Berkeley Parents Network >
Where to Buy a Birthday Cake?
Affordable, Semi-Yummy Birthday Cake for Kids
I was all set to order my 4 y.o.'s bday cake from Raley's,
but apparently the El Sobrante store doesn't do custom
cakes. Bummer! Where else do you like for kids' cakes with
decorations done in-store, half-sheet size that's under $40?
in recommendations for anywhere else between Pinole and
Oakland, west of tunnel, pickup on a Sunday. Thanks! B-Day
Safeway will do this for you - I got a completely customized
cake for my daughter's last birthday (enough for 20 people)
for $28.00. birthday mama
Costco in El Cerrito makes delicious cakes and they cost
about $20. They personalize cakes and just need 48 hours
notice. If you don't belong to Costco, you can get a one-day
pass so you can shop there. love Costco
We've gotten our birthday cakes for the past 2 years at
Maria's on San Pablo Dam Road in El Sobrante. anon
I'm not sure that your information about Raley's is correct.
I just got a sheet cake from them (San Pablo Dam store) two
weeks ago that they decorated for me, (flowers, names, etc.)
and have done so in the past as well. For the very
elaborate character-type cakes, those they don't do
custom-in-store. But for basic decorations and names they
do them right there in the bakery. Safeway and Lucky in
Pinole also do similar cakes, though I haven't used them
personally. For a more local option, Maria's cakes, on San
Pablo Dam Rd. (a little past the Walgreens) does lovely
cakes, though it costs a bit more than Raley's (not tons,
though). --loves cake!
Baskin Robbins! They have all the designs, affordable, and
we've done two large parties with these cakes and they've
been praised by all. Ice Cream Cake Lover
Try Whole Foods. I was pleasantly surprised by the
affordable pricing and high quality of the half-sheet cake I
ordered from them for a baby shower recently. Not sure about
kids' decorations, but I assume they could pull something
off... sweet tooth
Costco has half-sheet fancy-pants cakes, seemingly designed
for a kid's birthday. If you're not a member, maybe a friend
can pick one up for you. Not a lot of choice, but cheap and
quite edible. If you want special writing, it takes a week.
Otherwise you can pick one up in the case. Niki
Try Bear Claw Bakery in Pinole. Great Cakes, Great Prices!
We love them! Small Family owned Bakery and have been around
a long time Cake Loving Mama
I've always been quite delighted with cakes from Merritt
Bakery, right next to Lake Merritt on the east side. Cake
I got a cake at Grand Bakery on Grand Avenue and it was
great! Much less expensive than Whole Foods and they can do
gluten free if you give them enough time. Bonus: you might
get Grateful Dead or other 60's musician trivia if you hang
around long enough. Satisfied Customer
Avoid the Safeway in El Cerrito. We recently got a birthday
cake there and it looked like something from the Cake Wrecks
website. I told them we wanted pink icing. They made it
day-glo pink (I can't imagine how much food coloring they
must have used to get it that color, but you could
definitely taste it). It was right before the party and
there wasn't time to get them to fix it. And it still wasn't
cheap (I think it was around $40). cake wrecked
Try the Danish Bakery on Telegraph (formerly Neldam's) in
Oakland. They are my stand by, road dog, 'go to' bakery for
quick cake runs, and they are very tasty and affordable.
They do nice cupcakes as well. Jennifer
Birthday cake, nice than Safeway but not too extravagant
Looking for recent recommendations for a bakery/baker to
make my daughter's birthday cake. She has a theme in mind,
but nothing too extravegant. I want something nicer than a
Safeway cake, but one that doesn't cost as much as my
wedding cake did. Can't do it myself this year
I was in the same situation with my son's birthday this
year; I wanted something nice that had the imagery he
wanted, but didn't have the time to make it myself. I
ordered an 'Americana' cake from Sweet Adeline Bakery in
Berkeley and they did an amazing job. The cake was beautiful
and delicious. They aren't cheap, but (for equal quality)
also not the most expensive bakery out there. You can find
their prices on their website:
What you should remember about the pricing is that each
image is $20 extra. I had them put my son's favorite Yo
Gabba Gabba character on it. At first, I didn't understand
the extra fee, but when I saw the cake, it became clear why
they had to charge for it. They did a really artful job.
Everyone at the party loved the cake--especially my son! It
was a bit of an indulgence, but made my son's birthday
really special. The people at Sweet Adeline are great to
work with. Very friendly and accommodating. They are a
relatively small operation, so weekend orders should be made
with as much advance notice as possible. Berkeley Mom with
no time to bake
You cannot go wrong with any cake from Masse's Pastries next
to Saul's on Shattuck in Berekely. Marcia and Paul are
amazing people and their cakes are extradinary. Marcia is an
artist!! Tell her your theme and she can create something
special. You pay for the perfection but it is worth it in my
opinion. I have had them make my daughter's birthday cakes
for years and now she would not have anything else!! For my
50th birthday party they created this masterpiece of
chocolate with balls and swirls of pure chocolate for a
cirque de extraveganza. All my guests oohed and awed over it
and then when they actually tasted it and it tasted even
better than it looked -- all I can saw is WOW.
love Masse's Pastries
I have loved and used Nancy for both my daughter's b-day
party and baby shower from 'Diva's Desserts'- she serves and
delivers in both the sacramento and bay areas. Her email is
'firstname.lastname@example.org' and she has a facebook page under
the same name. She custom makes cakes, cupcakes, cakepops
to your theme and specification. We got a vegan birthday
cake and cupcakes because my daughter is allergic to dairy
and its been difficult because she always sees other kids
getting these beautiful cakes for their birthday. Well this
year she got the best cake ever, and she was so excited!
She does beautiful Fondant work! Cake lover
We've used Cakes by 2 moms for the last 3 years for our
son's creative visions in the cake world. He's turning 5
this May and we've booked them again! Not only are they
delicious, but they are so unique!
Taste of Denmark has great cakes, lots of themes to choose
from, at a reasonable price:
http://www.tastedenmark.com/Decorated_Cakes Got a carrot
cake for my husband's birthday and it was fantastic. happy
taste of Denmark customer
I highly recommend Braxton's Boxes in Berkeley
(510.708.7089). We've ordered fabulous cakes that everyone
raved about. One was for a kids birthday party and they
probably didn't appreciate the difference, but the grown-ups
still mention it a year later. anon
Delicious cake for daughter's 4th birthday
I am looking for a great birthday cake for my daughter's fourth
birthday. I read the archives, but didn't see any new
recommendations. I am looking for a cake that is delicious for
adults and kids, not a grocery store cake with whipped cream
frosting. I would like a cake made with real buttercream
frosting. Back when Just Desserts had local outlets, I thought
their cakes were the best. I know I can get a Just Desserts cake
at Whole Foods, but I need a big sheet cake. As far as
decorations go, subtle is better. I would be willing to decorate
it myself. Quality is more important than price, and local would
be better. (I live in Berkeley) Any suggestions?
to find great cakes and other fabulous sweets, go to
http://silverleafsweets.com/. their cakes are beautiful and delicious,
made from the best ingredients. the owners are creative and talented
mom's who are also great to work with.
i am looking for someone that makes custom birthday cakes or
cupcakes...i need a volcano cake for my sons 4th bday party. Thanks
in advance for any recommendations!
need a cake!
