I have made a lot of birthday cakes over the years. Today I’m sharing my top tips for making it simple. Take these easy kid’s birthday cake ideas as an inspiration for your own child’s birthday party. I get commissions for purchases made through the affiliate links in this post.
Easy Kid’s Birthday Cake Ideas
Top with Toys
My favorite way of making a themed birthday cake is to choose some toys to top the cake. Sometimes you’ll actually find cake topper toys, but you can use regular toys, too. Just be sure the toys are washable (at least the part that will touch the frosting). You’ll also want to watch out for crevices on the toys that the frosting can get stuck in. You could add a bit of fondant for the toys to rest on. Wash the toys before placing them on the cake (allowing for drying time).
My family loves a boxed chocolate cake with store bought chocolate fudge frosting. My kids wanted a How to Train Your Dragon birthday cake with Toothless and the Light Fury. We had the perfect cake with the Dragons Hidden World Gift Set I bought online at Target.
Another option is to choose a white frosting (I like cream cheese frosting) and add icing color. (I use the gel icing colors from Wilton.) I did this for our Troll Hunters birthday party. If you get the white icing with confetti, you can add an extra special pop of rainbow color to the cake.
Add Candy to Decorate the Birthday Cake
When my daughter turned one, I decided to have a polka dot birthday party. She had this adorable polka dot outfit and it was the perfect inspiration for party. I made her a special mini applesauce cake that wasn’t very sweet.
For the rest of the party goers, I baked a simple 2-layer chocolate cake. I iced it with cream cheese frosting and added M&M’s to dot the cake. Super easy and super festive!
My niece asked for a Willy Wonka themed birthday cake when she turned 7. The inside of the cake is rainbow with 4 layers each a different color. I used the store bought colored cake mixes to make it easy. The cake is supposed to look sort of like Willy Wonka’s hat so the brim of the hat was made from purple fondant. We added a variety of candies to complete the picture.
Use a Special Shaped Pan
Wilton makes a ton of cake pans in different shapes. I created an airplane birthday cake using their airplane shaped pan. Before buying the pan, check to see if your library or some other local place lets you borrow the shaped pans. Otherwise, use a coupon if you buy it at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, or Jo-Ann’s.
The cake pans come with instructions and ideas for decorating the cake. Be sure to grease and flour your cake pans so the cake comes out clean. Or you can use Wilton’s Bake Easy. This non-stick spray makes the cakes come out super clean.
For the airplane birthday cake, I used store bought chocolate frosting and vanilla frosting and used M&M’s to complete the picture.
For Lily’s Hello Kitty birthday party, I used Wilton’s Hello Kitty pan. I coated the cake in a layer of frosting and then used tubes of gel icing to make the details on Hello Kitty’s face. The gel icing was kind of difficult to work with. It didn’t want to cooperate so I ended up with a messy cake. It still turned out okay. I would probably use buttercream and proper piping tips if I had to do it all over again.
Get the Right Shape Cake Pan
For Aiden’s Minecraft birthday cake, he had to have a square cake. This meant getting square pans. I used 4 boxed cake mixes to make a square 4-layer cake. I covered the whole cake in lots of store bought chocolate frosting. I even did a crumb coat.
I used a recipe to make homemade buttercream frosting and colored it green. I used a star tip to create the grass on top of the cake. The cake is supposed to look like a block of Minecraft grass.
The final touch was adding Minecraft toys to the top of the cake. This cake was huge and pretty heavy. But totally worth the impact. Everyone loved it.
Use a Sphere Shaped Cake Pan
Wilton makes a 3D Sports Ball Cake Pan that I’ve used to create Aiden’s Jupiter cake and his Golden Snitch cake. You bake the two halves separately and then use icing to combine them. A crumb coat is definitely need in order to get this cake decorated well.
Aiden requested a Jupiter cake for his space themed birthday party. And he wanted it to be an actual ball shape not flat. Thankfully, I found the sports ball cake pan. I followed the directions for baking the cake and cut off any cake that baked above the edges. After the crumb coat was chilled, I added more store-bought frosting (I love that shortcut). I colored some of the frosting using Wilton’s icing colors.
My first and only attempt at making cake pops was to have Jupiter’s moons go along with the spherical planet. The cake pops were absolutely delicious but they took forever to make. I wasn’t very good a dipping the cake pops in melted chocolate. The cake pops came out lopsided and uneven. Since they are Jupiter’s moons this were perfectly acceptable and maybe even looked as if I did it on purpose. The cake is sitting on a piece of foam wrapped with aluminum foil. This makes it easy to stick the cake pops in.
For Aiden’s Harry Potter birthday party, he wanted a Golden Snitch cake. This cake did not turn out exactly how I imagined but he loved it nonetheless. I used Wilton’s buttercream yellow icing color to color cream cheese frosting. I used more buttercream yellow to add the details of the snitch. Aiden wanted the wings of the snitch to be made out of edible paper. I used Wilton’s sugar sheets but they were heavier than I thought. Wafer paper would have been a better choice.
Combine Cake Pan Shapes
To make Elon’s volcano cake, I use a small bundt cake pan and a 6 inch round cake pan. The bottom of the bundt cake pan was the same size as the round cake pan. After baking and leveling the cakes, I stacked the bundt cake on top of the round cake. I added the cake scraps cut off from leveling to the sides of the cake. This helped make the sides of the volcano more mountain like.
Next, I added colorful homemade buttercream. I wish the buttercream was a little tighter. It would have piped easier onto the cake. Overall, we ended up with a pretty cool volcano birthday cake.
Use Modeling Chocolate
If you can’t find toys to match your birthday party themed, you can make your own cake toppers out of modeling chocolate. It’s surprisingly easy to work with. It handles just like modeling clay. The modeling chocolate becomes softer and easier to manipulate as you heat it up with your hands. Check out how I used modeling chocolate to make the cake for our Dragons Love Tacos birthday party. The method is easy but it is time consuming. It took quite a while to get the dragon just right.
My Final Advice
Don’t be afraid of decorating a cake yourself. My cakes never look like a professional did them. I’m totally okay with that. They are personalized for my children. Some of them take time to get just right. Others are ridiculously easy.