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8 Kids Birthday Cake Recipes You Can Make at Home

8 Kids Birthday Cake Recipes You Can Make at Home

These kids birthday cake recipes are easy to make at home and will wow the guest of honor every time.


Birthday parties and celebrations look different these days. Your kids favorite indoor trampoline park or bowling alley may not be open and you may not be able to pick up the personalized birthday cake you wanted from your local bakery. While these cakes may not be as impressive as the ones you're seeing all over Twitter, you can still wow your little one (and an appropriate number of guests) with the perfect birthday cake for your backyard or apartment birthday celebration by following one of these easy recipes at home. 

Teddy Bear Cake
Lemon Cake with Candies
Chocolate Fudge Birthday Cake
Yellow Birthday Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Lion Birthday Cake
Giant Cupcake
Giant Donut Cake
Ice Cream Cone Mini Cakes

Teddy Bear Cake

Recipe courtesy CICO Books

Serves 10

Ingredients:

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Put one of the round cake pans on the baking parchment and draw around it twice to make two circles. Cut them out. Scoop a little soft butter onto a paper towel and rub this all over the inside of the pans. Put the parchment circles into the bases of the pans and leave to one side.

3. Make the large quantity of cake batter and spoon it evenly into the two pans. Place the cake pan on the middle shelf of the oven for about 30 minutes. Check that the cakes are done by pushing a metal skewer into the middle of one. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Leave them to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Turn them the right way up and leave to cool completely.

4. While the big cake is cooking, make the small quantity of cake batter. Spoon the batter into the mini cupcake case first and then evenly into the other cupcake cases. Place these onto the middle shelf of the oven and set a timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, take out the mini cake and set the timer for another 10 minutes to finish cooking the other cupcakes. Leave the cakes in the tin to cool for 10 minutes and then move them to the wire rack to cool completely.

5. Make the Chocolate Fudge Frosting while the cakes are cooling.

6. Use a long, serrated knife to level the tops of the big cakes, if they are not flat. Place one cake on the serving plate and spread 3-4 tablespoons of chocolate frosting over the top. Put the second cake on top. Use three-quarters of the remaining chocolate frosting to cover the top and sides of the whole cake, spreading it evenly with a palette knife.

7. Cover the tops of two cupcakes with frosting. These are the teddy’s ears but they will need to be raised, so peel the paper case off another cupcake and cut it in half horizontally. Put one half under each ear and put the ears in their place by the head. The ears should now be roughly the same height as the cake.

8. Peel the paper case off the mini cupcake and completely cover it with frosting. Put it in the middle of the cake to make the teddy’s nose. Arrange the chocolate drops on the face for the eyes, mouth, and ears. Make a bow out of ribbon and place at the teddy’s neck.

Lemon Cake with Candies

Recipe courtesy CICO Cakes

You can go wild with the decorations for this one, using lots of different varieties and colors of candies. The key is to add all the sweet treats to the cake no more than 1-2 hours before serving, otherwise they might soften and bleed into the frosting.

Serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 1 large lemon cake

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened

  • 4 cups confectioners’ (icing) sugar

  • 4 tablespoons lemon curd

  • Assorted candies

  • 2 8-inch round cake pans

  • Non-stick baking parchment 

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put one of the round cake pans on the baking parchment and draw around it twice to make two circles. Cut them out. Scoop a little soft butter onto a paper towel and rub this all over the inside of the pans. Put the parchment circles into the bases of the pans and leave to one side.

2. Make the cake batter, and spoon it evenly into the two pans. Put them onto the middle shelf of the oven for about 30 minutes. Leave the cakes to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Turn them the right way up and leave to cool.

3. When the cakes are cold, slice each one in half horizontally to give four even layers.

4. Make the frosting. Put the soft butter into a bowl and place a strainer (sieve) over the bowl. Add a few tablespoons of confectioners’ (icing) sugar to the strainer and sift over the butter. Now beat the mixture together with a wooden spoon, then add a little more sugar and mix again. Keep going until all the sugar has been mixed in and the frosting is smooth and pale. Add the lemon curd and mix again until smooth.

