How to bake a great birthday cake without biting off more than I can chew?
July 11, 2011 8:15 AM   Subscribe

I seek cute, easy cake decorating ideas for wowing a crowd of (mainly) 3 year old girls. In preparation, I just bought this cake decorating kit. Bonus points for decorating blogs, books, and so forth. Extra bonus points for good lemon cake recipes!

The birthday girl has requested a pink cake, and the birthday girl's mother has requested a lemon cake. I'd like to work with buttercream icing. This lollilop cake is adorable, but I'm not keen on adding on more sweet things, given our crowd's tendency for sugar crashes.

My one idea so far: laying out candied lemon, lime and orange slices to make a bunch of balloons. This is, of course, just another sugary addition!
posted by Hwaet to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Is it going to be a layer cake? I found this Smitten Kitchen post to be tremendously helpful in terms of planning. The fact that I could freeze layers days ahead has been a revelation.

Here is a recipe for a Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It's very light and delicious and I found it very easy to make. Caveat: It helps if you have a stand mixer with whisk and paddle attachments.
posted by spec80 at 8:23 AM on July 11, 2011

Sugar free lollipops?
posted by humph at 8:23 AM on July 11, 2011

If you have time, and are likely to make more cakes for girls, consider somethign like a doll cake pan.
posted by jeather at 9:07 AM on July 11, 2011

If you don't want it too sugary, why not try sweetening the cake with agave syrup? I use it all the time as a substitute for refined sugar. You could even sub polenta for flour to make it even healthier, such as in this recipe.

Also, if the cake is healthier, that is pretty much licence to put whatever naughty treats you like on the top. So says me.
posted by greenish at 9:37 AM on July 11, 2011

My GF made a doll cake for my niece's 4th, and it's really pretty easy – the doll part is like a Barbie torso on a spike (which spike I hope your brother-in-law doesn't lick clean in front of the girls like mine did), so you're really just making a domed cake in a bowl and a skirt of icing or fondant. The girls went mental over it!
posted by nicwolff at 10:45 AM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

You could make cake pops to look like balloons.

Lesson from many bad cake-decorating experiences: Don't rush. Allow yourself a ridiculous amount of time, like enough to start over if need be.
posted by lakeroon at 11:53 AM on July 11, 2011

Seconding a doll cake. My mom made these for me when I was a little girl. She had a ceramic pyrex bowl that she used to bake the cake. She would buy a cheap knock-off Barbie doll at the five-and-dime. She used gift-wrapping ribbon to wrap around the doll's torso to make a bodice. Use a long serrated knife to make a round hole in the cake to put the doll in. Frost the cake in a smooth layer of your base color. And then lay down a frosting ruffle around the waist to transition between the ribbon bodice and the cake skirt. Then just go crazy with frosting stripes, ruffles, rosettes, stars, leaves, etc, etc, in pretty coordinating colors.

I just loved my mom's doll cakes. The only drawback were the bitter tears shed when the beautiful cake was cut and served.
posted by marsha56 at 12:34 PM on July 11, 2011

I've been dying to find a reason to make this
posted by fray at 2:51 PM on July 11, 2011

Made mini doll cakes for my daughter's 4th birthday. Other little girls at the ice skating rink kept drifting by and staring longingly. Biggest hit ever.
posted by purenitrous at 9:01 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

The worlds ONLY nice looking cupcake cake is This Very Hungry Caterpillar by Coco Cake Cupcakes who has lots of insanely cute ideas on her blog.

Family Fun magazine has a bunch of Cute cake ideas on their website as well (and they are geared for the typical parent not masters-of-fondant.)
posted by vespabelle at 9:42 PM on July 11, 2011

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