Sunday, 29 January 2012

Birthday Party of Awesome

Two years ago I got snowed in on my birthday. I didn't see anyone but Ian, I had a cake that I'd made for my colleagues at work that I had to eat all by myself and it was pretty pants. So, I made a promise to myself that I'd do something to celebrate my birthday so that it felt special. Last year we had a great nacho party. This year an idea came to me whilst watching Ian coming down the stairs for work one day. He was wearing some nice rainbow striped socks and it reminded me how much I like rainbows. If we'd had a massive wedding, I would have had 14 bridesmaids, two of every colour. So, a rainbow themed party it was.

I spent ages looking for inspiration, I even put together a whole rainbow party board on pinterest.  I had a lot of plans but I'm not great at actually getting as far as executing. I still think I pulled off an impressive spread but I could probably have done some more awesome rainbow stuff if I'd spent less time on the internet!

The first task I had to tackle was the rainbow jelly. It needed to set so I started this one in advance. The first two colours were hard work because we don't have blue jelly in the UK and the blackcurrant jelly was not as purple as I'd wanted. Consequently we used soft drinks and gelatine to make these layers. We wanted the jelly to be slightly more exciting than just clear layers (when I say we, I mean me - Ian just got dragged into helping) and so we split each colour in half and added milk to one half to make it more opaque.  It turned out pretty good, there were two different methods of eating it within our group, some ate each layer individually, some attempted to get a spoonful with all the layers - all ate the jelly (apart from one person who doesn't like jelly who had a pretty decent stab so I'm pleased still).


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The next task was to make the centrepiece cake. I was inspired by this cake, and I followed the recipe for the icing, but made the sponges with my normal basic sponge recipe (although I did leave out the egg yolks so as to get a whiter starting mix - not sure that was strictly necessary because the food colour paste I used was pretty bright so could probably have taken the yellow - guess I'll never know as I've no plans to make another one!).  The icing was delicious but was quite hard work to make, mainly due to the fact that I wanted to do the pasteurising mentioned in this post so that my pregnant friend could also enjoy the cake.

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Most of my friends knew what was coming with this cake, but the white icing allows you to hide the rainbow inside the cake until it's served which adds extra wow factor. I'd recommend cleaning the knife between slices to avoid getting coloured crumbs in the icing of the next slice.

The morning of the party, I was making more sweet rainbow delights, this time in the form of marshmallow rice krispie treats. These stuck to anything and everything, but eventually I saw the part in the recipe about spreading them out with a buttered spatula and everything became easier!

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I wanted to make sure that not everything on the table was for the sweet tooth so I made a rice salad to balance out all the sugar. My plans were to dye a small amount of rice blue to add into the salad, but we ran out of time. It was still quite colourful though with the addition of red pepper, sweetcorn, peas and small cubes of ham.

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I also made a nice tower of rainbow crudites, which allowed me to use another of my many cake stands (after wanting one for several years, I ended up with three as wedding gifts and two more this christmas - I'm not complaining, but I think Ian might be!). I was proud to get natural blue onto my tower too in the form of blue tortilla chips and I felt very pretentious serving up dip that we'd bought from a local restaurant too!

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For those after the healthy option, we also had rainbow fruit kebabs, on another cake stand. We made about 10 of these, so we only needed 10 pieces of each fruit, but we weren't thinking when we went shopping and so bought masses and masses of fruit! Ooops!

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I really impressed myself with the colourfulness of the table and I think this party will be well remembered for quite some time. If you want to see more rainbow party pictures, check out my set on flickr.

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3 comments:

Lisa said...

Wow! I can't think of anything but WOW!!

What a lot of hard work, but what a result!!

That cake is an absolute masterpiece.

Clare Hooper said...

Whee! A super write-up of a super party. Are you really regretting not doing even more rainbow things?! I was impressed by how rainbow-y it was in the event :D

Thanks again!

Carrie said...

This post makes me happy to re-read, think I'll be returning to it every time I feel down.

Clare - I always wonder what I'd manage to achieve if I gave myself more time - I'm never 100% with myself even though I know it was awesome!