Super simple cake decorating ideas for kids’ birthdays – from babies to teens.
Looking to put a personal touch on your child’s birthday this year by making them a homemade cake, but worried you don’t have the time or ability?
We promise it can be done, and it doesn’t have to be stressful!
The key is to pick a cake that doesn’t involve a lot of fancy decorating techniques, and can be pulled off without a lot of hours or effort.
We’ve pulled together an epic list of the best easy birthday cake ideas that anyone can make.
Whether you’re a true beginner, or have a few cakes under your belt, these creative cake decorating ideas won’t take a lot of time or skill (no fondant!), but the result will be spectacular.
From cakes decorated with candy or cookies, to non-traditional cakes made with donuts or pancakes, you’re sure to find an idea that will knock your kids’ socks off!
We hope the only overwhelming thing about making your kids’ birthday cake, is choosing which one to go with!
PIN for when you’re ready to make an incredibly easy birthday cake!
Let these birthday cake ideas be your inspiration, and remember, if you don’t want to make the cake from scratch, there’s nothing wrong with whipping out a boxed cake mix. Many of these decorating ideas could even be done on a store-bought cake, or completed with a tub of pre-made icing. No judgement here!
CANDY & COOKIE CAKES
These confectionary creations may look like they came straight from Willa Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but they are some of the easiest cakes to pull off. And if you’ve never iced a cake before, not to worry – most of these candy cakes are extremely forgiving, and will cover any icing mishaps, hurrah!
(1) Rainbow Twizzler Cake: If you can find a few packets of Rainbow Twizzlers, this stunning Twizzler Cake can be decorated in a flash. Remember, you could easily use this decorating technique on a store-bought cake – just cut your Twizzlers to size. (via Sprinkle Bakes)
(2) Balloon Cake: You won’t believe how easy it is to turn a simple round cake into a beautiful balloon bouquet. Licorice and Nilla wafer cookies are the secret to this adorable and show stopping Balloon Cake. (via Better Homes & Gardens)
(3) M&Ms Age Cake: Celebrate your child’s age by creating this beautiful M&M Number Cake, and hide any icing woes in the process! (via 17 Apart)
(4) Gumball Machine Cake: Made from simple round, square and sheet cakes, this 3D Gumball Machine Cake would be well-loved by any aged kid (or grown-up for that matter!). (via Better Homes & Gardens)
(5) Sixlet Cake: Have you ever heard of Sixlets? They’re candy-coated balls of chocolate and come in every color under the sun. Choose your child’s favorite colors and simply place the Sixlets around the cake in a pattern to make your very own stunning Sixlet Cake masterpiece! (via Sprinkle Bakes)
(6) Cotton Candy Cake: We love the perfectly imperfect icing and simple Cotton Candy topper on this pastel beauty. (via Food Fanatic)
(7) Marshmallow Cake: This pretty Marshmallow Cake comes together quickly with just cake, icing and lots of marshmallows! (via Pop Up Kemut)
(8) Lucky Charms Cake: This Lucky Charms cake is the perfect dessert for any cereal or rainbow lover. It’s magically delicious. (via Bliss Makes)
(9) Pez Cake: Make a fun, graphic pattern on this cake with one of our all-time favorite candies: Pez! (via Better Homes & Gardens)
(10) Candy Cake: This Candy Cake can be easily created with a store-bought cake and transformed into a work of art using lots of your child’s favorite candies. (via Jenny Cookies)
(11) Conversation Heart Cake: Put sweet messages all over your child’s cake with this colorful Conversation Heart Cake. (via Gimme Some Oven)
(12) Pinata Cake: Don’t let the visual complexity of this Pinata Cake scare you away…it’s not difficult to create, and the effect when you cut it open will be sure to impress! (via Design Intuition)
(13) Confetti Cake: Airheads, licorice strips and sprinkles unite to create this bright and colorful Confetti Cake. (via Parents)
(14) Twizzler Flower Cake: This beautiful Twizzler Flower Cake is perfect for any spring birthday party. Simple cut colored Twizzlers to create gorgeous flowers and butterflies. (via Handmade Charlotte)
(15) Candy Land Cake: Turn the classic childhood game into a real Candy Land Cake topped with candy galore! (via Taste of Home)
(16) Kit Kat Cake: Serve a little “wow factor” to a birthday boy or girl this year, with this fun Kit Kat Cake. Topped off with oodles of colorful M&Ms, and the whole shebang even looks like a gift, wrapped with a bow! (via The Anthony Kitchen)
(17) M&Ms Flowers: Sweet and simple. A few M&M flowers is all this cake needs to impress. (via Krafty Kristen)
(18) Woven Cake: Some sour rainbow strips and a little over-under weaving will create this beautiful Woven Cake that’s sure to get lots of “Ooos” and “Aaahs”. (via Parents)
(19) No-Bake Candy Cake: Short on time or really hate to bake? This No-Bake Candy Cake is made simply by strategically stacking wrapped candy. No cake-baking necessary! (via Giggles Galore)
(20) Lollipop Cake: Turn a simple round cake into this adorable Lollipop Cake using fondant and a pretzel rod! (via Better Homes & Gardens)
(21) Chocolate Sheet Cake: Sheet cakes are easy to make and can feed a crowd – and with various sizes of round candies, can be decorated quickly and beautifully.