Check out www.cakesby2moms.com (and make sure to click on the blog for a
gallery of photos)! My friend just had them make a cake for her
daughter's birthday party, and it was gorgeous. They are two local moms
who will take any idea you have and turn it into a cake. I'm sure they
could figure out a wonderful volcano! And they'll even deliver it. Good
I recommend Braxton's Boxes. Their e-mail is: email@example.com. Ron
and Pamela work out of their home and make incredible baked goods of all
kinds. They seem to like a challenge, so I think they could make you a
fabulous volcano cake. Their tel # is: 510.708.7089. I am sure they will
create something beautfiul and delicious.
I know two moms who make great custom cakes! They enjoy baking cakes and
are very easy to talk to about exactly what you would like. I tried a
slice of one of their cakes a few weeks ago and it was delicious. You can
reach them at: www.cakesby2moms.com
Good Luck, Susan
For custom cakes and other baked goods for special occasions call
510-847-9667, and ask for Ina or Gretchen. These are two wonderful ladies
who are easy to work with, creative spirits and can beat the prices of
specialty shops. Their website has a portfolio of past creations.
Stuck on Sweets
One of my friends has started a cake company...see www.cakesby2moms.com.
The cakes look amazing and the prices are very reasonable. Give her a
Hi there....you might want to try Catherine at BellaCake
(firstname.lastname@example.org). She did both our wedding cake and our
daughter's 1st b-day cake. She is in nursing school now so I don't know
how many cakes she is doing these days, but tell her Paula & Rajan
recommended her. Good luck....Paula
One of my friends just happened to send me the following message last
A friend of ours (and her friend) makes lovely, designed-to-order cakes at
VERY reasonable prices. See their designs at www.cakesby2moms.com.
It looks like they can tackle just about any request--what a way to
simplify birthday party planning AND support a new, small, local business!
I didn't see the original post, but I highly recommend Debbie from
www.DebbieDoesCakes.net. I am a cake fanatic, and every year I try to out
do myself. For my son't last party I had Debbie make a Yoda cake, and we
were amazed with Debbie's creation. There's no comparing her cakes with
what I've seen or purchased in the East Bay. BTW...the cake didn't just
look good...it was excellent, and she delivers.
Love my Cake Lady
My son's first birthday is coming up, I would like to get some recommendations for a good
bakery where I can get cakes shaped liked Disney characters or in the shape of ships, cars,
etc. and also have all the qualities of a good tasting cake.
Try Montclair Baking in Montclair (530-8052). They will not make Disney cakes or
replicate characters from books because of copyright infringement, which is the case
with most good bakeries. However, they do make beautiful and great tasting cakes.
Cheryl, the owner, made our wedding cake and our child's first birthday cake. She has
won numerous national awards, including a Food Network Halloween cake bake-off, and most
of the good caterers in the East Bay and San Francisco use her. Call well in advance and
expect to spend well over a 00+ for a beautiful custom cake that tastes delicious!
I am unsure if the bakery I use makes disney characters or not, but they made a fabulous
pink champagne cake for my family a month ago. It was moist and well made. Virginia Bakery. They are
located on Shattuck and Virginia street in Berkeley. Website www.virginiabakery.com for
Bar none, Masse's is great. It's located on Shattuck at Vine, right next to Saul's.
The cakes are fabulous, and they have books full of custom made cakes. I wanted to have
my wedding cake made there, but we were married on the East Coast . . .
Good luck. Andrea
Virginia Bakery on Shattuck is excellent and does custom cakes.
The archives have lots of great recommendations for ''regular'' birthday cakes, but
since my son has a peanut and milk allergy (so no milk, cream, butter, etc.) we
would love some suggestions about where to go for a cake or cupcakes for his second
birthday party. Ideally I'd like one big yummy cake that both the parents and kids
will enjoy instead of having to do a separate little cake for my son and a
different one for the rest of the guests (plus I don't want to worry about people
giving him a bite of the wrong one). Any thoughts?
They don't LOOK like a birthday cake (no frosting), but I really
recommend Vital Vittles Cakes. Their facility is completely
dairy and peanut free. The cakes are delicious! They have
carrot and banana/chocolate flavors. You have to order directly
from the bakery on San Pablo, to pick up there or at one of the
Farmer's Markets they staff.
If you want a dairy-free cake with icing, you can get a nice one
from Grand Bakery on Grand Ave in Oakland (as a kosher bakery,
they specialize in baked goods with no dairy, since people who
observe the kosher laws will not have a dairy dessert after a
meat meal). They do round and sheet cakes with icing and
I've made a chocolate vegan cake that is absolutely delicious.
It's called ''Wacky Cake.'' I have to admit I was really skeptical
because I am a true traditional when it comes to cake (butter,
eggs, cream, the works). But this was SO GOOD! Even my
uber-traditional mom loved it. Here's the recipe:
1 1/2 c Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Vanilla
1 c Sugar
1 tsp Vinegar
3 tbl Cocoa
5 tbl Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 c Cold Water
1/2 tsp Salt
Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt. Make three wells in the flour
mixture. In one put vanilla; in another the vinegar, and in the third
the oil. Pour 1 c cold water over all and stir. No need to beat. Pour
into 8 x 8-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F oven until it springs
You can double the recipe and make two for a layered cake. I just
sprinkled powdered sugar on it and it was perfect!
I would check with Whole Foods Market. They make many
different cakes for specific health concerns
we've attended a bday party and had a vegan cake from whole
foods. all of the children enjoyed it tremendously. it was a
simple chocolate cake w/ chocolte frosting. they also have (a
bit pricey for a whole party at $3 each) good cupcakes which
are good to offer children w/ allergies at your events where
you may not be serving a vegan option. also, i have baked a
vegan cake from ''joy of cooking'' for a class party and that was
well rec'd as well. i simply sprinkled the cake w/ powdered
sugar and served it w/ fresh strawberries on the side. best,
Anyone have a recommendation for which bakery location they like best for cakes,
between Safeway and Albertsons? I'd like to get my sons birthday cake there but I
don't know which one to go to.
Albertson's. Hands down. I love their cakes. I've served
them at many birthday parties, showers, etc. and always get
great compliments. If you're in Oakland, go to the one in
neither, both are created with shortening leaving that horrible
waxy build-up on the roof of your mouth. Costco cakes. Less
expensive than either Safeway or Albertson's *and* made with
I've had both and I think Albertson's are way better, but
Safeway cakes are still pretty good. Personally, I think that
either of them are way better than Costco, but obviously
individual tastes vary.
-- not a Costco fan
You can get great cakes at Albertson or other supermarkets if
you are careful to ask for ''whipped cream'' icing. Their default
icing is the heavy, greasy, unbearably sweet one that most
supermarkets use. The whipped cream is very light and not too
sweet. I discovered the ''secret'' when I got to US years ago and
I was getting desperate trying to find a good and not too
expensive birthday cake.
We recently went to a party where the cake came from the
Safeway at Broadway & 51st. It was surprisingly good. I'd
recommend a cake from there
Can anyone tell me where I could get a cake with a personal photo
recreated on the icing? I may have heard that Costco does it, but
I'm not a member so that's not ideal (would have to bug a friend
to go with me). Anywhere else? Thanks!
