Best Kids Birthday Cakes (for novice bakers)

Owl Cake

I’m an average baker, with a great enthusiasm for the eating of cakes, moderate skill in the baking of them, and a lot more time for the former than the latter.

As such, I tend to value substance over style, so when I was asked to make a cake for my nephew’s first birthday last December, I initially had horrifying visions of having to get to grips with royal icing and create some masterly feat of artistry.

Luckily good old BBC Good Food came to the rescue and I found myself a medium I could comfortably work with; chocolate.  More specifically kids chocolate treats. The owl above is my faithful recreation of this recipe, which does wondrous things with Flakes, Buttons, Chocolate Fingers and marzipan that even someone with limited artistic skill can reproduce with a bit of patience.  More importantly it tasted delicious, and was well received by my nephew, who seems to be inheriting our genetic predisposition for all things sweet.

As a chronic hoarder of recipes, I have started to keep an eye out for kids’ birthday cakes which look the part but don’t take years of honed cake craft skills (or expensive equipment) to recreate. Here are my clippings for future nephews’ birthdays..

1. BBC Good Food Hedgehog cake  – a bit like the Owl cake, this cake deploys creative uses of chocolate treats to create this cute little spiky fella

2. Sprinkle Bakes for Betty Crocker: Despicable Me 2 minion cake – deceptively impressive and very endearing – I’d be thrilled if someone made this for my birthday.

3. Kit Kat Cake -easiest ever cake decoration – no visible icing involved! Just Kit Kats and M&Ms.

4. Butterfly Cake – this looks like it takes fancy cake moulds or cake shaping skills, but this butterfly results form a very simple clever trick with a single round cake

5. Nigella Bee cake – this is from Nigella’s gorgeous book ‘Feast’ and is also available on her website. It’s a simple chocolate honey cake with gloriously decadent sticky honey chocolate icing (not one for toddlers!). On top you fashion little bees from marzipan to buzz around the cake (and in my effort for my friend Ruth’s 30th above, I also added a 3-0 in the middle made of crushed-up crunchie bars). One for big kids and little kids alike.

chocolate cake

6. Overloaded Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake - probably one for the slightly older child who appreciates substance over form – this is basically the cake equivalent of a mash up of Ben & Jerry’s peanut butter cup ice-cream with their cookie dough ice-cream. Sugary heaven.

7. Caterpillar cake design 1 (need basic vanilla sponge recipe) and caterpillar cake design 2  – apparently M&S’s Colin the Caterpillar cake is all the rage at the moment, but if you fancy a home made attempt at a caterpillar, these recipes is nice and easy and uses cupcakes which can be less danuting than a full cake (and quicker to bake!)

8. And finally if a packet mix is as daring as you get in the kitchen, take inspiration from Jenny over at the Dinner a Love Story blog, who whipped up some chocolate brownies from a packed and topped them with some icing to make Birthday Brownies which she then used as the basis for ‘make it yourself’ Birthday Ice cream sundaes – genius!

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