Decorating the cake is hands down the best part of making a birthday cake for your child. About two months before their birthday, I ask them to start thinking about what cake they want. The child plans and plots, decides and debates. Finally about three weeks before the party, I insist they give me an answer. After that time, they aren’t allowed to change their minds. After all, I need planning time! I am going to use the latest birthday in our house (the newly 5 year old) as an example. Weeks of deciding what cake he wanted, he settled on an “Army Man” cake. I was thrilled! Plenty of props in this house.
Here are some tips for decorating the birthday cake:
- Buy Wilton’s decorating tips for the frosting
I am going to refer you to Wilton’s site for the how-to of making borders and flowers. I could explain it, but considering I am still perfecting that part myself, you should go straight to the experts. I will say I finally gave in, spent about $25 and bought the large tip set at Wal-Mart. I am so glad I did. I have every tip I would ever use. At Wilton’s site (or if you buy their books), you will learn the proper technique for holding the decorating bags, what tips works best for what decoration and the right kind of frosting for the job. I highly recommend you check their site out.
- Look at what you have at home first
As I said before, I was thrilled when the Army Man cake was chosen. We have hundreds (literally) of army men floating around our house. (Can you imagine how dangerous our house is at night? I recommend wearing shoes. Ask me how I know.) I asked him to bring his army toys upstairs and start deciding what to put on his cake. I would need to make a 50×50 cake to make the battle scene fit. We narrowed it down to a small village. We had more than enough of our own props to make a great cake without spending money.
- Shop wisely
I then decided on the colors. I have in the past made several small batches of frosting for each individual color, like for the Thomas the Train cake. I really didn’t want to do that this time so even though it would cost a little more, I decided to see what the store had. I found this wonderful, great, terrific invention. Who makes it? Wilton does. It is spray frosting. I wanted the camo effect, but to try to frost each color on the cake and have it blend right was beyond my time allotment for this cake. Each can of spray color was $3. For $6, I saved so much time and some money by not having to make extra frosting. To me, that is shopping wisely. Saving money when I can, but spending a little to save time. Also, I have plenty left in the cans for the next cake if needed.
- Have fun
I let my guy help put the army men on. He was so excited. I gave him a specific job and he was thrilled with his ability to help. Remember the cake doesn’t have to be perfect. Have fun with it and over time you will get better. I got a lot of compliments with this cake. It isn’t professional quality, but I saved money and my child was so happy. Works for us!
Next time I will talk about my cake failures. Oh, the cake failures.
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