Simples. Birthday cake. Call me old fashioned but I just don't get the latest protocol at children's birthday parties. I have witnessed, on a regular basis, the birthday cake coming out adorned with candles - cue singing and clapping and then taken away. Not to be cut up, put into napkins and popped into the party bags as a token of the birthday celebration but to be taken home by the parents and eaten later.
Now not everyone does this - some still actually bring out the cake and then divvy it up and share amongst the guests. But a lot aren't. Why? Surely if you've gone to enough trouble of paying approximately £10 per child to have a party with food, games and party bag included that buying a cake, cutting it up is relatively pain free. It seems not. It appears that there is too much effort involved in bringing a knife or asking for one, cutting it up (or asking the venue) and putting each piece of cake into a party bag.
This is the only reason I can come up with as to why parents don't do this. Or are they so cake deprived this is the only opportunity to sample a novelty cake from the supermarket? I would suggest you buy 2 then - 1 for the guests and 1 for yourselves to eat later. Perhaps after the take-away you will be having later - food deprived we certainly aren't.
My daughter always asks after leaving a party (or more often than not in front of the hosts) "but mummy we haven't had a piece of the birthday cake". I really don't know what to say as I can't work it out either. I generally say something along the lines of it doesn't matter but really I would like to ask "why don't you cut up the cake and share it?"
Party bags are a fairly recent thing - there was a a time you didn't have party bags. Someone won the pass the parcel prize - there weren't consolation prizes like there are today and the cake was cut and ate there and then.
To make the whole cake cutting as easy as possible you can even buy a 'tray bake' (usually of chocolate brownie consistency) which is cake in tin foil sold by all major supermarkets and serves probably at least 20. I am assuming this is for ease of cutting etc in the absence of a traditional birthday cake. I mean even the novelty ones for a tenner are plenty big enough to accommodate the party guests.
I make the children's birthday cakes only because I didn't want to go down the frozen Sara Lee route (see previous blog post in November). Even if I didn't I would most certainly be making sure the little guests all had a generous slice. What will your child remember about past birthdays - it won't be the presents, who came or even where it was. They will always remember what type of cake they had.
It is the little opinion of this 38 year old woman that the birthday cake encompasses the whole celebration and is, in fact, the best part of any party.
So please share the celebration and divvy up that cake!