Posts tagged #birthday

How to make a Pinata Cake

Pinata Cake Birthday Mama Pyjama

Birthday cakes are a big deal in our house, and this year was no exception! :)  My newly turned 6 year old loves pinatas.  What's not to like?!  A big surprise package filled with goodies that you get permission to smash the heck out of?  That's every kid's dream right - even for some of us big kids hey ;) ? So it made total sense this year to create our special little man his very own Pinata Cake. 

It was a huge success, and honestly the easiest cake I've made to date. 

If you want to give it a crack (pardon the pun) - here's how I did it:

What you'll need:

  • 2 packs of chocolate melts (I used 2 x Nestle Bakers' Choice Melts Milk 375g packs)
  • A selection of treats for inside the cake (I used chocolate freckles, gold chocolate coins and m&ms)
  • Cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Chocolate Cake Mix)
  • Chocolate Frosting (I used the stuff that came with the cake mix)
  • Oil Olive
  • Fondant for decorating (I used Queen Ready-to-Roll Coloured Icing from Woolies)
  • Metal pudding steamer (20cm diameter)
  • Round deep cake tin (15 cm diameter x 7.5cm depth)

Step 1: Make the Shell

  • Place the metal bowl in the freezer for 10 mins
  • Remove bowl from freezer and line the inside very generously with oil olive.  I used heaps.  Make sure you cover every inch of the surface.  This will make your life A LOT easier when you go to remove the chocolate shell from the mold. 
  • Once covered with oil, pop bowl back in freezer.

Get your spatula out and ready - you'll need this for smoothing out the chocolate.

  • Empty chocolate melts into a microwave safe bowl (leaving a handful aside to use to 'glue' m&ms to the outside of the shell).
  • Melt chocolate in microwave according to instructions on pack.  FYI, mine took three bursts of 1 minute at medium heat.  Be really careful not to overheat them - stirring each minute.
  • Once chocolate is melted, grab your bowl from the freezer, and make sure your spatula is on hand. 
  • Pour the melted chocolate into the bowl and immediately start swirling it around the bowl to evenly cover the inside surface of the bowl.  You need to be quick as the chocolate sets really fast.  I found that I needed to use a spatula to start spreading the chocolate out as it began to set before I had fully cover the whole surface.  Work with the spatula to ensure an even coverage of chocolate.  Don't stress if it looks really messy.  Mine did too. 
  • Once partially set (a few minutes), cover the inside of the bowl in cling film and pop back in the freezer to fully set. 

I read a lot of recipes on the internet that talked about the difficulty in getting chocolate shell out of the bowl.  Cracked shells, shells that had suctioned themselves to the bowl, multiple attempts to get one out etc etc.  So I thought I'd try something a little different, and I'm very happy to report that it was super successful. 

  • I only left my bowl in the freezer for a short time - about 10-15 minutes. I just had a sneaking suspicion that the longer it was left in the freezer, the more it would set to the bowl and the harder it would be to get out.  I've no idea if there's any science to that, but it worked so let's just go with it.

Then instead of using a 'hot damp towel' to warm the outside of the bowl as suggested in several recipes I read, I did this:

Pinata Cake Birthday Mama Pyjama
  • Fill the kitchen sink with the hottest water from the tap.
  • Place a chopping board on top of the metal bowl.
  • Holding the chopping bowl firmly onto of the bowl, immerse the bowl in the water right up to the top edge (ensuring not to allow any water into the bowl of course) and then count (quite quickly) to 8.
  • Immediately remove the bowl from the water and quickly invert the bowl and chopping board and set on bench (the bowl should be now sitting upside on the chopping board on top of the bench).
  • Gently lift the bowl from the chopping board, and the shell should come out instantly.
  • Stand at the sink and do a happy dance for about 15 seconds.  This step is optional; though it really should be mandatory.
  • Wrap the outside of the chocolate dome in cling film and place into fridge.  Leave there until you are ready to decorate.  I left mine in the fridge for about 6 hours.

