DIY Professionalish Cakes

by J Collison
(Kalamazoo, MI)

My first cake: Ariel with a pig snout nose :-P

My first cake: Ariel with a pig snout nose :-P

Each year for my two daughter's birthdays, I love letting them each pick out a different theme for a cake and decorations. I am no professional cake decorator, but I have found that with the right supplies, I am able to do a pretty adequate job of making a decent-looking cake.


The first think we do is talk about what theme they are interested in. It changes from year to year, as they get older, and their favorite cartoon, movie characters, or animals change. We have had everything from Ariel (the Little Mermaid), a monkey, a duck, an owl, and the latest one was Hello Kitty.

Once we have narrowed down what they would like the theme of their party to be, we scan the Internet for ideas, and go to some local stores to see what we can find. One of the best resources I have found is our local Hobby Lobby. They tend to have a pretty decent selection of birthday cake pans, and party supplies that will go with the cake that I am making.

As I mentioned earlier, it is important to have the proper supplies and tools. That makes all the difference. Granted, my cakes seem to have gotten better and better throughout the years, but even my first one or two were not too bad; it also helped that my daughters were one or two years old and they really did not care at that point!

After getting a cake pan, you will need to pick out a set of decorating bags and frosting tips to get the icing onto the cake. There are many different frosting tips to choose from, ranging from very fine detail tips to larger ones; each one is intended for different applications of the frosting. Depending on what you are decorating on the cake, you will need to choose the appropriate tip. Many kitchen supply stores will have a cake decorating bag kit with quite a few tips that come with it.

Before getting started on your cake, it would probably be a good idea to read a few tips/tricks online, or watch a youtube video or two in order to get a good idea of where to begin. There is not adequate room in this article to get into the exact details on how to do the decorating, but my point is that you can do it yourself, without having to pay a professional cake decorator. And besides saving a little money, you will have a more memorable experience for your child's birthday.

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