Updated: 5 days ago
While part one focused on sweet and savoury party recipes, this newsletter showcases a selection of healthy birthday cakes, as well as easy ways to transform simple ingredients into attractive and colourful party foods.
Birthday cakes and top tips for presentation
In this newsletter I'm focusing on a range of cakes that look fantastic but are easy to make and not full of sugar and processed ingredients. I've also shared some simple ways to present healthy food in a way that makes it appealing to children. These don't require much equipment, but you can read more about what I have in my kitchen here.
Birthday cakes As well as often being quicker and easier than traditional cakes, below are some ideas for birthday cakes that are lower in sugar. It’s well known that sugar is detrimental to health but as we all love a dessert I’ve shown how to make these healthier versions instead of resorting to shop-bought ones.
1. Towers of fruit (similar to a wedding cake) work especially well for summer parties. Make the bottom layer with a watermelon cut into a large round cake shape, then add layers of melon and pineapple.
You can decorate with edible flowers, berries, stamped out smaller fruit shapes and then place names and candles on them. These are also fab for those with gluten and dairy allergies.
Also, over the years I’ve found that placing them on a cake stand with a custom-made name sign makes them look and feel extra special.
2. Jelly also makes for a super easy-to-make and low in sugar cake. Milk jellies (vanilla and raspberry flavour) have been a success in the past, as has jelly made of fruit juice and even herbal tea (see the recipes for all three on my Instagram here).
To shape the jelly I've used a castle mould which is always a big hit. You can also use any non-stick bundt cake tin to set jelly in the shape of a cake (seen below). Again, different coloured edible flowers and berries make for festive decorations.
3. I love beautiful ice cream cakes that can be made ahead of time. First, place 6-8 types of no-sugar ice cream and sorbets one at a time, in a cake tin in layers (make sure the tin is lined with cling film). It’s best to soften them slightly and spread one out then add another tub to make a second layer (and then third and fourth).
Wrap with cling film and freeze the whole cake for one day. Remove from the cake tin (a removable base works best for this) then cover in whipped cream. Once you cut it you can see the layers of colour!
With kids the simplest trick is to make foods fun, colourful and interesting. To encourage my kids to eat well at their parties, I make a big effort in the way I present food and ingredients. I’ve shown some of my favourite tricks below.
1. Children seem to love anything on a stick and this is a simple way to make party food appear fun. The trick for presenting them is to fill a jug with salt or sugar so that the wooden sticks don’t move around.
Simply cut the fruit into slices and stamp out shapes with a cutter. Push onto wooden skewers and serve! Wooden skewers / kebab sticks are available from most supermarkets.
2. Cutters are a great way to make food fun to eat. You can cut out fruit, vegetables, cheese, eggs and even tortillas, as I mentioned on part one. You can buy a big range of different shaped cutters.
3. Serving milk out of a small bottle with a beautiful straw can make healthy drinks cool! These are always a big success in my house. Two ways to make them extra special include turning the milk pink with freeze dried raspberry powder or placing the tops of the bottles in melted chocolate (white or dark).
I melt 90% chocolate from, press the bottle into the chocolate and then straight into pieces of freeze-dried fruit. Once cooled you can use a funnel to add the milk just before serving. I hired the lovely mini bottles from Make It Pop Shop and bought rose gold stainless steel reusable straw.
4. Platters are a great favourite of mine. Liked by both adults and children, they make for great party food. I find them the easiest way to quickly make healthy, nutritious, filling and colourful food for parties. In the past I’ve made cheese and cured meat ones, rainbow vegetable platters with dips (e.g. hummus or sour cream) and fruit platters.
Wooden chopping boards work really well (it doesn't have to be a serving platter).
5. As I mentioned in part one, my children usually chose a theme (rainbow, sea, rabbits, hearts etc). As well as pleasing them, I find that this can actually help as it narrows the focus of what you need to make. It also means you tend to come up with fun and different ideas, rather than standard children’s party food.
The latest we had at home was hearts; we had rainbow heart shaped healthy muffins, stamped out heart-shaped cucumber, cheese, peppers, carrots, mango, pineapple and kiwi, watermelon on sticks and heart-shaped cheese and ham sandwiches. It was a great success for my five year-old and so simple to prepare!
Wishing you happy birthday parties in the weeks and months to come!