Step 2: Make the cake

  • As I said, I used a cake mix...you can use whatever you like, but make sure you bake it in a 15 cm diameter cake tin so that it will fit nicely inside the pinata shell.
  • I had a bit of a cake bake fail, using all of the cake mix to fill the tin.  Don't do that.  In hindsight, I probably should have used about 2/3-3/4 of the mix, not all of it.  It makes a heck of a mess, but luckily the cake was still salvageable! :)
  • Once baked and cooled, using a serrated knife cut a hole out of the centre of the cake, about 8 cms in diameter and about half the depth of the cake.  This is where all the lollies will sit.
  • I choose just to ice the very top surface of the cake so that I could stick some m&ms and freckles onto the top.  It's up to you how much you ice.  I just figured there was enough sugar on the cake already and that icing the whole thing would just get super messy for the kids.
  • Decorate the cake however you see fit and fill centre with lollies.  I used gold coins, freckles and m&ms.
  • Wrap in cling film and set aside.

STEP 3: Decorate the Pinata Shell

You can decorate the cake shell however you like.  If you want to use a variety of different sized chocolate buttons, you'll need to melt the chocolate buttons you set aside to 'glue' the buttons to the surface of the cake.

I used different coloured fondant cut into stars and circles to decorate mine.  I found the fondant stuck directly to the chocolate shell so that made things super easy.  I then added some m&ms using melted chocolate to stick them on.

It's really your canvas though - so go crazy.  You can use anything really.  So long as it's edible!  I have some great ideas for other pinata cakes - particularly some pretty ones that I'll likely not get to make being a mum of boys!  So hey, just putting it out there, I'd be happy to create for any Perth readers if you have a birthday coming up!  Feel free to inbox me at yomama@mamapyjama.com to discuss. :)

STEP 4: Put it all together

The fun part...actually the fun part leading up to the funnest part!

  • I'd suggest putting this together on a cake board of some description - a big chopping board would suffice.  Last thing you want is you 6 year old smashing to heck out of your dinner table...not to mention your plates. 
  • Unwrap the cake and pop it into the centre of the cake board.
  • Pick up your chocolate shell very carefully, and position it above the cake.  Gently and carefully lower it over the top.
  • Wrap the outside of the shell carefully with cling film and then place back into the fridge (on the board) until you're ready to sing Happy Birthday.  This will ensure the shell is as hard as possible, and will enable a nice big 'crack' on first hit.

Step 5: Smash and Enjoy!

Serve the cake with a hammer for smashing, preferably a kid's hammer. We used a meat cleaver as we couldn't find the kid's hammers that were supposed to be in their toolbox!  I probably wouldn't recommend that as your first choice though. ;)

Let the kids go crazy!

If you're in Perth and want someone else to do the hard work for you...I'm happy to discuss creating a cake like this for you.  Contact me.

If you're looking for more birthday cake ideas, check out my gallery here

To my darling sons, I promise you this...

Letter to my sons Mama Pyjama

To my darling sons,

As you near your 4th and 6th birthdays and our conversations are focused on the types of cakes we’ll have, the games we’ll play and whether we’ll have a Paw Patrol or Angry Birds party - there’s another conversation I’d like to share with you.  It’s the one that goes on in my mind in the wee hours of the morning whilst you’re both sound asleep in your beds; one flat on your back sleeping blissfully, the other curled up in a ball in the safety of your doona ‘cocoon’.  It’s full of silent promises I make to you both, when only the universe is listening.

There have been times, and there will continue to be times, where I don’t handle situations the best way that I could.  Sometimes I yell.  Sometimes I say something stupid.  Sometimes I even take my bad mood out on you.  Because even though I’m your mum, I’m human and I’m learning, and to be honest sometimes I’m just really really tired.  I can’t promise this won’t continue to happen at times, but I can promise to try harder.  I can also promise you that no matter what, I will never put you to bed without hugging, kissing and telling you I love you.  I’ll do everything in my power to ensure you know that I love you beyond measure and that nothing could ever change that.  No bad mood, no poor decision, no badly spoken word.  Nothing.   

I promise to be there for you whenever you need me.  I promise to let you go when you need to learn something for yourself.  I promise to protect you with everything I have, but I also promise to allow you to fall, to fail, and to make your own choices (even if you will later look at them as mistakes, and even if letting you make them causes me to age ten years in a day).  Because this is what being a good parent is all about.  I can’t live your life for you, I can’t protect you from ever being hurt, but I can provide a safe place to always return to.  You will always have a place to go.  No matter what.

I promise to tell you every single day how important you are.  I will remind you when you’re feeling insecure or anxious or scared, that no matter what – you have all the tools inside you to take on anything you want to.  I will fill your bucket so high that it won’t matter how many bumps and cracks and holes it gets along your journey through life, it’ll never run dry.