Virginia Bakery in Berkeley does this (located on Shattuck near
Virginia Bakery on Shattuck in Berkeley does photo images on cakes.
Neldam's Bakery on Telegraph in Oakland does the photo image on
a cake. I did that for my daughter's birthday last year.
Virginia Bakery (1690 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley) does photo
imaging on cakes, at least they did a few years ago when I got
one for my husband's 30th birthday. I scanned some photos of him
as a baby, made a collage on the computer, and gave Virginia
Bakery a computer file. The cake came out great! The images
were surprisingly sharp. I believe they're printed on rice paper.
Virginia Bakery on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley does this.
There are some parameters on the size of the original artwork,
so you may want to call them ahead of time. We had them do a
cake that had an image of our son's party invitation on it and
it looked great. I've seen the cakes they've done with photos
and they look really nice, too.
We have gotten a ''photo cake'' from Toot Sweets on Gilman in
Berkeley. It was really well done, and tasted great too!
Neldams Danish Bakery on Telegraph, near I believe 35th. Plus
their cakes are great. Way better than the ilk of Virginia
Six years ago, I ordered a cake from Just Desserts decorated with
an image from a romantic photo of my wife and I. This was for a
party in celebration of our elopement. We had used the same photo
on the invitations. Just Desserts did an excellent and (dare I
say) tasteful job. It was uncanny how closely the image on the
cake matched the photograph. The cake was truly a work of art. I
kept the cake hidden till it was time to serve it, and it was
quite a surprise when it was unveiled. I don't know if Just
Desserts still does this, but if they do, I'd recommend using them.
Icing on the Cake
Where is the best place to get a birthday cake in Berkeley,
Albany, or Oakland?
For the past three years, I've gotten cakes at the Safeway Bakery
(Rockridge Shopping Ctr). You would be amazed at the number of
compliments from parents on how good they are. (Cake is cake for kids.)
They have always been nice in letting me customize i.e.1/2 choc, 1/2
white cake; 1/2 butterflies, 1/2 ladybugs.
neldam's on telegraph in oakland!!
''Best'' can depend on size, taste, decoration, price, and whether it's for kids or
If you're a Costco member, you can't beat them for price and size. You can custom
order a design or just pick up a standard one on the day. Taste - not too bad,
especially the carrot cake.
Just Desserts (only retail location on Piedmont Ave) still tops for taste and
Last summer I tried Safeway for my daughter's birthday cake - and all the adults
were pleasantly surprised (not that they were gourmets). I went for the strawberry
and cream cake - yellow cake with fresh, sliced (not jellied) strawberries in the
middle and iced with real whipped cream. Great price, many sizes and decoration
For kid's birthday cakes, I recommend Neldam's Bakery at
3401 Telegraph Ave in Oakland, CA, (510) 658-1967. I haven't used
them for fancy adult occasions because I think other bakeries are better
suited for that. But Neldam's is an old-school kind of place that has
cakes that appeal to a kid's taste -- fluffy, sugary frosting with moist and
springy cake. Their prices are reasonable and you will feel like you took
a fun step back-in-time when you go there. Good luck!
-a cake fan
Neldams on Telegraph in Oakland makes delicious cakes and
charge a fair price. They do rounds and the basic character
sheet cakes. The decorations on the rounds are average but you
can get them frosted and decorate yourself. I ordered a white
round cake for my daughters 1st birthday and they were able to
matched my color swatches for the frosting.
Virginia Bakery did a beautiful and delicious cake for a baby
shower I hosted. They copied the design off of the
CheesecakeCity in Berkeley has fabulous cheesecakes and a
sinfully good chocolate fudge cake. They will write a message on
top if you want.510-524 -9404
Bakery for inexpensive birthday cake
Can anyone recommend a good place to buy a birthday cake in Berkeley? I've
heard Toot Sweets is good, but was aghast to find out that the cost (for 20+
people) is about $50.!! Any other recommendations or ideas? Or, hints
about making your own? Thanks!
With younger children
it's easy to get away with making your own cake. I often make mine in a
shape that ties in with the theme of the party. A friend of mine usually
makes a basic (cake mix/canned icing) sheet cake and tops it with a toy
related to the party theme; i.e., for her son's pirate party, she bought
a little pirate toy set with plastic people, pirate ship, and treasure
chest. This way, the child keeps the toys as a keepsake of the party,
and even with a $15 toy, you end up saving money. Once I topped a sheet
cake with blue (via food coloring) icing and toy sharks, with each guest
getting a shark on his/her piece to take home, but I wouldn't recommend
this for young children who may try to eat the decoration!
For one of my kids' sixth birthday, I bought a cake mold that was shaped
like a car. (This was about ten years ago; I found it at the now defunct
Bill's Drugs for about $5.) I made a chocolate cake from a mix (I'm no
baker), and let my son frost and decorate it with M&M's, jelly beans, etc.
to outline the windows, doors and wheels. It looked really cool in a funky
kind of way, and as you can imagine, it was a lot of fun to do. My son felt
very special, everyone enjoyed eating it and it sure didn't cost $50.
Definitely make your own if you're willing! I'm not a baker by any means,
but for the last 2 bdays - 3 & 4 - I've rented a cake pan at Spun Sugar on
University & made 2 fun cakes. Spun Sugar has everything & they're very
kind to people who have no idea what they're doing. The first time I made
a half sheet cake with 3 boxes of cake mix (it was quite full, but baked
just fine - do not think about making your own cake from scratch, it's not
worth it!!) then I made the frosting (this is very worth it & easy - get
the recipe from Spun Sugar, and try to forget that frosting is made of only
butter, veg. shortening & sugar) & created a construction scene on top w/a
dirt (brown sugar mixed w/the frosting) road & hill & toy trucks & road
signs (saw it in a catalogue of b-day stuff - we gave away the trucks on
the cake pieces for party favors). It was all amazingly easy, really fun,
and dirt cheap. Last year I rented the train pan (I think it took less
than 2 (or 3? ask them) boxes of mix & I made cupcakes with the rest) &
decorated w/little stars of homemade frosting in different colors. This
took quite a bit longer than the first year's cake, but it was surprisingly
simple. I bought one set of decorating tips that came w/disposable bags.
(Hint - slice off the bump on top of the cake before you turn it out of the
pan on a platter. After I decorated, a long crack appeared on the top bc
the ends bent down.) I put the cupcakes above like puffs of smoke. One
key is to use the special colors from the shop, and color the frosting the
day before using a little color at a time. It becomes somewhat darker over
time, and you don't need to use so much of the color. Keeps well in
tupperware for at least a day. The half sheet cake had a ton left over,
the train shape was basically all gone along w/the cupcakes, but it fed
over 20 people. Cut the pieces small anyway - the concept is much more
important than the amount. Have fun!
The first thing to remember is that kids don't judge cakes the
same way as adults. So, most of the strengths of a $50 Toot Suits
cake are completely lost on kids. The kind of cake that kids
like has lots of cheezy decorations on top of icing. The number
of layers, quality of the chocolate, virginity of the cream,
and politics of the baker simply don't matter.
This said, the place that does the best kid cakes for the
price, without a doubt, is CostCo. You can pre-order cakes
with your favorite message or you can take your chances
with whatever they have the day you're shopping.
