Homemade Birthday Cake Traditions

All of my kid’s lives, my husband Austin, and I have made them birthday cakes from scratch. It is a family tradition that I carried into the marriage from when I was growing up. For me, there were five of us total, and my mom always made a birthday cake for us that we requested.

We got a homemade cake and the dinner of our choice on our birthday. This has been something that was very special to me and I always looked forward to. I thought it was a great thing to do for my children as they have grown up. To my surprise, Austin has become a big part of making the cake.

He took over the decorating aspect of the cakes, because surprisingly, I’m not very good at it. I say surprisingly, because I enjoy sketching and I’m good at crafting. However, I really stink at cake decorating. Maybe it is the patience thing, but Austin has certainly got me beat on the cake decorating.

Our Tradition

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When it gets close to a child’s birthday, we begin asking them what they want their cake to look like. It is like making a birthday gift wish list, but the difference is that we can normally do what they are asking.

Almost every time we ask one of our boys what they want on the cake, the first suggestion is to stick some toy in the top as part of the decoration. Every time they suggest that, we tell them we aren’t putting their toys in our food. To this day, they can’t understand why we wouldn’t want to do that.

For my oldest son, Corbin, and my youngest son, Braden, their birthdays are very close together, so we get to do a lot of cake decorating in June. My middle son, Tripp, celebrates his birthday in December. It is amazing to me how each year they throw out their newest favorite character and we are always able to pull it off. I also add to the cake decorating tips, food dyes, and accessories each year.

The Chocolate Cake Recipe

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You can go here to see the chocolate cake recipe and icing recipe that I use for my cakes. My mom has been using this recipe for many years. When my first son had his birthday, I called my mom for this recipe and have been using it ever since. It has always worked out well for our purposes.

The recipe makes 2 9 inch round or square pans or a 9×13 pan. We typically just use two round or one round and one square. Depending on what our children decide for their design will determine what we choose for our cake pans.

This Year’s Design

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For my son, Braden, we made a red power ranger. Even though he is only 3, he watches power rangers with his brothers every morning. Red is his favorite color, but if you ask him what his favorite color is, he will say anything but red. Although, given the choice between something that is red and any other color, he always chooses the red one. It is funny how little kids can be about things like this.

How to Make Your Own Cake

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When our children decide on their design, my husband does a google search and looks up how other people have made the cake. We certainly are not brilliant in this aspect and rely heavily on the genius of others.

Typically, we try to pick a simple looking design that I can sketch out on paper, or that Austin can attempt to freehand himself. Sometimes, he will print the instructions for a jack-o-lantern design and cuts out the parts of the design that would be the holes in the jack-o-lantern.

Then he places those pieces on the iced cake and uses a toothpick to lightly press small dots around the outline. He will follow that outline with the icing tip of his choosing. Normally, we have good luck with making our own cakes. I have never seen a failed cake.
Good luck if you choose to tackle your own homemade birthday cake this year. It is quite rewarding to say the least.

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