Fake it like you baked it: 10 ridiculously easy birthday cake ideas

Easy Birthday Cake Ideas

No time or inclination to create a Pinterest-inspired custom birthday treat? Still want to look like you did? Our cake pros have some ideas and insider tips for turning store-bought cakes into custom works of art with just a few easy-to-find touches.

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 Gumball glamour

Easy birthday cake ideas: Gumball Glamour

Adorn a store-bought, iced layer cake with lovely multicolored gumballs. To make: Order a smooth, pre-iced cake (no piping) from the store. Then decorate it with coordinating gumballs or candy around the outside edge of the top of the cake.

 Bowlful of berries

Easy birthday cake ideas: Bowlful of Berries

To create this dreamy concoction, drizzle an angel food cake with a generous amount of your favorite glaze. Then, fill the center of the cake with handfuls of fresh berries for a lovely, natural presentation. Add a few sprigs of fresh mint as well. Delightful and delicious!

 Chocolates and flowers

Easy birthday cake ideas: Chocolates & Flowers

Give an angel food cake an extreme makeover with a double batch of premade chocolate frosting, a spoon and a few fresh flowers. Here’s how:

  • After smoothly icing the top of the cake, apply a column of quarter-size dots of icing to the side of the cake with a pastry bag. The dots should be touching with no gaps. (A pastry bag works best for applying the frosting, but if you don’t have one, snip off the corner of a zip-top bag instead.)
  • Drag each dot of icing to the right with the back of the spoon. Repeat dot-and-drag process around the rest of the cake.
  • Decorate top of cake with flower blooms. (Remove the blooms before serving.)

 Number’s up

Easy birthday cake ideas: Number's Up

Transform a plain sheet cake into a shimmery personalized creation with the help of some number stencils and a container of sparkly sanding sugar. Center the stencils on a smooth, pre-frosted cake, evenly shake out the sanding sugar to cover the stencils, and then remove the stencils. (You can also use a monogram stencil if your birthday boy doesn’t want his numerals flaunted.)

 Kiss-me cake

Easy birthday cake ideas: Kiss Me Cake

A cake topped with kisses—what could be sweeter? To make, frost a plain sheet cake with chocolate frosting. Then, stud it with rows of chocolate candies. It’s so easy! Once you’ve made one like this, experiment with different colored candies or nonpareils to make lots of new designs.

 Get sifty

Easy birthday cake ideas: Get Sifty

Super-simple brownies can become little works of art with the help of stencils and a little powdered sugar. Place a stencil over each brownie, and then sift the powdered sugar through a fine sieve or sifter over the stencil for even coverage. Carefully remove the stencil before serving.

 Toy toppers

Easy birthday cake ideas: Toy Toppers

Show your favorite kid-at-heart how well you know him with a birthday cake covered with his favorite collection of toys. From robots to action figures to building blocks, your guy will love the thought, and you’ll love the simplicity. Just be sure to remove the toys before you serve the cake.

 Bow-dacious bling

Easy birthday cake ideas: Bow-dacious Bling

A square of pretty craft paper, matching ribbon and some fancy jeweled picks are all you need to turn a box of doughnuts into a glamorous treat. Use pink or blue ribbons for a sweet baby’s first birthday. Or choose a co-worker’s favorite colors for a midmorning birthday splurge.

 A heap of sweet somethings

Easy birthday cake ideas: A Heap of Sweet Somethings

Wish someone a sweet day with an elegant tower of stacked frosted doughnuts on a pretty serving dish. Just tuck trimmed flowers between the layers of the birthday “cake,” and you’re guaranteed to bring a smile.

 Spare-tire stack

Easy birthday cake ideas: Spare-Tire Stack

The car’s the star when placed on these high-octane treats. Borrow a few clean toy roadsters and set up the world’s most delicious pit stop for your fast-car fanatic. There won’t be any doughnut tires to spare after the pit crew races through.

Jennifer Fujita

Jennifer is a Hallmark writer and culinary student who is always on the hunt for new, easy recipes for celebrating the holidays and seasons.