Birthday Party, la Mode

For years, my kids' birthday parties would all end with elaborate, frosting-capped cakes that I'd labor over for hours, if not days. After all, birthday party = birthday cake, right?

Not this year.

When my son announced he wanted ice cream sundaes, and asked me to make the sauces, I thought, Wait, huh? No beating a cake batter? No whipping up a buttercream? No finding an age-appropriate design that would please but not embarrass him? I said yes so fast I got dizzy.

The morning of the party I simmered batches of sticky hot fudge, creamy caramel, and bright raspberry sauce. At the store, I bought four kinds of ice cream, plus whipped cream the kids could spray out of a can. We already had fresh cherries from the market, so there was no need to enter the questionable realm of the maraschino.

Later, when the party ended — after the scavenger hunt and the games, the pizzas and the presents — each boy came into the kitchen. They grabbed bowls and set about making a royal mess, drizzling thick homemade sauces atop cool mounds of ice cream they scooped themselves. Dessert was a hit.

The funniest moment, though, came when the parents arrived to fetch their sons. In past years, most parents would utter a polite "no thank you" when offered a slice of birthday cake. This year? They went bonkers for those sundaes, drizzling with even greater abandon than their kids had.

If you want to follow suit, check out these recipes for hot fudge, caramel sauce, and raspberry coulis.


Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule. Read all of Cheryl's iVillage posts here.



What was the best birthday dessert you've made? Chime in below!

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