Is Pinterest making kids' birthdays harder?

Pinterest staples: cake pops and a multi-layered rainbow cake. Otherwise known as 'next level stuff'.
Pinterest staples: cake pops and a multi-layered rainbow cake. Otherwise known as 'next level stuff'. 

Creative parents have been posting photos of hand-sewn Book Week costumes, sharing directions for homemade timeout glitter jars (seriously, it's a thing) and Instagramming sandwiches they've cut into star shapes.

Pinterest, Facebook and the internet in general have upped the ante when it comes to parenting.

Cute-shaped sandwiches might seem like a nice idea for your kid's lunch, but all I see is a waste of some perfectly-good bits of sandwich.

The classic.
The classic. 

Honestly though, there's a side of me that, when I see all of these crafty creations, leaves me feeling a bit intimidated, because I'm not a crafty mummy.

I mean, I have been to Spotlight, but only to buy bits for a costume, not to get material to make it from scratch. And I have made birthday cakes (from a packet mix), but they'd never had themed decorations.

Not until now, anyway.

This year, for my sons' birthdays, which are six days apart, I decided I was going to attempt fancy-schmancy cakes.

I saw my youngest son's eyes light up at the sight of a Frozen-inspired masterpiece of a cake on my Facebook feed, and it reminded me of how much I loved it when my mum went all out for me.

Back in the eighties, when I was a kid, I'd get to choose a design from the Women's Weekly Birthday Cake Book and watch Mum (with a bit of help from Dad, who had a good eye for detail) construct it from a store-bought sponge cake, icing and strategically-placed licorice pieces.


I not sure if Mum enjoyed the actual cake-constructing process, but she did it for me because I loved it. And I was going to do it for my kids too.

But I knew I needed some help. And I wasn't going to look for it in the Women's Weekly Birthday Cake Book.

Instead, I was going to venture online which, by all accounts, is the modern day 'reference book' of the Pinterest Party Planning Generation.

We got there in the end: My Lego Indiana Jones cake and the Frozen-themed cake.
We got there in the end: My Lego Indiana Jones cake and the Frozen-themed cake. Photo: Elissa Griesser

My aim was to make a Lego Indiana Jones cake for Nash who was turning six and a Frozen cake for Van who'd be four.

Thankfully, a friend offered to help me by guiding me around a cake decorating store.

There, I was well out of my comfort zone, but I bought fondant, edible glitter, a silicone mold to make Lego shapes from chocolate, plastic cutter thingees to make snowflakes and white chocolate swirls (that I ended up eating in the car on the way home).

The store-bought truth of the Frozen-themed cake.
The store-bought truth of the Frozen-themed cake. Photo: Elissa Griesser

It wasn't cheap and I spent $40 (the equivalent of three Peter's Original Party Cakes) and I didn't even have any cakes, just decorations.

Scared about baking the actual cakes, I got a quote from the shop from one of their on-call bakers, but it was ridiculously expensive, so I Googled 'easy chocolate cake' and baked what turned out to be a weirdly-shaped chocolate brick.

After that went in the bin, I ventured to Coles and bought a slab of iced chocolate cake for $12 and two layers of sponge cake, ready for filling and icing, for under $10.

The end result? Two non-perfect cakes and some very happy faces.
The end result? Two non-perfect cakes and some very happy faces. Photo: Elissa Griesser

Note to self – next time, head straight to the supermarket.

With the cakes in the kitchen, I was ready to start decorating and surprisingly, I kind of enjoyed the process. Well, mostly.

Some of it was stressful too and my list of rookie errors included using the wrong sort of chocolate to melt for the Lego molds, then burning the right sort of chocolate and getting fondant stuck to the rolling pin. (I ended up watching a YouTube tutorial to find out the right way use the fondant. Yay for the internet, right?)

I know it took me a lot longer than it would have taken a craftier person, it also cost more and didn't look as good, but the end result put big smiles on my sons' faces and they loved showing off their cakes – one with a Lego Indiana Jones 'running' away from a giant boulder (aka a big grey marble), the other pale blue with snowflakes and glitter.

Will I do it again next year?

If it makes my kids happy, yes I will. But I'll do it with the help of a supermarket-bought cake – that's what Mum used to do for me – and I'll never touch edible glitter again. I'm still finding shiny blue specs around the house.