Birthday Cake Ideas For Your Child's Big Day

Making cake for your child is one of the most satisfying art forms. Not only is it an enjoyable thing to plan about, but you and your guests get to eat the results of a joyful effort.

Generally, a cake book can show how familiar and easily-obtained ingredients can be used with a variety of bought trimmings to make wonderful cakes. But a chance to be creative and produce an eye-catching birthday cake can provide plenty of contrast in flavor and texture. The following cake ideas can render realistic-looking cake icing effects to make a child's birthday one of a kind.

Pastel Perfection

You'll need:

  • 1 ready prepared deep sandwich cake
  • 2 egg whites
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 125g powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • Red, green and yellow food coloring
  • 155ml heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 90g or 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • Lemon curd (method below)
  • 3 piping bags fitted with star-shaped tubes

Procedure:

Begin with the meringues. Preheat oven to 240 degrees F. Using a whisk or a hand-held mixer, beat the egg whites with the lemon juice until stiff. Gradually add powdered sugar until meringue stands in peaks. Using a metal spoon, fold in cornflour smoothly.

Divide meringue mixture equally between 3 bowls. Tint one bowl with pale pink from a few drops of the red coloring, one bowl pale yellow and remaining meringue pale green. Line a baking sheet with a non-stick baking paper. Do not grease the sheet. Pipe or spoon 12 mounds of meringue mixture in alternate colors onto prepared sheet. Bake for 1 ½ - 2 hours until meringues are crisp and dry. Set aside to cool on a wire rack.

To complete decoration, whip cream and milk together in a bowl until thick. Spread around sides of cake with a palette knife. Spread coconut on a piece of foil. With one hand on top of cake and the other underneath, carefully turn cake on its side and roll in coconut until sides are evenly covered. Reserve remaining coconut in a dry bowl. Spread top of cake smoothly with lemon curd then dust lightly with remaining coconut. Finally add a border of pastel-colored meringues.

Chocolate Cake Dream Cake

You'll need:

  • 1 ready prepared deep sandwich cake
  • 110g (3 ½ oz) strawberry jam
  • 315g (10 oz) milk chocolate
  • 13 firm strawberries with stalks, washed and dried
  • 110g (3 ½ oz) plain dark chocolate
  • 12 rose leaves leaves
  • 155ml heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Piping bag with large star-shaped tube

Procedure:

Melt milk chocolate. Spread about 2/3 of the melted chocolate over top and sides of cake with a palette knife. Leave until fully set. Using back of knife, mark top of the cake to form 12 equal portions or slices, but do not slice. Meanwhile, dip 12 of the strawberries into remaining milk chocolate until half-covered. Leave to set or until chocolate is firm.

Melt plain dark chocolate then brush melted chocolate over tops of leaves. Set aside to set or until chocolate is firm. Very carefully pull leaves away from chocolate. Make more chocolate leaves than you need in case of breakages. In a large bowl, whip cream with milk until thick, using a whisk or hand-held mixer. Transfer to prepared piping bag and pipe 12 swirls around edge of cake. Decorate with the half-dipped strawberries and chocolate leaves. Place the plain strawberry in the center.

Enjoy your new chocolate birthday cakes.
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