Here are some tips to make your cake and party fun and stress free:
* Keep it kid-friendly: Consider the ages and individual tastes of the kids you'll be serving, and keep the menu simple for them and easy for you.
* Set up ahead: Do as much of the food preparation, game planning and decorating as you can ahead of time.
* Bake before: The day before the party, bake and frost the cake so you don't have to worry about it at the last minute.
* Make it mini: Instead of making one big cake, make cupcakes and get the kids involved in decorating their very own mini-cake.
* Super-scoop it: Cake and ice cream are a kid's favorite pair! Here's a handy do-ahead trick for serving ice cream. Up to 2 weeks before the party, line a muffin pan with paper liners. Scoop the ice cream into the muffin pan, then cover and freeze until ready to serve.
* Set up a sundae bar: Along with the cake, offer a make-your-own sundae bar. Set out different flavors of ice cream along with assorted toppings or sauces, candies, crushed cookies and whipped cream.
* Supply some no-yawn crayons: For when the troops get restless, keep a box of crayons or markers and a pad of paper nearby. Let the party-goers color and decorate their own place mats or name cards.
* Prepare for spills: Manage the party mess by putting a plastic drop cloth under the table to catch all of the inevitable fallen crumbs, drips and spills. Also, be sure to keep a sponge handy for quick and easy wipe-ups.
Looking for cake recipes with real kid appeal? Here are some of your favorites:
Cherry-Chocolate Chip Cake (see Bake-and-Take)
Color Vision Cake (see Wonderfully Indulgent)
Frosted Cupcake Cones (see Special Celebrations)
Train Cake (see Special Celebrations)
Sand Castle Cake (see Special Celebrations)
Lollipop Cookies (see Easy Cookies and Bars)
From "Betty Crocker's Ultimate Cake Mix Cookbook." Text Copyright 2004 General Mills, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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