Maximum fun with minimal fuss - have a wild time at your child's next party with this simple yet snazzy jungle theme.
After hosting dozens of parties for our own children, consensus in the OHbaby! office is that elaborate party food for children is a waste of time. Kids are happy to eat whatever is on offer, so long as there is a lolly or two on the side. Cupcakes are always a hit, and can work with any theme. These monkey and vine cupcakes make great jungle snacks. Our simple menu also included popcorn, bananas, pineapple chunks, mini kebabs (we used toothpicks as skewers) of melon pieces, grapes, and marshmallows, jelly snakes from the Natural Confectionery Co, and a birthday cake.
Monkey and vine cupcakes
You will need:
• 125g soft margarine
• 1/2 cup caster sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
• 1/4 cup milk
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• Ready-to-roll fondant icing (available at supermarkets)
• Food colouring - green, brown, and yellow
How to make:
1. Preheat over to 190°C. Place paper cupcake holders in a 12-hole muffin tray.
2. Cream margarine, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs and milk and beat well.
3. In a separate bowl, sift flour and baking powder. Add to wet mixture and stir until combined.
4. Spoon mixture into paper cases and bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool before decorating.
5. To decorate, knead fondant until soft. Separate into five balls. Poke a small hole into each ball, then drop food colouring into the hole as follows:
• For green fondant (cupcake tops), two drops green
• For light green fondant (vines), one drop green
• For brown (monkey heads), one drop brown
• For light yellow (monkey faces), one drop yellow
6. Knead each individual icing ball until the colour is distributed evenly.
7. Using a rolling pin, roll out icing balls to around 3mm thick. Cut out circular shapes for cupcake tops and monkey heads with round biscuit cutters. Use a knife to cut vines, monkey faces and ears.
8. Using a pastry brush, brush the backs of each fondant circle with a drop or two of water, then mould over the tops of cupcakes. Do the same for monkey and vine shapes.
The "wildness" of your party games really depends on the age of the guests. Good old-fashioned pass the parcel works well for little ones. Tuck a jelly snake or other jungle treat into each layer to ensure everyone's a winner. Older children will enjoy "pin the tail on the monkey". You can download an image for this game here.
The "What am I?" game is great to get children interacting. Sticky-tape a picture of a jungle animal to each child's back (but don't let them see their own picture), then encourage them to ask questions of each other with "yes" or "no" answers to ascertain what animal they are wearing. You can also download pictures for this game from here.
Party favours are best kept nice and simple. We chose green party bags from www.poppyseed.co.nz, filled them with sweets from The Natural Confectionery Co, and added a cute little Animalz toy to remind each party guest of their visit to the jungle!
Monkeys wear: Nature Baby corduroy pants, Nature Baby merino crew-neck top, Pumpkin Patch shoes, and tails from Auckland Zoo Store. Ears made from products found at Spotlight
Elephants wear: Nature Baby kimono dress, Nature Baby merino crew-neck top, Nature Baby cotton leggings, and Pumpkin Patch shoes. Ears from Auckland Zoo store. Tails made from felt and ribbons from Spotlight
Tigers wear: Nature Baby merino crew neck top, Nature Baby corduroy dress, Pumpkin Patch tights and shoes. Ears and tail from Auckland Zoo Store.
Cake and Cupcakes made by City Cake Company
Props: Jungle bunting from www.madeitbaby.co.nz.
Wooden animals from www.anamalz.com
Large giraffe, lion, and monkey from Auckland Zoo Store.
Party favour bags, tags, cups, and plates from www.poppyseed.co.nz. Tablecloth is two metres of fabric from Spotlight. Food baskets also from Spotlight.
STYLING: ANGELA PEDERSEN AND LUCRETIA KEMP.
PHOTOGRAPHY: FIONA TOMLINSON WWW.FIONATOMLINSON.CO.NZ