Well Aria’s birthday celebrations have come and gone… and I’ve probably picked up 5kg just from the sheer amount of cake that has been floating around! I’ve never been a great cake maker, but this year I challenged myself to bake one for each of her little celebrations. They are all really simple but still look pretty impressive if I do say so myself. So if you are in need of some easy birthday cake recipes, you’re in the right place.
Dinosaur cupcakes (dairy, egg and gluten free, vegan)
The first batch of deliciousness that I needed to make was for the birthday ring at school. Even though Aria doesn’t have any allergies, quite a few of the kids in her class do and I didn’t want to exclude them from the festivities if I didn’t have to and so began the challenge… Luckily Ali was more than happy to help me bake dairy, egg and gluten free cupcakes that were also vegan. And it was actually pretty simple!
We used a gluten free cake mix similar to this one from Dischem as a base and substituted ingredients as follows:
- Quarter cup apple sauce for each egg
- Soy milk in place of water
- Soy milk in place of cows milk
We then mixed it all together and popped the cupcakes into the oven for about 20 minutes. Make sure to test the with a skewer to make sure that they are done before taking them out of the oven.
Onto the icing; we made it the exact same way that you usually would, except we used Blossom margarine and soy milk instead of cows milk. Once we had whipped it all together, we separated the icing into three bowls and added a drop of food colouring to each. One bowl was blue, one pink and one green.
Once the cupcakes were completely cool, it was time to ice them! Ali decided that we should get super fancy and try to do a colourful swirl. We placed dollops of the different colour icing into a piping bag and then piped it onto each cupcake. I must say, I was pretty impressed at how well it worked! Because the icing is a slightly different consistency, I found that it was best to keep the iced cupcakes in the fridge until I needed them.
The only thing left to do was to pop in the cute dinosaur toppers that I found at Checkers and sprinkle a little bit of edible glitter onto them, how cute?
The kids absolutely wolfed down the cupcakes! I’m so glad that I managed to steal a bite from Aria’s one; they tasted so good – light, moist and just the right amount of sweetness. They were so yum that I actually made them again for Aria’s birthday party!
Tractor chocolate cake
This cake was basically done on a whim and a prayer… and it didn’t turn out half bad! Again, I took the easier way out and bought two box cake mixes, I really find that it saves me so much time and often works out a little cheaper if you don’t bake super regularly.
I made the two layers of chocolate cake and when they were cool I started to get going with the decorating. I got my original idea from Pinterest but I didn’t have much time before our guests arrived so it’s not as perfect as I would have liked, although is a dig site ever perfect? Anyway, I stuck the two tiers on top of each other with some chocolate icing and then used the same icing to cover the outside of the cake. Then I took a tablespoon and dug a good chunk of cake out of the one side, I must say, it felt quite good to do that! Once I was happy with my destruction, I crumbled some Flake over the top of the cake and strategically placed some shortbread Tumbles. The pièce de résistance were the two tractors that I picked up from the R5 store.
When I showed Aria the cake, she was so happy (she is truck mad) and proceeded to play with the trucks first, before tucking in.
Dinosaur three layer cake
Last but not least is the birthday cake that I made for Aria’s party and I’m thrilled to say that it was an absolute hit, especially because it wasn’t anything fancy.
You know how this all starts, with box cake mix, and this time I used three boxes as I wanted a three tier cake. Besides the factors that I have already mentioned, the fact that box cakes come standard with icing sugar is just such a plus.
Once all three tiers were cool, I stacked them on top of each other with a thick layer of caramel in between. Caramel can be a bit difficult to spread onto freshly baked cake, but I find that if you scoop it out of the tin and give it a little bit of a whisk, it goes on so much smoother. I didn’t want the actual icing to be too neat so spread it on and then took a butter knife and scraped some off to give it a bit of a naked cake effect.
The cake toppers look pretty fancy, but they were so easy peasy to do! I just took two dinosaur figurines and spray painted them gold (took 3-4 coats to get them really opaque) and then stuck the candles on their back using my beloved glue gun. For the bunting, I used some pom-pom ribbon that my sister picked up for me months ago (I’ve been keeping it aside for Aria’s new bedroom) and secured it onto two kebab sticks. I arranged everything on the cake and then served.
Good to know; this cake served 30 odd people and there were still left overs.
Although they are far from what the professionals can produce, I’m really chuffed with how all of my cakes turned out and I think that having a homemade cake makes birthdays that much more special, what do you think?
PS: if you have any go-to cake recipes, leave them in the comments below. I’m sure all of us would appreciate it!