Kids birthday cakes for dummies

cake1

See that slightly excited look on my face?

That’s me at around 9pm the night before my daughter’s third birthday party. I’d finished all preparations for her party, including making an amazing looking cake, and was getting ready to put my feet up.

Usually, a snapshot of me at this time of night before one of my daughters’ birthday parties would involve a kitchen bench (and floor) full of icing sugar and crumbled pieces of cake,  and me on the verge of tears, as I attempt to recreate a cake out of The Women’s Weekly.

Not this time, my friends. Not. This. Time.

When Miss Three requested a Clifford the Big Red Dog birthday cake, I went into a panic. I turned to Pinterest for answers and had to pick my jaw up off the ground when I saw the creations before me.

There was no way I could recreate what I was seeing. It would be Clifford the Big Red Mess if I had anything to do with it. I scoured the internet for answers and finally found one.

Friends, it took me five long years to find the secret to creating a spectacular* birthday cake with little effort and next to no skill, but I got there in the end.

Do you want to know what the secret is?

Lean in.

Edible icing sheets.

Right?! Uh-huh! Yep, I am telling you this for free, my friends. These things are absolutely amazing. They will give you an impressive looking cake for minimal effort. High fives all around.

It’s no secret I’ve not had the greatest track record with birthday cakes. There was the number one cake, which critics claimed looked like a giant penis thanks to the icing that was a little more skin coloured than pink, and the bottom of the number one that was a little more rounded than it should have been. Then there was Dorothy the Dinosaur, which turned out almost real-life dinosaur-size and the rainbow layered cake – or should I say Leaning Tower of Pisa.

On the eve of my daughters’ birthday parties, I would usually send my friend and baker extraordinaire Lauren a frantic text declaring disaster.

cake3a

This year though, I texted her completely calm and proud of the decision I had made. The cake even broke and it didn’t phase me.

cake2a

I can only describe edible icing sheets to you as life changing. This is not a sponsored post, I simply want to share with you the secrets to my cake success.

I googled edible icing sheets and found a company that met my needs.

All I had to do was go to their site, upload an image, choose my postage method and Bob’s your Uncle. For around $30, I had a Clifford the Big Red Dog icing sheet on my doorstep within two days.

I tell you what, that icing sheet took so much pressure off me and resulted in a cake that I can still say I made.

The best part of all was seeing Miss Three’s eyes light up when she saw Clifford her best friend on her cake.

clifford

Gotta be happy with that!

*Not quite spectacular, but close enough in my three-year-old’s eyes.

Are you a kids birthday cake pro? Or are you a disaster zone like me? What’s been your biggest cake failure or win?
Linking up today with the ever-awesome Jess for IBOT.

64 comments on Kids birthday cakes for dummies

  1. Zanni Louise
    October 20, 2015 at 5:49 am (2 years ago)

    Two things – I can’t believe Clifford is still a thing! We had his book, which was MUM’s when we were kids. So funny it’s back. Also, wow. Look at your cake. I just made a simple tinkerbell cake for Rosie. Elka was horrified that I was not able to get the ‘real’ Tinkerbell dolls for the cake. Instead I had to make fairies out of beads etc. But we convinced her that her and Rosie’s friends wouldn’t mind. Then she was happy, and the fairies live on in her fairy garden.

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:34 am (2 years ago)

      Lol. That is so cute 🙂 Yes, Clifford is still a thing. He celebrated his 50th birthday recently. We borrowed the DVD so many times from Blockbuster for $1 each week that I ended up asking them if I could buy it. $5 well spent although Miss Five and I are sick of hearing the theme tune – Clifford, me and Emily…” 🙂

      Reply
  2. Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    October 20, 2015 at 5:50 am (2 years ago)

    Ah yes. Those damned birthday cakes. Remember I’m the one that sticks toys on top of mine!
    You’ve done an amazing job with Clifford. Well done!

