Birthday Cakes: Characters

Whether your children are hooked on Dora, Nemo, Thomas, the Fimbles or Bratz, a cake featuring their cartoon heroes is a brilliant birthday gift! You can buy pre-decorated versions from professionals, but why not have a go yourself? All you need is some sugar paper, some edible pens and about 10kg of patience…

Character Cake Shortcuts

So how do you make a character birthday cake without a degree in illustration? Well, there are quite a few shortcuts to make cakes that look as good as the shop-bought ones. And they’ll taste better, too! Here are some ideas.

Dolls And Figures

This is a tried-and-trusted technique that’s perfect for Character Dolls and Figures with flouncy ball gowns. Bake your cake in a pudding basin, cool, invert, cut a hole through the centre and pop in the doll of your choice (having already taken off her skirt). Then carefully spoon or pipe butter icing around her waist to join her to her cake ‘skirt’, and pipe or spread coloured icing over the rest of it in a pattern, if you like. You can make a gorgeous Snow White, Barbie, Cinderella or even Elizabeth Swann, using this method.

Then there are the edible figures available on websites such as eBay. You can often buy sugar models of characters like Lilo and Stitch, Spongebob, Kipper and Dora, as well as sugar-paper prints, if you keep an eye open. Make the cake into your character’s setting – a pond landscape for Kipper, an underwater seaweed-bed for Sponge bob, or tropical jungle for Dora.

Drawing Your Own

Don’t be nervous. We’re not advocating copying their favourite character by hand with a piping bag (unless you’ve got very steady fingers). That would almost certainly lead to a pre-party breakdown! But if you want a straightforward, square or round cake with their favourite character depicted on the top, you’ve got two options. One is drawing the character, with edible pens, (or, since there’s more room for error, piping it) onto edible sugar paper.

You then simply attach the drawing to the top of the cake. To make it even simpler, print out a large picture of the character from the internet. Place this over a sheet of sugar paper (available online and in baking shops), then, using the wrong end of a pencil, press firmly to create an impression of the outline on the sugar paper. Take off the printed version, and follow the indentations with edible marker pen or piped icing. Once this is dry, you can colour in the gaps, or ask your children to do it.

Prints They Can Eat

For a more professional look, you can order a print of the character (or an action scene) from an online supplier such as Cake Toppers. Just cut around the picture and attach it to your cake using a little butter icing. You could even cut the cake to fit the outline of the picture, cover it in royal icing, then pipe a butter-icing border with a star-nozzle fitted to your piping bag.

Why not try…
  • An ocean-blue royal-iced Fruit Cake with a cut-out Nemo floating across the middle
  • Cutting your cake into an oblong, adding a Swiss Roll chimney, and piping blue butter icing all over before adding a Thomas face.
  • Using a Dalmatian template, cut your cake to the shape of a puppy head, royal-icing it in white and piping detail in black icing.
  • Building up half a ‘wall’ using small, rectangular pieces of cake that have been individually wrapped in shades of red and brown royal icing; accessorize with Bob the Builder and his cement mixer (widely available).
  • Turning a flat cake into a race track for miniature VW Beetles to play on.

Complete The Party Look…

Accessories count! To complement your cake, you could serve food on character plates, make a special party punch inspired by your character, make up character hats and party bags, and dress up the party girl or boy. Have fun!

More Birthday Cake Ideas

For more birthday cake inspiration, read our features on Animal Birthday Cakes, Fantasy Birthday Cakes, and Adult Birthday Cakes.

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