Interest in baking is at an all-time high here in the UK, and people are exercising their skills in the kitchen all the time – there’s no event that doesn’t improve immeasurably when cake is involved, and this gives amateur bakers ample opportunity to show off their skills with a mixing bowl and a batch of buttercream.
Unless you’ve been contracted for a wedding, birthdays are always going to be the main events as far as your cake constructions are concerned. You can personalise the cakes to the birthday boy or girl and really go to town, as far as your resources will allow.
Below are six brilliant birthday cake ideas you can recreate yourself – although they all require a certain degree of skill and a significant amount of time to make, you can adapt and simplify the recipes if you need to and still achieve the results seen here.
If you’re baking a birthday cake for a child, chances are that they’ll want a Frozen-themed effort. While you can get them very easily from supermarkets (Disney’s very much jumped on the merchandising train for its biggest-ever hit), it’s much more impressive if you make it, and it gives you a lot more options to play around with. This deconstructed Olaf cake by Partyrama utilises chocolate sections covered with all manner of fondant treats, perfect for scarfing down after the Skips and sausage rolls have been demolished. The Minions from Despicable Me are also popular characters to bake, and can be created in much the same way as Olaf (it’s all about the layers!).
Chocolate cake with whipped fudge filling and chocolate buttercream
There’s nothing like a chocolate cake done right – moist, sweet and rich, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a birthday tea, but it’s more than capable of taking centre stage when needed. This version by Amy Wisniewski for Chow.com incorporates frozen drizzled chocolate around the outside, adding an air of intricacy to the final presentation (but you could also layer chocolate fingers around the outside, which is easier), while the whipped fudge filling is recognisably different in taste and texture to the standard buttercream.
Endlessly breezy and cheerful even in the direst of situations, rainbow cakes are the One Show of cakes and a perfect fit for any celebratory occasion, birthdays especially. While they look complicated to make, all you’re really doing is making six separate layers that you’ll knit together with filling and a buttercream or fondant covering. This recipe on Kerry Cooks is a perfect example of how you can put together your own rainbow cake.
Banana split cake
Nothing says birthday like a banana split, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t put one on top of a cake! There’s actually no banana and no ice cream in this mountainous, diabetes-inducing creation by Sydney-based blogger Alana of Alana Bread – instead, the banana cake (because of course it’s banana cake) is covered in yellow buttercream and topped with Neapolitan-coloured buttercream scoops.
Red velvet cheesecake cake
You might think that red velvet cake would be more than enough as a special birthday treat – but that’s before you saw the version with the cheesecake frosting layer sandwiched between the red velvet sections! This version from Recipe Girl is simple enough to construct once the cake layers and frosting have been made and, for a truly decadent touch, you can top it off with grated white chocolate.
Chocolate Guinness cake
For a distinctly adult slant on the birthday cake, certain types of alcohol go perfectly with different recipes. Chocolate and rum cake is an established favourite, as is this version which combines chocolate and Guinness. It’s not about the alcohol content (well, not all of it, anyway), a fair amount of which would be burned off during the cooking process anyway, but the malty taste which combines beautifully with the chocolate and gives a simple cake an added dimension. See Recipe Girl again to find out how it’s done.
Pink angel food cake
One of the great challenges of baking is ensuring that the cake doesn’t become too stodgy or heavy, but there shouldn’t be any problems with angel food cake (an American type of cake not to be confused with the similarly named angel cake, which is English) – the whole point is that it’s so light it feels like you’re eating air, hence its name. This pink angel food cake by Rosie from Sweetapolita is fantastic for girls (or anyone else with a strong attachment to pink).