P.S. Now, if I could only convince my wife that the CostCo
pies are as good as FatApples for adults then I'll be saving
at least $50/year.
I have always baked cakes from mixes for my sons. They don't like store
bought cakes. I make one vanilla and one chocolate. I frost and then let
them decorate the cakes. They come up with good ideas, like lego
decorations or disney characters. They always rave about the cake because
they had a helping hand! If you have leftover batter you can make
cupcakes. They like that. I would prefer Virginia Bakery or Toots but
kids seem to like the simpler things in life. Here's a tip: try Andronico's
on Solano for day old cakes which are very good because they keep them
refrigerated. I believe they come from the Toot's across the street and
are discounted quite a bit. I also think Costco makes great cakes and they
are cheap. Good Luck.
When I have needed a birthday cake for adults I have sometimes purchased
one from Just Desserts or another of the better bakeries around Berkeley.
However, for children, I have found that purchasing an expensive cake is
definitely not worth it. Lots of kids don't particularly like cake, or
they don't like frosting and I've ended up throwing most of it away,
because they'll eat only a few bites. For the last few birthday parties
I've just made a simple chocolate cake (on the back of the Hershey's cocoa
can) with just a thin layer of frosting. The kids usually get a kick out
of the homemade decorating -- with lots of tube frosting flowers. We also
usually add sprinkles. And the kids love to help prepare their own cake.
It adds a lot more time to the whole birthday party preparation, but I
think it's worth it.
Good, large, cheap sheet cakes can be purchased at Costco.
I have found the best bakery for children's birthday cakes to be: The
Virginia Bakery--located on Shattuck and Virginia, I believe (near
I searched all over Berkeley and El Cerrito when we moved here last year.
I must have searched and gone to at least 20 different bakeries-- french,
gourmet, grocery stores, etc... They do an excellent job, the cakes are
incredibly tasty, and they have several choices for decorations for
children's themes, i.e. the Teletubbies, Disney characters, princess cakes,
etc...Also, their prices are reasonable, around $30-35 for a cake which
serves 10. They are very friendly as well.
You can get very nice-- and cheap birthday cakes at Costco. Also Lucky and
Safeway have nice cakes for cheaper than toots sweets. Virginia Bakery too
but they are also expensive. There are also several bakeries at the
Pacific East Mall (old Breuners) in Albany -- off the Central Ave.exit.
I highly recommend the Berkeley Bakery on Solano (527-9616,
ask for Harry). They are expensive, but the cakes use more
natural ingredients and are less sweet. I opted to go for a
slightly smaller cake (for my daughter's birthday party) that
had fresh strawberries and an icing that wasn't cloyingly sweet.
Everybody, including the adults, really liked it. (We're
trying hard to cut down on the sugar my 3-year-old daughter is
exposed to because she's already had 2 cavities!)
I know that Virginia Bakery also makes cakes that are very
popular and less expensive, but when I've tasted them at
parties, I've found them way too sweet, almost artificial-
tasting. Of course, kids don't seem to mind that!
When it comes to children's birthday cakes, think ice cream instead of
cake. In my experience, most children prefer ice cream and it's
easier for a non-baker to deal with. We have purchased ice cream
cakes from Baskin-Robbins and Ben & Jerry's which are quite good, but
expensive. We bought a plain green loaf shape and added our own
plastic figures on the top in keeping with the Ninja Turtle theme.
Get the candle holder picks since it will be quite solid and hard to
add candles. I made my own ice cream clowns by putting a round scoop
of ice cream on a sturdy flat cookie (Lu maybe), adding M&M's for
eyes, forcing icing through a garlic press for hair, and inverting a
pointed cone on the top for the hat. I also made a doll cake by using
a cone-shape mold pan designed for cake and filling it with ice cream
instead. That became the skirt when turned over. Then I stuck in a
purchased doll top and used icing for the bodice (ice cream didn't
stick to the plastic body) and purchased candy flowers to decorate.
My kids were able to help add the decorations to both projects, which
they enjoyed more than any professionally done cake.
I know many people are unfamiliar with the new Pacific East Mall that
jut opened a few months back in the Richmond/El Cerrito/Albany area just
off Pierce. There are 3 places in that mall that sells good cakes. One
is the Ranch 99 supermarket which has a special bakery section. Their
cakes are pretty good and it's light and fluffy and not too sweet. They
can put fruits in the middle, custard, buttercream, etc and decorate
it. There's also the ShungKee Bakery and Cafe just across from the
supermarket. They also have very good cakes. They can do everything
Ranch 99 Supermarket can and more. Then there's also the Goldilock
Bakery and Cafe. Their cakes are more pricey than the other two places
but it's good. For adult birthdays and special people, we often get the
cakes from them...
You can get rather large (and surprisingly good) sheet birthday cakes from
Costco for -- I forget how much, but definitely less than $20. There is a
choice of designs, and they will write on a Happy Birthday message for you.
To the parent seeking brithday cake suggestions:
Price-Costco in El Cerrito off Central Avenue has large sheetcakes in various
flavors readymade and takes special orders for custom decorated cakes with kid
and adult themes. They are pretty tasty--nothing gourmet but better than
Betty Crocker's and quite reasonable and huge (I can't remember exact sizes
but they will feed a crowd).
one more idea: make a cake or cupcakes and frost, but don't decorate. Then
let the kids do the decorating at the party, with shakers of sprinkles and
some small candies (like m&ms). For 3 yrs and up...
How to Make a Birthday Cake?
My two year old has requested a strawberry cake for her birthday
party. I'm no cook, but I thought I could pull off an angel food
cake with strawberries and cream...if I could buy a decent angel
food cake! Can anyone recommend a good source?
Taking it easy this year
Guess what?! Angel food cake is just about the easiest one to
make with a mix. I used to do if from scratch until I asked the
person who made a good one which recipe she used and she said it
was a mix. Any brand. All you need is a mixing machine and an
oven and a tube pan. Good luck.
While I'm sure a 2-year-old would not be enough of a gourmet to
be unhappy with a store-bought cake, are you sure she will
consider an angel food cake with actual strawberries on top to
be a ''strawberry cake''? She may well be picturing something
definitively pink, or want the same flavor she had at someone
else's party, in which case I suspect an angel food cake will
Baking a cake really isn't hard. And you can buy strawberry
flavored cake mix; using a cake mix takes about as much effort
and expertise as fixing boxed macaroni-and-cheese.
If you are really opposed to the idea of baking it yourself, how
about a strawberry ice cream cake? Cold Stone, Ben & Jerry's
and Baskin Robbins all sell ice cream cakes.
Recipe for cake follows. Bur first a note: Actually, An Angel
Food cake is not the easiest cake to make. It requires beating
egg whites until stiff, but not grainy, and requires you to
purchase an angel food cake pan (since real angel cake has to be
made in a tube pan). Moreover, angel cakes can fall if there's a
loud bang while they are baking, or if you open the oven at the
inappropriate time. I suggest a white cake instead, but if you
are set on an angel cake, purchase a pan with a false bottom; it
makes the removal process much easier. Another note. Whites
whip much better if they are room temperature so don't skip this
step. Here's a recipe:
1 1/2 cups egg whites (11 to 12 large eggs)
1 1/2 cups (150 g) sifted confectioners sugar (sift before
1 cup (100 g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Special equipment: a 10-inch tube pan (about 4 inches deep) with
a removable bottom
Let egg whites stand in bowl of a standing electric mixer (see
cooks' note) at room temperature about 1 hour before making
cake. (They should be about 600F, slightly below room
Set oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 3500F.
