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Orna's Blog

Birthday Baking Championship

Saturday was Aja’s 9th birthday (how did that happen so fast??!!) and we had such a fun party that I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

I never know what to do with party pics. Should I text my friends? Send a link to SmugMug? Post on Facebook? Or in this case I thought: what if someone out there wants to do a cake decorating party, why not help out and share what I learned along the way…

Aja and I are obsessed with baking shows (Me: #GreatBritishBakingShow #SpringBakingChampionship #HolidayBakingChampionship #KidsBakingChampionship   Her: #NailedIt #ManAboutCake #SugarRush #NerdyNummies #CakeWars #CupcakeWars) so I thought it would be fun to turn a decorating party into a baking contest.

I considered Duff’s Cake Mix, but decided that I could do it for way less $$$ myself (ahem, actually, not quite). My daughter totally busted me: “Mom – there are FIFTY cans of frosting – for TEN CAKES!!!” (We went through about 35 of them)

Well, you probably know by now that I don’t half-ass anything, so after testing two different cake mixes (why, I now ask myself??!) I then baked about 28 Duncan Hines (the winner) layers in total. (Remember when I used to hate box-cake-mix?)

We had just as much fun planning, shopping, and setting up together.

Aja personalized aprons for her girlfriends party favors, and they all signed her apron for a special keepsake.

We had ten daughter-mom teams. (Some more daughter-forward, some more mom-forward ?) The only thing I was permitted to do  was pretty-much keep my daughter’s hair out of her cake.

I was blown away by all of their creativity and focus. Each cake was SO beautiful and so DifFeReNT!!

I added some TwIsTs so that they could customize the flavor and design. (And I didn’t have to buy TEN of every ingredient ?)

We started with a What’s your Baking IQ quiz (I know you’re dying to take it too!), and once they got the correct answer, they got to pick a twist below.

The buzzers were really fun with ding-dongs and beep-beeps, but it would’ve been better if every single kid had a buzzer and we knew exactly who hit the buzzer first! But we managed to avoid any major drama and it seemed like everyone got a twist they liked. (Right, girls?)

The Limited Edition Pillsbury Candy Apple and Caramel Apple frostings were a huge hit. (I found them at Ralph’s)


I got the Bavarian Cream, Raspberry, and Dulche de Leche fillings at Kake Kreations on Topanga and Sherman Way. It’s a fabulous baking store so make sure to check it out if you like baking. Or you can order online:





5:30pm: Six “secret” judges arrived. Well, two (very brave) dads and two little sisters of our contestants, so technically not such a “secret.”



Plus two of the sweetest, most adorable boys ever. (Even I have a crush on them ?) You should’ve heard the buzz when the boyzzzz (I mean judges ?) arrived.



Between you and me I think it was the boy factor that kept the girls on track. ? I expected them to be scarfing toppings and licking the frosting off their fingers (even though I warned them that the judges didn’t want to eat “germ cakes”)… and boy, when we hit that timer they were driven like champions! We were totally on schedule—to my complete surprise!


The judges voted on appearance and taste. They did look a little intimidated (actually, terrified!) at first, but they got to taste TEN different cakes. And then eat birthday cake (Ralph’s – not Duncan Hines!!) too. Not a bad gig. (For the littles, at least ?)


Our four winners (the two middles tied for first) got medals, unicorn poop, and unicorn sleep masks.

(Honestly, each and every one of them was a winner, and it pained me to only give out four medals. But the girls always get mad at me when I renege on declaring a specific winner, so I had to go through with it.)


What a wonderful way to celebrate my sweetheart girl. This was a birthday that she—and I—will never forget. And I think all her buddies had fun too. (I mean, how could they not?!)



Looks like the moms had a pretty good time too ?





I’m thinking we should do an adult version sometime soon. (Who’s in?)

Special thank you to my awesome hubby, Sam, for putting up with all our baking, planning, and messing! And for taking all the vids and pics and generally being a super-cool dad!


If you’d like to do a party like this, message me in the comments below and I’ll be happy to share the details. (I didn’t want to bore the rest of you ? )



Some helpful links:

White kid chef aprons on Amazon >>

Fabric Markers for signing aprons on Amazon >>

7 inch layer cake pans on Amazon >>

cake strips for even baking (I prefer ones with Velcro) >>

7 inch parchment paper rounds on Amazon >>

Silver, Gold, and Bronze Medals on Amazon >>

I got 9 inch silver boards and 9 inch white cake boxes from Kake Kreations

Parchment Popups from Kroger/Ralph’s Market >>


Let me know if you have any questions!

Join my Bulka Banter Group on Facebook.

4 Responses

  1. What a fabulous accounts of the party! I was reminded of the enjoyment by elooking at all this and reading your description. I think everyone was blown away by this idea it was so well done! Bravo XOXO

  2. As always you are amazing. What a perfect party idea. Looks like a fantastic time was had by all. I certainly wouldn’t want to be the judge!!!

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