Lisa’s Letters Home: Party Bags Made Easy

Lisa’s Letters Home: Party Bags Made Easy

My little baby girl turned 5 recently, and she decided on a beach-themed party. Using quite a lot of imagination and wishful thinking, we had a beach party at our local leisure centre. Well, when I say “beach party” I mean “one hour of running, bouncing, and climbing on inflatable things in a sports hall, with children dressed in brightly coloured shorts.” The important thing is that she had a lot of fun, and that it didn’t involve my house getting trashed.

The tradition here is to get the birthday child to blow out the candles on the cake during the party, and then spend a frantic few minutes cutting the thing up to shove into party bags before everyone leaves. I opted to make a cake for the candle blowing portion of the party, and summery cupcakes for the party bags.


After having made the mistake of attempting to make complicated butter cookies for previous party bags, I vowed to keep things simple this time. I once spent several hours making Spiderman cookies for my son’s party bags, and couldn’t figure out how to do the eyes. I ended up cutting them out of white fondant icing, but they just looked like Dame Edna’s cat eye glasses. None of the kids even liked the cookies.

So this time, I went for cupcakes – they’re easy to do in large batches and most kids like them. I did a search for “summer cupcakes” and came across these fantastic burger cupcakes from Bakerella . I didn’t use a mix for the cupcakes as I’ve got a trusty Victoria sponge recipe that makes 24 small cupcakes but I did use a mix for the brownies in the middle because it would be cheaper and easier.

They were a bit fiddly to put together and more time consuming that I would have liked, mostly due to needing three icing colours for the “condiments.” As it happened, the parents were more impressed by them than the kids. There was almost a riot when I ran out of the easiest party bag cupcakes: the faux ice cream cups. I made a dozen of the burgers and ice creams, and I really could have just done the ice creams. One kid actually cried with fury and refused to leave because I only had a burger left for him. Take note: 5-year-olds REALLY like cupcakes that look like ice cream.

The ice cream cups were a simple take on ice cream cone cupcakes I did for Mia on her first birthday. Those cupcakes involved filling actual ice cream cones with cake batter, balancing them in a cupcake pan, baking, and icing to look like a soft serve cone. For this party, I simply plonked a vanilla cupcake in a paper ice cream cup, iced it, added sprinkles and a piece of a Flake bar (as is customary in soft serve cones here.) Using the same cake batter as the burgers, I made a dozen small cupcakes and used a little buttercream to “cement” them to the ice cream cups I found on eBay. And the crowd went wild.

Going back to last week’s topic about Mommy Cake Wars, the fact is, the kids really don’t give a hoot about how much work you put into these things. The kids got excited about the huge pile of icing on the cake and the Flake bar, not the novelty of cupcakes that look like burgers. The moral of the story is, kids like sugar and lots of it. Remember that, and you’ll always have a party bag winner.

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  1. Tammy Jones
    June 29, 12:37 Reply

    Oh, I love these! Are we allowed to make them even if we don’t have kids?

  2. Lisa Durbin
    June 29, 14:47 Reply

    Tammy, you DO have kids – pets count! And the pets want you to eat cake. Oh yes.

  3. All About Party Pags
    July 17, 04:31 Reply

    Wow! These are wonderful ideas for kiddie parties! And the part where you said that children will be happiest when there is a lot of sugar is definitely true, haha. Thank you for sharing these ideas.

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