To Make or Buy the Cake- That is the Question!

Summer has become a big ol’ birthday party at our house! We have two birthdays the first week of August, and we just had our little boy join us in July, giving us another reason to celebrate this summer ;). I’ve included a picture of him here, because I’m his biased mother who thinks he’s absolutely adorable and I can’t not share a picture of our new bundle of joy!!

Anyway :). So we now have 3 summer birthdays! Growing up, my mom always made our cakes. We could ask her for any kind of flavor of cake, but also any theme we wanted, and she always did a phenomenal job, whether it was Bugs Bunny, Barbie or Barney. I’ve tried to fill my mom’s shoes in my own kids’ lives… and I have to say, it’s definitely a challenge! I want my kids to be able to choose whatever cake they want, but this year in particular I realized just how much of a gamble that is haha ;).

My 2 year old has been OBSESSED with Moana, so that was an easy cake to make- I just bought a set of cute Moana toys and put them on a cake covered in blue frosting and crushed graham crackers- BOOM. Easy, done, tasty, cute.

However, my 4 year old’s cake caused me a little more stress.. She wanted a Little Mermaid cake. At first I thought- no big deal, I’ll just find a cute Little Mermaid toy like I did with my 2 year old’s cake, and we’ll be done! Yeah…. Apparently little girls are not as into Ariel as they are into Moana, because I couldn’t find anything! Or anything I did find was super expensive or super cheesey. I eventually found an Ariel barbie doll with no mermaid tale, but I figured that would have to do, because I was running out of time!

Once I settled on the Barbie doll, I had a hard time finding a cute idea for a cake that I thought I could actually make. Everything seemed really complicated (I’m not a fondant extraordinaire!), or just looked cheesy (a big lump of frosting doesn’t look like a mermaid tale to me ;) ). In desperation, I finally used the Mom lifeline ;), and my mom sent me an idea of how to turn an Ariel barbie doll into a mermaid that was both cute and doable! I tweaked it a little bit and this was the end result:

Not perfect, but my 4 year old was happy with it, so it served its purpose. Just don’t look too closely ;).

After making these two cakes while recovering from just having a baby, I realized that you have to be really careful when you tell your kids that they can pick ANY cake they want for their birthday ;). But I also realized that I REALLY enjoy decorating cakes! I am nowhere near a professional cake decorator, but I think it might be worth investing in the right tools and picking it up as a hobby, because I find a lot of joy in it!

So now I’d love to hear from you- do you or did you make your kids’ birthday cakes or did you buy them? Is cake decorating something you’re interested in? I’d love to hear from you guys!


    Camille Hoffmann
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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