Last week David turned 5! I can hardly believe that he is so grown up—we are filling out his kindergarten registration! Remember when I started this blog and he looked liked this? David was on and off sick all of last week, and actually spent the time he was supposed to be eating birthday cake at the pediatrician. Thankfully by the day of his actual party he was feeling much better and we were able to celebrate with his friends from school!
Last year I wrote about keeping things simple for kids’ birthdays. There is such a tendency to go WAY overboard, and we just don’t need to. This year we skipped the big play house rentals, goodie bags, and even presents! In lieu of a present for David I asked each child to bring one gift wrapped book. We placed them all of a center table and the kids took turns choosing a package. Each child got to take one book home as their treat from the party, and David didn’t end up with a giant pile of presents that we don’t have space for (my parents took care of that for us 😉 !).
^^^ I painted his shirt myself, using a design I created in Illustrator and this tutorial. I really enjoy making these fun freezer paper shirts!
This year we hosted his party at MOD Pizza. We’ve loved MOD for a long time, but just recently they started offering Daiya and I’m in love (note that they do put cheese in their red sauce, so we stick to BBQ or their Balsamic Fig glaze). Their concept is Made On Demand pizzas for a flat rate—all you can eat toppings for $7 and some change. And they have mini mods too for about $5. We treated each child to a mini pizza of their choice, and parents were able to purchase whatever they wanted for themselves.
Keeping with my simple theme—I made the cupcakes using the boxed cake mix + soda cake concept. Have you heard of it? Essentially you take an accidentally vegan cake mix, stir in a 12 ounce can of soda, and bake as directed. The carbonation of the soda gives the cake the rise it needs, no oil or eggs required. It just couldn’t be easier!
David is beyond obsessed with space right now so I decorated the cupcakes to look like little solar systems. We made lemon flavored cake and put blueberries in the mix to make the cakes themselves look a bit like the swirly night sky—not sure if the look came through but they tasted delicious!
I found some decorating ideas on Pinterest and was so excited to make these little planet pops! I bought some Surf Sweets peach rings (read more about Surf Sweets here), some accidentally vegan Dum Dum lollipops, some Skittles (also accidentally vegan), and some Let’s Do Organic Sprinkelz. The pictures I found on Pinterest didn’t include any instructions, but how hard could sticking gummy rings on lollipops be, right? Wrong. On my first go around I just stretched the rings, squished them on as best I could and hoped for the best. Within an hour or so the rings had all broken. Wah, wah, wah….. Irving offered to go grab a few more bags of the rings—we salvaged the broken ones for ourselves—and I figured out a better way to assemble the planet pops. Using a tip for my piping bag, I punched a bigger whole in the center of each peach ring. Then I carefully slid them on over the lollipops, stretching them a tiny bit, but not much. Perfect! Of course when it came time to put the pops in the cupcakes they were a little top heavy and didn’t want to stand up, but that’s another issue. The kids loved them, ate all of the extras, and they looked really cute!
Are you ready to make your own Soda Box Cake? I’ve been making these for a while now and I have to say that as much as I love to bake, I really get it. The convenience of a box can not be beat. There are lots of fun flavor combinations to try! So far I’ve made a chocolate cake mix with root beer, and several vanilla cakes with cream soda. I use European Gourmet Bakery Organics brand cake mixes and Zevia brand soda (sweetened with stevia and junk free!). Save yourself some time and whip up one of these soda cakes—you’ll be amazed at how fluffy and delicious they are! If you do make one, take a picture, post it on Instagram, and tag it with #frieddandelions! You’re going to love this!
Lemon Blueberry Space Cupcakes—aka Soda Box Cake, makes 24 cupcakes, or 1 2 layer cake
1 box vegan cake mix (I used European Gourmet Bakery Organics)
1 12 ounce can cream soda, I think lemon soda would be good too (I used Zevia)
1 c frozen blueberries
1 t lemon extract
Preheat your oven to 350°. Line your muffin tins with 24 paper wrappers. Set aside.
Pour your cake mix into a bowl. Scoop out 1 T of cake mix and mix it in with the frozen blueberries (this is supposed to keep the color from bleeding and the blueberries from sinking to the bottom, so I’ve been told!).
Pour the can of soda and the lemon extract into the mix—it will bubble quite a bit. Mix well, but don’t over mix. Add the blueberries into the batter and mix gently to distribute.
Fill each cupcake paper about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full with the batter (divide the batter evenly among the 24 cupcakes). Bake at 350° for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before decorating.
(For the birthday party we decorated the cakes like space, but for David’s family dinner I made the same cake, but in 2 layers, and frosted with coconut whipped cream).
1 batch frosting, made from this recipe, dyed blue (I used India Tree natural food coloring)
3 bags Surf Sweets gummy rings—we used peach and watermelon flavors
24 dum dum lollipops, or other small round lollipop
2 small packages of Skittles
Let’s Do Organics Sprinkelz, or other vegan sprinkles
Using a small round cutter (I used the wide end of a piping bag tip), cut out the center holes of the gummy rings to make the hole bigger. Slide 1 gummy ring onto each unwrapped lollipop (around the candy part) and set aside.
Frost each cupcake, decorate with sprinkles, add a few Skittles planets, and one planet pop. Enjoy!