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The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

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Adorable Birthday Cakes for Kids... Make It Yourself & Save Money

By Vicki McClure Davidson

 

dinosaur birthday cake

A birthday cake can be the most expensive item for a kid's birthday party. Instead of shelling out $20, $30, or more for a bakery to make your child's cake, even those of us with limited baking skills can create a fun (and frugal) birthday cake that your child will love.

During our economic hard times, do-it-yourself (DIY) is usually better on the budget, and it doesn't have to be stressful, even if you've never made a cake before. As long as the cake is festive and tastes good, few kids will notice a lopsided or less-than-perfect-in-appearance cake. The work involved in making a special dinosaur, butterfly, or baseball mitt birthday cake with love, sweat, and a few tears may not be fully comprehended by a 4-year-old today, but in years to come, it likely will be (also, be sure to take a few photos of it before it's devoured!) All that your child knows is that he or she ADORES the birthday cake that was made just for him or her.

Saving some hefty cash on a child's birthday cake will definitely make Mom and Dad happier, plus impress a few other parents at the birthday party.

The following birthday/special occasion cakes and their recipes and instructions cover a range of expertise and skills. Some use pre-made baked goods, such as doughnut holes or pound cake (I've seen pound cakes at my 99-Cent Only store often). Some provide recipes for the cake, whereas others do not. If a recipe isn't offered, a suggestion as to what shape and flavor of cake is offered. From there, you can choose to make the cake from scratch or use a cake mix.

At the bottom of this page are a collection of photos of homemade kid birthday cakes. Not professional, but adorable, nonetheless. While these cakes don't have recipes or instructions, eyeballing them for their details should be easy, and they will get your creative juices flowing for more cake-making ideas.

Before you start, you might want to check out this post, which has a number of cake making, baking, and frosting tips to make your birthday cake-making experience much easier.

 


 

Birthday Cake Directory

Baseball Mitt Birthday Cake

Butterfly Birthday Cake

Barn Birthday Cake & Farm Animal Cupcakes

Pirate/Buccaneer Birthday Cake

Checkerboard Birthday Cake

Dinosaur Birthday Cake

Princess Castle Birthday Cake

Bacon Cheeseburger Cake

Pretty Package Cake

Diva Sleepover Cake

Cute Rainbow Animal Cupcakes - For Birthday or Any Occasion

Campfire Birthday Cake

Turtle Birthday Cake

Photo Collection: Birthday Cake Ideas

 

 

Baseball Mitt Birthday Cake
baseball mitt birthday cake Posted at the Jell-O section of KraftBrands.com.

 

 

Grease and flour one 9-inch round baking pan; set aside. Prepare cake mix as directed on package. Pour half of the batter into prepared pan; spoon remaining batter into 12 paper-lined medium muffin cups. Bake as directed on package for 9-inch cake layer and cupcakes. Cool cake and cupcakes in pans 5 min.; remove to wire racks. Cool completely.

Pour milk into medium bowl. Add dry pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. or until well blended. Gently stir in 1 cup of the whipped topping.

Cut a small piece from side of round cake; discard. Frost top and side of cake with pudding mixture. Decorate with chocolate sprinkles and licorice to resemble baseball mitt. Frost cupcakes with remaining 2 cups whipped topping. Place 1 cupcake on mitt. Decorate cupcakes with decorating gel to resemble stitches on a baseball. Store cake and cupcakes in refrigerator.

For more cake ideas and recipes, visit the Kraft website.

<< Back to Birthday Cake directory

 

 

Butterfly Birthday Cake
Posted on the Betty Crocker Howdini website.

 

This butterfly cake can be made with any colors you desire and isn't very difficult to make.

For detailed text instructions for making this butterfly birthday cake (watch the how-to video first), visit the Betty Crocker Howdini website.

This butterfly cake recipe serves 12.

For additional cake ideas and recipes with video demos, visit the Betty Crocker Howdini website.

<< Back to Birthday Cake directory

 

 

Barn Birthday Cake & Farm Animal Cupcakes
Posted on the Betty Crocker Howdini website.