Sift together confectioners sugar, flour, and salt onto a sheet
of wax paper using a triple sifter or fine sieve.
Beat whites in mixer until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat
at medium speed until they form soft peaks. Add granulated sugar
gradually, beating, and continue beating just until whites are
thickened and form soft, droopy peaks. Beat in vanilla.
Sprinkle one fourth of sifted dry ingredients over whites and
fold in with a rubber spatula gently but thoroughly. Fold in
remaining dry ingredients, one third at a time.
Gently pour batter evenly into ungreased tube pan and bake until
top is light golden, cake retracts a bit from pan and springs
back when touched lightly, and a tester comes out clean, 40 to
45 minutes. Invert pan onto neck of an empty wine bottle or a
large metal funnel and cool cake completely.
To remove cake from pan, run tip of a long, narrow knife between
outer edge of cake and pan. Tilt cake pan on its side and gently
tap bottom edge against counter. Rotate pan, tapping and turning
a few more times, until cake appears free. Cover pan with a
metal rack or cardboard round and invert, tapping pan firmly to
loosen cake. Lift pan from cake. (It should come out
beautifully, like a pillow taken out of a slipcover.)
Slice cake with a serrated knife, using a sawing motion.
Surprisingly, if you don't want to make one from scratch (you
would need a plan for all the leftover yolks!), there is a cake
mix that is not too bad. I think it is made by Betty
Crocker...anyway, I have only ever seen one angel food cake mix
on the shelves.
Whole Foods usually carries them pre-made, both regular and
I'd like to make my daughter's first birthday cake, but I don't
have a recipe for a good chocolate cake. The icing will be
orange-chocolate. I've heard that the cakes with coffee as one
of the ingredients are pretty good. Anyone have a good recipe?
I found a great recipe on Epicurious (Double Chocolate Layer
It is the best chocolate cake I have ever made at home. Don't
worry if you don't have 10-inch pans. I just use 9-inch pans
and pour leftover batter into a muffin pan. I'm sure it will
be delicious with your orange-chocolate frosting.
Try: Mahogany Chiffon Cake
It's an old, old family favorite of a friend of mine and has
been their birthday cake of choice for decades now!
(FYI it requires an angel food tube pan and presents
beautifully. When icing it, somewhat runnier icing is better)
Mahogany Chiffon Cake
3/4 c. boiling water
1/2 c. cocoa
1 3/4 c. sifted cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 c. vegetable oil
8 egg yolks
8 egg whites (1 cup)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 3/4 c. sugar
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine boiling water and cocoa;
cool. sift flour, soda and salt into mixing bowl. making a
well, add in order; oil, egg yolks, cocoa mixture and vanilla.
Beat with wooden spoon until smooth. in large bowl, beat egg
whites and cream of tartar to very stiff peaks. Do not
underbeat ( a dry rubber spatula leaves a clean path). Pour egg
yolk mixture in thin stream over entire surface of egg whites,
gently cutting and folding in with the spatula until blended.
Do not stir. Pour into 10-inch angel food tube pan. Bake 65-70
minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Invert
pan on bottle utnil cold. Loosen from sides of tube with a
spatula. Turn pan over and hit edge sharply on table to release
Hope it turns out well. have a great birthday party.
P.S. If you like this recipe, consider buying the awesome
cookbook it comes from, called ''Yum!'' put out by El Cerrito
Preschool Co-op (professionally published). 350 recipes, lots
of award-winners, international stuff, desserts aplenty and kids-
stuff. $12 each.
I'm crazy for cake and have tried many recipes for chocolate
cake and found this one from Martha Stewart to be the best.
Moist, dense and oh so delicious!
One Bowl Chocolate Cake
Makes 2 eight-inch square or 3 eight-inch round layers
Unsalted butter, for pans
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350B0. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round or
square cake pans, and line bottoms with parchment; butter
parchment, and dust with cocoa.
2. Into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle
attachment, sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking
powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, stir in eggs, 1 1/2
cups warm water, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla until
smooth, about 3 minutes.
3. Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake, rotating once,
until tester inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 45
minutes for 8-inch layers, depending on amount of batter.
4. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes,
then remove from pans and cool completely, right side up on
I have a wonderful chocolate cake recipe. It's extremely easy,
uses oil instead of butter, so it stays light and moist:
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups water*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9'' baking
pans. Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix all wet
ingredients in another bowl. Ad wet ingredients to dry and beat
until just smooth; do not overbeat. Pour evenly into pans; batter
will be thin. Bake for approximately 25-35 minutes or until a
clean toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
* You can substitute up to half of the water with milk,
buttermilk (makes a richer cake), or even some coffee, if you
I'm not sure, but is chocolate appropriate for a 1 year old? Or
perhaps the cake is for grown ups only? For baby, there is a
carrot cake recipe in What to Expect the First Year. I suggest
your local library.
Try the Texas Sheetcake in Joy of Cooking. So yummy and
amazingly EASY. Especially because you serve it right from the
I don't recommend coffee for a chocolate cake for kids. It just
fuels the fire of over the top energy even more. However, I
have come across a great moist chocolate cake recipe (and am
looking forward to everyone else's. It's from a book called
Quick Vegetarian Pleasures and its on page 215. It uses that
vinegar-baking soda reaction to get its rise.....Preheat oven to
350 (and make sure it is ready cuz the batter MUST go in as soon
as it is mixed). Wait 10 minutes for oven to begin to heat.
Butter and flour (I like cocoa powder instead) two 8 inch cake
pans. When the oven is hot thoroughly combine 2&1/4 cups
unbleached whit flour, 1&1/2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa, 1&1/2
teaspoons baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Pour
into the bowl 1&1/2 cups WARM water, 1/2 cup vegetable oil,
1&1/2 teaspoons vanilla extact, and last of all 1&1/2 teaspoon
white vinegar. Stir all briefly until well combined and pour
into pans and get it into the oven very soon. Bake for 30
minutes or until the center tests done. Cool on a rack for 10
minutes, THEN remove cakes from pans and cool completely. Yum.
Yum Yum Yum
Can you offer a specific recipe for a fruit- or fruit-juice
sweetened birthday cake for toddler. I was thinking of
applesauce or the like. I'm really looking for a recipe that
you've tried and loved, rather than some general ideas. Prefer
whole grain flours, too.
Thanks so much.
Check out www.sweetsavvy.com, by Debra Lynn Dadd. She wrote the
book Home Safe Home (about chemical free homes) and also has a
website on natural sweeteners. You asked for specific recipes,
and i confess i haven't baked the cake recipes she offers (mostly
cookies, and breads and pies i've tried). I've found them
consistently good, with a rare exception or two. She offers tons
of info on different natural sweeteners, their flavors and the
pros and cons of the type of sugar and how the body processes it.
