Magnus turned 4 in the humid heat of late August. We had a lovely family birthday party in California after a great day at Disneyland. We came back home to Paris, and I thought the birthday thing was wonderful and done.But for the first time and out of the blue, Magnus asked for a party with his friends, at a specific place – at the zoo – in a farm house where they serve crepes, next to the bear – who is usually asleep.
He knew what he wanted to wear (his spiderman and then his superman costumes), who he wanted to invite, and very specifically, that we needed to all go and visit the bear during his party.
Easier said than done.
The crepe house turned out to be booked until the end of October, and the manager of the zoo coldly told me that my planning was simply ‘trop tard, Madame’ (too late Madame), and that I would have to wait until next year – and while I am at it, I might as well book it now for 2013. I hung up the phone discouraged and tried to tell Magnus we could have a party at a puppet theater nearby.
But he was not a big fan of the theater.
I had to agree with him – the plays there were not only a bit boring, but also a tad sarcastic and at times, plain scary. Determined, I called back the crepe house to double-check two days later. It was the assistant manager this time, and she told me that of course they have an opening in late September, – she had no idea why anyone would tell me otherwise.
Such is Paris, and thus we were in luck.
The day of the party, it was a beautiful crisp autumn day, and the children all arrived as princesses, batman, Buzz Lightyear, pirates and superman. The parents had tea and coffee outside on the terrace while the kids partied inside the small crepe house, jumping and laughing with total abandon.
It was so much fun. And after the face painting, the musical chairs, the dragon roller coaster and the run around the zoo where the bear happened to be up and awake, after the cake, the cupcakes, the crepes, the presents and all of the endless laughter, Magnus turned to me, sighed and said ” Mommy, it was a really great party”, with great sincerity.
It was indeed.
Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
(Makes 24 small cupcakes)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup self-rising cake flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1 cup soft butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins by putting cupcake liners.
2. In one bowl, combine the flours.
2. In another bowl, cream the butter. Add sugar and beat until fluffy.
3. Add eggs one by one, making sure it is well incorporated and smooth, then add the milk and vanilla and blend well.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before spreading the frosting
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 lb cream cheese at room temperature
6 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Optional – for toppings, use multicolored sprinkles, candies, M+Ms.
Breat cream cheese and butter. Add sugar and beat until smooth. Sprinkle with toppings.