Cake Ideas for a Surprise 35th Birthday

disco fier image by Sergey Tokarev from

People turning 35 often consider themselves to be in the prime of their adulthood, not yet too close to forty, even if well past their twenties. At 35, dancing all night is still an option, and the right setting and music inspire the party-goers to do just that. The best way to choose refreshments, beverages, décor and entertainment for a 35th birthday is to theme it; then choose the cake design and make the rest of the event follow that theme.

Time of My Life

Channel Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey and all the Dirty Dancing team at Kellerman’s for this one. One custom cake decorator produces a cake topper of Johnny Castle holding Baby in that final lift; it costs about $700.00 (2010). On the other hand, any good bakery could create a grand cake for a big party that replicates the iconic Kellerman’s Lodge building. A creative home baker should source some dance figurines of the period and make the top of the cake into a dance floor complete with sparkler candles for that final pre-serving presentation.

Saturday Night Fever

The disco music of the 1970s will long bring to mind John Travolta in his white suit and black shirt posturing on an under lit dance floor beneath a disco ball. Whereas some dance themes for 35th birthdays might be more appealing to a woman, this one befits a man’s celebration: Travolta made disco manly, hot and timeless. Travolta toppers are already on the market and a skilled cake decorator can produce a custom one using modeling chocolate or fondant. A home baker just needs to do a little Internet searching for great ideas from flat cakes with that famous pose iced on top to a full Ken-doll Travolta topper; and if the birthday recipient’s name is Tony, so much the better.

Rave Like I Used To

Musical scholars may not concur, but the Rave Party period probably came about because the music was so diverse—mostly electronic and accompanied by intricate lighting shows—and inspired all-night parties with hundreds of young people “moshed” together. This cake should be a whacky mess of different shaped sections, frosted in wild colors and connected at odd angles. The pyrotechnic candles and indoor or outdoor sparklers (depending on venue) are a must for this theme, as many as is prudent for safety reasons. The cake should also be covered with plastic toys the guests can take home; almost any type of “Ravers” from dinosaurs to Disney characters, and wild animals to action figures could represent the character of favorite “moshes.” This concept is also gender neutral.

Dancing with the Stars

In the first decade of the 21st century, ballroom and exhibition dancing had a major revival. This theme lends itself to elegance, romance and grace. For her, a many-tiered cake could be topped with her head and face and the cake could be iced and bejeweled as a waltz-inspired ball gown. For him the “Dancing with the Stars” show disco ball trophy would make a fun cake. A real fan could receive a professionally made cake with transfers of photographs of the real stars applied to the fondant icing. The home baker might just want to browse the Internet for classic ballroom dance silhouettes and ice the cake with replicas of them.

Reggae My Blues Away

A Reggae theme lends itself to a lot of color; cake designers should picture the typical Rasta hat in its vibrant green, red, yellow and black or white. Because this music comes from the Caribbean islands, a tropical cake design is always appropriate. From a professional creation of many tiers representing sea, sand and palms, to one made at home and decorated with tropical plastic flowers and Rasta-colored candles, this style is “down island, mon” for any birthday star of the party.