As a hypoglycemic who still enjoys the occasional sweet, i have
found it an invaluable resource. She also has a regular email
newsletter through which she offers new recipes and info on
natural sweeteners. She offers ideas on baking with rice syrup,
barley malt, maple syrup, cane juice and many others. They are
definitely a tad ''different'', but they taste great to us!
We do this: instead of cooking cous-cous in a pot with water,
cook it in a pan with apple juice with the same amount of water
you'd use. Pour cous-cous and juice into pan and add raisins and
nuts to taste right then--when it's all cooked in a few minutes,
take it off the stove and it will harden as it cools--then you
can slice into squares or slices. Fast and inexpensive!! Great
for toddlers--and I've also made it for other kinds of potluck
gatherings and everyone loves it. You can add anything--ice
cream, rice dream, liqueur or whipped cream for adults to dress
it up if you want but it's not necessary.
Eating My Toddler's Dessert
I'm having a birthday party for my 2 year old, and would like to make a
fun BEAR shaped cake, but don't want to serve CAKE because i don't
want to serve up lots of SUGAR. Several of the parents coming are also
interested in finding creative ways to have sweet treats that are NOT
filled with sugar. NOR filled with nutra-sweet type products.
does anyone have suggestions to make low/non sugar birthday cakes?
from a sweet-tooth
Why don't you try splenda?
What about making homemade bread? You can make it into a shape,
I have. It will be pretty puffed up, but delicious. An egg
bread or a honey wheat is tasty. You could even make individual
buns. At age two, they should be pretty happy and unaware of
what we think of as standard birthday fare.
I have a cookbook called ''I can't believe this had no sugar'' or
something like it that contains carrot and other cake recipes
sweetened with fruit juice concentrates. But it's still
fructose. You can generally cut sugar by 1/4 to 1/2 w/o
changing the taste of a non chocolate cake too much. A
raisin/milk/cream cheese mix in the blender makes a decent
frosting. For my daughter's first birthday 'cupcake' I followed
a whole grain muffin recipe on a Bob's red mill bag (kamut I
think) and used carrot as the grated fruit and added water
plumped sultanas. My daughter ate it. The adults got real
LeLeche league has a few different cookbooks (or they did when I
was nursing some years ago) that feature some great low sugar
cake ideas. Try doing a search for that...
My husband is not crazy about birthday cake, and one year we made
cornbread for a cake. Recently I have make gingerbread from the
New Laurel's Kitchen, that you could make with molasses only as
sweetener and it is very tasty. Yesterday my son came home with a
fruit cup that each child had for a treat instead of cake, at a
school birthday party. And I thought of some of those cute little
fruit designs made with sliced pineapple or canned pear halves,
that look like bunnies or flowers. That could be a very cute cake
If you wish to learn about the various types of alternatives to white sugar, the
following URL is well-researched. Splenda appears to have had few well-designed
studies and confers some impressive side effects. Fructose in high quantities also
has some unplesant side effects worth checking out.
I personally prefer maple syrup and stevia, the former to accomplish the browning
and texture, the latter to achieve the desired level of sweetness.
See also: Bakery for Sugar-free cake
Anyone know of a place that sells those big tall birthday candles that you
reuse each year until age 18/20? I had one of these as a kid and it was fun
to burn it each year down to the next age--always something to look forward
to! I haven't seen them anywhere.
I just saw one in the Miles Kimball catalog. It's $22 and plays music. You
can find it on thier website www.mileskimball.com. Type "birthday candle" in
the search box.
Themed Birthday Cakes
I'm wondering if anyone out there has advice on how to
construct a cake that looks like a lion or a zebra? My
daughter's third birthday is approaching and when asked
what kind of cake she'd like (I was expecting the answer to
be ''chocolate'' or ''vanilla''), she very firmly announced ''a
lion.'' Since then she's vascillated between a lion and a
zebra, but in any case I need help! I'm a fairly experienced
baker, but I'm not very good at envisioning things. I looked at
cake books at the library, but although there are bunny
cakes galore, I can't find a lion or zebra. Has anyone out
there made one or does anyone know where I could find a
picture/model/directions for how to do so?
I highly recommend FamilyFun.com as a great resource for
birthday cakes. I found a horse cake on this site:
imagine that you can make the horse and then decorate it with
licorice whips or black icing for a zebra-look. I also found a
Tiger Cake at
http://family.go.com/recipes/special/cake/cake_tiger/ that you
could use for inspiration for a lion.
Also, there is some sort of recipe for ''Zebra Cake'' I found
searching on google.com. It involves putting together oreos with
whipping cream and freezing, then when one slices it there is a
Happy birthday to your child!
Check out FamilyFun magazine's website (familyfun.com). Click
on 'Cake Finder.' I didn't see a lion or zebra, but they have a
horse and some other fun recipes/instructions for various
Call Spun Sugar on University Avenue, and ask them if they have
a lion- or zebra- (or horse-?) shaped pan. They probably do,
and you can probably rent it. And Spun Sugar will have the
necessary colors and doodads to make the cake look as it should.
A lion face is easy. Make a round cake, frost it in carmel draw
a cat face in brown or black (or what ever color you want). For
the mane use carmel frosting and pipe it all around the face.
Good 'ol Martha Stewart has a patern from a few years ago. You
could look that up, it was in one the kids issues.
Love to bake shapes
You may be more ambitious than me, but if you'd like to keep it
simple, my kids were always satisfied if I just got a flat cake
and had the shop put a picture of whatever they wanted on the
cake. My kids in turn have asked for a basketball cake, clown
cake, Raiders cake, and a ballerina cake that I can recall, and
each time were totally satisfied by a simple decoration on the
top of a flat cake.
I suspect you're having a hard time because you're imagining the
shape of the entire animal. Think instead of doing just the
head/face and it will be easier. Here are some I found.
Zebra: These are actually for ponies, but easily adapted by
icing in black and white stripes:
Here's a tiger -- add cookies or coconut around the edges for a
mane to turn it into a lion:
I made a lion cake for my daughter's birthday and it turned out
well -- in fact, if you mention the word 'birthday' in her
presence, she announces with great excitement, ''I had a lion
cake!'' It was a round layer cake with yellow frosting. I used
black gumdrops for the eyes and nose, and *thin* black licorice
ropes for the whiskers. (FYI, the only place I could find the
licorice was that candy shop on College and Russell in the
Elmwood). For the mane, I made gingersnap cookies and stuck
them into the side of the cake so that they stuck out like tufts
of hair. I thought about buying cookies to use for the mane but
couldn't find any that would be large enough -- remember you'll
have to stick a fair amount of the cookie into the cake so that
it won't fall out, and so if you use a commercial cookie, you
probably won't have enough of it sticking out to really look
like the mane.
Feel free to email me and I will reply with a photo of the cake -
- a picture's worth a thousand words, they say! Also I'd be
happy to give you some other tips and pass along a few things I
Oh, and as for a zebra... when I was a kid, my mom used to make
something we called ''zebra cake.'' My brother and I loved it!
It might not be what you're looking for because it won't look
much like a zebra from the outside, but maybe you can take this
idea and turn it into something that can be decorated to look
like a zebra on the exterior as well. Anyway, this cake is very
simple. Buy a box of simple chocolate wafer cookies (she used
Nabisco ''famous'' chocolate wafers) and make whipped cream.
