As I was making plans & gathering supplies for the fairy party, people kept warning me about my girl's sure-to-increase expectations, ie, the road to Birthday Hell is paved with fairy skirts & tiny cupcakes. Maybe, but on the other hand, this is probably the last year I'll have the opportunity to fill my house with tiny round-cheeked rowdy fairies, & soon enough she'll be nothing but lanky & sneering & demanding to be dropped off at the mall, so why not?
Also, I am not denying that I do get a little crazy when party time comes around. But fairy skirts are actually really easy to make, if you do the kind where you tie strips of tulle around an elastic waistband. I bought armloads of tulle at a Joann's 50% off sale, was great because 1. cheap, & 2. I was able to mix colors with financial abandon. If not for the sale, though, I would seriously have considered getting the 6" wide spools of tulle instead (best prices I saw were at some of the big online packaging supplies stores) & made things easier on myself.
(Fake flowers were on big sale, too.)
Frankly, the girls were so busy fairying around or patiently waiting to get their faces painted that we weren't desperate for a craft activity, but they did all really like this one. I had the fairy bodies & heads pre-assembled, & the girls picked out their fairy parts, picked & put on flower skirts, drew the faces on (or asked for help) & then helped glue. (From this Klutz book.) For this age range (3-5), I think this project only worked because all of the really time-consuming parts were pre-made, but I can see a similar but simpler clothespin doll project being another good option. The fairy on the left is the one I made for a cake topper, the one on the right is the one my girl made at the party.
My girl requested chocolate cake with strawberry frosting, "a big cake so it will be fancier than cupcakes." I chose the One-Bowl Chocolate Cake from Martha Stewart, & I have to say that it was a really terrific basic chocolate birthday cake. I baked two 7-inch layers, then used the leftover batter to make mini cupcakes. I wanted to fill the cake with whipped cream & strawberries, but wasn't sure how well it would hold up if I made it the night before, so I compromised with a variation on this recipe: 1 c whipped cream, 1 pkg cream cheese, 1 c sugar, 1 t vanilla, 1 c chopped strawberries. Delicious, definitely way too soft for frosting, but excellent for filling + upcycling into strawberry shortcake a couple of days later. For frosting, I started with this recipe, but instead of butter used 1/4 c vegan margarine (Earth Balance), 1/4 c vegan shortening (also EB), & 1/4 c vegan cream cheese (Tofutti). Excellent flavor, plus I was able to use it on my experimental vegan strawberry cupcakes, which did not make it to the party table due to being hideous, but which were very tasty.
So, I am about to talk about fondant, but first I need to point out how the cute green & white striped mini cupcake papers are FALLING OFF the chocolate cupcakes. This sort of spontaneous paper-shedding has never happened to me before, so of course it was going to happen (1) with expensive cake store papers (2) right before a party. I ended up stripping half the batch & piping a bit of cake filling on top, then we frosted the few that were (sort of) holding on to their papers. There didn't seem to be anything wrong or unusual or possessed with the cake, so I'm not sure what happened, but if you try the recipe, watch out.
Ok, the fondant. Short version: if you're just going to roll it out 1/8" thick & cut it into shapes with tiny cookie cutters, the hardest part of the project is mixing the exact color you want, except half a shade lighter because the color will deepen as it sits around. Also, have plenty of cornstarch on hand. Also, I see a whole new world of tiny-cutter-purchase-rationalization unfolding before me.
I was actually pretty worried that the vegan frosting wouldn't stand up to the butterflies on the side of the cake, leading to the heartbreak of a frosting avalanche, but even though I took the cake out of the fridge about an hour before serving, there was no problem.
We completely failed to get a picture of the front of the cake, but it was quite lovely. And quite tasty.
And, apparently, full of fairy energy.