It’s W’s birthday this weekend. 8! How could that be? As always, we’re out in Tofino for the actual day, but this year he wanted to have a few friends over before we left the city. I searched around for cool birthday party locations, thinking he’d want to go to the art studio or the movies or laser tag or something – as older kids tend to want to do – but he asked for a party at home, with a few games to play, and a chocolate cake. Sniff.
And so we played a game my mom invented for us as kids – tape two paper bags at the end of the dining room table, and get the kids to blow through a straw to race cotton balls from one end to the other, to the paper bag goal. My Dad had brought over the box from their new barbecue, and it provided over an hour of entertainment as kids and dogs folded themselves in and begged the bigger kids to roll the box around the yard. Who needs Chuck E. Cheese? Then we made superhero masks.
We hung doughnuts from strings on the apple and lilac trees in the back yard, a game my friend Jan sets up every Thanksgiving for her kids and the visiting cousins. The goal: for kids to hold their hands behind their backs and try to eat the doughnut. It was a total hit. I’m certain it would be equally hilarious with grownups. Perhaps paired with sangria. Lou managed to get two before we noticed.
As for the food, W requested a classic 8 year old boy birthday menu of hot dogs, ketchup chips, chocolate cake and a sundae bar. (This is the same thing I did as a kid – my parents made everything from scratch, and I begged for the packaged stuff we rarely got. I remember asking for Skippy peanut butter-instead of the all-natural stuff my dad would buy-and Wonder Bread one year for my birthday.)
We added bowls of berries and slices of watermelon, so that it wasn’t exclusively stuff with long ingredient lists. The night before, he amended his chocolate cake request, making it a KitKat and Oreo cake. (Hey, at least we didn’t have to make another chocolate dinosaur.) I had, luckily, seen a KitKat cake over at Jan’s, and so rather than fill it with M&Ms I filled it with mini Oreos. Easy.
And as a (huge) bonus, you can slather that frosting on the without worrying about it getting crumby or looking perfect – in the end it will just act as delicious glue to hold the KitKats in place. And if you don’t have enough frosting, which can be disastrous in most layer cake situations, the top could conceivably be naked and you’d never know.
Obviously any layer cake would do the trick here – it could be anything inside, cake and frosting-wise, but W requested chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. That’s my boy. You’ll need 10 KitKats, but you may find yourself with one extra chocolate finger – a little reward for all your hard work.