5. Place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread with 2 big tablespoons of frosting.

6. Top with another cake layer and 2 more tablespoons of frosting. Repeat until you have four layers of cake and three layers of frosting.

7. Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting, spreading it evenly with a palette knife.

8. Decorate the cake with a whole range of your favorite candies!

 

Chocolate Fudge Birthday Cake

Recipe courtesy CICO Cakes

This is a really delicious, chocolatey cake, perfect for birthdays—just decorate it and add candles! It tastes best when made the day before the party. You need four different bowls for this one, so make sure you wash up afterward.

Serves 10-12

Ingredients:

For the cake

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose (plain) flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • Pinch of salt

  • 3½ oz. bittersweet chocolate

  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder

  • ½ cup water, hot but not boiling

  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened

  • 1½ cups superfine (caster) sugar

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 cup plain yogurt

For the decoration

  • ½ cup (100 ml) heavy cream

  • 2 oz. milk chocolate

  • 2 oz. bittersweet (dark) chocolate

  • Selection of chocolate candies

  • 9-inch springform cake pan

  • Non-stick baking parchment

  • Cake candles

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Grease the inside of the cake pan with a little soft butter on a piece of kitchen paper. Put the cake pan on the non-stick baking parchment and draw around it. Using scissors, cut inside the line so you have a circle the same size as the pan. Fit this into the bottom of the pan.

3. Set a large strainer (sieve) over a bowl and tip the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the strainer. Carefully sift these ingredients into the bowl. Put the bowl on one side until needed.

4. Break up the bittersweet chocolate and put it into a large heatproof mixing bowl. Add in the cocoa powder. Pour on the very hot water. Leave for 1 minute, then stir gently with a wooden spoon until the chocolate has all melted and the mixture is very smooth. Put to one side.

5. Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer or a mixing bowl. Beat well with the whisk attachment or a wooden spoon.

6. Break the eggs into a small bowl, remove any pieces of shell. Whisk with a fork until the mix is a bit frothy and the yolks have broken up, then gradually add the eggs to the sugar and butter and beat really well until very smooth.

7. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the bowl and mix well. Spoon in the yogurt, tip in the flour mixture, and mix well.

8. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, and smooth out the top with a spatula.

9. Put the cake in the oven to bake for 55 minutes. To test if it is cooked, remove the cake from the oven and stick a skewer into the middle, then carefully pull it out—the cake is cooked if the skewer comes out clean. If the skewer is sticky, then bake for another 5 minutes and test again. Remove the cake from the oven and set the pan on a wire rack. Leave to cool for 5 minutes then loosen the cake by running a round-bladed knife inside the pan. Unclip the pan and leave the cake to cool completely. Don’t worry if it sinks a bit.

10. To make the frosting, put the cream into a saucepan. Heat it until it is hot but not quite boiling. Remove the pan from the heat. Break up the two kinds of chocolate and put it into a heatproof bowl. Carefully pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Leave for about 2 minutes then stir until smooth. Leave to cool. The frosting will thicken as it cools.

11. Set the cake upside down on a serving plate. Spread the icing on the top and sides of the cake to cover it completely. Decorate with sprinkles, candies, and candles. Leave in a cool place until it is firm before you cut it. Store your cake in an airtight container and eat it within five days.

Each recipe tells you which size of cake to make. For some of the recipes you need to make two quantities of cake batter. If you try and put all the ingredients in together there will be too much for you to mix, so make the two cakes separately. 

Small Cake

This will make a 7-inch round cake. It needs to cook for 25 minutes.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • ½ cup superfine (caster) sugar

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons 

  • all-purpose (plain) flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 2 tablespoons milk, at room temperature 

Large Cake

This will make a 9-inch round cake. It needs to cook for 35-40 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1¼ cups superfine (caster) sugar

  • 4 large eggs, beaten

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose (plain) flour

  • 4 teaspoons baking powder

  • 3-4 tablespoons milk, at room temperature

Other flavors you can make:

Chocolate: For a large chocolate cake, once you have measured the flour, take 3 tablespoons out and put it back in the bag. Then add 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder instead. (For the small cake, change 1 tablespoon of flour for the cocoa.) 

