In a rousing change-up from my normal routine, I flew to California to visit my daughter Brenna’s family and get cuddle time with new baby Mack, and found myself in a flurry of preparations for Sophie’s 9th birthday. Birthday parties are my idea of great fun, especially since Brenna and I go by the same principle: more is better.
The theme was black, white, and hot pink zebra designs. There were three girls coming – plus Sophie – for pizza, a slumber party, and bowling the next morning. It was obvious I hadn’t thrown a slumber party in a long time, because I thought that just four girls (and little sister, Taunee) couldn’t eat that much and wouldn’t make very much noise.
Stop laughing. I can’t hear you anyway, because my ears are still ringing. This may be permanent.
The girls may not have eaten much at a time, but the foraging was constant. Picture locusts working their way through a wheat field. Luckily, Brenna was far more realistic and prepared for this situation. Pizza, bread sticks, potato chips. bowls of color coordinated candy (Good and Plenty candy provided the perfect color), drinks with festive paper straws…no one starved. And for the Pièce de résistance, she made this awesome zebra cake:
Start with two batches of cake (boxed mix or scratch – your choice) one white cake and one chocolate. She added a little black food coloring to the chocolate batter. In two cake pans layer dark and white batters, pouring about 1/3 cup (or 1/2 for wider stripes) at a time in the center. Don’t spread the batter. Don’t even tap the pan! Just pour.and bake.
Brenna cut shapes out of Wilton sugar sheets (they come in beautiful designs), and placed them on the hot pink sugar covered icing, piping around each shape. If you’re not into hot pink frosting, a simple white cake with the sugar sheet design around the sides would be lovely. Just pipe around the top edge of the sheet and decorate the top however you wish.
I got up early the next morning and started the dough for homemade doughnuts. Here is a link to my recipe and instructions. Doughnut Recipe
I used butter instead of shortening this time, and they turned out great. This pleases me because I really don’t like to use shortening unless I absolutely have to. Also (and this was a wonderful discovery) if you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can put a kernel of popcorn in the oil when you start to heat it, and when it pops the oils should be between 350 and 365 degrees – which is just right for frying doughnuts.
The zebra doughnuts were an adult-pleaser, but the girls had more fun with doughnut holes, dipping them in bowls of sugar, cinnamon sugar, and maple, vanilla, and chocolate icing. With sprinkles, of course!
We had a blast decorating, baking, and listening to the giggles and shrieks. Cleaning up wasn’t quite as festive, but then – it never is!
Happy 9th birthday, Sophie Grace!