I started out as a bit of an overachiever when it comes to birthday cakes. For my oldest child's first birthday, I spent 2 days recreating these adorable individual block cakes inspired by a photo in Martha Stewart Living -- at 8.5 months pregnant no less.
Everyone raved about them, but later that evening, after everyone had gone home, I collapsed into my favorite chair, utterly exhausted. As my mind wandered, it occurred to me that the whole day was pretty much a blur... And I suddenly realized that in my attempt to give my son an amazing first birthday party (that he wouldn't even remember, mind you), I'd barely even spent any quality time with him.
So right then and there I vowed that birthdays would be more of a simple affair in our household. Special doesn't have to be fancy and over the top, and I've found that my kids are equally happy to be served a Betty Crocker boxed cake mix as my more labor-intensive (but oh, so delicious) homemade carrot cake.
Simple doesn't have to be boring though! As demonstrated in the new Betty Crocker Birthdays cookbook, creating a beautiful and impressive cake or treat for any celebration can be really easy.
Oh, how I wish this book had been published years ago... It's just full of great tips for taking a basic cake and turning it into something memorable. And I especially love that every cake can be prepared without a specialized pan by simply utilizing the provided diagrams to slice up a sheet cake, transforming it into a pirate, dinosaur, soccer ball and more.
I let my girls flip through Betty Crocker Birthdays to help me decide which treat we should make together, and so far we've narrowed it down to the following two choices.
My 8-year-old wants to try these Birthday Cake Cookies which use a boxed yellow cake mix with pudding in the cookie dough. With a sweet vanilla frosting center and lots of bright sprinkles, these certainly fit her sunny personality to a T!
My 10-year-old is drooling over these Surprise Cupcake Cones. We've made ice cream cone cupcakes in the past, but these take it to the next level by adding additional cupcakes on top of the cone to get a realistic ice cream effect.
I have a feeling these might be a little messy to frost, but I'm sure we'd have loads of fun in the process...
Because messy and fun is how we roll around here these days. I let my 6-year-old frost his own birthday ice cream cone cupcakes earlier this year, and I think it may have been the highlight of his day! It was such a treat for me to watch him take such pride and care in frosting and sprinkling each one. THIS is what it's all about, folks!
Stay tuned to find out which recipe we decide to test out first! In the meantime, check out the Betty Crocker Birthdays hub for all of your birthday party planning needs. And be sure to pick up your copy of Betty Crocker Birthdays to make your next celebration fun and memorable!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Betty Crocker. The opinions and text are all mine.