You guys. I’ve thrown a lot of kids parties in my ten years of parenting. I mean a lot. But the 10th birthday party I just threw for my eldest was my favorite. And relatively easy to pull together. The theme? Cupcake Wars.
If you have a kid that enjoys baking or even just likes cupcakes (and who doesn’t?), put this one on your list. The reason I loved the party so much was not that it was the most instagram-worthy or had the yummiest food. It was because the kids got so into it and had such an amazing time. I got such a kick out of watching their creative shine and seeing what they made. Note I said seeing, not tasting. 😉 Highly recommend this party theme.
Let’s jump right into to what I did, shall we? First, I bought some inexpensive kids aprons in different colors. Each color corresponded to a cupcake war team. Then I ironed on cupcake decals and each guests’ name. The guests each got to take home their apron at the end of the party.
For the party, I mimicked the real Cupcake Wars Show on the Food Network and had the competition consist of three rounds.
Round 1: Taste
The first round was all about taste. The instructions I provided the kids are below.
For expediency sake, I provide the girls with a few flavors of pre-made batter (box mix, natch) and various flavors of canned frosting.
There were a bunch of add-ins in our Cupcake Wars “pantry” and the rules required each team to use at least three items from the pantry. The pantry consisted of items like berries, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, M&Ms, and coconut along with a bunch of flavorings which were a big hit with the teams.
Each team got a station with the necessary supplies and had to bake a dozen cupcakes (three different kinds, so four of each) to be used in the three rounds.
After the girls “concocted” their cupcake batters, cupcakes went in the oven. Then the girls made their frostings and watched an episode of Cupcake Wars. Most the girls had seen the show already, but it was a good for those who hadn’t seen it, and a good time kill while the cupcakes baked and then cooled.
After that, the team frosted one cupcake of each kind and presented the three cupcakes to the judges (i.e., my husband, my brother, and a good friend of mine).
Judging was hilarious, because each team really got into it. They presented their cupcakes with detailed explanations of the flavoring of each cupcake and the thought process behind them. The “judges” asked them questions during tasting which they thoughtfully answered. It was a sight to behold.
Side note: I think the adults “judges” had as much fun at this party as this kids.
Round 2: Visual
Round two was all about the look of the cupcakes. As instructed below, each team had to frost and decorate one cupcake of each flavor and present them to the judges.
For this round, I emptied my baking cabinet and laid out all my food gels, piping bags/tips, sprinkles, etc. The whole thing didn’t cost a cent.
Again, the girls creativity and thought process that went into decorating the cupcakes was so cool. Some teams coordinated their decorations to the cupcake’s flavoring. Another decorated theirs based on what they thought the birthday girl would like. It was neat to watch.
Round 3: Presentation
On the real show, for the final round they bring in carpenters that help the teams create a huge centerpiece to hold 1000 cupcakes. Clearly, this wasn’t feasible so I had the girls present their cupcakes (however many they chose) using any items on the presentation table.
For the presentation table, I used items I already had or borrowed. There were items like ribbon, tissue paper, doilies, cupcake holders and cupcake toppers along with a variety of cupcake stands. It ended up being a great way to get rid of leftover items!
At the end, the judges announced the winning team for each round and the overall winner. Each team member got a certificate for the round they won (sorry, I forgot to get pics of these!).
Between Round 2 and 3 we did pizza and cake. For the cake, I made a giant cupcake using a silicone mold. I made it a “piñata” cupcake with sprinkles inside which impressed the girls (another picture forgotten . . . ).
The cupcake wrapper was made with white modeling chocolate dyed purple using this technique. It was actually pretty easy. I decorated it with pink rosettes and purple flowers.
I also made a bunch of regular-sized “piñata” cupcakes. At the end of the party, each guest took home a piñata cupcake and one of their team’s cupcakes.
Phew, that’s a wrap! An awesome party that was (relatively) easy to pull together. Highly recommend!