A kid's birthday cake is one cake project that anybody can undertake no matter what your level of skill is in the kitchen. Skill is definitely not a prerequisite for success when making a children's cake. You need imagination and a few enthusiastic little helpers to make a masterpiece.
It is important to start with at least an idea, a favorite color, a party theme or even just a flavor. The child's preference should always be the first place to start so take a look at pictures in magazines or online to get ideas. The number of people the cake needs to feed, whether you want cupcakes or a full cake and what you want to spend on the ingredients is also a consideration. Most kids are very happy with a Betty Crocker cake mix rather than complicated homemade confections so proudly open the box and create a masterpiece. Obviously if you have a much loved practiced recipe from Nana that is a family favorite use it instead.
Theme cakes are often popular with kids and cake pans designed specifically to make different characters can be found at many stores. There are also premade kits for the decorating requirements of most cake themes. The colors for Bob the Builder, Spiderman and Dora the Explorer are all featured in these kits. These kits include easy instructions for assembly.
Cupcakes are a great choice for kids, especially if they want to decorate the treats during the party as an activity. This can create a huge mess but the results are definitely worth it. If you want to decorate the cupcakes yourself create a pyramid of confections to delight the guests. Just make sure the icing is chilled and firm before you stack them up!
The decision to make a slab cake or a tiered cake should reflect the theme of the party or the cake decorator's skill level. It can be stressful to work outside your skill level and the results can be less than favorable. For example, a lovely castle cake can be put together with two square cakes stacked on each other and several inverted decorated ice cream cones for towers. With cakes that are tall make sure your cake density can hold up the layers and the weather is not too warm for the icing.
Actually decorating the cake is the fun part of a children's birthday project right after licking the cake batter off the beaters. If you just want a quick design idea try decorating the cake with delicious fresh fruit in the summer for sensational presentation. Kid's cakes look wonderful accented with mini marshmallows, candy, cookies, sprinkles and colored sugar. Plastic toy figures can provide interesting decorating results too. For example if Bob the builder is popular in your home you can make a cake with a construction site on top. Use Oreo cookie crumbs as dirt mounds, wafer cookies as lumber and plastic construction vehicles as props. The birthday child can play with the vehicles after the guests eat the cake.
If you are a more advanced decorator you can try a topsy turvy cake. These are wonderful creations that look like they are falling over. Easy pre-colored fondant is available at your local craft stores or you can make patterned fondant which can quickly be rolled out into shapes to adorn the teetering cake. Topsy turvey cakes are not very hard to create but do require some skill to cut the tiers correctly. It is a good idea to try a two-tier cake first before attempting higher or more eschew constructions. When it comes to children's cakes the only limit is imagination and sometimes the budget.