Planning a children’s birthday party is quite an undertaking! Once you’ve decided on a theme, you’ve got to figure out activities, paper goods, decorations, and more. But the most delicious detail is the cake at the center of it all.  

From super-classic cakes for kids to the ones that are more over-the-top, the trend in confection is to find that sweet spot (pun intended!) where beauty and taste meet. That’s where these fun cake ideas for children’s birthday parties come in! From teddy bears to rainbows…cool shapes to candy explosions, here are some of the best birthday cake ideas for kids of all ages. (Psst! Plenty of these can be pulled off by a home baker!) 

Classic Birthday Cake

 Classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting for a kids birthday party

Photo: King Arthur Baking

Affordable, easy to make, and a surefire crowd-pleaser, plain old yellow cake with your kiddo’s choice of frosting is a delicious way to celebrate their day, and can be dressed up to fit any theme with a cake topper and sprinkles.

“Healthy” First Birthday Cake

Healthy first birthday cake topped with fruit

Photo: Fit Mitten Kitchen

For parents who’d like a less sugary cake for Baby’s first birthday, this recipe is sweetened with bananas—no sugar added. It’s naturally gluten- and dairy-free, and looks just as good as it tastes. Here’s a recipe for a first birthday fruit cake to check out, too.

Barbie Princess Birthday Cake

Barbie-themed kids birthday cake

Photo: In the Kitchen with Matt

This is one of those cake trends we just don’t ever see going “out.” If you remember wanting one as a little girl, take this as your sign to order one for your own princess’s next birthday. 

Rainbow Balloon Birthday Cake

Kids birthday cake with rainbow frosting and topped with rainbow balloons

Photo: Etsy/ElliesPartySupply

Even a very plain white cake can be turned into a festive rainbow masterpiece with a beautiful balloon cake topper like this one from Etsy. We love the pairing with a pastel cake too, though. The topper lends well to any theme and it’s easy to assemble. 

Car Birthday Cake 

Car-shaped birthday cake for kids 

Photo: Thunders Bakery

Vroom, vroom! Beep, beep! The birthday babe is coming through, and a showstopping cake is a must-have. We love the texture of this style, but any car cake is sure to be a hit.  

Buttercream Flower Kids Birthday Cake 

Buttercream cake with icing flowers for a kids birthday 

Photo: Beyond Frosting

It features pretty standard icing flowers, but in a fresh way! This look can be achieved in any color combo to make your little flower feel special on their big day. 

Sprinkle Birthday Cake

Kids birthday cake covered in rainbow sprinkles

Photo: Sweets & Treats

Not only does a sprinkle cake just look like a party all on its own, but it offers the most satisfying crunch when eating it. We are Team Sprinkle Cake all the way; the only question here is…chocolate or rainbow? 

Kids Volcano Birthday Cake

Kids birthday cake shaped like a volcano

Photo: Food Network 

Any science- or nature-obsessed kid will lose their minds over a masterpiece of this magnitude. The volcano cake also works well for a dinosaur theme party; just add dino figurines in the grass below. 

Rainbow Kids Birthday Cake

A rainbow layer cake for a kids birthday

Photo: My Gluten Free Guide

Rainbows are everywhere, and they make everyone happy. A layered rainbow cake (or any cake with rainbows in or on it) is a trend-right choice they’ll love, that coordinates with any party theme. 

Soccer Ball Birthday Cake

Kids birthday cake shaped like a soccer ball 

Photo: Betty Crocker

We’re pretty sure this cake has been a recurring favorite since at least the ‘80s, and who are we to mess with a good thing? Go for the goal—to bring a huge smile to the face of your tiny soccer fan with a cute, ball-shaped cake.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Peanut butter cup-flavored kids birthday cake 

Photo: Impromptu Gourmet

If you’ve got a Reeses fan on your hands, consider this classic combo. It’s easy enough to add a themed topper, some colorful sprinkles, or other details to “theme” it up!

Moon & Stars Kids Birthday Cake

Kids birthday cake decorated with a moon and stars

Photo: Trefzger’s Bakery

Celebrate the kid that is your sun, moon, and all your stars with a celestial cake in their favorite colors. 

Red Velvet Kids Birthday Cake

Red velvet cake for a kids birthday party

Photo: Natasha’s Kitchen

It might have fallen out of favor on the wedding scene, but let’s just all admit that we still love red velvet. If your little guy or girl is into this unique flavor, dress it up to fit their theme and they’ll be thrilled! 

Favorite Characters Kids Birthday Cake

A kids birthday cake decorated with character figurines 

Photo: Etsy/SugarHippoDesign

Designer cakes made to theme are always a welcome detail, but you can cut costs dramatically by transforming any simple cake into something special with the addition of toppers, small toys, and other elements to fit their theme—whether it’s TV characters or party animals, as shown here.  

