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Bee’s 5th birthday – My Little Pony fun party

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It took me ages to go through the million pictures we took at Beatrice’s birthday party but I finally made it!

The 11th of April we threw a fun colourful party for Bee’s 5th birthday. I decided that being so fortunate to live in such a big house, it’d have been lovely to celebrate it here, having a big garden and many rooms where the children could play and have fun.

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We had 17 chidren coming so I knew I had to get organised and not only prepare delicious fun food but get together some games to play.

We decided the theme of the party ages ago. To be honest I was quite firm that it would have not been a Frozen party!! Bee was not too disappointed as she’s been into My Little pony for a while now so I only needed to enphasize that the party would have been very colourful with a rainbow cake and she was pretty excited.

First of all  I was desperate to find a tutorial to make a pinata.  On youtube I could only find complicated tutorials so I decided to make one out of cardboard boxes which was easy to make, perhaps a bit time consuming but overall the outcome was quite pretty! I filled it with different sweets, paper flowers and lollipops. I made it cloud shape as this is the cutie mark that the mini pony called Rainbow dash has got on his side.

 

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Then it was the food. I wanted everything to be colourful and fun. So not only a Rainbow cake was a must but cupcakes, jellies, fruits and home made meringues had to match the colours of the rainbow.

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To make the bottles of water go along with the theme, I added just a drop of edible colour in each bottle and they looked so pretty!

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I wasn’t sure how to decorate these vanilla cookies so at the last minute I put these mini pony plastic toppers on top and voila’

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Can you see that there is something missing on this cake? The reason behind it is that (obviously) when we went to place the Rainbow dash made out of fondant, it literally fell apart! 🙁

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Broken pony…

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So we took a few pictures of the cake with no ponies on it and then used plastic ones.

IMG_0572Here again my obsession with paper straws,  I decorated them with pretty happy birthday straw flags.

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If you remember in my previous post I was attempting to make meringues for the first time, here they are again. These little kisses meringue tasted delicious, were light, plus very pretty to look at.

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These were plain vanilla cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream and rainbow toppers made out of edible coloured fondant.

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After making these rainbow skewers I decided that this is the solution to get kids to eat more fruit. All children wanted one and there was none left!

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I made these homemade lollipops using corn syrup and decorated them with sugar sprinkles. I think they look fun!

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These were chocolate pyramids which I made using a plastic mould

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I underestimated how long it’d take to make this cake. I took me almost a day between baking the different layers, fill it, making the rainbow on top and making the swiss meringue buttercream in 6 different colours to match the outside with every layer of the inside. And when it was ready and I showed it to my husband guess what his reaction was? “Oh, this one, I was expecting something different…” URGH!

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One of the activities I had planned for the day was decorating cupcakes. I had previously baked one cupcakes and one pony cookie for each child. Then I had prepared a fondant layer shaped like a pony that the children had to decorate with all the different colourful sprinkles I put on the table.

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For the cupcakes they had pieces of fondant (each one was a different colour) which they had to roll and make a rainbow to recreate the cupcakes I made for the dessert table.

I have to say the imagination these kids had to create their own pieces of art left me speechless!

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Each child had a My Little pony name tag  so at the end of the party they could recognize their own creations and take them home.

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Then it was the table were all the kids ate their food. I had covered the water bottles with lovely rainbow printables and all plates, and table covers along with the bunting, the gorgeous balloons for the rainbow arch and the other foil balloons were from Partyrama. Great to find the whole themed party decorations in one place!

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The night before the party I found myself making lots of rainbow jellies. I’ve never been a big fun of jelly as we don’t really give it to kids in Italy but after this party I was left with quite a few jellies so my mom and myself started to have one after lunch just to try it (yes I’m not kidding I never had one before!) one after dinner and now we love it too!

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On the big table we had a platter full of colourful vegetables, more fruits, panini, crisps and crackers. Then my husband prepared pizza for the kids and for the parents who were pleased to be offered a beer or two too 🙂

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I spent every evening of the week before the party creating paper tails made out of crepe paper, for the kids to stick on this poster and cut 34 pony ears out of felt so the kids could put them on their head with little clips I had prepared.

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One of the best moments was when daddy started making candy floss! All the kids lined up to get one and went crazy about it!

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Each child took home a piece of the rainbow cake but still we were left with lots of cake, didn’t realised I made such a big one!

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The chilly wind didn’t stop the children going outside and playing in the garden

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And that pinata just didn’t want to break. After a while I just asked the kids to jump on it! lol

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It was the end of the party and I had prepared some goodie bags to give to the children. Each bag was filled with a different My little pony soft toys and the kids faces when I started to throw the bags in the air for them to catch, was priceless!

