Tag Archives: birthday cake

Pirate Cake

Betty Crocker Pirate Cake

Pirate CakeThose Betty Crocker’s are VERY clever people to come up with this wonderful and incredibly easy buccaneer for your next pirate birthday party. Just click on his graphic there to the left for a full scale video from the Betty Crocker kitchens showing you how to make this great looking cake.

Don’t be intimidated by his looks- he’s easy. All you need are two round cakes, 3 cans of ready made frosting in vanilla and chocolate, a template you’ll make out of cardboard or heavy paper for the hat (which you can see is no big deal) and assorted candies like licorice, fruit by the foot, marshmallow, M&M’s (one each for the eye), a mint patty (patch), square gum (teeth), jellied fruit ring (earring), and chocolate sprinkles for his stubble.

The video will show you how to do the frosting, including how to do a crumb coat which will keep this and any cake you decorate clean looking and free of crumbs. It’s just a first layer of frosting that seals everything, and again, no big deal and not very time consuming.

There’s a great tip in this video about frosting- using an offset spatula and hot water and working from the outside in to get a really smooth finish to your frosting.

There’s no need to be afraid to try making a cake like this. It’s easy and it’s even fun, and of course the kids will love it. With fun, themed kids birthday cakes like this one your party is sure to be a great success.

Princess Birthday Cake

There’s something about little girls that has us moms sometimes going for the over-the-top, fussy, frilly things that they so love. I’d put this princess birthday cake in that category. She will certainly make quite an entrance to your princess’s birthday party!

If you’re so inclined, this really isn’t as hard as it looks, as the video will prove. All you need are 3 8″ round cakes and one cake baked in a glass bowl. Box cakes will work fine, and since this idea comes from the Betty Crocker kitchens, I’m sure that’s what they would prefer you use! In addition to the cakes, you’ll need a good amount of pink tinted buttercream frosting, your pretty cake plate, and of course the princess. The doll can be an extra gift for your princess.

You might want to have all your princess party guests bring one of their own princess dolls with them to your party to join in the celebration when you bring out this cake. This gives them all something to play with at the table while you cut cake and serve, and perhaps play some more after the cake is eaten.

But before your cut her apart for serving, be sure to get pictures of the princess cake and all your princess birthday party guests for your memories. Maybe even use the photo on the front of your thank you notes?

Kids don’t need fancy food and designer birthday cakes to have a great time at their birthday party, but sometimes it’s just something that we parents want to do.

DIY Cupcake Toppers

CupcakeCupcakes are an easy alternative to hours in the kitchen decorating a designer cake. They’re kid-sized and kid friendly too. And you can fancy them up to match any party theme with cupcake toppers you make yourself in very little time.

Once again, we turn to the internet to make a D-I-Y chore as easy as possible.

Find a cute graphic that projects your party’s theme. I always say a great place to start is Microsoft’s Image Gallery. You want to choose an image that will size to under 2″ across so as not to overwhelm your cupcakes. Print 2 copies of each image for each cupcake onto cardstock and cut them out into either circles or squares, 2″ across.

Using either plain white or transparent drinking straws or plain white paper rolled up tight to make sticks. Cut your topper sticks to be about 3 1/2″ or 4″ long. Put your images back to back with the stick in the middle and glue the two sides together so they are securely attached to the stick.

Make sure your cupcakes have icing that’s good and thick ( which the kids will love for all that sugary goodness) so it can support your cupcake topper when you stick them into your cupcakes.

For the cost of a little printer ink, you’ve got yourself custom cupcake toppers for whatever theme you choose for your birthday party. And it took you very little time to make them. That’s a Win-Win.

With cute toppers, your party food joins in the fun as a birthday party decoration too.

Earth Friendly Feasting

RecycleYou CAN have an eco-friendly party without depriving anybody of anything on that special day.

My thanks to mygloss.com for pointing me in this direction with their article by Sophie Uliano, the NYTimes best-selling author of Gorgeously Green.

Quite obviously, the place to start is with all that paper and plastic we all use for serving the childrens party food. Let’s face it, nobody’s going to use their good china, or even their not very good china, with a bunch of rowdy kids. But there are now some good alternatives to both the paper/plastic route and the broken china route.

First off, use cloth not paper napkins. Either invest in some inexpensive but fun and colorful ones that you’ll use all the time at home with your own kids, or dredge up all the ones you’ve got around and don’t give a second thought to the fact that they don’t match- do you really think the kids will care?

Same for your tablecloth- got an old sheet that they can write on or a colorful printed one that would look festive? Or you can have your party guests create your table covering by making big drawings (related to your party theme if you wish) on newsprint that you’ll then have a helper tape together to create your table covering.

And here’s my favorite green tip- using these ‘On the Go’ plastic plates and cups that are made out of recycled yogurt cups. Have some educational fun and tell the kids the story behind their tableware and how maybe even one of the yogurt containers they put into their reclycling bin might be part of their plate! These are reasonably priced, colorful and fun, and can be washed and re-used many times so they’re a good value.

When it comes to doing things in an earth-friendly manner, every little bit helps. The big bonus here is the story behind the plates that can get the kids thinking about being green too – I really like that. So serve up your childrens party food in a green fashion, and pass it on!

Star Wars Cake

R2D2 Cake

Photo courtesy of and with permission from easy-cake-ideas.com

Yup- that cute little robot pictured over there is, in fact, a kids birthday cake!

