First birthdays are all about smashing cake. But as kids get older why not let them make the cake? Budding chefs can whip up their own treats and then indulge in them at create-and-eat birthday spots across Chicago and the ‘burbs. Here’s where you can throw a totally appetizing bash.
photo: The Kids’ Table
The Kids’ Table
This favorite offers three different packages, ranging from Short But Oh So Sweet aimed at ages 2 and up, Sweet & Savory for ages 4 and up, and Sweet & Savory “Stepped Up” (aka: more advanced) for ages 7 and up. The tiniest tots can enjoy making their very own four-inch cake, along with a fruit kebob or fruit art, while their cake is cooking. Guests that are a little older can add on a savory option like pizza, mac ‘n’ cheese or quesadillas. For the elementary-school crowd, step it up a notch and make things like homemade pasta and pizza dough from scratch.
2337 W. North Ave.
Angel Food Bakery
This cute little bakery is nostalgia at its best. It’s decorated with Easy Bake Ovens and owner Stephanie Samuels puts a twist on old-school treats like Twinkies, snowballs and whoopee pies. Small birthday group (eight kids and four adults) can have a cupcake party in the bakery Tuesday-Saturday from 3-5 p.m. For $15 per kid, guests get a placemat, juice and chocolate or yellow cupcake to decorate, plus a bounty of icing, sprinkles and fondant cutouts for decorating. The bakery also has a birthday-to-go package for which it provides cupcakes and all of the fixings that you can use at home or favorite party venue.
photo: Give Me Some Sugar
Give Me Some Sugar
This sweet little Roscoe Village spot is all about decorating cakes (and other delectable things) all the time, whether it’s via classes or birthday parties. Kids ages four and up can throw a dream party with parties that include Crazy for Cupcakes, Cookie Pops and Mommy and Me Tea. Kids ages nine and up can get more serious about their baking and even decorate their own Barbie doll cakes. The space takes care of the teaching, birthday cake and utensils. You take care of the rest. Parties can include 6-12 kids, and gluten-free cakes are available if you need ‘em.
2205 W. Belmont Ave.
Churning ice cream seems so old-school when you compare it to the instant freeze that iCream provides. With a variety of mix-ins and flavorings, this Wicker Park ice cream shop can make endless combinations in a second with its special liquid nitrogen machines. If your little one thinks this is the coolest thing ever, why not host a birthday party there? The hours are limited, before store opening (so parties need to be over by 1230 p.m. in the winter and 11:30 a.m. in the summer) but kids actually get to step behind the counter and create their own concoction. The store welcomes ages three and up and allows you to bring whatever games and food you like before the ice cream making begins. There are only four machines, so only a few kids can create at a time, but they allow up to 40 to participate. You could have the next Ben or Jerry on your hands.
537 N. Milwaukee Ave.
photo: Pied Piper Parties & Playschool
Pied Piper Parties & Playschool
Anything your child can dream up as a theme, this Lakeview romper room can make a reality with a make-and-devour treat. Create cookie crowns and castles for a princess theme, or make out-of-this-world pizza for an outer-space afternoon. Pied Piper has even hosted sushi parties for older kids. During two-hour parties, they take care of everything, including food, cake, gift bags and decorations. If you prefer more of a cooking class format, choose the one-and-a-half-hour package that includes the class and just a few extras like bubbles and cupcakes.
2864 N. Lincoln Ave.
This west suburban chocolate shop has been in business since the 1920s. It’s owners know chocolate and throw some pretty cool cacao-themed parties. Kiddos ages four and up can create three chocolate projects, starting with chocolate pizza with red sprinkle “tomato sauce,” Swedish fish “anchovies” and white chocolate “melted cheese.” Next, create molded chocolate in the form of balloon lollipops, chocolate ice cream cones and jungle animals. Finally, make yummy chocolate-dipped pretzel twists. Parties can be 45 or 90 minutes long.
1890 N. Rand Rd.
photo: Chefs for a Day
Chefs for a Day
Chef Laura Vacor has been teaching kids and adults about nutrition and cooking for more than a decade. A party at her homey cooking school means customized seasonal menus with kid-friendly dishes paired with a cupcake and “mocktail.” Each guest takes home their very own chef hat along with a sweet treat and coupon for one of the cooking classes. Parties are two-and-a-half hours with a minimum of eight kids and maximum of 35.
858 75th St.
Have you tried any of these cooking birthday parties? Let us know in the Comments section below.
— Samantha Lande