Sam turned 10 last Monday. The poor boy has been sick for a few weeks now--an awful cough and lethargy being the main problems--but he was feeling a bit better on Monday so I let him eat his cake, despite my threats that he wouldn't be allowed to if he didn't get better soon.
I loved this cake, though I didn't expect to. Mom bought the Whoppers a month ago and I've been trying to find a time when I could use them to decorate the cake. But as I was making the cake and taking the occasional taste of the icing, I was thinking how I would tell people about it. ("It was good. The icing worked well with the sweetness of the Whoppers, the ganache was a nice touch... the only mistake I made was, well, making a Whopper cake.")
Contrary to my expectations, I don't have to tell you that because the cake was phenomenal. The icing tasted far less sweet once it was on the cake, all the flavors worked together perfectly. I detest too much ganache, but I used a hairdryer to spread the little bit I put on the top of the cake into a thin layer. The cake even tasted better the second day.
But you probably don't care about the details of that and I'll be posting it on my food blog, anyway.
This treat deprived sick kid was very eager to dig in
Sam was only allowed one small piece of cake because I insisted he needed to treat himself well and get better. (The one who made the cake has quite a bit of weight in these matters.) Sam was convinced I had an ulterior motive. And I did, just not quite the one he expected...
A surprise birthday party! I'd been planning it since my own surprise party in January, but Sam still had no clue. He persisted in alternating between saying that surprise parties are lame, and complaining that he's never had one.
After much debate, I discovered that Sam was wanting to do his own Percy Jackson themed birthday party this year, so I just took his ideas and improved upon them. Happily. I'm pretty sure I love those books more than he does, but he'd fervently deny that, so don't tell him.
For those of you who haven't read the Percy Jackson books, I just want to tell you why l love them. Rick Riordan created fascinating, full characters and put them into a fascinating world. I'll be the first to pronounce that Greek mythology is really dirty, but--unlike the movie--the books are clean. Percy is blind to what it says about the Olympians morals that they have so many half-mortal kids, but that's completely natural. People don't want to believe bad things about the people they love. Beneath the fun story, Riordan has powerful messages about perspective.
The invitations were a lot of fun to make. I tweaked the words from an invite I found online, printed them in Greekesque lettering and printed them. Then, I poured raspberry herbal tea on them and let them dry in the sun. Then I burned the edges and tied them up into nice little scrolls.
The next fun order of business was the Medusa head pinata. It was a complicated business. The idea behind the pinata was simple: Blow up a balloon, paper mache it, and decorate! In practice... it exploded twice. So if you make a pinata, don't put it somewhere very warm to speed the drying. Even if you already have four layers on it.
The best part of making this pinata was watching how clueless Sam was. I said I was making a globe and he believed me. I said the nose on the 'globe' was Mt. Everest and he believed it. It was also fun to fill it with 'ambrosia' and 'Hermes Multi-Vitamins'.
They had to be blindfolded so Medusa wouldn't turn them to stone
They had a wooden sword to hit the pinata with
Sam was an hour late arriving to the two hour party, so we were pretty rushed the entire time but we had a fun time. Erik dressed up as Poseidon for me and kept the kids entertained while we waited. He also taught them sword fighting and led the Poseidon team for Capture the Flag.
Poseidon's team flag and swords
Athena team (I led this one)
After we got Sam out of the house, I had two hours to get the party things ready and over to the pond for the party. I was rushed enough I ended up leaving about half of the things behind, but the rest of the family was able to bring them later. The toughest bit was frosting the cake, which I had ten minutes to do. And it was an ice cream cake. I have never made an ice cream cake. But I had the right tools so it turned out pretty well. I forgot to take a picture until it was almost gone, though, so you can't see the entirety of it.
And that's it! I could go on and tell the story of tree limbs breaking off with the party guests in them... but the post is getting long enough as it is.