(22) Candy Land Castle Cake: This Candy Land Castle Cake would make any little princess grin from ear-to-ear. All you need is a two-tiered round cake, ice cream cones, sprinkles, and candy. It’s perfect for any princess party. (via Sprinkle Some Fun)
(23) Sunflower Cake: Fruit slice candies are the centerpiece of this Sunflower Cake that would surely bring sunshine and smiles to any birthday boy or girl. (via Better Homes & Gardens)
(24) Gummy Letters Cake: Check out this simple way to decorate a cake with gummy letters. You could even spell out a special message, or the birthday girl/boy’s name. (via Parents.com)
(25) Polka Dot Fruit Snack Cake: Some strategically placed Gushers (or rolled-up Fruit Roll-Ups) is all it takes to create this mod Polka Dot Cake. (via Betty Crocker)
(26) Gum Message Cake: Stand-up gum sticks on their edges to write out a special birthday message. (source unknown)
(27) Gummy Bear Cake: This Gummy Bear Cake is un-bear-evably easy (sorry, we had to!) – you don’t even have to follow a pattern or line them up straight. (via Raspberry Cupcakes)
(28) Starburst Stars Cake: Can you believe this cake is decorated using Starbursts?! You simply flatten the candies and use cookie cutters to make this super cute Starburst Stars Cake. (via Parents.com)
(29) Milk and Cookies Cake: Got a cookie lover? Grab a vanilla-frosted store-bought cake and a few boxes of your child’s favorite cookies, and voila, a stunning Milk and Cookies Cake! (via Life Love and Sugar)
(30) Animal Cookie Cake: Using a bag of the colorful circus Animal Sprinkle Cookies makes an adorable display and is easy enough that anyone can make it happen. This is fun for any kid’s birthday party. (via A Subtle Revelry)
(31) Berries and Cookie Cake: Get creative with this beautiful Berries and Cookie Cake. Fresh fruit and cream-filled cookies add a summery touch to this chocolaty layer cake. (via Better Homes and Gardens)
(32) Cookie Dough Cake: Cookies, chocolate chips and Cookie Dough Cake unite for this total showstopper. (via Your Cup of Cake)
Make your child’s birthday cake stand out from the crowd with these bright, colorful creations full of rainbows, Funfetti and sprinkles!
(1) Twizzler Rainbow Topper Cake: Rainbow Twizzlers, a little wire and mini marshmallows are all you need to create this whimsical Rainbow Topper. (via Sweet Lulu Blog)
(2) Rainbow Skittle Cake: If you’re looking for an easy way to decorate a birthday cake, you can’t get much simpler than this easy Rainbow Birthday Cake using a store-bought cake, skittles and mini marshmallows. (via My Bored Toddler)
(3) Rainbow Birthday Cake: This gorgeous 6-layer Rainbow Cake is so beautiful and worth the little bit of extra effort. Your child will squeal with excitement as you cut into it to reveal the gorgeous display of colors. (via The Little Kitchen)
(4) Pastel Rainbow Spiral Cake: We are over the rainbow for this fun and beautifully decorated Pastel Rainbow Spiral Cake. Colored wafers make the eye-catching design with confetti sprinkles in between. (via Parents.com)
(5) Rainbow Petal Cake: This style of cake decorating is super simple, yet visually beautiful. Most importantly, it doesn’t require any fancy decorating equipment, just everyday items found in your kitchen. So grab a spoon and get started on this DIY Rainbow Petal Cake! (via The Cake Blog)
(6) Rainbow Rock Candy: Could decorating a cake get any easier? Some Rainbow Rock Candy on top of a white-frosted cake is all you need! (via Studio DIY)
(7) Jelly Bean Rainbow Cake: Color coordinate your jelly beans and press them into a frosted layer cake to make this beautiful Jelly Bean Rainbow Cake. (via Parents)
(8) Funfetti Cake: This homemade Funfetti Cake is not only delightfully cheery thanks to an abundance of sprinkles, but it is the moistest, tenderest, most flavorful vanilla cake you’ll ever lay taste buds on. (via The Anthony Kitchen)
(9) Sprinkle Age Cake: A cookie cutter is the secret to this Sprinkle Age Cake. Then just finish off the sides with some extra colored sprinkles, and you’re done! (via Little Life of Mine)
(10) Sprinkle Stencil Cake: Transform a plain ice-cream sheet cake into this custom Sprinkle Stencil Cake with a little candy along the edges, and a sprinkle heart in the middle. (via Delicous Made Easy)
(11) Funfetti Donut Cake: Now you don’t have to choose between cake and donuts – you can have both with this adorable Funfetti Donut Cake! (via The Little Epicurean)
CHARACTER AND THEMED CAKES
Does your child have a favorite “thing”? You know, that one character, animal or activity that they love more than anything else? Why not bring that love to life with a cake that celebrates it!