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:35 am (2 years ago)

      I think that’s a very clever way to go, Leanne!

      Reply
  3. Lydia C. Lee
    October 20, 2015 at 5:57 am (2 years ago)

    I’m a pro because I buy a cake and just stick plastic toys on top…they’re so excited by the toys they don’t notice anything else….

    Reply
  4. Dannielle @ zamamabakes
    October 20, 2015 at 5:58 am (2 years ago)

    Love it! Go you!
    I can only imagine how excited Miss 3 must have been.
    Your Clifford looks fantastic! Great job gorgeous lady.
    xx

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:36 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks lovely. I did consider Cakes 2 the Rescue, but in the end I thought even that was too hard 🙂 x

      Reply
  5. Amy @ handbagmafia
    October 20, 2015 at 6:23 am (2 years ago)

    My secret weapon to make these even more spectacular is the glad disposable piping bags. I did a great one for miss 3- a beautiful unicorn fairy design and buttercream icing (which you can buy ready made) I tinted some blue and some purple and shoved it in to the bag and the result was a swirly mix of piped dabs around the edge- my friends thought I had bought it!

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:38 am (2 years ago)

      That sounds pretty impressive, Amy. I think I need to see a picture 🙂

      Reply
  6. Josefa @always Josefa
    October 20, 2015 at 6:43 am (2 years ago)

    I simply love all your posts and updates on birthday cakes – you know where I stand on this issue – OUTSOURCE! But more importantly….Clifford!!! I walked past our collection of Clifford books last night after tucking the boys into bed and thought – gee now that would be an awesome birthday party theme – wish my kids didn’t love Minecraft so much…. and here it is! I love Clifford and his adventures, glad to hear they are still entertaining little minds and warming little hearts x

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:40 am (2 years ago)

      They sure are, Josefa. She is obsessed with him. I tried to get a Clifford stuffed toy, but ran out of time. I will continue the search x

      Reply
  7. Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life
    October 20, 2015 at 6:53 am (2 years ago)

    This is my sort of a cake! I love the idea of edible icing sheets! I too made a Leaning Tower of Pisa Rainbow Cake – once! Never again! I was so scared carrying it over to the birthday table that the layers would slide off in different directions – I had made the rookie mistake of not evening out the layers. The cake survuved, the kids loved it, one even asked me to make one for her birthday the following week but I had to politely decline! No way was I going through that stress again!

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:41 am (2 years ago)

      Oh my Gosh, I can just imagine it. Yep, even the smallest thing can put the cake off. Evening the layers – who would have thought?!

      Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:43 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you! And thank you for being the voice of calm and reason xx

      Reply
  8. Jude
    October 20, 2015 at 7:32 am (2 years ago)

    Off to look for a Scooby-Doo one now! Thanks, Renee x

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:44 am (2 years ago)

      Awesome, Jude!! Good luck! It will save you a lot of hassle 🙂

      Reply
  9. Ashlea @ Glamour Coastal Living
    October 20, 2015 at 9:10 am (2 years ago)

    I loved Cilfford, I didn’t realise it was still around! Great idea and way better than Pinterest. Any cake found on Pinterest is doomed for failure….as I have personally experienced before. Top job, bet it was a hit!! x

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:45 am (2 years ago)

      It sure was! And yes, he’s still around – only just. We found an old book and had to buy some more. The DVD we have looks as though it’s straight out of the eighties 🙂

      Reply
  10. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    October 20, 2015 at 9:47 am (2 years ago)

    Ha ha – this is a secret I learned YEARS ago, sorry I didn’t share it with you earlier!!! I’m going to get a Jurassic World one done for my son’s 6th birthday – 6 already I can not believe it! Glad she adored it lovely xxx

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:46 am (2 years ago)

      You can’t keep these things to yourself 😉 Six wow!!! Time is flying by so fast!