Spread a good amount (I'd say about a 1/8'' to 1/4'' layer) of
whipped cream over one side of the cookie. Repeat with another
cookie and stack it on top of the first. Do this with the
entire box of cookies, eventually putting your tower on its side
so that it is a log. Then spread more whipped cream around the
entire outside of the log; wrap it tightly in saran wrap, and
refrigerate overnight. When you're ready to serve the cake, be
sure to cut it on the diagonal so that each piece will have
several black and white zebra stripes. The cookies will have
absorbed some of the moisture of the whipped cream, so they will
be soft and cake-like. If memory serves, it's delicious!
Happy baking, and happy birthday to your daughter -
One of the best ''specialty cake'' stores in the Bay Area is in
Marin, called Cake Art. (415/456-7773) They have specialized
cake pans, books showing how to decorate, and nice people who
teach and advise on same. I just got the supplies for my son's
wedding cake there (he got married day before yesterday!). They
were helpful to me in figuring out how to cope with the intense
Sacramento heat we would be encountering. Give them a call!
Go to Wilton.com and type in Lion. They have some cute pans
that can be used for a variety of animals. I searched there and
found a great Lion cake. I didn't check out Zebra but you might
try it there too.
What I have done before is get a simple drawing, coloring book
type and enlarge it to a desired size to use as a template on a 9
X 13 sheet cake. I then make the cake in the pan, remove it and
freeze the cake overnight. This makes it much easier to cut with
fewer crumbs. Then I put my template on top of the cake with
toothpicks and cut the outline. Leftover parts of the cake can be
used as needed to attach to the main cake with glue icing. I then
make icing in the appropriate colors and ice the cake. The trick
here is to have some good pictures to use as guides and to keep
it relatively simple. You can also use google eyes. I am not an
artist but this has worked for me and my toddler seemed quite
happy. Be prepared for lots of messy faces, we had blue ones.
Mom of an almost three year old
So my little boy wants an ''Octopus cake'' for his upcoming
third birthday. (''with monster candles, too.'') Now, is this
something I can make? Anyone out there have a website or an old
Good Housekeeping clip that details how one goes about creating
the abovementioned Octopus cake? Any moms who've already tackled
this particular sea creature and can advise me on which pans and
food dyes to use? Or should I just up and buy a big rubber
octopus to plop on top of your standard issue cake? I invoke the
spirit of Martha Stewart!
Here are a couple of ideas:
Use a bundt cake (or rounded metal mixing bowl) for the
center part of the octopus (since they're rounded). For the
arms, you could either back a rectangular cake and cut in 8
squiggly shapes and/or piece the odd pieces together with
frosting; or (and especially if the bundt cake will serve
enough people) purchase some long candy snakes or
worms and group them together. If you make the arms out
of cake, when it's frosted, no one will see where you've
pieced it all together. You can also decorate the plate the
cake goes on with purchase jelly fish, etc. Don't
underestimate the purchased candy pieces' ability to add
interest. They can also be used for eyes, suction cups, etc.
FamilyFun.com has octopus cupcakes - check it out at
I love doing specially shaped birtday cakes! (My recent
triumphs include a frog, a quail, a train, and
a ''caturtlepiller''. Only the train was not my own design.)
I found a simple idea for an octopus here:
and one for a cupcake (with jelly worm candy tentacles) here:
That cupcake could be made full-size by baking the cake in a
bowl for the head, and using something larger (licorice ropes?)
for the tentacles. Or, stack the bowl-shaped cake on top of a
regular round cake layer, frost, and then decorate with icing
(with the tentacles drawn down the sides, as if the octopus were
sitting on top of a rock or something).
Or, use the bowl for the head and cupcakes or shapes cut out of
a cake layer for the tentacles - curled up.
If your son would be happy with one that looked like those baby
toys, you could use ice cream cones (with or without cake baked
in them, or filled with frosting or whipped cream) for the
Dyes are easy -- just ask your son what color the octopus should
be, and use regular food coloring to achieve the appropriate
color of buttercream icing.
I also ran across a few sites describing how to make octopi out
of hot dogs. Sounds cute. (You just slice into the end of the
hot dog before it's cooked to make 8 long, thin wedges (leaving
about an inch of the opposite end uncut), and poke holes for
eyes, and when you boil it, the 'tentacles' curl up and
the 'eyes' pop out.) Maybe you could offer octopus hot dogs,
and an (easier) fish shaped cake. :-)
You don't say how old your son is, and if he has a SPECIFIC
octopus in mind. With younger kids, you can often get away
with something pretty home-made (i.e., not totally realistic).
For example, a round cake on a big platter, with ''tentacles''
made from strips of cake, or a line of cupcakes (enough for all
the guests?), or candy, or whatever. Or maybe a PICTURE of
an octopus on top is what he has in mind (did you ask for
details?) Often - if you call it an octopus cake, it is one!
Here's an idea: make a layer cake. Make the bottom layer out
of a large sheet pan. Cut out the tentacle shapes radiating
from a central body hub. Make the top layer(s) with a
domed/rounded metal bowl roughly as wide as the 'central body
hub'. Use dark chocolate icing between the layers and to cover
and you can avoid using food coloring.
We're having a Thomas the train theme birthday party for our 2
year old son. I'm looking for a bakery preferrably in the
Concord, Walnut Creek, Lamorinda area to make a Thomas cake.
I'm willing to travel outside of these areas if someone has a
good recommendation. I know I can't be the only mom searching
for a Thomas cake! Thanks.
As the mother of three boys I have made Thomas, Toby, and
a James, Edward and some other engine cake (also
Theodore Tugboat, pinball games, etc.) I am only an
average baker but it can be done pretty easily. I just make a
large flat cake and then using an enlarged picture of
Thomas or whatever, cut out the right shape. Lots of blue
frosting and some detail work with white and chocolate and
it is a good enough job to make a little one happy. I also
have a pan which makes an engine cake which is three
dimensional and stands up. I believe you can get one on
line at ''I Love Toy Trains'' .
All that said, I think any good bakery could make something
you would like given a picture.
We got one at our local Albertson's in Oakland -- it's one of
the themes they feature as one of their many personalized cake
selections. I'm sure your local Albertson's can help.
mom of a Thomas fan too
I'm curious to know if anyone has ever found a Thomas the Train
cake - because I never did. One way to go would be to bring a
picture of Thomas and have Albertsons's do a photo transfer.
They turn out great and I think their cakes are delicious. Good
A few weeks ago, someone posted the name of a place (bakery?) where a cake pan in the
shape of Blue, the puppy from Blue's Clues, could be rented. My daughters 3rd birthday is
coming up soon and she has her heart set on having a Blue themed party.
I would really appreciate it if someone could tell me where to rent / buy the cake pan.
Note from Myriam:
This is most likely Spun Sugar in Berkeley.
You could also try Wilton's website:
I recently went to a Blues party where the mom had made a cake that looked like a Blues foot print by making one round layer cake and then putting 4 (5?) cupcakes around the top of it. The cake was the exact right color blue (she said she got the vibrant food coloring at Sur La Table). It took just a minute to figure out what it was but I thought it was very clever and creative. Also cheaper than renting a Blues pan. Just a thought in case you can't get the cake pan...
