Baking a cake, especially when using cake mixes, are fairly easy, but decorating the cake is more difficult. When you host a child’s birthday party, you have dozens of eyes staring back at you and you don’t want the disappointment of a bad cake to ruin your child's big moment. It’s sometimes even hard to come up with a good design scheme, especially for younger boys who may only be interested in one thing. There are several cake designs out there that are easy to make and don’t require much skill. In fact, some even look better when you make a mistake.
The moon cake is one of the cakes that looks better when you make a few mistakes. Simply pour prepared cake mix or your favorite cake matter into a large glass bowl and bake until done. Once the cake is cool, turn it upside down and invert onto a plate. Create small “craters” in the surface of the cake by removing chunks with a spoon and coat the outside in white icing. Sprinkle gray sugar across the surface to decorate. Even if the icing looks bumpy or the craters are uneven, it just adds to the finished look.
For 11-year-olds who like games, make a checker cake by baking two layers in 9-by-9-inch or 8-by-8-inch baking pans and layer together with frosting. Cut fruit leather or a similar product into small squares, using two different colors. Then cover the outside of the cake in white frosting and press the squares down, creating a checkerboard pattern. To finish off the cake, use chocolate cookies as the checkers, placing one on each square and leaving two rows of the checkerboard open.
For a skateboard cake, you need a longer cake or 9-by-11-inch or two 9-by-9-inch cakes placed side-by-side. Trim the edges to make it look more like a skateboard deck, which involves rounding the edges of the cake. Lay two large pretzel rods on either end of the cake and frost the entire cake, including the pretzel rods. Insert two doughnuts into the ends of the pretzels as wheels and decorate with candy.
A campfire cake works best when using readymade pound cakes. Place one cake flat on your platter and arrange the second on a diagonal. Coat the outside of the cakes with dark brown frosting and use a lighter shade of brown on the ends, to replicate the look of wood. Sprinkle a few powdered doughnuts along the cakes, to serve as charcoal or burned wood. Then cut flames from a piece of fruit leather and place those on top of the doughnuts.
Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.