10 Things No One Tells You About Baking a Birthday Cake


I’m not a baker–in fact, I hardly spend any time in the kitchen at all–but for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to make my daughter Fia’s birthday cake. And let her help. (Did I mention she’s 3?) Here’s what I learned during the debacle.

1. When your layers are done baking, you’re supposed to cut the tops off  so you can stack them evenly.

2. If you don’t cut the layers, you’ll ruin the cake when you try to stack it. Especially if you frosted before stacking. Whoops!

3. Once you’ve botched the layering, you’ll need three pounds of frosting to fix it. Plus a can of Reddi-Wip. And Xanax.

4. Using the excuse “I didn’t buy a cake because I wanted my 3-year-old to help me bake it” doesn’t fly. Everyone knows you were being a show off.

5. Neither does “The cake reflects Fia’s creative spirit.” Because, let’s be honest, even guests to a kid’s birthday party are judgey.

6. Your husband will call you the “anti-Martha Stewart.” You’ll act like you don’t care, but secretly you do.

7. Sprinkles will cover up any decorating disaster. The gel-icing crap is like trying to decorate with old, gummy toothpaste.

8.  Cake out of a box and frosting out of a container isn’t impressive; what you do with it is impressive, and if you’re utterly hopeless in the kitchen (like I am) you’re not going to come up with a showstopper.

9.  If your cake turns out as disastrously bad as mine did, start serving drinks the minute your guests arrive (they’ll get tipsy and be less likely to notice how bad it really is).

10. If you failed Home-Economics in high school (and have learned nothing since), you shouldn’t attempt this feat. Go to the bakery around the corner instead.

More Must-Clicks:

How to Tell When a Cake is Done

Our Favorite Nestie Cupcakes

How to Get a Cake Out of the Pan