The actress told PEOPLE at Michaels’ Make and Bake event on Thursday in N.Y.C. that she clearly remembers the last time she had an unfortunate cake situation at her daughter Birdie’s 5th birthday.
“The year before I had made this really beautiful Rapunzel tower cake and it was a huge hit and everybody was really excited about it and she wanted a similar cake for her next birthday but she wanted like a fairy house tower,” said Philipps. “I did it but I used a different recipe for the icing and there was a heat wave in Los Angeles that year. It was the perfect storm of things and the cake melted. It completely fell apart and it just legitimately tumbled to the table in an epic fashion.”
But the mom of two said she kept her cool.
“I was very zen about it. It was good. I was getting upset then I realized it’s just a cake and the kids don’t care,” she said. “They could still eat it so it was fine but the whole thing slid off and my sister was trying to like hold it up with sticks and she was getting skewers out and chop sticks and trying to help me. It was a lost cause.”
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When it comes to big projects like birthday cakes, Philipps admits she likes to work alone, but for everything else, she loves incorporating her kids into helping her bake.
“What’s fun about baking things with your kids is it’s about the process,” she said. “You don’t have to post it on Pinterest. It doesn’t have to be Instagram-worthy. You can just do it for the experience of making something with your kids and having a fun time. Even if it ends up looking like a hot mess, at least you had fun.”
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Over time she has also learned how to avoid the “hot mess” situation: “You need to do the baking projects right after lunch. In between lunch and dinner is the best time because they need to eat before you do a baking project because they’re going to eat so much sugar while you’re baking that you want to at least make sure they’ve had a piece of broccoli and some macaroni and cheese,” she said. “But I have had fails where it’s 11 a.m. and we start a cupcake project and then I realize that I’ve messed up. It’s a learning curve.”