I am organizing a birthday picnic BBQ for 2 friends next weekend. We're expecting about 20 guests. Our picnic site is at a park so we have no access to a refrigerator or freezer (just coolers). Could you suggest a birthday cake (or cupcakes? Pies?) that is tasty, easy to make, transportable, and won't melt at the sight of the sun? Thanks so much!
Theresa, a birthday park in the picnic sounds like a blast. It's not difficult to make a birthday cake (or pie) that will stand up well to the summer sun.
We would avoid cupcakes, first of all, because they are just hard to transport. Unless you have a special cupcake carrier it's hard to get all those slippery, slidey cupcakes across town un-smooshed.
We would prefer a 9x13 cake, baked in regular cake pan with one of those plastic lids that seals firmly. Check out some good options in this post: Essential Baking Tools: Pans.
Avoid the multiple layers, and just bake a yellow cake from scratch. This sort of sheet cake is the most practical option. It may not be as dramatic as you would like, but you can still dress it up. Two cakes would be plenty for that amount of people. Check out our easy recipe here:
To dress it up, we suggest fudgy chocolate icing. This particular recipe will get a little soft in the sun, but it won't run or melt. In fact, it will be even more delicious a little warm.
To dress it up, we suggest bringing a couple pints of raspberries and a bar of good chocolate. When you get to the park, uncover the frosted cakes and cover with raspberries and chocolate curls. Here's how to make chocolate curls; just bring along a vegetable peeler.
If we were going to bake a cake for a friend and bring it to a picnic, that's how we would most likely go about it. Pies are a great option too. We'll toss it out to the readers now; what would you bring to a birthday party in the park?
Related: On Birthday Cake for Breakfast