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So the other day I was working on JD’s birthday party. I’m famous for my kids’ parties. Frankly, they ROCK. No big bouncy houses, clowns or magicians. No, we employ full-on imagination, play and fun into every party. Kids talk about them for years afterwards. Even the quiet parties, we do them up right. I don’t spend a ton of money on them, but they are always memorable.

But this year we faced a change: JD was turning twelve. Twelve is a big age! Seventh grade, middle school, and growing up. It’s not like you can pull out the same tricks you use on a younger kid’s party. The chocolate fountain and video karaoke weren’t going to cut it this year. This year he wanted to transition into something more low-key. He wanted to just have a few boys over and play video games all night. But, but, BUT! I’m creative mom! I do FUN parties! What fun can I have with a bunch of boys playing Super Mario all night long???

Sigh. They grow up too fast.

I did it his way. Well, sorta. I did sneak in a viewing of the International Space Station as it flew over. And they went outside to play flashlight tag, only they called it something like Mario’s Mansion. Whatever. The boys were giggling and laughing the whole time. I also pulled out my camera and props (of course!) and we had a silly mock photo-booth set up. At first they didn’t know what to do, but once they got started, they couldn’t stop! I’ve got so many great photos of goofy boys. It was wonderful.

But that wasn’t enough. While I’m not a master at icing and cake decorating, I always love to do something fun and creative with the cake. I was walking around the store the other night, looking for ideas, when inspiration struck: Ho-Ho’s. JD”s favorite food in the world. We could make a cake out of that, right? Sure, it is totally redneck-tacky, but hey. He’s twelve. Not like he knows that! So I bought two boxes of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls, and one box of Little Debbie’s chocolate squares. Let construction begin!

I started by stacking a tower of eight chocolate squares up in the center of a nice plate. I put a dab of white cookie icing in between each one, but I really didn’t need to. The chocolate coating on the cakes held them together pretty well. Then I began making a circle with the Swiss Rolls, standing on end, around the tower. I made two circles, so that it looked somewhat like a round cake. This took 20 Swiss Rolls. There were still chocolate squares sticking up the top. I then took four more Swiss Rolls and put one on each corner of the tower, to make it look like there was a second layer to the cake. (I would have filled in the empty spaces and made a full circle, but we were out of Swiss Rolls.)  I filled the empty space with Mario characters that JD had in his room. I did try to use cookie icing to hold the Swiss Rolls in place, but really, it isn’t needed. I did freeze the rolls first, which made them easier to work with. I didn’t want them sticking to my fingers or the chocolate peeling off while I was working with them. The whole cake took about fifteen minutes to put together. It was the absolute EASIEST birthday cake I’ve ever made!

You should have seen the boys’ faces when they saw the cake! They went nuts. I’m not going to brag and say I got told I’m the Best Mom EVER, but let’s just say that the boys showed their appreciation. They loved the cake. And it was super easy to serve–I told them they could each have three Swiss Rolls or Chocolate Cakes. No more. The five kids devoured the cake in no time, with no serving, slicing or cutting from me! Cleanup was as simple as putting the empty serving plate in the dishwasher. I loved that!


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