Lemon or orange cakes: Leave out the vanilla extract and use a grater to grate the zest of an unwaxed lemon or unwaxed orange onto a plate. Take care not to grate your fingers! Only grate the colored surface of the peel. The white pith beneath is bitter and you don’t want any in your mix. Keep turning the fruit to find ungrated peel. Add it to your mixture and fold it in.

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

2. Prepare your cake pan. First read the project and find out which size of cake you need to make and which size pan. Find the correct pan and place it on some baking parchment. Draw around it and cut out the parchment circle. Scoop a little soft butter onto a paper towel and rub this all over the inside of the pan. Put the parchment circle into the base of the pan and leave it to one side.

3. Put the soft butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until the butter is soft, creamy, and pale (if an adult is helping, you could use an electric beater).

4. Break the eggs into a small bowl and remove any pieces of shell. Beat the eggs with a fork until the yolks have broken up and the mixture is a bit frothy.

5. Add a little egg to the creamed butter mixture and beat with the wooden spoon until the egg is all blended in. Then add a little more egg and beat again. Add a small sprinkle of flour if the mixture looks as though it is starting to separate (becoming gritty rather than smooth). Keep adding the egg until it is all used up and scrape any mixture down from the sides with a spatula.

6. Add the vanilla extract and stir it into the mixture.

7. Sift the flour and baking powder together into a separate bowl.

8. Add half the flour to the mixture and fold it in. To fold, use a metal spoon to cut through the mixture in a gentle figure of eight. Don’t beat or over-stir it—gentle folding traps air into the mixture and will make the cake lovely and light. When the half the flour is mixed in, add the second half and do the same folding.

9. Add the milk and fold it in. Your mixture should be smooth and drop from the spoon when you lift it. If it is still very stiff add another spoonful and fold again.

10. Pour the batter into the cake pan, scraping the bowl with a soft spatula to get out all the mixture. Smooth out the surface with the spatula.

11. Put on oven mitts and put the cake in the oven. Check how long it will take for the size of cake you have baked, and set a timer.

12. When the time is up, check the cake through the oven door. It should have risen high in the pan and be a golden color. If it doesn’t look done, leave it for a few minutes longer. Put on oven mitts and take it out. If it is ready, it will be have shrunk away from the side of the pan and when you press it with a finger it will spring back up. An extra test is to push a metal skewer into the center. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. If it is covered with sticky mix, it needs a bit longer in the oven. Leave the cake to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes.



13. Run a blunt knife all the way round inside the pan to make sure the cake is loose.

14. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and then turn the rack and pan upside down so that the cake drops out of the pan onto the rack. Carefully turn the cake over so it is right side up. Leave it until it is completely cold before you begin decorating it.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. bittersweet dark chocolate
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3¼ cup confectioners’ (icing) sugar

Directions:

1. Chop the chocolate into chunks using a sharp knife and a flat chopping board. Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl.

2. Add the butter to the bowl and then set it over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth, then set aside to cool slightly.

3. Put the milk and vanilla extract into another bowl and gradually sift in the confectioners’ (icing) sugar, a little at a time. Stir until smooth before adding more sugar.

4. Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the sugar mixture and stir until smooth. Let the frosting sit and thicken up slightly before you use it—it will be easier to spread.

Yellow Birthday Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Recipe courtesy Kelsey Nixon

Serves: 8 (one 9-inch layer cake)

Ingredients: 

For the yellow layer cake:

  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda

  • 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 2 cups buttermilk

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the vanilla buttercream frosting:

  • 2 cups (four sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup rainbow sprinkles

Directions:

For the cake: 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans, line with parchment paper circles, and butter the parchment.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale yellow and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the buttermilk and vanilla, and mix until just combined. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and tap the pans on the counter several times to get rid of any air bubbles.

