15 Awesome Birthday Cakes for Kids

Jun 5, 2015

15 Awesome Birthday Cakes for Kids

Remember when I confessed that I don't throw themed birthday parties with twenty little friends for my kids? The very thought sends me dangerously close to a panic attack.

But one thing we do do is let them choose what kind of birthday cake they want: color, flavor, shape, picture--basically anything goes.

For a couple of years, I was the resident cake decorator. But then, for Aaron's third birthday, I had another obligation the night before, and so I left it in Mike's hands. And . . . I discovered that those hands were far more capable (and creative!) than my own, so I happily handed the cake baton to him.

Last week for Clark's birthday, we decided he should have a kitty cake (when you're turning one, your family gets to make the choice for you). His first real word was "kitty," so it seemed like a good fit. The day of the party, Mike said he was short on time, so his plan was just to do a cat silhouette out of sprinkles on top of the cake. I said, "No way. We're not cutting corners for Clark."

It's true that, at one year old, Clark wouldn't have really cared what his cake looked like, but he maybe would have cared later. See, the birthday cakes have become a sort of timeline for us. My kids look back with such delight at all of their birthday cakes, and it helps them put a memory marker on each birthday: "Remember when I turned three and had the dragon cake?" They love looking at the pictures from their birthdays, and so I didn't want Clark's first birthday cake to look second rate.

As I've been thinking about birthday cakes, I realized that if we added up all the birthdays of our kids so far, it equals fifteen! That's fifteen different birthday cakes. And while our cake decorating skills are amateur at best, I still thought it might be fun to pull them all together into one post in case they give you some inspiration for future birthdays. Enjoy!

1. Early in Aaron's life, his uncle nicknamed him Frogword (he had a frog onesie, and, combined with his skinny frog legs that were always scrunched up and looking ready to jump, it was an appropriate title). So for his first birthday, I made him a frog cake.

Frog birthday cake - one of 15 Awesome Birthday Cakes for Kids

2. Aaron was a typical two-year-old and loved balls. I can remember stressing about this basketball cake because I was all worried that the glass bowl I baked it in in would shatter in the oven. But luckily, no such crisis.

Basketball birthday cake - one of 15 Awesome Birthday Cakes for Kids

3. I don't remember what, if anything, prompted it, but Maxwell got a dinosaur cake for his first birthday. 

4.  Aaron was obsessed with Buzz Lightyear when he turned three, so Mike made him a Buzz Lightyear cake.

5. I stole this idea from one of my friends. We made a race car track cake out of the number two for Maxwell's second birthday. That's crushed up Oreos on the top. I think his favorite part was playing with the cars afterwards.

6. Definitely not my favorite cake we've made, but Aaron loved the color green and spiders (and, to this day, still does), so for his fourth birthday, he requested a spider cake.

7. When Bradley turned one, he loved dogs. Mike made him a puppy cake that Bradley then gleefully smashed with both fists.

8. Maxwell wanted an alien spaceship cake when he turned three. This is what Mike came up with:

9. Aaron got a jet cake for his fifth birthday.

10. This might be my all-time favorite cake. When Bradley turned two, his favorite book was Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Mike used the cover as a guide and recreated it as a brown bear cake. He even concocted some sort of frosting paint to get that cool effect on the top. He should probably patent his technique.

11. The day of Maxwell's fourth birthday, we moved into our new house. We were in no position to be decorating cakes, so Mike's sister, Sonja, volunteered. This space shuttle cake, surrounded by the sun and eight planets, was pretty spectacular.

12. The race car track cake came back for Aaron's sixth birthday, but it was upgraded to an ice cream cake. A definite improvement. (This is one of the few cakes where I thought to take a picture of it in process.)

13. If Bradley's brown bear cake is my first favorite, then this dragon cake definitely comes in second. The wings were made out of straws and green napkins. And it breathed fire.

14. Max's birthday is in March (although not on St. Patrick's Day), so he really wanted a shamrock cake. It was an ice cream cake and very tasty.

15. And finally, the aforementioned cat cake for Clark's first birthday. You can see that Mike took my advice and decided to whip out something memorable.

Which cake do you like best? If you have any questions about how a cake was made, feel free to ask in the comments or send me an email (sunlitpages {at} gmail {dot} com), and I'll do my best to answer it!


  1. Yeah, that Brown Bear cake is fantastically awesome. Super cool. These are really fun cakes.

    My husband's family comes from a big tradition of fun themed birthday parties and wants that for our kids (I would prefer small family parties, we'll see), but with my older kid's birthday being two days before Christmas the theme is always... Christmas. So far we've done a snowman cake, penguin cupcakes, and a Christmas tree cake. I've got plans for a Santa hat cake this year, but I think at some point we'll HAVE to come up with a different way to celebrate. Am I doomed to make Christmas-themed cakes for the rest of his childhood? Ugh.

  2. I'll have to try that jet cake for Curtis!

  3. And, how to do keep the frosting from getting all crumby when you cut unusual shapes? I've done several shaped ones (including a dino that looked a lot like yours!) but I usually get crumbs in the icing from the raw edges. Maybe I'm just too hasty/lazy. I'm making a princess cake tomorrow! Soccer ball cake in two weeks. :)

    1. That was really nice of me to say feel free to ask me any questions and then not answer them for a month! So sorry!

      Anyway, to (finally!) answer your question, we always put down a thin layer of frosting first to seal in all the crumbs. We use a frosting that is a little bit thinner in consistency and then pop the cake in the freezer for an hour or two. When we put on the top layer with regular frosting, we don't have to worry about the crumbs.

  4. Wow, this is really impressive! I love the airplane and dragon cakes!

    I only rarely venture into themed cakes, but I remember each one. I've done the ball cake, although I made two and had a round Poke-ball for a fifth birthday party. I think every guest was later diagnosed with ADHD, so perhaps the copious red food coloring was not the best idea, but the kids loved it. I've done rectangular cakes with train tracks, and the kids loved them (the two year old drove the train on top around the track, so the icing got a bit messed up).

    And for my brother's fortieth, I made him a lego cake, which is really easy -- a cake with cupcakes on top to make a brick. He was completely astonished (I think because I am not known in my family for my cooking skills) and very happy.

  5. Do you make custom "pans" for the ice cream cakes? If so, what are they made of? Very impressive cakes!

    1. Yes, if you call molds made from cereal boxes "custom." Ha! He literally just cuts up a cereal box and then tapes it into the shape he wants. Sometimes he covers it with wax paper or foil, sometimes not.

  6. WOW! I'm very impressed! :) I'm terrible at making cakes...well, decorating actually. I can bake a cake, I just can't make it look nice. HA!


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