I was recently asked to help a family prepare some treats for a boys 7th birthday party, complete with traditionally homemade lemonade, cupcakes and finger sandwiches according to his fancies - I was in my element! As I'm no longer baking to order, but teaching my afternoon tea treats, I set to work devising a menu and recipe book to help this family whip up a storm. It was a fantastic project to help with, as it got the entire family bonding and chipping in, getting them excited about the party ahead of them. We were baking to cater for 20 kids and their parents, so there was a heck of a lot of work to be done over the one day workshop. I had worked out a precise schedule to the minute, to ensure that we were ready and I could duck out and let them take the deserved credit for their hard work when their guests arrived. On the menu: Victoria Sponge with raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream for the main cake Chocolate Cupcakes with a chocolate & hazelnut filling Homemade Lemonade Finger Sandwiches, to include: Tuna & Cucumber Strawberry Jam And Ham & Garlic Jam The family also added bowls of popcorn, cocktail sausages, sausage rolls, pizza and a fruit bowl to the table. Needless to say, nobody went hungry! The Victoria Sponge was made with my trademark buttercream swirls and the family took it in turns to have a go, decorating with a number 7-shaped candle and fresh strawberries on top - the birthday boy was thrilled to bits to see his favourite cake on the table. With the cupcakes, we hollowed them out with my new toy from Lakeland, a cupcake corer, which saves so much time should you wish to fill the centre of your treats in future. I used to cut holes manually, with a sharp knife, however this is a time saving gem - I love those guys! The kids had fun filling the centre with their favourite supermarket-sourced spread and then piping with chocolate buttercream in a "Mr Whippy" stylee, before dropping M&Ms on top to finish them off. We also had time to make some fun birthday cake bunting with some coloured card and some bamboo sticks for the cupcake tier, so easy to make and it looked brilliant! My homemade lemonade is so simple, yet a truly summery beverage and one enjoyed by the kids (and the parents between pots of tea!) so no excuses, this is a must in replacing the tasteless supermarket tripe out there! I had also diced a lemon into inch thick pieces and put them in a bowl in the freezer, using them as lemon flavoured ice cubes at the party, it is a simple, yet effective idea for your own fruity ice cubes. No tea party is complete without dainty finger sandwiches, with the main rule being "one filling per sandwich", however we did add cucumber to the tuna for a delicious crunch. The birthday boy had also requested jam sandwiches, something that I must admit I've never tried before - well, they work so well, I've made up a batch since too - The kids loved these and they went the quickest, by far! Next time, I would be tempted to cutter them into fun shapes for a younger children's birthday party. We had also set out a trough full of ice and cold water to put cartons of juice into to keep cool whilst they were running around and bouncing on the inflatable castle during the party. It was a hot day, so this is a great idea, with a few bottles of water too. The parents also loved the finger food... the treats went over to their more grown up table once the kids had finished eating, so nothing was left, hurrah! This pre-party baking workshop was so much fun and I'd be delighted to help cater for any function in this way, as then it's all your work, I just help you along ; ) For more information on my baking tuition, simply click here. To see more photos from this birthday party baking lesson, simply click here.