Thursday, January 15, 2015

Review: Austin's Baked by Amy's birthday party experience

Yesterday afternoon was cold and rainy, but my nieces, nephews, kids, sister, mom, and I had a fun time decorating at Baked by Amy's. Amy's Ice Creams is a long-time Austin staple, and last year, they opened up their first bakery on 183 in the iFly building (Anderson Mills exit at 183 North). It is conveniently located next to an ice cream shop and Phil's Ice House, which will be awfully handy if you consume as much sugar as we did, but we'll get to that part in a bit...

First of all, the nitty-gritty: Birthday parties at Baked by Amy's start at $200 and can accommodate up to 8 kids (or participants, as they were completely gracious to us adults, so I'm sure they wouldn't balk if you and your best friends showed up ready for some creative, tasty fun). Beyond that, it's $25 per person, and it includes invitations! We had booked last minute, and it wasn't anyone's birthday, so we didn't get the invitations, but you'll see why I feel like this was a great deal...


When we arrived, everything was set up. I'd told her there would be 6-8 of us, and there were 9 places set up, plus the one for the baker.


Oh, and it's in a bakery, so in addition to it looking awesome, it smelled AMAZING.




So, yes, we were set up in the lobby, in front of this deliciousness. We had participants from 5-15... or to 69, if you count the three adults. The youngest two made personalized "chef's" hats (they are really more like food-service or soda jerk hats, but I'm not splitting hairs about that). I'm sure the bigger kids could have done this, too, but the girl who hosted our party didn't pander to them.




Each setting had two cookies (one round and one with a flat end and arced end, both shortbread), two cupcakes (one chocolate and one vanilla), some gummy bears, a few Oreos, and a couple of spoons. There were different-colored icings in cups around the table, as well as some white icing, and a bunch of parchment paper piping bags.


When everyone was ready, the hostess got things started by showing everyone how to make a sunflower decoration on a cupcake.


Put some icing into a piping bag.



Um, mine looks vaguely like a flower, right?


Her leaves were much more precise.


Travis might have sneaked some icing into his mouth. Just maybe.


Some embellishments.


The hostess was so helpful, willing to show extra tricks and give us tips.


The next cupcake, she said to decorate however we wanted. A word of caution, though: tell your kids not to use up the Oreos (like I did!) because you'll need them later!





Next, she showed us how to decorate one of the cookies to look like an owl. Here is the pro's:


I'd used my Oreos (well, I used two and accidentally ate the other one), so...


Another...



Then we decorated the other cookie however we wanted to.




After we had all decorated our stuff, we got to head into the kitchen to see the professional do her thing!

She put together a Neapolitan cake for the kids' enjoyment (and ours). 


They even got to help plane the frosting.


She explained that sprinkles or cake crumbs or nuts can hide errors in the icing. Nice tip!

Next, it was time to write the Happy Birthday message, but since we weren't celebrating anything special, the kids had her write "lasagna."



This cake was HUGE. I guess it's a 10-inch cake, but it looks like a monster. Now, I've bought 6-inch cakes from bakeries before that were $80 (it did have a custom design, though), so when you think about the price of this party, and that it includes not only this cake but all of the stuff we made (which is boxed up and you get to take with you), then this is a very reasonable party, price-wise!

All of the kids loved it, from the 5-year-old to the 15-year-old. Each kid can decorate to their own ability, and have as much or as little assistance as they want.

My daughter has had birthday parties at a skating rink and at a gym, and I paid about this much for those facilities, still having to provide the cake and any gift bags we wanted to hand out.

But, as every parent knows, one of the best parts of having a party, especially a crafty party like this, anywhere other than in your own home, is that when it's over, you can just walk away from this:


The aftermath!

You can book your party via email or by calling the bakery (info listed on the website linked to above). A 50% deposit is necessary to hold your reservation.

To review: invitations; 1.5 hour party with dedicated host; chef's hat, 2 cookies, and 2 cupcakes per child; all necessary decorations; 10-inch cake;(the website says "lemonade," but they must have forgotten it in our case); and CLEAN-UP included at $200 for up to 8 kids, and $25 per person beyond that.