A Tale of Two Easy & Fun Themed Birthday Cakes for Kids (Ultimate Recipe Swap)

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Birthday cakes are a big deal is these here parts. It’s been interesting to watch them evolve over the years. We’ve traveled the world with our family’s birthday cakes to Egypt to Rome to the beach to the golf disc course. We sung Happy Birthday with Bob, Dora, and Rapunzel. We’ve explored the deep blue sea as well as the Death Star. Heck! We’ve been to Infinity and Beyond.

So, it surprised me this last couple months that my kids were a little mellower with their birthday cake choices. They chose easy. Real easy. God bless them, they chose really, really easy. And I think you’re gonna like them because you could so pull this off — with ZERO cake decorating skill. Observe.

Easy Cake Decorating Technique #1: Let the Kid Do It

My nine year old awoke on his birthday in a tent in the mountains, camping with FishPapa and the other boys. They came home a day early in order to celebrate with me and the girls. Early also translates into “I didn’t know you were coming home, so I haven’t really done anything for your birthday.” But, I didn’t let on. I just set about baking a cake — from a mix — because that’s how I roll.

I made Homemade Buttercream with some cocoa tossed in for good measure and then said, “What would you like to put on your cake?”

Can I have a dragon cake?

“Absolutely,” says I, “go find the toys.”

FishBoy9 is all over the artist thing, so he searched about the house for the cake-appropriate Playmobil and decorated the cake himself.

That was easy.

He loved his cake — and he did a great job positioning the toys to look just right. I couldn’t have done better myself.

Easy Cake Decorating Technique #2:

Print out paper cake toppers

Now the next technique takes a little more effort on the parent’s part, but not much. When FishBoy7 had his birthday in May he specifically requested paper cake toppers in the shape of his favorite video game characters, Sonic the Hedgehog and Company. Experience tells us that there is no way in the world that we will find Sonic character toys to put on the cake, so we search the internet instead and print out three dudes in color on cardstock.

Obviously, you can do this with whatever characters your kid is interested in. Simply cut the shapes out and tape them to toothpicks, thusly,

He really is happy, he just doesn’t know quite how to act naturally in front of the camera.

Then stick your paper guys in the cake. Don’t forget the number candle!

Both these cakes were incredibly easy. I can’t tell you how easy.

I used a cake mix and homemade frosting, but you could certainly use canned frosting as well. You could do even make both these kind of cakes with store-bought cakes.

My kids were as happy as could be. I didn’t have to jump hoops — and they were completely satisfied.

Now, that‘s a happy birthday!

Got a great cake?


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  1. I’m linking up several cakes that I’ve done in the past year….with four kids so far, we’ve had some fun ones!

  2. I posted about the shield cake for a knight party. I enjoy checking out new ideas for cakes and often use little toys to add to cakes. I’ve used Toy Story characters, Polly Pockets, Dora and cowboys. Thanks for all the ideas! I couldn’t get it to link up right on my blog- not sure why 🙁 I’ve been a follower of your blog for a couple of years and really enjoy your ideas.

  3. My daughter really likes WordWorld right now so I decided an easy cake would be a WordWorld cake. I made a chocolate cake and chocolate frosting then used fondant to put “CAKE” on the sides!

  4. My daughter is less than a year old. I am very excited about decorating cakes for her. She may not appreciate it for the first couple of years, but I know I loved the cakes my mother made for us growing up.

  5. I had a few cupcake and cake pictures posted on my blog. I hope to add some more sometime. I decorate cakes for fun/family. Enjoy!

  6. I linked to a post where I show 2 pictures of the My Little Pony Rainbow Dash cake I made for my daughter’s birthday last month. The post is mostly about something else, so if that’s not ok, please let me know! I had a lot of fun making the cake, but it was definitely not an easy cake! I do have some easy and fun ones I’ve done in the past, so I’ll have to link up again with those on the next round!

    I love looking at all the fun cakes!

  7. LOL! My 4.5 yr old is wanting a Jessie and Bulls-Eye Cake for her 5th Birthday in September. She looooves Jessie, and I think when it comes to making this cake I’m just gonna have to give in and bake a regular cake and stick her Jessie and Bulls-eye on top of the cake to decorate! Anything else is going to be too complicated! Love the Dragon cake! Adorable that he did that all on his own! Just need some candy rocks!

  8. I just read that today is Sonic The Hedgehog’s 20th birthday. Doesn’t that make you feel really old?

  9. Hello everyone!

    I thought to share a recipe for the kind of log cake my mom used to bake me when I was a child and which was decorated differently each year.
    A couple of weeks ago, we baked it for my grandparent’s birthday and I went with a simple but cute berry theme 🙂

    Looking forward to trying out many of the recipes I saw in the links, they sound good!
    Thank you Jessica, for hosting this recipe swap 🙂

  10. I made a “How to Train Your Dragon” icecream cake for my son’s birthday this year. He loved it and we all loved the icecream cake! Tastier and sooooo much cheaper than Dairy Queen!

  11. I enjoy making cakes for my daughters’ birthdays. Last year I made a horse cake and a panda bear cake. This year my 3 year old wanted Backyardigans… and not just one, but all 5. It took me at least 4 hours to decorate it. A bit time consuming so for her party cake I’ll just be making thier faces. 🙂 My soon to be 7 year old wants more of monogram style cake w/ roses this year. I’m excited to see how elegant it turns out!

  12. My husband actually requested my rice Krispie scotcheroos in cake form for his birthday next year — they’re versatile, easy, and delicious!
    Love the cake decorating tips. I’m not very artistically inclined so I’ll take all the help I can get.

  13. I linked up my post recapping my daughter’s first birthday party a few weeks ago, which was a cow print theme! I had such a fun time making her a cow print smash cake.

  14. I miss Meredith posting as well. What happened do you know?? Hope she comes back to the blogisphere soon!!
    Her lego cake was inspiring and her in a pinch cake for her daugher with the elegant E on it was a good save too!!!

    I have totally been in love with your hm cakes!!! The ideas you send out are just so creative and inspiring!!

    I’m in for a doozy come fall, youngest son wants a football field cake for his beloved Redskins which I think I can handle no problem but the oldest wants a Dr Who inspired cake and wants me to recreate him a tardis. Yeah I’m a little nervous on that one. Wish me luck!!


  15. I made your Indiana Jones cake for my son’s last birthday. He and his friends thought it was awesome, and I was thrilled at how easy it was!

  16. Makes me totally ashamed of all the b-day cakes I’ve bought! Thanks for sharing.

    1. @Judy, don’t be ashamed. But, know that you can save a boatload of money in the future. 🙂

  17. I linked the Yo Gabba Gabba cakes I made for my son’s 1st birthday party. They were hand carved and it was the first time I had made my own butter cream frosting and vanilla marshmallow fondant. It was also the first time I had ever made a cake that wasn’t from round or rectangle cake pans! I just wanted to go big and make his 1st birthday extra special!

  18. Love your cake posts! 🙂 I LOVE making themed birthday cakes!! Super fun! How cute that FishBoy9 decorated the cake himself!

  19. I linked up the marshmallow fondant covered Batman cake I made for a fourth birthday a few months ago. The picture isn’t the best because it was storming that day and there was no sunlight to be found.