Created with just the 2 cake decorating techniques I’ve already posted about here (crumb coating and marshmallow fondant), just imagine the kudos you and your birthday child will get from the guests if this R2D2 cake is the star of your Star Wars party!

And I must give credit where it’s due: to easy-cake-ideas.com for both the decorating techniques and this finished cake. You’ll find very complete directions for making this adorable R2D2 if you follow the link above to the easy-cake-ideas.com website.

Don’t be put off by the fact that R2D2 LOOKS complicated- it’s far easier than it looks. He requires 3 chocolate cakes baked in bowls, one sheet cake cut for his arms, and the colored fondant for his buttons and knobs etc. Set aside some time with your creative hat on, and you’ll enjoy doing this almost as much as you’ll enjoy the ooh’s and aah’s when he makes his appearance at your Star Wars birthday party.

While I generally recommend keeping children’s party food simple, a cake that induces shock and awe without breaking the budget is obviously an exception. If this R2D2 attends your child’s next birthday party, he will be a big part of the memories, and you can feel very good about the time you put in to make it so.

The BIG Secret to Birthday Cakes

I’ve already posted for you about crumb coating your cake so you don’t end up with yucky looking crumbs spoiling the look of your frosting. But here’s the really big secret to making truly extra special cakes like the fancy ones you see on the food network etc. It’s called fondant, it’s what makes the fancy shaped add-ons that decorate your cake, and it’s just not that big a deal to make a marshmallow based fondant and use it to give your cake that truly professional look. My thanks yet again to easy-cake-ideas.com for making me aware of this professional trick.

You’ll find the recipe and complete instructions if you follow the link above, but here’s the basics. Using a sturdy stand mixer like a KitchenAid, or kneading by hand, you’ll make your fondant out of just mini marshmallows, sugar and water plus shortening to grease the bowl. The video above and it’s ‘Part 2’ on YouTube will show you exactly how it’s done.

You can color your fondant and easy-cake-ideas.com has made that really easy to learn how to do as well. To use it, you roll it out like any dough (using shortening or corn flour to keep things from sticking) and cut out the shapes you need for your decorations. Use a small brush and water when you need to attach one piece of fondant to another or to attach your fondant creations to your cake. You’ll find numerous videos about decorating with fondant on YouTube.

With this fondant ‘trick’, you can put just about any action figure or Disney character on your cake: grab a good graphic off the internet for your party’s theme, and print it out as your guide for colors and cutting the needed shapes. Have Fun!!

I tend to believe that chidren’s party food should be simple, but your birthday cakes can be an exception and with this fondant trick they can be the ‘piece de resistance’ of your party.

Cake Icing Tip

How do you make your birthday cake icing look flawless? With no crumbs that make it look, well, crummy? Here’s a solution I didn’t know about that will get you past this problem.

In a nutshell, you put a thin layer of buttercream frosting all over your cake to seal in those crumbs. I’m no expert, but it seems to me this technique requires a frosting that hardens a bit rather than staying soft, and that’s a buttercream frosting.

Buttercream is easy and quick to make using your mixer, and the ingredients are commonplace- powdered sugar, butter, shortening,  vanilla and milk or water. Head on over to easy-cake-ideas.com for a tried and true buttercream recipe with all kinds of flavoring tips.

With this cake decorator tip in you pocket, you’ll never be fearful of having your cake look messy again. No special talent is required to write ‘Happy Birthday Davey’ and create a pretty edge around the top of your box-made cake using the gel or paste tubes with tips that you buy right in the supermarket. So unless your dead set on a super fancy cake that’s totally beyond your skill level, you don’t need to shell out a big bunch of money for a bakery cake. And saving money is always a good thing.

Volcano Cake

Volcano Cake

Photo from foodnetwork.com

Thanks to foodnetwork.com and Sandra Lee for this fantastic volcano cake you can make for your kids luau party. Even if your party isn’t for a birthday celebration, this cake is such a show stopper you’ll just have to include it at your luau.

This is much simpler than it looks to make as it’s ‘semi-homemade’, using two boxes of red velvet cake mix, canned frosting and purchased decorator icing.

The ‘smoke’ is a bit of dry ice in a votive candle holder at the top of the cake. Since you’ll no doubt have to buy more dry ice than you’ll need for the cake, place it around elsewhere at the party for more fun smoke (with  little signs that say ‘don’t touch’).

You will need 2- 8” cake pans, 2 -10” cake pans and a 6” bundt pan. You can probably borrow any pans that you don’t already have.

Decorating this cake with all the different colored lava flows of icing should be fun to do with your child and is a good way to get them involved in the party prep.

No luau is complete without it’s volcano!

Williams Sonoma Cookie Cake

Williams Sonoma Sandwich Cookie Cake

Williams Sonoma Cookie Cake

Williams Sonoma Cookie Cake

Do you know anybody under the age of 13 that DOESN’T love these cookies? Me neither. Or over the age of 13, for that matter. So what could possibly be more fun than to serve this Oreo cake at your next birthday party.

While the special pan from Williams Sonoma costs a bit, it can be used for a multitude of events beyond this next birthday party. Anytime you’re asked to bring a dessert to a school or other function, it’ll be a guaranteed hit. Lend it out to friends and relatives, just be sure to get it back!

You’ll find the pan and recipes for both the cake and the center frosting at Williams Sonoma’s website. I also like their idea of using ice cream in the center instead of the frosting – see their directions for this variation at the bottom of their page.

One of the things that makes a birthday party memorable to the kids is that it’s different. They go to SO MANY of these celebrations. This cake would definitely be different from everyone else’s.