Kids’ cakes add a whimsical element to any party. Designing and decorating the cake yourself adds a personal touch to the sweet treat. Whether you have basic or advanced cake decorating skills, many design possibilities exist. Consider the interests and preferences of the child when planning the cake. Customize design ideas to create a personalized cake that fits the occasion.
New, clean toys serve a dual purpose for a child’s birthday party. They add decoration to the top of a cake and double as a gift for the birthday child. Ice a sheet cake or purchase a plain cake from a bakery. Add a decorative border around the cake with icing. Position the toy on top of the cake and write a birthday message to complete the birthday cake.
Edible images allow the transfer of a picture or image to the top of the cake. They come in different forms. Commercially-produced edible images come printed on a thin sheet of edible material, usually rice paper or wafer paper. Place the sheet on top of an iced cake according to directions and the cake is done. Special printers filled with edible ink allow you to print your own images on rice paper. A set of edible ink markers allows you to trace or freehand a design on rice paper. A buttercream transfer is another option. It involves tracing an image onto wax paper with black buttercream. The lines are filled in with thinned buttercream icing in various colors. The entire image is frozen and then transferred onto an iced cake.
Three-dimensional, or carved cakes, have nearly endless design possibilities. Bakers can create cakes that resemble animals, cars, castles and other favorite child-related shapes. Carving a cake takes practice and patience, so take a test run before tackling the actual cake. A crumb coat (a thin coat of icing put on before the decorating icing to reduce crumbs) is very important on a carved cake as the carving loosens up lots of crumbs.
Specialty shaped pans create cakes that resemble a variety of characters and objects. The pans come with decorating directions for icing so the cake will look like its character. Check with cake shops to see if they rent these specialty pans to save money.
If you can’t find the desired shape pan or don’t want to buy a specialty pan, cut a sheet cake into the desired shape. Creating a template from thin cardboard makes the task easier. Place the template on top of the cake and cut around it with a sharp knife. Decorate the cake with icing to add the details.