A very BRAVE birthday party - Part 3:Goodies & Fun Stuff

 



Chloe's very first request with her Merida party was the cakes.  Not the costume, not the bows & arrows - the cakes.  She wanted cakes EXACTLY like the one in the movie that Merida gives her mom.  Perfect - except she was SO picky and it had to be exact - and I have no clue how that fictional animated cake came to be.  I did exhaustive research into pastries, cupcakes, all sorts of variations.
There were failed experiments with cookie doughs and pastry - some looked ok, but were thick and brick-like, others were flat and ugly.  I was feeling silly and ridiculous for wasting so much time on a child's party, when I finally figured it out!  It isn't exact, but it's close enough to satisfy my Picky VonPickyPrincess.  It's basically a bundt recipe made in cupcake tins, which makes them so dense that the centers sink and the edges round out and become golden. These are SO, SO yummy! They taste a lot like buttermilk donuts somehow, with a slightly lemony flavor from the glaze.






"Magic" Merida Cakelettes
1 box yellow cake mix
1 3 1/2 oz box instant pudding mix (I used vanilla - could use lemon)
4 eggs
1/2 c oil

Blend all ingredients until smooth.  Fill greased cupcake pan with batter (a little more than 1/2 full for each cup).  Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes (fork needs to come out clean - make sure they're done, my first batch had extremely doughy centers)

Glaze
2 C powdered sugar
1/4 c lemon juice (scant fourth, don't over-do it)
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp water

Mix glaze together while cakes are baking.

After cakes are done, remove to rack to cool slightly.  While they are still warm, dip/coat/drizzle with glaze.  Back to the wire rack for cooling thoroughly. (tip - put wax paper or something under the wire rack, as the glaze drips)

Filling
1 c chopped strawberries
1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over low to medium heat.  Boil on low for about 2 minutes until filling thickens, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and cool.

Assembly
Some of the cooled and glazed cakes will have centers sunken enough to add filling to as-is, but most will require a little extra shaping.  Using a spoon, scoop out a small divot in the center of the cake.  Add  about a Tbsp of filling to each cake's center, keeping it neat and round as possible if trying for the Merida cake look-alike. (if not, no worries!)


To finish off food - Bear-shaped sugar cookies (I know, they should have been chocolate! I realized after the fact), and a basket of BRAVE fruit snacks for the littles rounded up the buffet.


For Decorations, draped dark brown burlap and plaid fabric look both rustic & Scottish.  Coordinated color napkins, etc, of course. I bought supplies to make clan banners, but settled for throwing up a few Brave posters we had on hand when we ran out of time. Oh, and I came up with a digital decor that was a huge hit.  Using my AppleTV, I downloaded a ton of pics from Brave and streamed them one of the slideshow options, together with celtic music from our iTunes.  It ran on the TV in the background and provided a constantly changing decor and atmosphere.

For Fun! Not much was necessary for entertainment after giving kids bows and arrows, but for the sake of fun and whimsy, we had to make the "magic" cakes actually turn the kids into bears, like it does in the movie.
Super simple craft: headbands from the dollar store, black cardstock, metallic markers that color on black, and a hot glue gun.
Kids cut out "ears" and decorated them with their markers to have fuzzy centers.  Some were silver, some were pink, some purple - really cute.  Then I just glued the ears to the headbands - right side of the ear to the wrong side of the headband, then folding the ear up to stand.  The kids loved them and were adorable too.

FINALLY - the Dress. 
I don't usually make a costume for a birthday party, but since Chloe's birthday lands a couple months before Halloween, it was the two birds - one stone scenario.  Luckily there is a pattern that works almost perfectly.  McCalls 5499 is excellent in every way except the sleeve. That was just some trial and error.  Some versions I've seen do a false elbow inset, but I found it just as easy to have the puffy sleeve underneath be a full sleeve with the over-sleeve attaching with strips at the shoulder, like Merida's does. Around the neck it is just a ruffle though, not a full shirt.

For more pics of the dress and cloak: Halloween Costume post

That's it! I did say that I had a ton more ideas though, and here are some of them that I ran out of time, energy, cash.....for. Still, I'll pass them along in case anyone is interested.  Super cute stuff!
This and other Merida Party Ideas
Disney printable and craft ideas - BRAVE themed

Bear mask, in case you prefer it to ears.

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