I'm looking for bug themed cake decorations for my daughters
birthday (ladybugs, butterflies, dragonflies etc.). I've heard of
edible ones made of sugar and I'm sure plastic ones are available
too. All I have been able to find are butterfly shaped plastic
rings in many colors. I have checked at Party America and found
nothing there. Does anyone know of anyplace where I can find
Going buggy planning a bug-themed party
I made a ladybug cake for my son's 3rd birthday--I can email you how I
did it plus a photo if you want. It wasn't too hard and all from
scratch. Big hit with the kids.
Hi Going Buggy ~ Have you considered baking a ''bug cake'', instead of
just decorating it with toy bugs? I baked a 'ladybug'
cake for my niece that was baked in a bowl and then decorated it to look
like a ladybug. This link is what gave me the idea:
I decorated the cake with candy from ''Sweet Dreams''. She had licorice
whip antennae, blue M&M eyes attached to tiny marshmallows, red wings
with flat black candies for her dots, coconut grass that was tinted
green with food coloring, etc.
If you'd like a picture, I can try sending it to you, although I have
never sent a pix on this website. But the ablove link is a lot of fun to
My son's 3rd birthday is coming up, and he has asked for a yellow and
brown cake - and someone suggested making a ''bee''
cake - with several alternating layers of yellow and chocolate cake.
Since then I've been thinking of making 2 different icings, and
decorating the cake in stripes as well.
Spun Sugar, cake decorating shop on University Ave,, should have lots of
options for you. Also, what about buying some madeleine cookies and
icing them imaginatively to turn into ''beetles''...with shoe lace
licorice for legs and antennas??
Have fun going buggy!
Try Spun Sugar in Berkeley on University Ave.
There is a Cake decorating/Candy supply store in Berkeley, on University
called ''Spun Sugar.'' They may have what you are looking for, or will
know where you can find it. Their website is: http://www.spunsugar.com/
When I was a kid my mom made a ladybug cake for my birthday. You use a
round cake pan for the body, and then a cupcake cut in half for the
You basically frost the cake in red frosting, or red sparkly, and make
chocolate ''spots''. I made buggy cupcakes for my daughter's birthday,
which are also easy. Just frost the cupcakes to look like ladybugs,
using plain MnMs for the spots and string licorice for the line on their
backs and for antenna. Good luck!
I'd try Mr. Mopps on MLK. They have lots of little plastic bugs, worms,
etc. and would likely have butterflies you could stick on a bday cake.
Maybe give them a call before you trek down there to save yourself an
Good luck and have fun!
At my son's 4th birthday, I made a sheet cake and then together we
placed gummy worms squirming all over the icing. Very popular with the
kids. Colorful too. And easy - you can get them at the grocery store.
Maybe there are other kinds of gummy insects if your daughter is not into
Mr. Mopps ToyStore on MLK and Rose in Bkly has a big stand of cubbies
with all kinds of critters, party favor type stuff, balls, etc. You can
find all kinds of creepy crawlers there.
My soon to be 3 yr-old son wants a crocodile cake for his
birthday. I am not the baking, cooking type of mom so any ideas
on how to get pans shaped like a crocodile heads, etc. will be
There are instructions online for making a crocodile head out of
a plain ol' sheet cake:
If you're mildly artistic, you could probably also cut a sheet
cake into a side-view of a crocodile.
This place may also sell a croc cake mold - not sure if they
sell retail or not.
Good luck! Sounds like fun!
I've found that really elaborate shapes can be difficult and
lost on the kids. And all dark green icing might end up looking
yucky. So an alternate idea would be to include plastic crocodile
(s) on a simpler cake, maybe graham cracker sand and a water
area. I'd check out Spun Sugar on University- where you can rent
many shapes of pans, or just get lots of ideas from the staff.
They are very helpful and encouraging that it can end up being
a fellow non-baker
I can think of several different ways to make a ''crocodile'' cake
using a regular rectangular pan, but I doubt you'll find a
crocodile-shaped pan! You could try Michael's and any party
supply store, which carry Wilton pans, but I would suggest one
of two simple things:
(1) Bake a rectangular cake, frost it with green, brown and blue
to look like a swamp, and decorate it with small plastic toy
(2) Bake a rectangular cake and cut a shallow triangle off of
two of the corners so that you have something that looks like a
reptilian head. Use part of the triangles you have cut off to
make 'eyes' that stick up. Frost the entire thing with green,
and then pipe brown frosting on for the details of eyes, mouth,
nose. Cut a few sticks of gum into triangles and apply to the
sides for teeth. (Often for an animal shape, it's easier to do
just the head than to create the entire animal.)
I've done a frog, a turtle, a caterpillar, a quail (!), a train
and a fire engine so far, and I'd be happy to help you out if my
description above isn't clear enough.
Goldilocks Bakery in the "Pacific East Mall" shopping center at the
Albany/Richmond/El Cerrito border (between the El Cerrito hill and the
freeway) will do all sorts of wonderful looking birthday cakes on wild
themes from Hercules to merry go rounds, from Winnie the Pooh to
firetrucks and the like. You can see many neat looking sample cakes
displayed in their window. This mall is new (only about a year old) and
has all sorts of interesting businesses and tasty asian restaurants.
Give them a call to get a quote on the cake.
If Just Desserts doesn't already have a fire truck cake in their "custom
they will happily put any fire truck design you bring into them on the cake of
your choice. (You need to bring it in a week in advance.) If you actually want
your cake to be in the shape of a fire truck, I suppose they could do that too,
but you'd probably better call/stop in well in advance of the big day to
You can order a custom cake at any Just Desserts location. Good luck!
To the parent who wants a bakery recommendation
for a custom (firetruck) shaped birthday cake: Ladyfingers Bakery in
Oakland is a fabulous bakery. The people there are very helpful and
happy to talk about special orders. Bring them a picture of what you
have in mind, if you can. Their prices are lower than comparable
high-quality bakeries in the area, probably because they are not in a
pricey location. But the cakes, and everything else there, are the best
I've ever had.
When my son was three we did a tour of the firehouse for his birthday
party. We just
called our local firehouse ahead of time and they were incredibly nice. We
some danish, and they gave us a tour of the firehouse, let us climb on the
showed us the equipment. They also let the kids try on the firecoats and
boots. We have
a very cute picture of my little boy in a fire coat. They gave us hats, and
we went home
and ate a cake with a picture of a firetruck on it from the Montclair
Bakery. If you bring
a picture they will attempt to make a cake that way. They are a very good
bakery, so you're
getting a cake that adults and children both enjoy.
Have you thought about baking/decorating your own cake? Spun Sugar (on
University) rents cake pans of all shapes and sizes for only a couple
dollars. I just decorated my son's cake for his 2nd birthday (Thomas the
Tank Engine) and the results were actually quite good considering I'd
never done it before. I just followed the directions that came with the
pan (which I bought at a Party City). It requires a bit more time, but
was definitely worth it! Even if you're just looking for someone
professional to do it, I know that Spun Sugar can give you referrals --
I saw cards and brochures by their register. I bought last minute
supplies from them and they were VERY helpful. Good luck!
Check out this website:
It has a fire truck cake you can make yourself.
this page was last updated: Sep 25, 2012
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network