5. Bake until golden and a cake tester inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.

6. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Run the blade of a butter knife around the edges of the pans to release the cakes. Invert the cakes onto a wire rack and discard the parchment. Let cool completely, approximately 1 hour. Wrap both layers in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.

For the frosting:

1. Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter, powdered sugar, and salt on low speed until combined, approximately 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, increase the mixer speed to medium high, and beat until fluffy, approximately 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and milk and beat on medium-high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Remove the frozen cake layers from the freezer and unwrap. Put one layer on a cake stand and spread approximately one-third of the frosting onto the top of the layer. Put the second layer on top of the first and top with another one-third of the frosting. Spread the last one-third of the frosting on the sides. Decorate with the sprinkles and serve.

Buttercream Variations:

Chocolate Buttercream: Sift 1 cup of cocoa powder together with the powdered sugar before creaming with the butter and salt.

Orange Buttercream: Add 1 tablespoon grated orange zest to the mixture.

Almond Buttercream: Substitute 1½ teaspoons almond extract for the vanilla extract.

Lion Birthday Cake

Recipe courtesy Betty Crocker

This Betty Crocker recipe is the perfect first birthday cake recipe, designed to be smashed and smushed to bits by your tiny cake monster.

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (two medium)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 container (6 oz.) vanilla yogurt

Decorations:

  • Golden yellow gel or paste food color
  • Orange gel or paste food color
  • ¾ cup Cheerios cereal
  • 6 pretzel sticks
  • 2 brown candy coated pieces
  • Brown decorating gel

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for dark or nonstick pans). Using shortening or cooking spray, grease the bottom only of one (6-inch) round cake pan and place paper baking cups in 16 regular-size muffin cups.

In a large bowl, beat cake mix, bananas, oil, water, and eggs with electric mixer on low speed. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally, until smooth. Place 1¾ cups batter in the 6-inch round pan. Spoon remaining batter into 16 lined muffin cups. Bake round cake 35-40 minutes and cupcakes 18-23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, approximately 30 minutes.

3. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and yogurt on medium speed with electric mixer until creamy and smooth. Stir in yellow food color until mixture is desired color. Place 3 tablespoons of yellow frosting in a small bowl; stir in orange food color until mixture is desired orange color.

4. To frost and decorate the cake, slice the 6-inch round cake horizontally to remove rounded top. Place cake cut side down on a plate. Use yellow frosting to frost top and sides of cake. Use orange frosting to make muzzle of lion. Place cereal around top edges of cake to form the lion’s mane. Add brown candy coated pieces for eyes. Insert pretzel sticks into cake near muzzle for whiskers. Use brown decorating gel to make mouth, nose, and whisker spots on the lion face. Use remaining frosting to frost cupcakes. If desired, use cereal to decorate the cupcakes. Store cake and cupcakes in refrigerator.

Giant Cupcake

Recipe courtesy Big Book of Kids’ Birthday Cakes

Equipment:

  • Deep 8-inch round cake pan
  • 12-inch round cake stand
  • Medium piping bag fitted with medium plain tube
  • Large piping bag fitted with large fluted tube

Ingredients:

Decorations:

