How to Make Decorative Cakes for Children

by Shelley Frost

A homemade birthday cake creates special memories. There's no need for professional-level cake decorating skills. Even a simply decorated cake makes a child smile when she knows it was made with love. Consider the personality of the child when putting together the design of the decorative cake. Favorite characters, animals and hobbies are common choices for cake themes. If the child is old enough, ask for her input and ideas for decorating the cake.

Items you will need

  • Paper and pencil
  • Cake
  • Serrated knife
  • Buttercream icing
  • Spreading knife
  • Fondant (optional)
  • Cake decorations
Step 1

Decide on a theme or style for the birthday cake. The theme guides the final design of the decorative cake. Browse birthday cake designs in magazines and online for inspiration. The Wilton website offers a variety of birthday cake designs with detailed directions.

Step 2

Determine how many servings are needed for the birthday party. Use this number to determine the sizes and shapes of the cakes used in the design.

Step 3

Make a sketch of the cake. Include each section of the cake, sketching the location of each decoration.

Step 4

Bake the cakes and let them cool completely before decorating. Use a serrated knife or cake leveling tool to trim the cakes if they aren't level. Use a slow sawing motion to avoid damaging the cake.

Step 5

Spread buttercream icing in a thin layer over all the cake surfaces. This layer locks the crumbs in so they don't show through on the final layer. Let the crumb coat sit for 15 minutes. Apply a thicker layer of buttercream icing or a sheet of rolled fondant to cover the cake.

Step 6

Add the decorations to the cake to complete your design. Popular choices include borders piped with buttercream, fondant shapes and figures, edible image sheets, sprinkles and words written in icing. Clean toys placed on top of the cake offer a simple decorative option that doesn't require cake decorating skills.


  • Purchase a plain, iced cake from a store bakery and add your own decorations if you don't want to bake and level the cake.
  • Decorate the cake the day before the party so you have plenty of time to complete it.


  • Never leave the cake in direct sunlight or in a very warm room, as the icing will melt.

About the Author

Shelley Frost started writing professionally in 2007. She specializes in parenting and education topics. Frost gained her experience in various positions in the education field, including classroom teaching and tutoring. She holds a BA in elementary education with a reading endorsement.