29 November 2009

Dinosaur Adventure Party with Volcano Cake

My eldest son, Dash, has just turned seven. This is the kid who would start planning his next year's party as we start cleaning up the mess of his this-year's party. He's party mad.

But last year I warned him: Next year, no big party. Just four friends. Maybe a sleepover? With a whole year to get his head around a "more intimate" sized party, there was no fuss. A sleepover sounded good, with a limit of four; closer to the time he requested a Dinosaur theme.

We planned the party for a Friday night, with the boys being dropped off at our house after school and to be picked up by 9.30am the next morning.
Invites went out to the chosen four - all boys we know pretty well, and could see them all getting on together fine.

We arranged for little sister to have her own sleepover at a friend's place, and kept the plans very simple:

  • kids arrive from school, set up their sleeping space,
  • have afternoon tea (milk with flavoured sippah straws, popcorn, fruit)
  • construct a hut in the bedroom out of camo tarpaulins
  • play soccer in the garden with dad, jump on the tramp etc
  • stick on fake dino tattoos, and play with dino goo
  • hide toy dinosaurs in the garden for a hunt after dark
  • have pizza & lemonade for tea
  • make their own ice cream sundaes for dessert
  • Birthday cake, Sing happy birthday/blow out candles
  • Play PS2 "Jungle Buzz" while we wait for it to get dark
  • Take torches & go dino hunting (keep what you find)
  • Play "Spotlight" with dad being the hunter
  • Watch "Night at the Museum 2" on DVD in sleeping bags
  • Fall asleep with no mucking around because they are soooo tired from having soooo much fun!
And that's pretty much how it went.

I had "survival kits" ($2 Shop belt bags) full of dino sweets, tattoos & goo; dinosaurs from the hunt could be collected in these; sweets could be eaten while hiding from dad during Spotlight.

I also found some great torches/mini lanterns for $3.90 each; since there where only 5 boys they each got one to use for the sleepover and take home.

Mr G and I agreed afterwards that this was actually our favourite birthday party ever. It was so relaxed and great to get to hang out with our boy and his mates! Friends looked at us a bit funny when we said we were having a sleepover (like, are you crazy??) but it was great. Honest.

There were only a few "moments" of tension when one lad completely dominated at Jungle Buzz and ruffled the other boys' feathers by gloating. We had a word in his ear and he toned it down and things went along more happily after that. But there were no shenanigans. They all slept well and went to sleep easily.

Mr G enjoyed taking on all five of them at soccer; the boys were ecstatic when they won 10-7.

There was no food prep apart from popping some popcorn and ordering some pizza. Oh and making the Volcano Cake. Oh yes. My best birthday cake ever.

Here's how I did it...

Erupting Volcano Cake

To make the Volcanic Cone...
Mix a double batch of One Egg Chocolate Cake batter. Line a medium ceramic bowl ( like the one pictured) with baking paper and fill with batter. Cook at 180oC until a skewer comes out clean (40-60 minutes). Don't cook on a fan-forced setting so that the cake will have an even surface. Meanwhile...

To make the Lava Eruption...
Line another oven dish with baking paper and arrange a packet of orange glucose sweets (e.g. barley sugars) randomly. Pop into the oven for approx 5 minutes.

They will melt quickly into a blob like this:

Before the melted candy hardens, use a knife to separate the blobs into individual pieces, with sharpish ends, like this:

Making the Base for the Cake: Sea and Grass

I used two peices of bought-in plain sponge cake from the supermarket, which I laid together to form a rectangle, and iced with Butter-cream icing to look like sea and grass.

TIP: Colour the batch of icing blue, and spread the sea on first. Then add yellow to get green for the grass. Once the cake is all covered, you can add coloured sugar crystals to form a line of sand and use a brush with blue food colouring to form "waves" in the sea.

The Volcano...
Once the cone shaped cake is completely cooled set it in postition on the base cake.
Mix up another batch of butter cream icing, add cocoa powder for a chocolate flavour and then add black food colouring until you are happing with the colour (a nice dark browny-charcoal).

Use an icing applicator (a piping bag or better yet a rigid plastic one, available from most $2 shops) use a wide plain nozzle, or a narrow wave-shaped one.

Apply the icing to the volcano starting at the based and working up in stripes. Try to keep it random rather than uniform, so it looks like volcanic rock. Continue until the volcano is covered in wrinkley icing. Use a knife to touch up/spread any bits that need it.

The Red Lava...

Mix up a batch of runny-ish red icing (no butter required); for a true red, use the gel icing colours, or just add plenty of yellow to a pinkish red. Fill up your icing applicator with red icing and apply some drips until it looks like lava flowing down. The icing will keep running down, so don't put toooo much on.

Finishing touches...
Add some toy dinosaurs, plastic trees and finally poke in the melted sweets for an erupting volcano.

My little guy's eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw his cake. His jaw dropped and he went, "Ohhhhh wooooowww! Aaaaawwwwesome!" And so did his friends.

  • Click Here for FREE Printable Dinosaur Party Invitation

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Lisa said...

What a fantastic party. You and your cake are, indeed, very "Ohhhhh wooooowww! Aaaaawwwwesome!" Congrats on the successful party and "Happy Birthday" to your son!

Trees said...

That is one amazing cake!

meg said...

Fantastic cake Simone! Maybe I need to make one for Christmas? The latest Little Treasures has a gingerbread house recipe and i think it's dairy free too wahoo!

Gail said...

He would have been totally chuffed with the cake and the sleepover! Fab job on both!

PaisleyJade said...

Sounds like such a fab day - and that cake is amazing!

Well done - good planning and making it less stress looks like it paid off!

Happy Birthday Master 7!!!

Widge said...

wow that cake is cool!

Sarah Gauntlett said...

wow that cake is amazing! and I love the pic a the top of all the boys with their flash lights - so cute! so fun!

Weza said...

I am impressed... what a funky cake. The party sounds like it was heaps of fun. You are a very fun mumma.

Sarah Gauntlett said...

Have featured this on http://kiwimummyblogs.blogspot.com/ this week!

kestrel said...

The volcano cake was the best ever i have seen. It seems a lot of preparation but the result was truely realistic - you should get a best mum award for all the effort

Anonymous said...

Hey are you a professional journalist? This article is very well written, as compared to most other blogs i saw today….
anyhow thanks for the good read!

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Sophie said...

wow Simoney, wow!

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