We’ve got tons of easy ideas for you to recreate, from unicorns to dinosaurs and everything in between, take a look at these incredible character and themed cakes:
(1) Airplane Cake: This adorable Airplane Cake can be made with any favorite cake recipe. Ice with blue frosting and add meringues for clouds, and vanilla wafers for the plane. (via Parents.com)
(2) Fishing Cake: Outdoor lovers will get a kick out of this adorable Fishing Cake. The base is a basic rectangle cake topped with fun decor items like gummy fish and a fruit roll up for seaweed! (via Mom vs The Boys)
(3) Baby Shark Cake: Now you can incorporate your child’s favorite Baby Shark song into this fun birthday cake and sing “Happy Birthday Do do do do do do…” (via Create, Play, Travel)
(4) Fish Cake: Cut out a small triangle from a round cake, rearrange it as the tail, and you’ve got the base to this pretty Fish Cake. Decorate with candies and you’ll have your birthday kid smiling, hook, line and sinker! (via She Smile)
(5) Mermaid Cake: Make your own simple DIY Mermaid Cake using any cake mix and edible slime (!). (via Simplify Create Inspire)
(6) Summer Beach Cake: How darling is this Summer Beach Cake with crushed graham cracker sand and Teddy Bear sunbathers?! (via Strawberry Blondie Kitchen)
(7) Princess Castle Cake: You won’t believe how easy it is to make an adorable princess cake. With this 5-minute Princess Castle Cake hack you can pull it off easily and make it look grand. (via House of White)
(8) Artist’s Palette Cake: Using a boxed cake mix and canned icing, this adorable Artist’s Palette is an easy cake to make for any budding artist. (via Better Homes & Gardens)
(9) Robot Birthday Cake: This adorable Robot Cake uses a simple base of 1 square and 1 rectangle cake for the body. Add some candy and a few other decorative items to make a totally cute robot! (via Mom vs The Boys)
(10) Cookie Monster Cake: Cookie Monster is a favorite character of many young kids, and if your child is a fan, this simple decorating idea is the perfect way to bring him to life. (via Well If She Can Do It)
(11) Unicorn Cake: This magical Unicorn Cake tastes as good as it looks. Baking in smaller pans creates impressive height, and a few simple decorating tricks turn it into a show stopping dessert. (via Taste of Home)
(12) Butterfly Cake: This adorable Butterfly Cake can be made from any cake mix. Cutting the cake in half turns it into a butterfly shape! Top with icing and decorate using your child’s favorite candies. (via food.com)
(13) Easy Lamb Cake: We had to include one of our very own recipes – this adorable Lamb Cake! It’s a simple iced-cake with Sixlet “fleece”, store-bought gel-frosting for the facial features, and Milano cookie ears. If we can do, so can you! (via What Moms Love)
(14) Chips Ahoy Dinosaur Cake: This is Chips Ahoy Dinosaur Cake pays homage to chocolate in all of its finest forms, those being: cake, icing, ganache and cookie. It’s piled high with crushed cookies (because, rocks…and cookies) and is topped with dinosaur figurines that can be kept and played with long after the cake is gone. (via Butterlust)
(15) Dinosaur Sheet Cake: This easy Dinosaur Cake calls for chocolate sheet cakes, a quick frosting job, and some simple chocolate candy “boulders”…and we can’t forget, some plastic dinosaurs to bring it all to life! (via You Inspire Me)
(16) LEGO Cake: Check out this simple way to decorate a round cake with LEGO candies! Kids will go crazy over this LEGO cake. (via reddit.com)
(17) Train Cake: Choo choo! We love the clever idea of using chocolate candy bar pieces as the train tracks and a real train (forget the fondant!) in this simple Train Cake. (via Brownie Bites)
(18) Camping Cake: Learn how to make this simple S’mores Camping Cake in just an hour – no cake decorating experience necessary, and tons of creative fun! (via Feeling Nifty)