  • 2 ounces ready-made white fondant
  • Yellow, blue, red, and pink food coloring
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  • 1 red lollipop
  • Red sugar sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 360°. Grease cake pan; line bottom and sides with parchment paper, extending paper 2 inches above side.
  2. Make two batches of Basic Butter Cake Batter according to recipe. Combine and spread mixture into cake pan; bake approximately 1 hour. Stand cake in pan 5 minutes before turning, top-side up, onto wire rack to cool.
  3. To make sprinkles, knead ready-made white fondant on surface dusted with a small amount of sifted confectioners’ sugar until fondant loses its stickiness. Divide fondant into three portions and dye each a different color using yellow, blue, and red food coloring. Lightly dust hands with confectioners’ sugar; roll fondant portions, one at a time, into very thin ropes (cover fondant not being used in plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out). Cut ropes into random lengths, leave to dry flat on baking paper.
  4. Brush lollipop lightly with water, roll it in red sugar sprinkles, and stand upright to dry.
  5. Make three batches of Basic Buttercream Frosting.
  6. Using small, sharp serrated knife, trim side of cake on an angle, to resemble the shape of a cupcake. Secure cake on cake stand with a little buttercream.
  7. To make the cupcake liner, spread side of cake lightly but evenly with buttercream. Fill medium piping bag with about half the remaining buttercream; using the picture as a guide, pipe vertical stripes up side of cake about ½-inch apart.
  8. Tint remaining buttercream with pink food coloring; fill large piping bag with buttercream. Starting from the outside edge of the cake, pipe a continuous swirl on top of the cake.
  9. Decorate cake with lollipop and colored sprinkles.

Giant Donut Cake

Recipe courtesy Big Book of Kids’ Birthday Cakes

Equipment:

  • 12-inch savarin (ring) pan
  • 14-inch round or square cake stand

Ingredients:

  • 4 batches Basic Butter Cake Batter
  • ½ cup strawberry jam, warmed and strained
  • 4½ cups pure confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 cup water, approximately
  • Pink food coloring

Decorations:

  • 6 yellow and pink Twizzlers

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°. Grease and flour savarin pan.
  2. If you only have one savarin pan, mix two batches of Basic Butter Cake Batter to make one cake according to the recipe. Spread mixture into pan; bake cake approximately 50 minutes. Stand cake in pan 5 minutes before turning onto wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining two batches of cake mix to make the second cake in cleaned savarin pan.
  3. Cut Twizzlers into thin strips, then into ½-inch lengths.
  4. Using a serrated knife, trim the flat bases on both cakes so they are level; spread cut surfaces with warmed jam. Place one cake, jam-side up, on cake stand; place remaining cake, jam-side down, on top of the other cake.
  5. To make icing, sift confectioners’ sugar into large heatproof bowl and stir in enough water to make a stiff paste; tint pink. Place bowl over large saucepan of simmering water, stir icing until smooth and of a pouring consistency (don’t let water touch base of bowl—if it overheats it will crystallize, and you will have to start again).
  6. Quickly pour the icing as evenly as possible over the cake (avoid using a spatula if possible). Decorate with sprinkles immediately before the icing sets.

Ice Cream Cone Mini Cakes

Recipe courtesy Big Book of Kids’ Birthday Cakes

Equipment:

  • 6-hole, ¾-cup Texas muffin pan

Ingredients:

Decorations

  • 1½ oz. dark chocolate melts
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Red glacé cherries
  • Crushed unsalted peanuts
  • White chocolate chips
  • Wafer cookies

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease muffin pan.
  2. Make Basic Butter Cake Batter according to recipe. Drop 1/3 cup of the mixture into each hole; bake approximately 25 minutes. Stand cakes in pan 5 minutes before turning, top-side up, onto wire rack to cool.
  3. Trim tops of cakes into a dome shape, as pictured.
  4. Make Basic Buttercream Frosting according to directions above. Divide buttercream into three small bowls. Leave one bowl plain, stir sifted cocoa into another bowl, and tint the remaining buttercream with pink food coloring.
  5. Using picture as a guide, frost the cakes with the different colored buttercreams.
  6. Top each ice-cream cone with a cake. Melt chocolate; cool slightly before pouring over top of one ice-cream cake. Using the picture as a guide, decorate the cones using the decorations listed.

 

Basic Butter Cake Batter  

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. butter, softened
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ cup milk

Directions:

  1. Beat butter, vanilla, and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in sifted flour and milk.

Basic Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Directions:

  1. Beat butter in a small bowl with an electric mixer until white and frothy. Gradually beat in half the sifted confectioners’ sugar, then all of the milk, and then the remaining confectioners’ sugar.

 

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