      Reply
  11. Becky from BeckyandJames
    October 20, 2015 at 12:16 pm (2 years ago)

    This is awesome. I am a serial birthday cake ruiner and this could change my life. Although, I am not sure I could make a decent A4 sized cake!
    There’s nothing like a child being thrilled with their birthday cake (I imagine… hehe)

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:47 am (2 years ago)

      Yes, that is tricky in itself, my friend. I used an oven dish and two lots of cake mix 🙂

      Reply
  12. Vanessa
    October 20, 2015 at 12:38 pm (2 years ago)

    That is a great bit of info! What a peace of mind thing to do.

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:48 am (2 years ago)

      It saved me a lot of hassle, Vanessa.

      Reply
  13. Toni @ Finding Myself Young
    October 20, 2015 at 12:47 pm (2 years ago)

    I’ve never actually made a proper birthday cake lol. I outsourced her first birthday cake because of her allergies I just got someone else to make it for me because I was scared of baking back then. Last year I made cupcakes instead of a cake. I’m sure I’ll have a bunch of cake mishaps once she starts requesting proper cakes for her birthday. I’m liking the icing sheet idea, will have to keep that up my sleeve for later.

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:49 am (2 years ago)

      Yes, it’s a winning idea, Toni 🙂

      Reply
  14. EssentiallyJess
    October 20, 2015 at 1:15 pm (2 years ago)

    Well aren’t you a clever clogs! This is a great idea.
    I loved Clifford as a kid. Next to Hairy McLairy he was my favourite dog.

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:50 am (2 years ago)

      Yes, we love Hairy here too and Paw Patrol. Slightly dog mad in this household, as long as the kids don’t request a real one, I’m happy 🙂

      Reply
  15. KezUnprepared
    October 20, 2015 at 1:34 pm (2 years ago)

    What an awesome idea!!! I am sick of crying over cakes. I have discovered that I am much more awesome at standard round cakes or just cup cakes so now I just fancy those up. The 2nd birthday car was just too much – it broke my soul! I learnt from that one!!!

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:50 am (2 years ago)

      Hahaha oh Kez! I hear you, I really do. I agree – go with simple and jazz it up from there 🙂

      Reply
  16. Eva @ The Multitasking Woman
    October 20, 2015 at 1:54 pm (2 years ago)

    Are you kidding me?????? I am soooo going to do this for Elliott’s 4th Birthday! I mean, how on earth am I supposed to make a cake look like a monster truck! You’re so cute!

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:51 am (2 years ago)

      Oh my God! That sounds ridiculously tricky. Icing sheets all the way, my friend 🙂

      Reply
  17. Hugzilla
    October 20, 2015 at 2:52 pm (2 years ago)

    As a fellow baking disastress, I just want to say…. HECK YES! You’ve made me very proud!

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:52 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you. I knew you would like it 🙂

      Reply
  18. Andrea Phillips
    October 20, 2015 at 4:18 pm (2 years ago)

    Brilliant! I can just imagine Smiley’s face when she saw this cake, I bet it lit up like the sun! We mummies just have to work smarter, not harder – you my friend are a genius! Xxxx

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:52 am (2 years ago)

      Oh you are too kind!!! Thanks darling xx

      Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:53 am (2 years ago)

      It will be the smartest move you ever make as a parent 😉

      Reply
  19. Bec Senyard
    October 20, 2015 at 6:00 pm (2 years ago)

    I could just imagine you saying your text messages to Lauren. I couldn’t stop laughing at them!! I usually outsource my cakes or I bake a simple cake, ice it with pre-made icing and use the kids toy figurines to decorate! But this is a great idea. My mum did this for Frozen cake for Esther’s birthday last year. Your cake looks fabulous Renee. Well done! x

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:54 am (2 years ago)

      Your mum told me about that! It sounds amazing. Yes, I’m very lucky you and Lauren put up with my kind of crazy 😉 xx

      Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:55 am (2 years ago)

