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Sep 22, 2012 06:41 PM

Special Birthday Cake Decorating Tips

Hi foodies~

I'm looking for a super special, extra rich, unique cake to make for my honey's birthday... any special recipes out there? He likes coconut, marshmallow, most fruits...

I do know it's really all in the DECORATING, and honey has a fabulous sense of humor... so I'm wondering if anyone has a really unique tips for decorating an extra special cake...!

Will send pics of the finished product, I promise!!


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  1. I find decorating is best when you do it towards their interest. If he's a meat/burger eater, this is a fun cake:

    I use chocolate cake, peanut butter frosting for the bun.

    For a decadent cake, try making the elvis cake.

    I decorate that w/ reese's peanut butter cups.

    For an oldies snack, try the hostess cupcake cake. For the white icing, I write in script "Happy Birthday" along the center.

    5 Replies
    1. re: chowser

      +1 on decorating towards interest. The site Chowser linked to (coolest birthday cakes) allows searches by category, and may give you inspiration. There are cakes of varying level of difficulty, plus you can modify an idea to suit the degree of skill you posses. I saw you were looking for rattlesnake recipes -- I made an awesome rattlesnake cake inspired by this site just a couple weeks ago.

      Did you check out the birthday cake slide show on Chow? There are also some birthday cake links on Chowhound -- maybe you already looked at those, but if not, it's worth a shot.

      1. re: maxie


        Each year I google for images of cakes to get inspiration on cakes based on my OH's likes. Last year I made a Dr Who tardis popping out of space and this year I made a simpler but cleaner Star Trek ensign themed cake.

        For the flavours you mentioned, how about a rocky road inspired cake?
        This is one of the birthday cakes I made, and I know! It uses mixes, but it really did turn out nice and was pretty easy to make. You could even add in some coconut and marshmallows, or depending on your decoration, you could make a marshmallow frosting.

        1. re: Musie

          These are fantastic, thanks everyone! I like the idea of doing one that looks like a person he admires... tricky, I know- probably easier to order a photocake, but you can never fake that homemade taste...

          Star trek ensign - how funny!

          Anyway. He really likes old TV shows, and westerns... any tips for western themes?? I'm hoping to do a whole evening of frontier foods and this cake will be the kicker!

          1. re: vicky_b

            For really simple, you could decorate one like a bale of hay or horse shoe. If you go the fondant route, you could make a cow hide covered one. Or, if you want to go all out, make an old TV and use a photoprint of an old TV show on the screen.

          2. re: Musie

            Only if that recipe did not include boxed cake mixes.

      2. It is easy to make a ball shaped cake (football, golf, basketball, etc). It is easy to make a rectangular cake look like a football field.

        He is a guy, so you can always make boob shaped cakes.

        3 dimensional effects always make a cake more interesting; like adding trees, cars and airplanes.

        There is an idea.... a racetrack then just put toy cars on the racetrack.

        I think you could really get carried away (in a good way) with those castle or stadium shaped cake bundt cake pans.

        Of course there are lots of idea books out there. Maybe a trip to the library or to hobby lobby to peruse there idea books would be good.

        1. On a purely cake level, I might suggest a toasted coconut cake with a lime curd filling and a marshmallow meringue (light on the butter) buttercream frosting.

          Do you do any work with fondant/gumpaste? Are you comfortable carving, structuring and doweling cake? What are 'honey's' interests? Depending how elaborate you want to go, I (and others here) can absolutely send you in that direction ;)

          not suggesting you do a halloween cake by any means, but i loved this the first time i saw it:

          and tim burton's inspired zoetrope:

          and all the zoetrope needs is a motor and careful execution :)

          2 Replies
          1. re: Emme

            I've never done fondant/ gumpaste or carving but I'm pretty crafty and am willing to try anything- where would you suggest I begin? Anything to keep in mind as tricks of the trade? I have some time so could experiment and mess up a couple without too much hassle... these are beautiful!

            1. re: vicky_b

              honestly, i'm not sure how to advise you to begin. if you want to use fondant, i highly recommend making marshmallow fondant. it tastes LOADS better than anything you can purchase. i also make fondant using agar agar, glycerin, etc if i want it non-gelatin. there are tons of YouTube videos. there's so much to address even beyond the basics of fondant and sculpting, including structuring. if you're interested in good books (now or otherwise), i think Nicholas Lodge's series is good, as is Toba Garrett's book. Love Collette Peters for inspiration, as well as Eddie Spence's The Art of Royal Icing, if you're in to that sort of thing. Lindy Smith also does a great primer on the basics of cake decorating. if i can point you in a more specific direction, please feel free to ask. if you don't feel like tackling fondant yet, there's still loads that can be done with buttercream... even carved cake and buttercream. i recommend freezing your cake before carving. if marzipan is easily accessible (or you want to make it), it's quite easy to sculpt if you want to do sculpture work, and probably more accessible and a bit less finicky than gumpaste...

          2. Gunfight at the OK Corral
            Tiered cake Mesa with howling coyote and/or Tanto and the Lone Ranger
            3D coyote

            1. Or, if you want him to be yours for life, make the Coconut Cake served at the Peninsula Grill in downtown Charleston SC. It's complicated, but why not honor him with a major effort to blow his socks off?

              The Martha Stewart version of the recipe is said to be closest to the one the restaurant serves; I've also seen a version that uses a light creme anglais coating of the dish on which the cake slices are presented.


              1 Reply
              1. re: shallots

                That cake is actually on my list to make. It looks spectacular. is it wrong that I have a pic of that cake on my phone?