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A Better Birthday Bash


(Family Features) No birthday party is complete without a birthday cake… or is it? Put a unique twist on your celebration by switching out the typical sheet cake for something a little more festive.

When it comes to choosing an alternative, nearly any dessert will do. The key to making it feel like a party-worthy treat is all in the presentation. Clever names and decor can make any everyday dessert extra special. For example, if your theme is zoo safari, serve desserts iced in animal pattern stripes and spots.

So set your theme and borrow one of these ideas to get your party planning creativity flowing:

Radical rice treats: Prepare everyone’s favorite crispy squares as usual, or mix in peanut butter, nuts or flavored chips for an extra touch of flavor. Frost the tops and sides of each bar and top with sprinkles or decorative icing for mini-cakes for everyone, or dip just one end in a colored frosting and stack in staggered piles for a pretty display.

Cake pops: A trendy alternative to traditional cake, these bite-sized pops are fun on a stick for guests of all ages. For a grown-up crowd, drizzle pops with a liqueur-infused glaze and let the good times roll.

Sweet single serve: Follow the lead of restaurants everywhere and serve a selection of mini desserts in small cups or shot glasses. The options are nearly endless, from mousse and pudding to cheesecake and cobbler. This recipe for Mini Brownie Bites layers colors, flavors and textures for a birthday dessert that’s as pretty as it is delicious.

Mini Brownie Bites


  • 1 box brownie mix (also eggs, oil, etc. as directed)
  • 1 package dark chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 package milk chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 package vanilla pudding mix
  • 6 cups milk
  • Whipped topping
  • Chocolate shavings (optional)


  1. Prepare brownies and puddings according to box instructions.
  2. Cut brownies into pieces small enough to fit into mini dessert serving cups. Place one piece of brownie in each glass, then top with layers of pudding. Use each flavor for three distinct layers, or vary flavor combinations for variety.
  3. Top with whipped topping and brownie crumbles or chocolate shavings, as desired.
  4. Remember to add a candle to one of the cups before serving the birthday boy or girl.

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