When someone puts you down or doesn’t want to play with you, I promise to help you through those times without allowing the lioness inside me to take over.  I promise to suggest to you that perhaps they were just having a bad day and that they took their bad mood out on you.  Or I’ll remind you that not everyone in life likes the same things, because if they did there wouldn’t be enough polony and sauce sandwiches to go around.  And then I’ll teach you that this extends to people too.  Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s ok…because you like you and lots of other people do too, especially me. 

When you’re doubting yourself and you want to quit, I promise to remind you that you don’t have to be the best at everything you do.  You just need to try YOUR best.  I will explain that you don’t need to be better than anyone else, because focusing on being better than others will make you forget that we all share the same universe and that you as much as anyone else adds value.  I’ll teach you to celebrate the ‘successes’ of others, and treat others with the same kindness and compassion that I will teach you to show yourself.

I promise all these things to you, but most of all I promise to teach you how important it is to love yourself.  Sometimes I will teach you through conversations, through praise, or by working through your feelings on good and bad days.  Other times I will teach you through actions, including loving myself enough to do things for me sometimes, because it’s important that you see me living my life in the way I wish for you. 

I promise to make this my biggest promise because when you love yourself, it doesn’t matter what anyone else says or does.  It doesn’t matter whether you get that big job, or if you captain the footy team.  It doesn’t matter where you finish in the running race, or whether you’ve got more money than your neighbour.  It doesn’t matter whether the sun is shining or if you’re buffed up or skinny.  

If you love yourself, you won’t spend a lifetime chasing happiness – trying to find it in other people, in possessions, in achievements.  When you truly love yourself; happiness naturally follows.  This is my ultimate wish for you both – happiness, in its most pure form. Happiness unrelated to anything other than just being.  So I promise to do everything I possibly can to ensure you are brought up to believe in yourself and to know your own worth and value, and to love and honour yourself as a result.  And if at the end of the day you love yourself with even a quarter of the amount of love I have for you – then I’ve done my job.

So happy birthday my angels!  May your days be bursting with expressions of love from family and friends, and your hearts and tummies full enough to carry you through another beautiful year…

Mama xoxo

First Birthday

First Birthday Mama Pyjama

A year ago today I threw myself blindly into the blogisphere and launched Mama Pyjama. I’ll be honest and tell you I had no idea what I was doing (I don’t think I’d ever actually read a blog before!)…but I did have a very clear mission.

That mission was to connect with parents suffering from “Mama Pyjama Syndrome” and give them the drive to pull themselves out of the rut and back into life again! My driving passion was to be a part of other people’s journeys of rediscovery. In short, I wanted to be the catalyst in getting other parents to reconnect with their passions and their sense of self.

It’s been a massive learning curve for me…there’s been moments of self doubt, internal conflict and confusion. But these moments have been well and truly outweighed by the moments of hope, happiness and clarity that have been borne through the simple act of speaking openly and honestly about my life and the ensuing support of my readers.

There’s nearly 3000 of you now…and whilst that may not be a big number in the grand scheme of things – for a small town girl like me, that’s a heck of a lot of people in my corner. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my life with you all.

I have also had the opportunity to do some pretty cool things in Mama Pyjama’s first year. It’s hard to believe that not that long ago I was trapped in my pyjamas just going through the motions!

Now I can proudly say I’ve worked with some big industry names like Bonds Australia, Disney, GAIA Skin Naturals, Kosmea Australia, Johnson & Johnson, Natural Life, iVillage and Bub Hub. I’ve interviewed some truly inspirational people – like the founders and creators of both GAIA Skin Naturals and Madame Flavour Tea. I’ve won a couple of blogging competitions and been nominated for a few more, which has brought with it a sense of pride and achievement. But most importantly I’ve connected with kindred spirits all over the world, some of whom I now call friends, and some of whom have attributed positive changes in their life to Mama Pyjama. I can’t tell you how amazing that makes me feel and how grateful I am to have the chance to make a small difference in the life of others.

So as not to go on, I’ll finish up here by saying – it’s amazing what you can do in a year if you set your mind to it. Remember, I was zombie mama: living each day just to get through to the next nap time. Now I see doors opening everywhere I look. I’ve got so many ideas in my head that sometimes there are not enough hours in the day or days in the week. I want to DO stuff. LEARN stuff. LIVE stuff. And it only took a single moment to trigger that shift. Don’t wait any longer to make a change. All you have to do is want it, commit yourself to it and truly believe it is possible. The rest will fall into place.