When your birthday party budget won't allow for a gourmet creation from the local bakery, put your cake pans to use. By working with a combination of circle, square and rectangular pans, you have the tools to assemble a variety of child-friendly cut-out cakes. Finish the sweet treat with candy embellishments and colorful frosting to wow your child.
If your little one can't get enough dinosaurs, create an edible giant for his birthday. Fill your largest round cake pan with your child's favorite cake batter flavor. If vanilla, lemon, white or another light-colored cake tops the requests, add several drops of green food coloring to the batter.
Once baked, cut the cake in half to create a half-moon profile of the dinosaur's body. Cut triangular-shaped scales, feet, a slender tail and head from the other half of the cake. There's no right or wrong way to make a dinosaur cake, as long as the creature looks delicious. Cover the cake with brown chocolate frosting or green icing. Have the birthday child apply the finishing touches -- small candy pieces for the animal's visible eye and scale details.
Teddy Bear Cake
Create a round, chubby teddy bear from two 9-inch round cake pans, and one 8-inch square pan. After baking the cakes, trim one of the rounds slightly to use for the bear's head. Place the head cake near the larger round body cake. Cut two U-shape arms, two smaller U-shape stubby legs, triangle ears and a round tail from the 8-inch cake. Assemble the bear on a large cookie sheet.
Tint a batch of white frosting to create colorful fur for the teddy bear. For a little girl's cake, add a few drops of cherry juice to create a pink bear. If your child loves chocolate, add cocoa powder to the frosting for a brown bear. Or, frost the bear with the white, and have the birthday child sprinkle shredded coconut over the entire bear for textured, white fur. Finish by giving the bear facial features of small candy pieces.
Anything goes when creating a robot. For a large birthday gathering, start with a 9-by-13-inch cake for the robot's torso. Add a 9-inch round layer for his head, and cut a second 9-by-13 cake into four rectangles to use as arms and legs.
Add a few drops of blueberry juice to white frosting to get a light gray-blue color. Cover the entire robot with frosting and then embellish his look. Have your child add peanuts to represent the bolts holding the robot's limbs together, chocolate candy pieces for his eyes and licorice ropes for a smile.
When whipping up the batter or frosting for your child's cake, consider using a few ingredient substitutions to trim calories and fat. Use applesauce or powdered stevia as a sweetener. Forgo vegetable oil for canola oil enriched with omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy polyunsaturated fat. Use low-fat carob chips in place of milk-chocolate chips. Finish the cake with colorful nutrient-rich fruits, such as whole strawberries, blueberries or raspberries instead of candy. Avoid sliced fruits, as the extra juices can cause frosting to get wet and gooey.