(19) Treasure Chest Cake: Swashbucklers of all ages will be eager to seize a chocolaty piece of this Pirate’s Treasure Chest. Don’t forget the golden chocolate coins! (via Taste of Home)
(20) 2-Tier Construction Cake: Any cake that requires “messy” decorating is a win in our book! This 2-tier Construction Cake fits the bill and is sure to be a hit at your child’s construction-themed party. (via Sugar Maple Notes)
(21) Construction Cake with Fruit: Wow! What a beautiful, simple, and healthy way to decorate a Construction Cake with a lovely topper of fresh fruit! (via Veronica Cooks)
(22) Construction Oreo Dirt Cake: Layers of rich chocolate cake, chocolate pudding, crushed Oreo cookies and chocolate whipped cream make up this extraordinary Dirt Cake! (via Completely Delicious)
(23) Digger Cake: You don’t need to be an engineer to make this impressive Construction Site Birthday Cake, just a few toys, some chocolate coated wafer bars and a little creative flair. (via BBC Good Food)
(24) Construction Birthday Cake: This easy Construction Cake works great for little boys (or girls) who could watch construction vehicles work all. day. long. (via Finding Zest)
(25) Garbage Truck Cake: Check out this adorable, yet beautiful Garbage Truck Cake, complete with a real Tonka truck on top and candy “garbage”! (via @abigails_nc)
(26) Sports Jersey: Just a few simple cuts to a standard sheet cake and you have the base to this easy Sports Jersey Cake. Then you can personalize it using your child’s age, their team and jersey number! (via Better Homes and Gardens)
(27) Basketball Cake: This Basketball Cake uses a boxed cake mix and lots of Reese’s Pieces. It’s sure to be a slam dunk! (via Dukes and Duchesses)
Want a super unique idea for your homemade birthday cake? These creative cakes are just the thing you’ve been searching for!
(1) Easy Ice Cream Sandwich Cake: This may be the easiest Ice Cream Cake you will ever make. The secret ingredient…store-bought ice-cream sandwiches! (via Sprinkles Bakes)
(2) Giant Donut Cake: This Giant Donut Cake sure makes a big statement and would be perfect for a “Do-nut Grow Up Too Fast” party! (via Party Delights)
(3) Ice Cream Cone Cake: Simply push ice cream cones into a heavily frosted cake, top with more frosting (and a cherry!) and you’ll have this seriously special Ice Cream Cone Cake. (via Kara’s Party Ideas)
(4) Feather Brush Stroke Cake: This beautiful Brush Stroke Cake can be made using candy melts and everyday tools. (via The Cake Blog)
(5) Melted Ice Cream Cone Cake: Don’t be fooled…this Melted Ice Cream Cone Cake is a store-bought cake, just slightly revamped with a little chocolate ganache. Genius! (via Studio DIY)
(6) Milk and Cereal Cake: A moist and fluffy cereal-infused cake with cereal milk buttercream. Pairs perfectly with Saturday morning cartoons! (via Sugar and Sparrow)
(7) Floral Sheet Cake: Turn a simple sheet cake into a gorgeous Floral Cake display with simple piping techniques. (via Sugar and Sparrow)
(8) Pink Vanilla Pocky Cake: This gorgeous 6″ personal-size cake is surrounded with Strawberry Pocky. Yum! (via Sprinkle Bakes)
(9) Sprinkle Sheet Cake: Turn a simple sheet cake into a sprinkle sensation by decorating each piece with a different color or type of sprinkle! (via Krutit)
(10) Painted Cake: Use a parchment paper template and some messy-on-purpose icing strokes to create this gorgeous Painted Cake. (via Wilton)
(11) Tie Dye: Tie-Dye is all the rage, so celebrate with this on-trend Tie Dye Cake. The ingredients include a boxed cake mix and different colors of canned frosting, so it comes together in a hurry. (via Southern Living)
(12) DIY Money Cake: Surprise! This Money Cake has hidden cash inside. Simply instruct your child to pull the ribbon and watch their face as they find the money! (via Snappy Gourmet)
If your child is the eat-just-the-frosting-and-none-of-the-cake type, you may want to consider one of these cake alternatives for their birthday. Take their favorite treat, stack it, and call it a cake! Donuts, waffles, pancakes, oh my!
