You could bake a different princess birthday cake for every year of your daughter’s childhood. Since she'll likely grow out of the princess phase at some point, here are some ideas to narrow things down:
How about following a princess and the pea cake idea from Family Fun that involves stacking several rectangular cakes that are frosted different colors or covered in various fondant designs so they look like mattresses. Place a fondant princess or a plastic doll on top, under a fondant bedspread, and set a green “pea” made from fondant or frosting at the bottom of the mattresses.
The classic Barbie doll plunked in the middle of a cake “skirt” is always a hit, as are cakes shaped like tiaras and magic wands.
Looking for an inexpensive and easy princess dessert idea? Buy frosted cupcakes from a grocery-store bakery and then top them with some sort of decoration, such as plastic rings or tiny tiaras. Be careful, though, if babies or toddlers are attending your party. Serve them plain cupcakes so they don’t choke on the toys.
If you’ve ever worked with fondant, you know that making shapes from it is as easy--and fun--as working with play dough. Buy pre-packaged fondant from a cake-decorating or craft store and work it into princess-themed shapes, such as pumpkins, glass slippers, frogs and crowns. Place one edible figure on top of each cupcake.
Instead of cake or cupcakes, you could also bake cookies in star-shaped pans (compare prices) and then insert sticks into them so they look like magic wands. Tie a pink ribbon around the stick where it meets the cookie to dress it up a bit.
Princess Party Games and Activities
- Play Dress Up. Borrow several princess costumes from the make-believe closets of friends’ kids and set up a dressing room where the girls can get ready for the ball.
- Face painting. Ask an artistic friend or teenager to paint pictures on the girls’ cheeks. Or make the girls feel fancy with some lip gloss, nail polish and sticker earrings.
- Dance the Day Away. Once the girls are dolled up, play some music and let them dance. It could be classical or pop music. Many young girls seem to like pop idol Taylor Swift’s song “Love Story,” which has a fairytale theme (compare prices). If the girls get tired of just dancing, play a game of freeze dancing, where an adult stops the song at random points and the kids must freeze mid motion until the music starts again.
- Set up a table for making princess crafts.
- Rent a bouncy castle.
- Lead the girls in some friendly competition with princess party games that will get them moving and giggling.
Here are some ideas for favors the birthday girl could give her friends as they leave the party:
- A plastic tiara.
- If you have time and your guest list is manageable, make each child a princess-and-the-pea toy made from scrap fabric and felt.
- Hair accessories.
- A box of treasures, including shiny rocks you could pass off as crystals, a bottle of soap bubbles, stickers and plastic rings.
Incorporating the Famous Princesses
If your child is enthralled with a particular fairy tale or Disney princess, consider these ideas for tying them to the party theme.
The Princess and the Frog:
- Include gummy frogs in the goody bags.
- Give the whole party a New Orleans theme, serving beignets and mild jambalaya.
- Hang large green leaves from the ceiling and doorways to make it look like the bayou.
- Play Pin the Lips on the Frog by drawing a large frog picture, taping it to the wall and then giving each child a set of red paper lips to tape onto the frog’s mouth while blindfolded.
- Disney Family has several other Princess and the Frog party ideas on its site.
- Make the pumpkin chip bowl mentioned in the menu section above.
- Give each child a pair of inexpensive clear jelly shoes or clear-plastic flip flops as a party favor. Be sure to find out their sizes beforehand.
- Have the kids make a clock craft during the party, give them inexpensive plastic watches as favors or make them felt watches instead.
- Shape the cake like a pumpkin carriage or a clock that’s frosted to look like it’s about to strike 12.
- The party favors could also be metal pails (to imitate mop buckets) filled with candy and some cleaning supplies, such as a feather duster and sponges.
The Little Mermaid:
- Hold a fin-legged race.
- Make a castle-shaped cake, but instead of frosting it, glaze it with icing and then sprinkle crushed vanilla cookies or graham crackers to mimic sand.
- Set out fishermen’s netting and fake rubber fish on the food or gift table. Hang more netting from the ceiling and doorways.
- For each child, make a simple mermaid tail they can wear during the party and take home as the favor.
- Include Swedish fish candies in the goody bags.