We all love Pinterest. In fact, I'm celebrating Pinterest today by putting cute little Pinterest thingies on each image so that it's easy for you to hover over the pictures and then pin them. In this way, I plan to become quickly rich and famous. Thank you.
So, yes, we all love Pinterest. And sometimes we love-hate it. Because sometimes the ideas don't work. Like, not even a little. And because sometimes the ideas might work; but they are crazy. I mean I'm sure that the smiling men and women who hang homemade paper lanterns for parties and then set glowing balloons afloat in the pool, while cutting their long grass into a maze for the children to run through and preparing 70,000 monkey-themed allergen-free party favors (and all this for their child who is turning one or maybe for an un-birthday of some sort, or perhaps it's all just a prank from that ever-clever elf on the shelf) are probably very nice, but also clinically insane and terribly ill human beings. And yet. And yet there's always this little part of us that maybe wants to float glowing things across lakes we don't have for parties we'll never throw. And maybe there's even a tiny part of us that thinks that we should be able to accomplish such a feat. Or at least, perhaps, remember to purchase balloons and blow them up for our own children's birthdays. But then we fail at this. So sometimes Pinterest can make us feel a tiny bit bad. Don't let it.
Instead do something easy. Something dumb easy, but still very beautiful.
This is it. Sure, I recommend a homemade cake. Because I love them. But I will not report you to the Pinterest police if you go on and make a non-homemade cake. If you do make a homemade cake, try this one (chocolate) or this one (white) or this one (coconut).
I got the idea for this from a book called Candy Aisle Crafts that my youngest daughter loves. Naturally for her birthday she picked out a cake from this book and carried the book around for weeks before her birthday. I was pleased to find that the idea did not require a blow torch or fondant (my nemesis) or any variety of crazy and was actually quite simple. And beautiful. These flowers were easy enough that my 7 and 5-year-olds could help with while I set my 10-year-old to creating stems and leaves.
And this cake. Sure, it's great for a 5-year-old's birthday, but it'd also be perfect for a spring party or baby shower. Frankly, this cake screams baby shower to me--I mean you could even color-theme those flowers blue or pink easy peasy.
Here's what you do.
1. Buy a flower-shaped cookie like this one:
2. When the frosting is freshly applied, stick those cookies on. (Note: You do not want to frost the cake and leave it as the frosting will sort of set up and you won't be able to stick things to it as easily, so wait to frost the cake until you've got your decorations and are ready to go.)
3. Next apply M&M's (or really any simple small round candy of your choice) in the center of your cookies. If you haven't found handy-dandy flower cookies like these with a hole in the center, you'll have to apply a little dollop of frosting to the center of your Nilla Wafers to make that candy stick, but this shouldn't kill you.
4. Make the stems/leaves. (Truly, unless you have a 10-year-old making these for you while you do other things, you might want to have them made beforehand, so you can just flop them on your fresh frosting quickly, but if you forget, you'll be fine) For this we used green Air Heads. They worked great as they can be easily cut and then shaped by squishing if any further shaping is necessary. Also, my kids are crazy about them even though I think they're gross. Our book recommended some type of flat sour candy (sour belts I believe), which would have been swell, but I could only find them in rainbow colors. In lieu of candy, you could pipe green frosting or perhaps use green Pull 'N' Peel Twizzlers, which I saw, but worried that they would not adhere to my frosting as well since they're not flat.
And you're done. I fought a mighty temptation to splatter the top of the cake with more M&M's or to put a big old flower on the top. Or to try some other elaborate and painful decoration. I'm glad I resisted the urge. Simple was better and it turned out beautifully. Also the entire flower-adding process took us only about 15 minutes (that 10-year-old was helpful, though. If you're doing this yourself, give yourself another 10 minutes to cut/shape those Air Heads).
Note: Cutting through the flowers is a wee bit tricky the first day, but on the 2nd day, the knife slides right through both cookie and Air Heads, so if you prepare you cake the day before (many good cake recipes, especially those with oil instead of butter, are actually better the 2nd-day anyway), you won't have to feed enormous slices to your guests.