles with an assortment of bubble blowers.
In the background you can see glass dishes that are stacked and the white ping pong balls - the kids had to stand at a certain spot and try to toss or bounce the ping pong balls into the glass dishes.  
There was a mini bowling game and a putt-putt game.
And a game with a muffin tin.  The muffin tin had circles of colored paper in the bottom.  
The kids tried to toss pennies into the tins.  If they landed on a certain color they got to keep the penny or pick a prize.
The kids bobbed for apples which really didn't bother them much as they were already wet from the rain.  
Then they decided to just play in the rain.  I stood by with extra towels.  I also took extra hoodies and sweatpants for adults and kids who might need a change.  Can you tell I am pregnant with Little Man!?
We kept the central fireplace/grill going to warm up and cooked hot dogs and brats.  The pot is full of chili for chili dogs.  In the background you can see the coolers of lemonade and iced tea, hot dog toppings, and bags of popcorn (even the dollar stores carry little striped popcorn bags now).
And then there was cake!  She asked for a roller coaster cake to go with her fair/carnival theme so I found some ideas online and tweaked it a bit and came up with this.
I used FunFetti cake mix from a box and canned frosting - hey, I was pregnant and too busy making all those carnival booths we didn't use...or apparently take pictures of...  I made two cakes.  The first was on the bottom.  The second I cut into sections and used frosting between the layers to hold it in place to build the roller coaster hills.  The whole thing got a general coating of white canned frosting.  You can do this part a day or two before the party but you won't want to add any of the decorations until that day because they will absorb moisture and leak coloring.
Rope licorice made perfect tracks and was easy to work with.  A couple of rectangular snack cakes that were already coated in red coconut made perfect roller coaster cars.  I just cut slits in the tops and stuck in Teddy Grahams for riders - they look perfect because their arms are already raised like they are enjoying the ride.  I used mini pretzel sticks around the outside to build the "foundation" of the track.
A few colorful gumdrops placed at the tops and bottoms of the "posts" look like lights.  The clowns are suckers we found at the dollar store.  A couple of fun candles (the part that is blocked in front is her name in candle letters) and it was done.  For a cake with so much "stuff" going on, it was really quick to decorate.  I think this took me about 20 minutes that morning.  This was also a very inexpensive theme because so many carnival games really started with household items.  And the kids thought it was a blast, even with the rain.