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After waving goodbye to the children, we suddenly look up and realised that in the sky there was a real rainbow!

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 What a perfect day it was, full of fun, friends, cake and many memories to keep forever.

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“Murder she wrote” dessert table

My mum is literally obsessed with the TV series Murder She Wrote. In Italy they still show it every day at lunch time and this has been going on for probably 20 years! I’m not joking when I say that she knows by heart every single episode!

So when I heard that Angela Lansbury was back on stage in London for the first time in 40 years, I quickly phoned my sister and together we decided that a ticket to go and see the famous “Jessica Fletcher”,  was the perfect present for my mum’s birthday. Note, my mum doesn’t speak or understand a word of English but still we thought that  meeting her fictional hero would have been the experience of a lifetime. And it truly was!

This happened back in May and my mum was all over the moon! She flew to Edinburgh to see us and then with my sister went down to London to see Angela Lansbury performing on stage, she even managed to meet her after the show when she was leaving the theatre, wonderful!

Inspired by this I decided to create a Murder She Wrote dessert table to remember my mum’s experience in London and her birthday.

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For this table I thought using our antique typewriter would have been perfect! To be honest my first idea was to make an edible one but it’d have been too challenging. For this table I made a chocolate book, knife vanilla cookies and glass cupcakes. I wanted to make finger prints on the marshmallows but after I dipped my finger in dark edible colour and press on one marshamallow it just looked to messy so I just added them to the table as “marshmallow clues” (any excuse to eat marshamallows!).

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Making the chocolate book was pretty elaborated.  I found a video on youtube which explained how to do it and it made it look so easy! Definitely wasn’t! The chocolate was not melting properly, then it was too sticky to work with, then too hard to fold urgh! I had to make around 25 white thin chocolate pages and I got fed up and made only 10 which are not as thin as they were supposed to be but I thought they did not look too bad. To make the writing I just piped some yellow chocolate on parchment paper which was placed on the top of the font letters “Murder She Wrote”.

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Murder she wrote dessert table

To make the glass cupcakes first I made “the blood” by cutting some strawberries and cooking them on gentle heat with some sugar until they become soft. Then I passed them through a sieve so I could get  a smooth sweet sauce.

The cupcakes are just normal vanilla ones and the fosting  is a simple butter and icing sugar mix. The tricky part was making the “glass” . I found different recipes which called for corn syrup (a kind of Golden Syrup but with no colour). I could not find that in supermarkets so I decided to follow Martha Stewart recipe which adviced to cook some sugar with water and just before it starts turning golden colour, you take it off the heat and spread it on a parchment paper. Didn’t work first time as I got distracted by the kids. Second time around went better and although the sugar glass is not crystal clear I think it looks alright.

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To make the “Murder knifes” I made simple vanilla cookie dough and used a knife cookie cutter I bought online, to cut the shapes. Once I baked the knife cookies I prepared some royal icing (this time using meringue powder), added some black edible colour for the handle and made some grey edible colour for the sharp part.

TIP: did you know that to make the grey colour you need to use white royal icing and then add few drops of black edible colour and a tiny bit of blue edible colour? If you only add black rather than grey you get something that looks like light purple

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Nutella mini dessert table

This year Nutella is 50 years old and knowing my husband’s love for this chocolate spread, I decided to make a mini dessert table and bake a delicious three layer chocolate cake filled with Nutella frosting!

To accompaign this gorgeous cake, I made a few changes to my mum’s traditional Tiramisù recipe and created my very own Nutella Tiramisù recipe! It’s easy and quick to make it, try it too!

Nutella Tiramisù recipe for 4 people

  • 2 tbsp of Nutella (100 g)
  • 100 ml of cold coffee
  • 8 Ladyfinger biscuits (I used square ones but any shape will do)
  • 3 eggs
  • 250 g of mascarpone
  • 100 gr caster sugar + 1tbsp
  • Cocoa powder

Prepare some coffee (it’s up to you if you want to use instant coffee or espresso), add 1 tbsp of sugar, stir it and leave it aside.

In a bow whip the egg yolks with the sugar till they reach a pale colour. Add the mascarpone and mix for a minute or so (make sure you don’t overmix).

Put the Nutella in a ceramic bowl and heat it in the microwave for 10 sec at the time until you see it starts melting. Let it cool for a couple of minutes. In the meantime beat the eggwhites to stiff peaks and when the Nutella has cooled down fold (don’t beat) the eggwhites in to keep the mixture light and airy.

Pour some coffee in a shallow dish.

