Best Birthday Cake Ideas

28 February 2011

birthday cake

There's lots of reasons to make the birthday cake yourself. For one thing, you know what's in there. And you can make it to the size you need. If you want a cake that's different to the kind you find in supermarkets, and you don't want to pay through the nose for a cake from a bakery, then making it yourself is the only way to go.

It's also a good option if you're on a really tight budget. There doesn't need to be anything fancy about a cake really. The birthday boy or girl just wants the joy of being the one to blow out the candles, and the children at the party just want a slice of cake they to eat. So if you like baking, why not do it yourself?

Here's some great ideas to help you along the way. And please do let us know what you do yourself. What great cake ideas have you come  up with in your parenting experience?

Coolest Cakes

Coolest cake ideas

For ideas you can't do much better than this website run by two sisters, Coolest Birthday Cakes. The site has a fabulous tagline, describing itself as "thousands of homemade birthday cakes even amateurs can make."

The premise is a simple one. People submit photos of the cakes they've made, and the two sisters vet the submissions. The photos that are accepted are put up on the site. Along with the photo, there's also a description of the cake and its creation from the person who made it. To help you if you want to recreate any of the cakes you see here.

Annabel Karmel No Bake Cake

Annabel Karmel ideas

Did you buy into Annabel Karmel's cookery books for tots too? I did. I have to say that for a certain type of parent, ie me, who needs to know how to make mashed potato her cookery books an absolute lifesaver.

Personally, I think most of the recipes she has in there are absolutely revolting for adults let alone trying to get toddlers to eat them. But that said, there are a couple of recipes of hers that are now firm favourites in our house. And I've wowed many a person who's stopped by for dinner with the butternut squash risotto (mmmm buttery!).

These two Annabel Karmel birthday cake recipes are available online thanks to the archives of The Sun newspaper, of all places.

The first one is the No Bake Cake, pictured above. A cake you don't have to bake sounds like a favourite to me although this one looks like it might take a bit of time to put together! The other cake, the Princess and the Pea Cake, is a beautiful looking yet devilishly simple creation. I think even I could have a go at that.

Nigella Lawson

Nigella Lawson's easy option

That famous domestic goddess and cook, Nigella Lawson, also has a super easy cake for hassled mums and dads to make. Nigella Lawson's easy birthday buttermilk cake is featured on The Guardian's website. Where, and this is the bit I really like, journalist Justine Pattison has a short video clip showing you how to make it.

It is part of the websites Cooking with Kids section. Making this cake could be a fun project to do with the kids. Perhaps a great idea for getting them to make the birthday cake for mum or dad.

Angry Birds

Angry Birds cake

How's that for a simple but cool idea? If you haven't heard of Angry Birds then you need to have a chat with your offspring. My five year old doesn't have any sort of games console in the house, yet he talks about them all the time and draws pictures of them. These strange little creatures are the product of game called, as you might have guessed, Angry Birds.

If like me though you're not exactly artistic and have never attempted to do anything at all with icing except scrape it on a cake with a knife, then something like this might go horribly wrong.

If that happens don't let it get you down. It even happens to the professionals. So much so there is in fact a website dedicated solely to their mistakes. Cake Wrecks for "when professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong".

Number Five

No-5-Birthday-Cake-for-Boys1-245x300Or indeed number 6 or number 8. You could adapt this idea from the blog of Elsie van Rooyen to a variety of different numbers. It is fiendishly simple though. She took a ring cake and a couple of loaf cakes, and fashioned them into the shape of the number. |She's then used icing and shapes like liquorice straps to create a road and car theme. A very sweet cake and perfect for a five year old's birthday.

And now for something completely different!

On my travels around the internet I found this idea for a cake, which is totally off the wall. And yet I find myself thinking, I want one of these! Possible this is better as a Halloween cake than a birthday cake, and definitely not one for the kids unless they're teenagers. In which case, the boys will probably find this the height of cool.

It is, wait for it, the Killer Rats Cake. And I'm not putting the picture up here. You'll have to go to the website for a look. Go on, you know you can't resist...


  • Luschka O.
    We moved house the day before Kyra's first birthday - in fact, we vacated ON her birthday, but most of our furniture was gone the day before: which was also the day we had her first party. I simply didn't have time to bake the cake I had wanted to, so I went to Sainsbury's and bought a square chocolate cake. I scraped off all the icing and used green coconut, chocolate fingers, icing sugar animals and various other sweets to create a whole zoo. It worked out REALLY well. We then went to visit family and I didn't have any way of baking a cake for her second first birthday party, so bought a round cake and some cupcakes, scraped off all the icing and then re-iced it in orange and brown as a tiger, using the cupcakes for ears, and various sweets and things for whiskers and eyes. It worked out really well - I'd have loved to bake the cakes, but it worked out well enough in the end.
  • Donatella
    When my son was younger I used to have an annual American-style Easter Egg Hunt in the garden for his entire class. It was hilarious. I also made an Easter bunny cake using two round homemade cakes: one for the face and I'd cut up the other round cake for ears an a bowtie. If you assemble it all on a flat baking sheet and then frost it, it does all hold together. Use liquorice strips for wiskers and M&M eyes, and decorate creatively. It was always a huge success. Epicurious is an excellent website for fuss-free recipes. I found my banana chocolate loaf recipe on that site. My son's fave.
  • Lynley O.
    oooh lovely great idea for an Easter treat!

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