10 DIY Birthday Cake Ideas

I think we’d all agree that a birthday cake is pretty much an essential part of any birthday celebration, right?

I know I may get an argument from some of you that cupcakes are now essential (which I agree with, by the way) but today let’s focus on cakes!

I LOVE a fabulous custom fondant cake for any birthday party. Of all the cakes we’ve had at our house, the cake I ordered for my son’s Mario Kart birthday party last year is probably my favorite.

A custom fondant cake can sometimes get a little expensive, and isn’t always needed for a small family get-together. But don’t worry…I have some inexpensive grocery store alternatives for a birthday cake that’ll make your next celebration absolutely fabulous!

Rainbow parties are a very popular theme right now and I’m still loving the chevron trend, so I created this bright and cheery birthday cake that could easily be used for any child or adult’s birthday. It’s simple, but still creates a nice wow factor.

I started with a plain white cake I ordered from my local grocery store and a large bag of Skittles.

Create the rainbow zig-zag pattern around the base of the cake until you’ve covered the entire cake.

To make the happy birthday bunting, simply tape pieces of ribbon onto baker’s twine and add scrapbook sticker letters to the ribbon. Then tie the twine to 2 bamboo skewers and insert into the cake – easy as that!

You could change it up to only include the birthday person’s favorite colors, instead of using all the colors of the rainbow!

And here are a few more great birthday cake ideas…

One of my kids isn’t a huge fan of birthday cake, but LOVES donuts, so I created a donut cake by stacking donuts on a cake plate and added a little banner with his name on it – he loved it!!

This Kit-Kat cake from Recipe Girl is a really fun and chocolately idea!

photo via Recipe Girl

How about a no-bake rice krispie cake from Martha Stewart?

photo via Martha Stewart

A simple white square cake decorated with various sizes of M&M’s from Parents.com.

image via Parents.com

Add colored gumballs to a plain white cake, similar to this wedding cake created by Truli Confectionary Arts.

photo via Phillymag.com

With Sweetapolita’s cake as inspiration…a colorfully frosted, round cake decorated with sprinkles would make anyone smile on their birthday!

image via Sweetapolita

A homemade chocolate cake decorated with candy rocks (from Glorious Treats) would be a hit, especially with the boys!

image via Glorious Treats

And finally, for those of you wanting to cut down on the sugar for your birthday celebration, make a fruit cake from Family Fun!

image via Family Fun

What’s your favorite cake for birthday parties?

Do you usually buy one from the store, or make something special for the birthday boy or girl? Maybe you prefer cupcakes? I’d love to hear!

Holly @ Paisley Petal Events
Holly is a wife and mom to three, who lives in Utah. She is a professional event planner, who blogs regularly about party ideas and entertaining at Paisley Petal Events.
Holly @ Paisley Petal Events
Holly @ Paisley Petal Events
Holly @ Paisley Petal Events

Latest posts by Holly @ Paisley Petal Events (see all)

About Holly @ Paisley Petal Events

Holly is a wife and mom to three, who lives in Utah. She is a professional event planner, who blogs regularly about party ideas and entertaining at Paisley Petal Events.


  1. What fun ideas!! I’m completely infatuated with the chevron cake. I love the bright colors against the white icing, the pattern, and the bunting is just too cute. Question: Do the Skittles discolor the icing over time?

  2. So cute! Such great ideas Holly! And I love that skittles cake!

  3. Love the skittle cake! I did mine with m&ms! It would match my backdrop that I did for the Candy Land Birthday party a few weeks ago with the dots in the chevron pattern!! You can see it in my blog http://www.EverydayPosh.com

  4. Thanks Michele! I had the cake for about 2 days before it was all eaten and didn’t have a problem with discoloring the icing.

  5. Those cakes are all so fabulous! I think my favorite is the Kit Kat cake – I want it for my birthday :)

  6. Thanks for the simple (well, they seem pretty simple; love the white cake with colored candy trim, great for a baby/bridal shower) ideas that I will definitely try! We don’t do birthday cake every time (we’ll usually throw away 2/3 of a rotten cake because we just don’t do that many sweets; so the ‘fruit’ cake is a great idea!) The birthday boy/girl gets to pick whatever dessert they want (sundaes, unlimited frozen yogurt bar, donuts hot off the press, candy!)

  7. One of the smartest things I ever did was name my daughter a frostable icon. Her name is Sunny. We’ve made her the cutest cupcakes with cute suns on them in the past. Last year we had a blast throwing her a totally intense and meaningful DOUBLE RAINBOW ALL THE WAY birthday party. She was obsessed with double rainbows at the time. I love the rainbow cakes you featured in this post. We made some adorable rainbow cakes too.

    Super cute post, thanks for the great ideas!

  8. I love the cake made from fresh fruit the best! What a great idea for a summer party! Fruit skewers would be great too! Great ideas! They are all gorgeous and look so yummy!

  9. These are all so beautiful! What a great idea for the cake bunting, so well explained too! Love that you used stickers for the letters. Gorgeous!


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