Dip the sponge fingers biscuits one at a time, turning for a few secs until they are soaked, but not soggy. Place them at the bottom of a glass and starting with the mascarpone cream, pour layers of cream in each glass, alternate between mascarpone cream, nutella cream and soaked sponge finger biscuits.

When you have filled all 4 glasses, dust some cocoa powder on the top.

Ideally you’d need to refrigerate the Tiramisù for at least 3 hours before serving. If you really want to make it super rich, then you could top each glass with some whipped cream! YUM!

If you love Nutella and you cannot have enough even during the summer, Nutella Tiramisù is the perfect Summer Sweet Treat to end your meal: it’s light and fluffy and DELICIOUS!

TIP: I knew my daughter would have wanted to eat a portion of Tiramisù, so I prepared one just for her replacing the coffee with a mixture of chocolate powder and warm water (or milk if you prefer) .

For the chocolate Nutella cake I followed the recipe from Sweetapolita but made a few changes.

Instead of vegetable oil I used melted butter and I didn’t add any coffee to the cake mixture.

I lowered the amount of sugar used for the cake mix: instead of using 450gr of sugar I used 350gr purely because I didn’t want my cake to be too sweet (so that I can enjoy more slices! LOL!).

The last thing I changed is the amount of sugar used to make the frosting to cover the cake. Instead of 565gr of powder sugar I used 400gr. I know more sugar is better when it comes to cover the cake and have a smooth result but I just cannot stand too much sweet when I bite a slice (or two) of cake.

If you want to impress your friend chocolate lovers THIS is the cake to bake! Enjoy!

“This post is an entry for the #MorrisonsMum Summer Recipe eBook Challenge sponsored by Morrisons, which has recently cut prices on over a thousand every day products. Find out more here price checker tool”.

Leonardo’s first birthday! – Part one

SNAP! A year has gone by so quickly and here we are celebrating my son’s FIRST birthday! All my family came over from Italy so we took the occasion to have him baptised too and we had a big party with fab food, lots of cake and obviously Prosecco!

For this party I planned to create a Carousel dessert table and I challenged myself to create a 3 tier carousel cake (yes, there is a hidden cake under the cone too!)…it literallly drove me mad! At one point I was ready to throw everything out of the window. Lucky my husband came to help me and together we finished decorating what it felt like an endless cake job!

Because we took many pictures of the beautiful day, this post is about the dessert table. Another post will follow soon with more pictures dedicated to Leonardo “the cake smasher”!

The sweets included vanilla and orange cupcakes topped with cloud frosting and carousel horses made out of fondant.

I used different  party favours and filled them with candy rock and golden chocolate.

For this dessert table I sticked to light blue, white and golden colours which I thought looked great together!

I really don’t know where to start describing this cake. It was hard to make it because of the many challenging tasks like trying to cover the cone without breaking the fondant or  figuring out how to make the horses stand up without breaking them or making them fall,  and many many others. But I’m glad I did not give up as it was my original idea to make a Carousel cake and I sticked to it! At the end I was pretty happy with the final result!

I was so inspired by many amazing pictures of babies wearing fun cone hats for their first birthdays so I made a light blue cone hat and cut a number one out of a golden glittery paper. Then I made a wollen pom pom and I attached it to the top. You will see in my next post how cute Leonardo looked with the hat on!

Can you tell some little person tried to grab the biscuit letters?

Every single golden detail was brushed with golden lustre dust and carefully glued (don’t worry it was edible glue) to the white fondant. It was so difficult not to get the fondant stained with the golden powder!

Not sure if it’s the new oven but these cupcakes were incredibly light and fluffy!

To create the baroque details I rolled out some fondant and pressed it in plastic moulds. After making 10 decorations of so they finally stopped breaking and started coming out fine.

I was so excited when I received this ferris wheel cupcake holder! I saw many pictures of it on various American websites and I looked for it for ages but it was only available overseas or available to be shipped over here for crazy prices. Glad I didn’t give up and eventually found one for a very good price!

Would you believe this was my first time creating paper pin wheels?

I think my husband still have nightmares about these little fondants dots. He made many of them and then carefully covered them in lustre dust… seriously when did he become so patient?!?!

I love marshmallows and I thought it was a fun idea to have them on a stick as a little treat.

Vanilla cookie biscuits covered in fondant went down pretty fine with many glasses of prosecco.

Many many balloons in the air…

Chocolate bars wrapped in golden paper.

My relatives at the beginning thought it was a fake cake… it was not!

How precious this day was I cannot even describe it.. unforgettable!

Don’t miss my next post where Leonardo will be presented with his own First Birthday cake  covered with cream. Will he smash it or gently eat it? Wait and see…