Yesterday was my little boy’s 7th birthday and also his birthday party. How often do we manage to actually hold a party on the actual birthday? I was pretty thrilled for MM that it worked out that way and he was majorly excited. His request this year was for a Little Big Planet birthday party, based off the PS3 game that he and hubby are hooked on.
This was not a super easy theme to work with, but I took notes from last year on how little the kids really noticed all my efforts in the Star Wars party I threw and decided to just make a loose interpretation and focus on the party being fun and easy. For party favors I focused on little things and big things and school supply-ish drawing & coloring things. I put the favors in brown paper sacks (partly because it was easy and partly because it made me think of sackboy from the game). I printed off a bunch of Make Your Own Sackboy printables that kept the kids entertained throughout the event though I’m not sure anyone successfully assembled theirs. I went with plates and napkins in blues & greens to sort of resemble planet Earth and we decorated the cake to look like Earth (sort of).
Our cake recipe this year came straight out of the book I’m reading right now, Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman. It’s a French Yogurt Cake or gâteau au yaourt that is apparently one of the first recipes that kids in France learn to make. I was inspired to try it out with MM who always expresses an interest in cooking with me but rarely gets to do so in the hustle and bustle of our days and also because mommy is a neurotic control freak. But I’m working on that. And this recipe looked perfect. It all starts with two 6 ounce containers of plain yogurt – after you throw in the yogurt, you use those two containers to do almost all of the measuring for the cake which uses very simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand. And it’s a very forgiving recipe that can be adapted to suit your preferences. We threw it in a bundt pan because I’m obsessed with bundt cakes but you could make it in pretty much any pan and just adjust your bake time accordingly.
French Yogurt Cake (gâteau au yaourt)
adapted from Bringing Up Bébé
- 2 (6oz) containers of plain yogurt (keep containers for measuring the other ingredients)
- 2 eggs
- 2 containers sugar (adjust for desired sweetness)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- just under 1 container of vegetable oil
- 4 containers flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 or 2 containers of mix-ins like chocolate chips, dried fruit, frozen berries, etc.
- Crème fraîche (optional)
- powdered sugar (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 F
- Coat a loaf pan or 9″ round cake pan with cooking spray or oil.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and oil.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.
- Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, stir until just combined. You can now add the chocolate chips or berries if using them.
- Scopp it all into your baking pan, bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden and the cake springs up when touched (or when a toothpick inserted is pulled out clean). Let it cool on a rack.
- Dust with powdered sugar (optional) and serve with the Crème fraîche (optional).
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 40 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8
We threw in some chocolate chips and dried cherries and it came out delicious. MM was a tiny bit hesitant about the measuring and pouring but that’s probably because he hasn’t had much practice. I definitely plan to make this again and try to encourage the kids to help me in the kitchen more. Frosting the cake was an adventure because, well, for starters – the shape of the cake was a bit self sabotaging but I decided we weren’t going for perfect, just fun. I let MM do a lot of it himself but my efforts to help weren’t much better than his. I am definitely not a cake decorating kinda gal, but it tasted delicious!
The party itself ran very smoothly. The kids played a lot of video games and ate lots of pizza, cake, ice cream and popcorn (and a fruit platter and some jelly beans). The printouts I put out definitely got used and the kids seemed excited about everything. MM got a ton of awesome gifts – I tried taking pictures but the crowd of kids “helping” made it difficult and to be honest, I somehow barely saw it all get opened. His thank you cards will likely be a tad on the generic side (side note : remind me to help him write thank you notes soon!)
I think MM is getting to the age and stage where party themes are less and less important. I put the emphasis on him having fun with his friends and providing some good food and I think that paid off for sure. We had a great time and went with a relaxed schedule of following their lead. When they all wanted to go outside and throw a football around? We said sure thing and took the dog out, too, for some outdoor time! Doc the Dog did so well at the party btw – he was very well behaved in his crate during the party and loved all the attention from the kids. I’m glad we chose to keep the crate downstairs so he could meet all the kids safely and that he got to run around a little bit outdoors with everyone.
All in all, it was a perfect day! I’m so grateful for all our friends that were able to come and share his special day with us!