 

After watching the how-to demo video, if you need detailed text instructions for making this barn birthday cake with cupcake farm animals, visit the Betty Crocker Howdini website.

This adorable birthday farm cake and cupcake recipe serves 20.

For more cake ideas and recipes, visit the Betty Crocker Howdini website.

<< Back to Birthday Cake directory

 

 

 

Pirate/Buccaneer Birthday Cake
birthday cake Posted at the Kraft Recipes website.

 

PREPARE cake batter and bake as directed on package for 2 (9-inch) round pans. Cool cakes in pans 15 min. Remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely.

CUT cake as shown in diagram. Discard cake trimmings or reserve for snacking. Place head piece on platter; frost with 1 cup COOL WHIP.

BEAT dry pudding mix, sugar and milk with whisk 2 min. Assemble hat pieces near head as shown in photograph; frost with pudding mixture. Spoon remaining COOL WHIP into resealable plastic bag. Cut small corner off bottom of bag. Squeeze bag to pipe COOL WHIP onto hat as shown in photograph.

CUT eye patch out of piece of sturdy colored paper or cardboard. Cut 14-inch length from red licorice. Use to "attach" eye patch to cake. Use remaining red licorice to form mouth. Decorate cake with remaining ingredients as shown in photo. Keep refrigerated.

For more cake ideas and recipes, visit the Kraft website.

<< Back to Birthday Cake directory

 

 

Checkerboard Birthday Cake
birthday cake Posted at Family Fun website.

 

Ingredients

Instructions

Frost the cake. Using a knife and ruler, lightly mark a grid, 8 by 8 squares.

Place the fruit leather in alternating squares. Set up the gumdrop playing pieces and outline the board with licorice.

For more cake creation ideas, visit the Family Fun site.

 

<< Back to Birthday Cake directory

 

 

Dinosaur Birthday Cake
Posted on the Betty Crocker Howdini website.

 

This dinosaur birthday cake from the Betty Crocker experts is easy to make, as shown in the how-to video, and will end up looking like you spent a small fortune for a bakery to create it. Any dino-loving child will be enthralled with your birthday cake creation, and you're sure to impress many parents as well.

While neon green frosting is used for the dinosaur's body in the video demo, any color that your child wants can be used. The teeth look too cool!

For additional awesome cake ideas and recipes with video demos, visit the Betty Crocker Howdini website.

Assembling the Dinosaur Cake

On the first cake layer, cut a slice off of one side. Then in the middle of the flat side of the cake layer, cut a U-shaped piece out to create the dinosaur’s belly and legs. Place the layer on a serving platter.

Using paper templates, cut a head and tail out of the second cake layer (cut the ‘dome’ off the top first so it’s flat). Place head and tail on the serving platter, joining the pieces to the dinosaur’s body. Glue the cake to the platter by placing some frosting underneath each piece of cake. Crumb coat the entire cake with a thin layer of green frosting.

Freeze the cake for 30 minutes.

Decorating the Dinosaur Cake

Frost the entire cake with another layer of green frosting. Smooth frosting on sides of cake using an offset spatula. Smooth the top of the cake, working from the outside to the middle. Have hot water on hand to clean the spatula as you are smoothing frosting. Dry spatula each time you clean it before continuing to frost the cake.

Place flat chocolate disks on the cake to make spots on the dinosaur.

Use smaller chocolate candies for eyes and toes.

Use pointy candies across the top to create spikes along the dinosaur’s head, back and tail.

Using white frosting in a pastry bag, make white dots in the center of each chocolate eye.

Using white frosting in a pastry bag, draw on a smile. Or, for a scary dino, make teeth by holding the pastry bag in place, squeezing to form a dot and then pulling up to create a point.

 

<< Back to Birthday Cake directory

 

 

Princess Castle Birthday Cake
Posted on the Betty Crocker Howdini website.

 

After watching the how-to demo video, if you need detailed text instructions for making this lovely princess castle birthday cake, visit the Betty Crocker Howdini website.

For more cake ideas and recipes, visit the Betty Crocker Howdini website. The website also has instructions on how to make this castle cake more masculine-looking for a boy.

