I’ve been baking my kid’s birthday cakes for the past 15 years. Here are a few favorites.
When my youngest turned 1, she was all cheeks. Whenever she flushed pink from laughing, she reminded me of a cute little pig, so I made her a pink pig birthday cake. This was before the Peppa Pig craze, but this would be ideal for any Peppa-themed party. The same cake batter for the face went into three jumbo muffin tins for the nose and ears. (Genevieve Ko / Los Angeles Times)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar was and remains a beloved book for me and my kids. When my twins turned 3, we read it together nearly every day, so this was the cake for that year. Cupcakes form the body while marzipan made the big eyes, nose and antennae. The little legs and feet are Tootsie Rolls. (Genevieve Ko / Los Angeles Times)
And because I have twins, I like to make individual cakes for them each year while sticking with the same theme. To accompany the caterpillar cake, I made this spider cake based on Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Spider.” Chocolate Twizzlers secured with toothpicks form the spindly legs. (Genevieve Ko / Los Angeles Times)
At the age of 3, my youngest loved all things pink and princess, so she got an edible castle. A loaf cake and cupcakes created the main structure. Ice cream cake cones for turrets and store-bought candies for trim made this one quick to put together. (Genevieve Ko / Los Angeles Times)
All my girls love the ocean, and when they were especially enamored with the sea, I created a cake adorned with starfish, sea horses and whales. It was easiest to make shortbread versions of those creatures and decorate them with royal icing before sticking them onto a cake frosted with whipped cream waves. (Genevieve Ko / Los Angeles Times)
For a pirate party, I put together a pirate ship cake. Whopper cannonballs and Rolo gold pirates’ booty sit inside pretzel ship rails. Store-bought tube cookies have a hole just big enough to hold candles snugly. (Genevieve Ko / Los Angeles Times)
My twins have been athletes since they could hold a ball. When they were into football, I trimmed a chocolate cake to size, decorated it with melted white chocolate, then set it in a bed of shredded coconut grass. (Genevieve Ko / Los Angeles Times)