Confession time: When my kids’ birthdays roll around each year, you’re much more likely to find me at the local Publix bakery ordering a cake than in the kitchen, donning an apron, putting my (non-existent) cake-decorating skills to the test. Sometimes I do like watching the cake-decorating challenges on the cooking channels, though, and occasionally they even inspire me to try my hand at decorating my own cake. While my creations thus far are not likely to end up anywhere other than in my kids’ tummies, they sometimes come out better than I’d expected. If you are not a cake decorator but would like to try your hand at making some confectionery creations, here are some places to find ideas.
- Cable TV Food Network and The Cooking Channels feature shows that concentrate on cake decorating. While what you see is likely to be too complicated for a novice to pull off, you can at least get some pointers. I didn’t know about fondant, for example, and that it’s more for decoration than for flavor. I’ve also seen some really cool hints on how to stack cakes without ending up with an avalanche, and to keep weight in mind when decorating.
- YouTube If you have some time to sit down at the computer, YouTube videos can be very helpful in showing you how to perform certain techniques, or even just to give you some ideas when it comes to decorating cakes. One caveat: Don’t let your kids roam around this video website unattended. Sometimes unrelated (and kid-unfriendly) videos pop up in the side margin. I learned this the hard way!
- Magazines of All Kinds I don’t subscribe to any magazines dedicated solely to cooking or cake decorating, but sometimes Better Homes & Gardens and Southern Living have really pretty cakes within the pages. Of course, Family Fun is another one that has great cakes for kids!
- Websites A quick google search for cakes in just about any theme you can think of will bring up many web pages to walk you through the process. Some great ones to check out include cakecentral.com and marthastewart.com. For some comic relief and examples of what you shouldn’t do, you could also go look at cakewrecks.com! (Sometimes this site is less than child-safe, so tread cautiously, or take a peek after you tuck them in for the night!)
- Your Child’s Imagination Kids, especially little ones, don’t usually care how perfect their cake looks; they just want it to resemble their favorite character or go along with the theme of their party. Using copious amounts of food coloring and sticking some figurines on the cake can go a long way toward making your child’s cake dream come true.
Where do you usually get your children’s birthday cakes? If you make them yourself, where do you get your decorating ideas?