Quite often a licensed character, TV show character, movie character or book character is the request for a childrens birthday cakes.

If you have never made this type of cake before, even if you have some experience in making novelty birthday cakes, this might seem like an incredibily daunting task.  But in fact, it can be quite simple.  Here is a simple step by step formula for creating childrens birthday cakes based on a charcacter.

First, you need to make the cake.  Invest in a good sized rectangle pan – about 9 x 13 inch.  This is a great size to start with and gives lots of room for creating a cake that is still a decent size by the time you’ve carved it up and done what is required.

If you start with a cake that is too small and need to do some cutting you may find there is not actually much left to eat at the end of the day.  Sometimes, when selecting a character it is easier to do the head only rather than the whole body.  Often doing the whole body is far more complicated and requires a lot more detail.

Here is a Dorothy The Dinosaur cake I did for my daughter’s 3rd birthday.  For this cake I opted to do the head only rather than the whole body for two reasons:  1) it would not have looked nearly as good as the big, bold image that eventuated, 2) it would have taken me forever and as this was my first attempt at something like this, I wanted to make it as simple as possible.

The next step is to find a good quality picture of the character that fits the size of the cake   You can source these pictures from the internet, books and magazines.  If your picture is too large or small use a photocopier to enlarge or reduce its size to fit the cake.

With a nice cool cake and a picture, the artwork can begin.  Lay the picture on the cake , ensuring nothing is hanging over the edge.  Gently secure the picture to the cake with a few carefully placed toothpicks and then use another toothpick to draw around the cake.  The aim here is to make an outline edge of the character.

Now it is time to start carving the cake.  Carefully cut around the lines that have been marked.  A large straight serrated knife is best for this task.  Try to keep the discarded bits in tact as much as possible as they may be useful for adding extra features to the cake later.

The cake is now ready to be filled in. Make your icing – a good buttercream icing is ideal.  Divide it into the number of colors required and tint each bowl with food coloring.  Be careful with the quantities to ensure there there is a correct balance of the colors that will be required.

Also, at this stage it is a good idea to place the cake on whatever it will be ultimately served on.  This saves having to try and move the cake once it is finished and risk damaging it.  A sturdy flat cake board or similar is ideal.

Start filling in your masterpiece using the picture print out as a guide.   Using a good quality icing  bag or piping tool will help, but if neither of these is available, simply snip a tiny bit off the corner of a zip lock bag and use as your piping bag.  Fill the picture in with ‘dots’ or lines, whatever seem appropriate.  It may be easiest to simply spread one color as the base and then layer the other colors on top of it.

An alternative method is to leave the cake in its original shape and rather than cut the character out, simply ‘paint’ a picture of the character onto the cake.

To do this, you would ice the cake completely in one background color first and then lay the picture on top and draw an outline.  From here simply fill it in as described above.

Once you’ve finished icing the cake is ready to be enjoyed!

Have fun using characters as inspiration for making your children’s birthday cakes.  Follow this simple formula and you’ll be making all sorts of creations before you know it.  Let us know how you go.