Skip to Content
A young boy wearing a party hat smiles with a yellow and white birthday cake in front of him

Three Cake Ideas to Make Birthdays Extra Special

For many kids, few things are more exciting than a birthday party. Whether they’re the guest of honor or celebrating a friend, they’re likely excited about the activities, gifts, and—of course—cake!

An outstanding cake can take any birthday celebration to the next level. But what kind of sweet treat should you make for your child’s big day? 

These unique kids’ birthday cake ideas will make for a great memory and let the two of you collaborate in the kitchen. Remember: The perfect birthday dessert for your child is the one that puts the biggest smile—and maybe some icing—on their face. It’s time to get baking!

Birthday Cakes: The Tastiest Part of the Celebration

A birthday cake is a wonderful way to express your child’s unique personality and interests. A cake can look like their most beloved TV show character, resemble their favorite animal, or simply be frosted in a color they love. Easy decorating, such as adding sprinkles or toppers, can transform your cake into an eye-catching masterpiece that everyone will be excited to taste.

Whether you’re using a box mix or going homemade, these birthday cake ideas are sure to wow guests. Plus, they’re a great chance to invite your young chef to bake with you.

3 Mouthwatering Birthday Cake Ideas

A sliced piñata cake with yellow frosting and multicolored candies spilling out from the center

Piñata Cake 

Closely associated with celebrations in Mexico, piñatas are also a common fixture at kids’ parties around the world. Transform dessert into a fun activity with this kids’ birthday cake recipe.


  • 3 baked round cakes (your kid’s favorite flavor)
  • 3–4 cups cake frosting (your kid’s favorite flavor)
  • Assorted small candies (such as chocolates, gummies, and caramels)
  • Sprinkles (optional)


  • A 4-inch (10-centimeter) round ramekin or bowl
  • Cake stand or tray
  • Butter knife


  1. Place one of the round cakes on a cake stand or tray. Help your child cover the top with a layer of frosting. 
  2. Cut a hole in the center of a second round cake using the ramekin dish or bowl as a guide, then place the second cake atop the bottom cake on the stand or tray (adults should handle this step).
  3. Help your child fill the hole in the second cake with their favorite candies. Then, spread frosting over the top of the second cake. 
  4. Place the third round cake on top to “close the lid” on the piñata. 
  5. Frost the top and sides of the cake and add sprinkles, if desired. 
  6. When serving the cake, cut out wedge-shaped slices. This way, when you remove a piece, the candy will spill out like a burst piñata!
A slice of rainbow cake on a white plate

Rainbow Birthday Cake

Does your child love color? If so, this is the perfect cake for a unicorn-themed party, a spring celebration, or any other occasion that’s full of bright and beautiful hues.


  • 2 packages of white cake mix (or your favorite from-scratch recipe)
  • Gel food coloring (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple)
  • 3 cans of white icing


  • 6 glass bowls
  • 6 8-inch (20-centimeter) round cake pans, greased, floured, and lined with parchment paper
  • Decorations (such as candles, sprinkles, and chocolate chips)
  • 2 large cooling racks
  • Cake stand or tray


  1. An adult preheats the oven to 350℉ (175℃) and prepares the cake batter according to the recipe or package instructions.
  2. Once the batter is thoroughly mixed, help your kid divide it evenly into six bowls. There should be 1 ¼–1 ⅓ cups of batter in each bowl. 
  3. Your child adds 1 or 2 drops of food coloring into each bowl (one color per bowl). Mix the batter with a spatula until the coloring is fully combined.
  4. An adult pours each colored batter into a prepared cake pan and bakes for 15 minutes. The cakes are ready when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  5. An adult removes the cakes from the oven to cool for 5–10 minutes in the pan. Once safe to touch, remove the cakes and place them onto the cooling rack and allow them to cool completely. 
  6. Place the purple cake layer on a cake stand or tray. Your child helps spread a third of a can of frosting on the top. To create a rainbow effect, repeat this step with the other cakes in this order: blue, green, yellow, orange, and red.
  7. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting and help your child add sprinkles or other decorations as desired. Refrigerate the cake for at least 4 hours before slicing and serving.
Light purple butterfly decorated with chocolate candies on a white plate

Butterfly Cake

This easy birthday cake makes an adorable spectacle. The butterfly shape is easy to create, and kids of all ages will have a blast decorating the wings for their special day. 


  • 1 cake mix package (or your favorite from-scratch recipe) in your child’s favorite flavor
  • 4 cups icing (your child’s favorite color and flavor)
  • Assorted candy (such as chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, and sprinkles)


  • 2 8-inch (20-centimeter) round cake pans, greased, floured and lined with parchment paper 
  • Butter knife
  • Large cooling rack
  • Cake stand or tray


  1. An adult prepares the cake batter according to the recipe or package instructions and separates the batter into 2 pans. Bake the cakes and allow them to cool completely on a cooling rack. 
  2. Place a cake on the cake stand or tray and spread icing on top. Layer the second cake on top of the first. Cut the cakes in half and place the two curved edges back to back. 
  3. Help your child use a spatula to frost the top of the cake, ensuring there’s a thick and even coat.
  4. To finish, your child helps decorate with candy, icing, sprinkles, and more to create patterns that resemble a butterfly’s wings and antennae. 

Make Your Own Frosting

Whether you use store-bought mix or bake a homemade birthday cake, a delicious frosting recipe can add the perfect finishing touch to a fantastic treat. 

This cake frosting recipe is simple, tasty, and easy to adjust for different flavors. Simply add a teaspoon of cocoa powder for a chocolate frosting, or swap out the vanilla for pureed strawberries or blueberries for a fruity taste. 

Vanilla Frosting


  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ⅓ cup softened butter 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1–2 tablespoons milk
  • Food coloring (optional)


  1. Help your child add confectioners’ sugar and butter to a medium bowl and mix by hand or with an electric mixer on low speed. 
  2. An adult adds the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk. Continue mixing the frosting, gradually beating in the milk until the mixture is smooth and spreadable. If it becomes too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar. If it’s too dry, add a second tablespoon of milk.
  3. If you’re using food coloring, add a few drops at a time and continue mixing until you reach the desired hue.
A group of kids watching a young girl blow out her birthday candles at a party

Get Creative with These Birthday Cake Topping Ideas

All of these cake ideas are easy to customize. Once you have the basic shape (the piñata, the rainbow layers, or the butterfly), your child can get creative during the decorating stage. Top the cake with anything that tickles their taste buds, such as:

  • Sprinkles
  • Sliced fruit
  • Chocolate chips
  • Whipped cream

When the decorating is done, your young baker will have a cake they should be proud of (and one they’re excited to eat!). Is your child itching to help you in the kitchen? Send their curiosity soaring around the globe with our Kitchen Adventures subscription box. Every month, they’ll receive kid-friendly recipes and kitchen tools, explore world cultures with fun hands-on activities and games, and build practical skills and confidence as they learn to cook with you. It’s a birthday gift that keeps on giving!