Confetti Explosion Cake

Confetti explosion kids birthday cake 

Photo: Food by the Gram

It’s kind of like the children’s version of a champagne bottle popping. The moment you cut into this cake and candy spills out everywhere, cheers will ensue.

Mermaid Lagoon Cake

Kids birthday cake decorated like a mermaid tail

Photo: XO, Katie Rosario

It takes no more than a simple Google search to unearth so many mermaid cake ideas that you’ll get overwhelmed. This simple approach to creating a “scale” look is home-baker-friendly, and more affordable than elaborate fondant work if you go the bakery route.

Polka Dot Birthday Cake

Polka dot kids birthday cake


Well, what a fun surprise they’ll get when this beauty gets cut open! It’s another cool cake idea for kids that will go with pretty much any theme choice.  

Ice Cream Cone Drip Birthday Cake

Kids birthday cake decorated with an ice cream cone 

Photo: XO, Katie Rosario

Summer birthday parties or sweets-themed soirees call for something a little extra. We love how creative this “dripping” ice cream cone cake is, and the styling options are limitless. 

Teddy Bear Cake for Kids

Kids birthday cake decorated like a teddy bear 

Photo: Wilton

It has a vintage look, and something tells us that birthday parties will be next in the lean toward all old things being new again. Plus, could this “fuzzy” teddy bear cake be any cuter?!

Unicorn Kids Birthday Cake

Unicorn birthday cake for kids

Photo: delicious.

Is it even a list of children’s birthday ideas if it doesn’t have a unicorn on it? This simple idea – horn, ears, colorful mane, and sleeping black eyes – busted on the scene a few years back and shows no signs of leaving any time soon. Your unicorn lover will adore this! 

Fish Cake for a Kid’s Birthday

Fish birthday cake for kids 

Photo: Martha Stewart 

Take their love of sweets under the sea with a puckered-up fishy friend cake that fits their theme and feeds a crowd.

Candy Kids Birthday Cake

Kids birthday cake decorated with candy 

Photo: Bless this Mess

The kids’ birthday cake idea for the “more is more” family; it’s all things super-sweet wrapped up in a big bow. You cannot go wrong. 

Sparkle Kids Birthday Cake

 Sparkle kids birthday cake

Photo: Instagram/littlesunshineparty 

Oh, what fun it is to live in a world where edible glitter exists. The kids will be obsessed!

Train Birthday Cake for Kids

Kids birthday cake shaped like a train 

Photo: Wilton

Happy birthday choo-choo you! A precious way to mark the day is with a train cake to honor their love of all things that go. 

Watermelon Kids Birthday Cake

Watermelon kids birthday cake 

Photo: XO, Katie Rosario

In summertime or anytime, fruit themes are fresh, fun, and colorful. We are so into this watermelon theme cake that creates a pop of pretty on any birthday table.  

Lion Birthday Cake for Kids

Lion birthday cake 

Photo: BBC Good Food

This one will make them roar! A cheerful, cutesy lion face cake renders you the hero of the jungle that is this birthday party. 

Giant Cupcake Kids Birthday Cake

Giant cupcake cake for a kids birthday party

Photo: Wilton

An oversized “cupcake” is a crowd pleaser that can be made with your child’s favorite cake flavor and frosting colors to bring out the whimsy at their party.

Heart Birthday Cake for Kids

Heart-shaped birthday cake for kids

Photo: Cakes by Julia Rose

Show them your love with a traditional cake that’s heart-shaped. This beautiful cake idea is perfect for toddlers to teens, so there’s a good chance it could become their favorite birthday tradition.

Dinosaur Birthday Cake

Dinosaur kids birthday cake

Photo: Wilton 

Fiercely cute and ready to party, a cartoon style dino cake hits the mark.

Number Kids Birthday Cake

Kids birthday cake in the shape of the number 10 

Photo: Simple Bites

Any number can be created with a few surprisingly novice-friendly tips. This recipe is actually for an “icebox cake” which is an old-fashioned and crowd-friendly sweet treat everyone will enjoy digging into. 

More Birthday Fun:

About Jenny Studenroth Gerson

Jenny Studenroth Gerson is an Atlanta-based lifestyle journalist and novelist (Let Me Let You Go, 2020). Her work can be seen in publications including HuffPost, Cosmo, and WSJ, among many others. Jenny has researched thousands of baby names, combed through hundreds of nursery designs, and curated dozens of baby shower guides, making her absolutely the mom—and writer—you want to talk to when planning for Baby. When not meeting deadlines, she is chasing toddlers or chugging coffee—or both! Find her on Instagram @ourlifeinrosegold for mom hacks and more.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.