<< Back to Birthday Cake directory

 

 

 

Bacon Cheeseburger Cake
birthday cake Posted at AllRecipes.com.

 

Contributor Ashleigh Meusel posted these descriptive instructions at AllRecipes.com for making this amusing bacon cheeseburger cake:

This cake was surprisingly simple. I just used two boxed yellow cake mixes, one for the buns and one for the burger. I used two 9" round 1.5" deep pans for the buns and one 8-inch round 2-inch deep pan for the burger.

After baking the cakes and letting them cool, the rest is applying the icing. Use milk chocolate icing for the burger, red for the tomatoes, green for the pickles, and yellow for the cheese. Only ice what will be visible when the top bun is in place. DO NOT PUT ICING ON THE BUNS!

For the sesame seeds, just use Rice Krispie cereal. Enjoy!

Visit the AllRecipes website for more creative cake-making ideas.

<< Back to Birthday Cake directory

 

 

Pretty Package Cake
birthday cake Posted at FamilyFun.go.com.

 

This festive rectangular cake is super-easy and super-quick to make. It can be made for any number of special gatherings in addition to a birthday. The Spree candies can be substituted with M&Ms, SweetTarts, Reese's Pieces, gumdrops, or any other small, round, colorful candies.

Ingredients

Instructions

Ribbon: Cut 12-inch and 16-inch lengths of Fruit by the Foot and drape them across the cake and down the sides to resemble ribbon. Tuck the ends under the cake, using a spatula to gently lift it just a little.

Bow: Top the ribbon with two 8-inch lengths of Fruit by the Foot fashioned into loops and 5-inch-long streamers with notches snipped into the ends. Add a small oval to resemble a knot.

Polka-dot gift wrap: Press randomly spaced Spree candies into the frosting (we used about 3 dozen).

For more cake creation ideas, visit the Family Fun website.

<< Back to Birthday Cake directory

 

 

Diva Sleepover Cake
sleepover birthday cake

This unique sleepover/slumber party cake for a little girl is simply precious, and with a few modifications, could also be made for a boy.

Using different shades of brown or green frosting and candies (either to mimic nature colors or military camouflage), it would be perfect for a Girl Scout or Boy Scout encampment, or a youth group/church lock-in.

Posted at the Jell-O section of KraftBrands.com.

 

Prepare cake batter and bake in 13x9-inch baking pan as directed on package. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Carefully invert onto wire rack; cool completely. Meanwhile, pour milk into medium bowl. Add dry pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk for 2 minutes. Gently stir in whipped topping; cover. Refrigerate 30 min. or until thickened.

Transfer cake to cake board or tray. Arrange peanut butter cookies, side-by-side, down center of cake to resemble six bodies laying next to each other in a bed. Spread pudding mixture onto top and sides of cake, completely covering cookies and cake. Gently press fruit rolls into pudding on sides of cake to resemble a bed skirt.

Place 1 Nilla Wafer at one end of each body for the head. Use decorating gel to draw the eyes, nose and mouth on each wafer. Tint coconut with food coloring; sprinkle at top of each wafer for the hair. Add jelly beans as desired to top of cake to resemble a polka-dotted blanket.

Store in refrigerator.

<< Back to Birthday Cake directory

 

 

Cute Rainbow Animal Cupcakes - For Birthday or Any Occasion

This is a homemade video demo for making multi-colored cupcakes that can then be decorated with animal faces. There are no measurements provided, but the technique for creating rainbow cupcakes is of some value.

The how-to video also offers some creative ideas for making animal faces.

<< Back to Birthday Cake directory

Cute Rainbow Animal Cupcakes - For Birthday or Any Occasion

 

 

 

Campfire Birthday Cake

birthday cake Posted at FamilyFun.go.com website.

 

Ingredients

 

Instructions

With a knife, shave the square edges off the cakes to give them a log shape. Next, mix 1/4 cup of chocolate frosting into 1 cup of white to make a light tan. Place one log on a platter (a dab of frosting on the bottom will help hold it in place). Frost it with the chocolate and tan frostings (as shown on website). To create bark and tree rings, scrape the tines of a fork across the chocolate frosting, then scratch a spiral into each tan end.