(1) Pancake Cake: This unique Pancake Cake gives a new meaning to a stack of pancakes! It’s covered in gooey icing and looks absolutely stunning! (via The House that Lars Built)
(2) Waffle Sprinkle Cake: You can whip up this Waffle Sprinkle Cake in no time. It will be your new go-to for birthday parties. (via Pure Wow)
(3) Brownie Cake: Make a double batch of brownies, stack them on a pretty cake stand, top with some candles, and you’ve got yourself a Brownie Cake! (via Louise’s Kitchen)
(4) Cinnamon Roll Cake: …or opt for this Cinnamon Roll Cake layered with cream cheese frosting! (via Best Friends for Frosting)
(5) Cookie Stack Cake: If your child is partial to cookies over cake, create a big batch of their favorites, and add in some icing to “cement” the layers in this Cookie Stack Cake. (via Family Spice)
(6) Epic Donut Cake: Donut fans will rejoice with this Donut Cake made entirely of Krispy Kreme doughnuts and drizzled with chocolate fudge sauce. (via Broma Bakery)
(7) Donut Hole Cake: This Donut Hole Cake calls for your favorite store-bought donut holes, and attaches them to a styrofoam block using toothpicks. (via Iron and Twine)
(8) Donut Hole Tree: Alternatively, transform the shape and make a Donut Hole Tree! (via Louise’s Kitchen)
Sometimes all a cake needs is a simple topper to finish it off. These creative cake topper ideas include both DIY and buy-online options, and could easily be plopped on top of any plain, store-bought cake for a super easy, yet stunning, result.
(1) Washi Tape: Grab some washi tape and toothpicks to make this colorful DIY Washi Tape cake topper. (via Happy Go Lucky blog)
(3) Carnival Cake Topper: With a few simple craft supplies you can make this Carnival-themed topper to brighten up your cake. (via Oh Happy Day)
(4) Personalized Felt Banner: Not into DIY? Hand over the project to the experts, and order one of these pretty felt banners from Etsy shop Pip Squeak and Bean that can be customized with your child’s name and age. (via Pip Squeak and Bean)
(5) DIY Pom Pom Cake Topper: Grab your hot glue gun, pipe cleaners and pom poms to make an easy Pom Pom Cake Topper. You can personalize it and use your child’s age or name. (via Momtastic)
(6) Fun Birthday Candles: Wait, we can make a cake that stunning just by using candles?! Talk about easy! (via Studio DIY)
(7) Age Balloon with Tassel Topper: How darling is this Age Balloon Cake Topper from Etsy shop Banzi Balloons?! You can customize the number and tassel colors too! (via Banzi Balloons)
(8) Mini Balloons Topper: A plain, ordinary cake turned extraordinary with just a few small balloons and wooden sticks thanks to this Mini Balloon Topper DIY. (via We Are Scout)
(9) Party Animals: So sweet. So simple. A few of your child’s favorite animals turned into “party animals” with the help of some teeny tiny DIY party hats. (via Bleu Bird Vintage)
(10) Glitter Hearts Cake Topper: Perfect for a tween or teen cake – they could even help you make the Glitter Hearts! (via Pretty Life Girls)
(11) Rainbow Topper: Just try not to smile looking at this cake! A simple rainbow sour candy strip on top of a white cake with frosting clouds is all it takes. (via La Receta De La Felicidad)
(12) Candy Necklace Topper: Another great option for a simple, yet classy, teenage cake using Candy Necklaces and wooden dowels. (via Best Friends for Frosting)
(13) Custom Wooden Topper: This pretty cake topper from Etsy shop Rawkrft is made from wood and can be customized with your child’s name. (via Rawkrft)
(14) Star Sticker Topper: Get your birthday child involved in the DIY with this one – it’s super simple, and uses pre-made stickers! (via Rachel Hollis)
(15) Sparkly Pipe Cleaner Toppers: Make these cute, sparkly toppers with pipe cleaners and straws. (via Say Yes)We hope those 100+ ideas helped prove that making your child’s birthday cake doesn’t have to be difficult. Even without any cake-making or decorating experience, you needn’t stress – by using simple decorating techniques and creative ideas, you can still end up with a stunning cake!
Shannon is a mom of 2, wife, and former teacher of 16 years. She lives in the Dallas area with her family and adorable yellow lab. She’s the Mom behind Daily Momtivity where she shares Mom tips and kid-friendly fun. For more on Shannon and life with kids, check her out on Instagram,Pinterest, and Facebook.