Creative DIY Birthday Cakes in Less Than 30 Minutes

It’s only April, but I’m already thinking about what we’ll do for Mason’s second birthday in August. There’s been lots of birthday talk among the LIC Mamas–many of us have spring and summer babies–and it’s gotten me thinking about how I want to celebrate Mason’s big day. I had so much fun planning his bash last year (a safari-theme cookout) that I can’t wait to dream up this year’s plan. But first I have to come up with a good theme…suggestions welcome!

Although the details are still murky in my mind, I know I want to make Mason’s cake. (Last year I splurged on fancy cupcakes from Sprinkles because I was too overwhelmed with the prospect of planning Mason’s first birthday party to deal with making the cake.) But that milestone accomplished, making his cake every year is just something I want to be able to do for him.

Here’s the catch: I’ve never baked a cake. My mother wasn’t a big baker when I was growing up, so I never really learned how to bake, beyond a simple batch of cookies or muffins. And while a good part of my career has been in food, my focus has been primarily on cooking and wine-pairing, so I never really had to hone my baking skills. But now that I’m a mom I feel like I need to become a better baker. Chalk it up to my love of those Duncan Hines commercials with the mom baking and the kids smiling.

Anyway, Mason’s second birthday is probably not the best occasion for my first foray into cakes. But I’ll practice a lot before then, and I’ll get advice from my co-worker Erica, a trained chef who is also the food editor for Parents. She recently came up with six DIY birthday cakes, including the “Mini Smash Cake” (above, left), that are beautiful but not complicated. Mason loves dogs right now, so perhaps I’ll make him the Paw-Print Cake (above, right)–she used Necco Wafers and Smarties candies for the prints! And I think the Rainbow Cake (left) covered with jelly beans is really fun.

Wish me luck. I have this image in my head of me covered in flour from head to toe with splotches of frosting in my hair. But I’ve got faith that I can do it. My baking process might not be pretty, but the smile on Mason’s face when I serve the cake will be totally worth the effort. (Plus he’ll only be two–too young to judge me if the cake is lopsided!) Stay tuned for pictures of the whole debacle adventure.

Is your tot’s birthday coming up? What kind of cake will you make (or buy)?

2 thoughts on “Creative DIY Birthday Cakes in Less Than 30 Minutes

  1. Baby’s first bday 4-29-12.
    Mickey mouse theme. I’ll buy a sheet cake with his picture on it. & bake his smash cake as mickeys hat.
    Can’t wait!!!!

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