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Feb 13, 2014 09:46 PM

making inexpensive birthday desserts

My son is celebrating his fourth birthday this year, and I am interested in baking something. However, I'm on a very limited budget this year and would like to make something that involves very inexpensive ingredients, preferably involving ingredients that I can purchase for under $12.00. I know this probably sounds like a stretch, but I need to save this year while still giving my son something that he'll enjoy.

Any assistance you can provide would be very much appreciated.

Thanking you in advance.



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  1. I always have a box of cake mix on hand for those times I have to bake something for a work celebration, like a coworker's birthday. It's my secret :)

    Take a look at for some ideas on how to fancy up some boxed cake mix. The other night I made a lemon cake mix with lemonade instead of water, which boosted the lemon flavor. Then I made my own icing with 2 tbsp Grand Marnier + 1 cup powdered sugar. Stuck it in a ziploc bag, cut the tip, then piped on icing in cute designs.

    24 cupcakes with icing only cost me less than $5 and my coworkers ate all my cupcakes and left behind the fancy Kara's Cupcakes someone purchased for $3 each :)

    1. by cake mixes (duncan hines is passable) and make cupcakes. Make your own frosting tho very easy and cheaper, tastes a million times better and you can make a bunch of colours and flavours. You can even make plain icing and just put a spoonful of jam in to make different flavours so you don't have to buy extract. chocolate with strawberry is good. white with chocolate... sprinkles are fun for kids...

      lemon bars are good and fairly inexpensive. maybe $5 a 9x12 sheet

      1 Reply
      1. re: daislander

        Wow than you so much, Bobabear and Daislander. Your advice and recommendations are very much appreciated!

      2. Using shaped pans to form a boxed cake mix is another way to make a fun cake. Stop by your local thrift store or scan local Craigslist ads for inexpensive / free specialty cake pans (teddy bear, dinosaur, trucks, etc.)

        1 Reply
        1. re: MidwesternerTT

          You can work with basic pan shapes as well - make them, cut them into pieces, rearrange a bit, and cover in icing. It can be as simple as three small round cakes assembled into a snowman shape - trim around the edges to make slightly smaller shapes of two of them, use licorice to make the arms, ice in white icing and add the features and decorations in coloured icing.

        2. You have lots of options, cupcakes, regular cakes, pies. My rec is to hit up a Dollar or 99 Cent Only Store. Great values on party stuff etc.