      God. I was so far behind the eight ball with this. Now I know 🙂

      Reply
  20. Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages
    October 20, 2015 at 6:59 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh I just know I am going to have to pull this out one birthday when my girls decide to ask for something ridiculously crazy that they saw on Pinterest. Great idea! #TeamIBOT

    Reply
  21. Janet aka Middle Aged Mama
    October 20, 2015 at 8:54 pm (2 years ago)

    Ha! I only ever made one standout birthday cake for my kids – a pirate cake for Mr 21’s fifth birthday. V pleased with how it turned out, though I was shocked about the amount of butter required for butter icing! That’s my excuse for not trying my hand at another special birthday cake anyway 😉 … and well done you, Clifford looks great!

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:56 am (2 years ago)

      A pirate cake sounds awesome, Janet. I bet it was impressive.

      Reply
  22. Liz
    October 21, 2015 at 12:03 am (2 years ago)

    I made my first women’s weekly birthday cake this week – number 2! It actually worked but I think for a similar reason to you having your icing sheets. I decided to use smarties for decorations and that took the pressure off. That and I knew no one who was coming would judge me if it didn’t work. Apart from a slightly undercooked patch that I noticed when I cut the shape out it worked really well. I will definitely make a mental note of the icing sheets for future cakes. My back up is a friend who runs a small business making cakes – I figure the first real disaster will get me to start using her services

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      October 21, 2015 at 5:57 am (2 years ago)

      I’m impressed, Liz. I can imagine cutting the number 2 to shape would have been tricky in itself. Good on you!

      Reply
  23. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    October 21, 2015 at 5:47 am (2 years ago)

    It looks spectacular – this year Clifford, next year, The Great British Bake Off. I feel your pain vis a vis cake decorating. It is not my forte. I fear fondant almost as much as I fear heights, ie, a lot!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 21, 2015 at 5:59 am (2 years ago)

      Lol!!! Oh my God. Fondant is tricky as!!

      Reply
  24. Kathy
    October 21, 2015 at 6:58 am (2 years ago)

    Good on you Renee – your cake looks fab and using the icing sheet is just a smart move. I had no idea you could order a custom design sheet (and I really can’t recall Clifford either). I’m going with that construction cake for Little Yang’s 6th birthday the one you deconstruct – I think Em Toxward made it this year. And then hopefully I’m putting the designer cakes to bed at that point.

    Reply
  25. Pinky Poinker
    October 21, 2015 at 7:14 am (2 years ago)

    I marvel over the wonderful things that are available now. That is a brilliant cake hack!

    Reply
  26. Nicole@ The Builders Wife
    October 21, 2015 at 1:40 pm (2 years ago)

    I am the WORST cake maker ever, or I was until the Organised Housewife featured a woolies mud cake with kit kats tied around the outside and smarties or whatever lollies I like on top. Now my kids think I am a hero! xx

    Reply
  27. Tash @ Gift Grapevine
    October 22, 2015 at 1:52 am (2 years ago)

    I love this Renee – what a fantastic idea (that I will be using for future birthday cakes!). As much as I love looking through the ever awesome Women’s Weekly birthday cake cookbook I am petrified of the day my tornadoes discover it and say “I want that one” – just like I used to do as a kid to my mum. These sheets might just save me. I forsee a Lightning McQueen in my future for Mr TT next year!

    Reply
  28. Lisa@RandomActsOfZen
    October 22, 2015 at 9:53 pm (2 years ago)

    Renee, you did such an amazing job!! Bell loved Clifford when she was little, and I still love him xx

    Reply
  29. Heart
    October 23, 2015 at 10:41 am (2 years ago)

    That was fun! That edible icing sheet is a good back up for emergencies. =)

    Reply
  30. Michelle
    July 18, 2016 at 7:20 pm (10 months ago)

    Yay for the Clifford cake! Well done #bestmumever

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 18, 2016 at 9:37 pm (10 months ago)

      Hooray! Thanks Michelle 🙂

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *