One thing I remember from growing up is my mom making and decorating cakes. She had a shirt cake pan that she used to make a cake for the soccer team my dad coached. I remember her making some sort of a super hero cake - perhaps Batman, for my youngest brother.
When I grew up, I always wanted to take a cake decorating class, but still to this day, have yet to find a class that works for me and my schedule. But, that hasn't stopped me from baking cakes for my kids. Each year, we chose a theme for the party. When the kids were younger, we would choose for them. As they get older we offer an either or choice for them.
Once the theme is chosen, the next two challenges are the invitations (you can read more about the invitations here, as well as keeping costs in line) and the cake.
When it comes to the cake, I explore the web looking for thoughts on what others have done and go from there. I have made two cakes using Wilton pans - the Lightnin' McQueen and the Wiggles car both started with a shaped pan. The others were a combination of pans, trimming and stacking.
So, here are the cakes for our themes from the past few years:
Blue's Clues cake:
Cars - Lightnin' McQueen cake:
Elephants cake (big cake/smash cake):
I really enjoy making the kid's birthday cake. First, I find it a great creative outlet for me and I am very proud of my creations. I love seeing their faces light up when they see the completed cake. My youngest, still talks about her Wiggles Cake, 3 months past her birthday. Second, it really is a more cost effective way to do birthdays. Most of the cakes I have made use a single cake mix, although some required two. I make my own butter cream frosting, but you could easily use a couple of tubs of frosting. In comparison to what a bakery or professional would charge, it is inexpensive. Granted, it does take time and planning, but to me it is worth it.
Find out what works for others over at Works For Me Wednesday over at Rocks In My Dryer. Be sure to stop by Life as Mom for her Birthday Cake Roundup on Thursday as well.