chocolate party

Sunday, 5 August 2012

What better way to celebrate turning 12 than with chocolate? What girl could possibly resist? Ella's 12th birthday party was a hit with her guests; I mean - show me a girl who doesn't like chocolate and I'll show you a disillusioned mum.

This is the last 'official' home party I'll throw {famous last words} for Ella, who is now just about and pretty much a young woman. It's kind of freaking me out, but that's another story.

You can see my chocolate party invitations here.

For decorations, I laid a strip of wrapping paper down the centre of the table, made a kabillion pink paper chains and pinned them against the wall. A few curling, chocolate-coloured ribbons also hung from the ceiling.

The ice cream cones were super easy. I drew a gridlike pattern onto cream card and then rolled it into cones. These were glued to inexpensive pink paper lanterns. I was originally going to hang these, and the lanterns are perfect because of the wire loop for hanging. To finish them off, I cut 'dripping' circles from wrapping paper {you could also use fabric} and glued them on top. I stuck them in jars of chocolates to keep them upright; they are super light, so this was easy to do.

Food was super easy. Being a chocolate party, I didn't want the girls stuffing themselves 'til they were sick, so I only had a few nibbles, really. Mini croissants filled with chocolates squares and warmed to melty. Chocolate mud cupcakes swirled with chocolate butter cream. Chocolate rectangular muffins covered in a rash of pink spots. Chunks of fruit - cherries, strawberries, banana and pear with a chocolate cream dipping sauce. Water and pink soda {you could serve chocolate milkshakes}. That's it.

I also provided pink cardboard containers and tongs so the girls could fill them with chocolates to take home later. I put their initials on these so there was no lolly confusion.

While Ella played on her iPad and awaited her guests, I put three cups of chocolate chips and a small can of condensed milk in the microwaves on 50% and stirred 'til smooth. The mixtures quickly stiffens - we used this to make truffles - one of our planned games/activities. But first, it was the old classic chocolate-stabbing game.

Sit the girls in a circle and place a room temperature block of chocolate {not too soft!} on a sturdy plate with a knife and fork. The girls have 60 seconds to don a hat, scarf and chunky gloves, then cut the chocolate into little squares and pop them in a container. No hands allowed. The person with the most pieces in their container receives a prize. Due to much laughter, giggling, silliness, chocolate-snatching and rule-flouting, it was impossible to decide a winner, so everyone ended up with a little prize {something I'm normally against}.

One thing that really struck me during this party was how funny girls are at this age. I was in hysterics listening to them. Such fun.

Next on the agenda was truffle-making. Be warned - this is messy! but so much fun. Just plonk your bowl of truffle mix into the centre of a workspace, provide teaspoons, plates and plenty of napkins, and let them at it. The girls rolled their truffles in cachous, dragees, coconut, sanding sugar cocoa and all manner of sweet decos. They did a wonderful job. Provide little truffle cases to lodge them in. Also be on standby with a wet sponge for chocolate smears on gorgeous clothing.

After the truffles, and while the kitchen bench was still a war zone, I handed the girls sheets of baking paper, and they used all mannner of goodies - lollies, chocolates, pretzels, dragees - to create edible chocolate artwork, all bound together with melted chocolate. They produced some beauties! I slid the artwork onto squares of card and allowed them to set, ready to take home.

Next was the very popular chocolate beauty spa. I provided the girls little jars with silver lids, and into these they squashed handmade and totally bespoke concoctions: chocolate coconut foot scrub and chocolate oatmeal honey facemask.

chocolate coconut foot scrub 
coconut milk
dessicated coconut
cocoa powder
Combine all ingredients to make a runny paste. Rub onto feet over a bathtub. Rinse and pat feet dry.

chocolate oatmeal honey facemask
cocoa powder
Combine all ingredients to make a spreadable paste. Apply to clean skin, avoiding eye-area. Allow to sit 15 minutes then rinse. Licking around mouth advised.

Both concoctions are edible and last 5 days in the fridge.

After the beauty products, the girls made lip balm by combining petroleum jelly with natural flavourings such as vanilla extract, cocoa powder, chai syrup, honey, and lemon, almond mango and peppermint food flavourings. I provided little craft containers with small sections and the girls mixed a few drops of each flavouring into each section. It takes some time to work the flavourings through, so only use a few drops at a time. The results were wonderful.

Suddenly, it was time for the cake. I created a bit of an experiment . . . using Donna Hay's divine chocolate brownie recipe, I baked two batches in a deep-sided round pan. After cooling, I cut both in half, horizontally, to make four layers.

For the ice cream, I simply blended raspberries with softened vanilla ice cream. Lining the original baking tin with gladwrap, I dropped a layer of brownie in, covered it with a third of the softened ice cream, then kept layering. The top ice cream and brownie layer sat above the cake tin, but I just froze it like this and then used a knife to trim around the top edges later.

When I removed the cake from the freezer, I iced the top with butter icing then tumbled raspberries on top. Being both frozen AND a brownie, the top was too hard to insert candles into. Despite some hefty stabbing with knives, we only managed to set one candle in, but it still looked pretty.

Thinking the cake would quickly soften, Ella tried to 'make her wish' but that knife was going nowhere. Donning her snow and ice gear, she tried again after a few minutes, but nope - still too rock hard.

I eventually got in there with a chainsaw and served up some slices - but the ice cream had started melting and the brownie was unyielding, so we ended up with a bit of a landslide . . .

But my golly, it tasted fine. Next time I would use regular chocolate cake, which would thaw really quickly, and of course, would be less dense.

It was really clear from this party that these little girls are no longer little girls. They nonetheless, laughed, giggled, played and had a blast together. This may be Ella's last 'kids' party' but it was so wonderful to see that childlike spirit in these gorgeous young women. Like the finest chocolate, watching my daughter turn twelve with a gaggle of friends was - well . . . bittersweet.


Tina Burke said...

Wow! My jaw just dropped. What a wonderful party! Everything looked gorgeous - you're so talented. Happy birthday to Ella - I'm sure she and her friends will remember it forever.

Kelly Morton said...

Aw, happy birthday Ella!

The party looked incredible and looks like they all had a wonderful time. I might have to bake after seeing all these goodies! xx

DimbutNice said...

I have a sweet head ache just from reading this post! A fun, clever collision of alllllll my faves; chocolate and cake. You were never going to go wrong! Although were the raspberries for you or Ella ;-) Hope your beautiful girl enjoyed herself to the max Tania. PS Are you for hire??

Shirl said...

The cake looked amazing. Another great party that was a success. Glad everyone had a lovely time. x

Posie Patchwork said...

Oh this is wonderful. We still do the chocolate game but the prize is the chocolate as they go. Brilliant work keeping them busy with chocolate activities!! The cake, laughing so hard out loud, seriously, that rock hard, oh dear!! I'd be like that desperate woman eating frozen cheesecake trying to get some, looked delicious. All round super pretty, pink & chocolate brown, beautiful combination. Love Posie

PlanningQueen said...

That is one of the best parties I have ever seen and great photos!

Tania McCartney said...

That's something, coming from you, gorgeous one!

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