Pour the doughnut holes into a bowl and sprinkle them with confectioners' sugar. Arrange 10 doughnut-hole embers in a single layer next to the frosted log, sticking them in place with frosting.

For the branch stub, cut a 1-inch slice from one end of the second log and trim it into a 2-inch circle; set the piece aside. Frost the bottom of the log and set it in place as shown. Use frosting to stick the stub to the second log. Create bark and rings again.

For flames, take a piece of fruit leather and, with the backing still in place, lightly wet half (lengthwise) of the fruit side with water. Fold it in half lengthwise and press to seal. Cut out flame shapes with scissors as shown, then remove the backing.

Slice 2 doughnut holes in half. Put a dollop of the remaining white frosting onto the cut surface, then set a flame on top. Squeeze decorators' gel over the decorated doughnut holes, then set them on the platter. Use any remaining doughnut holes to fill in the gaps between the logs. Decorate them with more flames and gel, if desired.

The site has more ideas for an Overnight Adventure Party. For more cake creation ideas, visit the Family Fun site.

<< Back to Birthday Cake directory

 

 

Turtle Birthday Cake

birthday cake Posted at the Parenting.com website.

 

This charming turtle birthday cake uses Tootsie Rolls, Funny Bones snack cakes, and Jolly Rancher Fruit Chews.

The directions and recipe are posted at Parenting.com — for a fabulous collection of many more creative, easy birthday cake-designing ideas and recipes (they use candies and cakes from the supermarket), check out the full Parenting article, "61 Unique Birthday Cakes."

 

<< Back to Birthday Cake directory

 

 

Photo Collection: Birthday Cake Ideas

Some homemade birthday cake photographs for you to use to excite your creative muse or to copy without shame.

 

birthday cake

Birthday Car Cake | Photo credit: andrea_44, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

birthday cake

Elmo Birthday Cake, Using Swirled-Frosted Cupcakes | Photo credit: ebot, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

birthday cake

Cat Birthday Cake (my mom made this for my little sister) | Photo credit: lierne, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

Harry Potter Gryffindor Birthday Cake | Photo credit: John Dalton, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

birthday cake

Twizzler Birthday Cake | Photo credit: trozbo, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

birthday cake

Football Birthday Cake | Photo credit: samdogs, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Brief description of the football cake provided by photographer/cook samdogs:

"My nephew's 9th birthday is today and this is the cake I just finished making for him. I carved the football from two stacked 8-inch cakes, the bottom is two 9-inch cakes. Cake is iced in buttercream, the football is covered in fondant. The footballs on the side are also cut from fondant. Thanks to the cakechic for the sweet idea."

birthday cake

Lego Birthday Cake | Photo credit: Tracy Lee, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

birthday cake

Tinkerbell Birthday Cake | Photo credit: Graceful Cake Creations, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

birthday cake

Karate Kid Birthday Cake | Photo credit: merfam, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

birthday cake

Mickey Mouse Birthday Cake | Photo credit: cscott2006, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

birthday cake

Monster Truck Birthday Cake | Photo credit: Janet, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

Tips on making this cool monster truck cake from Janet:

Vanilla cake with chocolate icing (mud!), crushed chocolate teddy grahams (dirt!), and Monster Truck cake decorating kit.

 

birthday cake

M&Ms Birthday Cake | Photo credit: Sandy Austin, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

birthday cake

Hot Wheels Birthday Cake | Photo credit: Sugar Daze, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

birthday cake

Hello, Kitty Birthday Cake | Photo credit: c.r. avery, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Info about the Hello, Kitty cake provided by photographer c.r. avery:

"Birthday cake made for daughter's 2nd birthday. Each tier has 3 layers. Covered with fondant, chocolate flowers, faux fur trim."

 

birthday cake

Hockey Stadium Birthday Cake | Photo credit: Sprudeln, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

birthday cake

Angry Birds Birthday Cake | Photo credit: Sami Oinonen, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

Oscar the Grouch Cake | Photo credit: space-man, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

Frog Birthday Cake | Photo credit: Janet, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

<< Back to Birthday Cake directory

 

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