Pirate birthday triple chocolate cake!

When your kids birthday is in September but you only get around to celebrate it in December, there is 2 ways to go about it – Give yourself yet another “shitty parent” award or you know… be proud you made it on time before their high school graduation! I decided to pick option 2 this year, and so should you ! This is a post for all of us parents, You know who you are, you who have pinned the perfect birthday a million times on your “kids birthday” Pinterest board, but still look at the calendar with dread as the days grow closer and you feel the cold grip of panic of impeding doom. You smile, your eyes looking for the emergency exit, as you eves-drop the kids planning how many guests they would like to have this year. I mean 32 … seriously? How do you even know so many people, you are only 5!

Don’t get me wrong, like most decent human beings, I love the idea of kids parties, but when it comes down to actually doing it, I often say that I’d rather give birth again than actually organizing the damn thing!  Pretty scary prospect once you realize that my daily job managing a multi year, X million euro  IT transformation project seems a breeze to me when comparing it to  entertaining 10 mini humans for two and a half hours…

Lucky for me, I am surrounded by wise & all-knowing party geniuses who gave me a few tips & trick I’m glad to share!

  1. Stop freaking out, kids are self entertaining. – The great thing past the age of diapers, is that actually kids want very little to do with you adults and would rather be playing with each other, so keep the entertainment to a minimum and let them have fun on their own. If your crowd involves a bunch of super cute pirate wanna-bes, then save yourself a whole lot of trouble & book a spot in a indoor activity park! For a fee, they’ll book you a room for 2 hours, drinks, an ice cream cake and candies and of course a pass for each guest. The newly renovated Hoplop at Vantaa really blew my mind with the cool rooms themes & decoration and is truly worth checking out even outside of Birthday madness. Trust me, you’ll save on the cleaning up & entertainment headache… Helps when after jumping like mad on a giant volcano, your son decides that you look comfy enough to puke on 🙂
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  3. Let the parents know how you prefer the bday to go. Give them beginning and end times and if you’d rather they stay around to keep an eye on their offspring (again.. pirates) make it comfortable enough so that they’ll stick around. I.e. plenty of coffee and snacks also for the grown ups! And ask for help, you are surrounded by kind relatives or friends who will gladly support you if you simply let them know, what, how and when you need their support. You don’t have to do it all alone, simply make sure that you engage with precise requests and not just stand holding a blurry and desperate looking HELP ME sign in front of their window; that’d be weird..
  4. Food isn’t as serious as you I may think – I’m a weirdo when it comes to food… and that’s one of the reason why inviting is such a big deal for me. I really want it to be super exciting & special. But especially when it comes to kids birthday, I’m learning that less is more. A few simple snacks for curbing the immediate hungry feeling, and then a cool birthday cake will be more than enough. As you know from many of my post claiming to be a poor baker, I’m always surprised when anything I bake turns out  actually good. This is why I’m pretty excited about this cake recipe*, it’s annoyingly simple and taste incredible! Don’t worry about the fancy design. If you don’t have decorating skills just throw a bunch of sprinkles on it and call it a day. Anyways, it gets eaten and none really cares what was on top as long as there are candles to blow 🙂

That’s it for my wisdom on birthday… I’m still working on gathering enough courage to thrown a Hedgehog & Princess themed party to our 7 years old …. 5 months later than her actual date, but who’s counting?

Triple chocolate Birthday Cake


Ingredients for the Cake :

  • 2 cups all-purpose of flour
  • 1.5 – 2 cups of sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
  • 1 cup of milk
  • ½ cup melted unsalted butter ( I used clarified but you can use regular butter)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pf boiling water

For the topping* : 

  • 2 dl heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 100- 120 grams good quality dark chocolate
  • Optional: White chocolate melted & piped into a pirate flag, sprinkles… chocolate bars in cut in chucks…

*You can also make a frosting from the same ingredients, by combining the same ingredients in a similar manner, leaving to cool and beating with a mixer until pale and fluffy

Steps for the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 175 C. Prepare one large square cake pan by lightly oiling & flouring the base & sides
  2. Prepare the batter by mixing all the dry ingredients together
  3. Adding the egg, milk, melted butter and vanilla until incorporated
  4. Gently add the boiling water at the end, mixing until the batter is shiny & even
  5. Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake  up to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. If baking in advance. Cool completely and cover before freezing. take it out on the day to decorate with the chocolate ganache.

For the chocolate ganache frosting:

  1. Chop the chocolate roughly & Prepare the frosting by warming the cream (do not bring to a boil), add the chocolate and gently mix in until shiny & fully melted. Leave to cool for at least 20 minutes to ensure that the liquid thickens and sticks to the surface of the cake.
  2. Decorate according to your theme – For the pirate flag I copied a model from the internet onto a parchment paper & piped melted white chocolate over the drawn motif…

How about you, love or loathe? what’s your take on kids bday?

*Recipe’s inspiration from addapinch

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