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33 Fun Birthday Cake Decoration Ideas

Need to know how to decorate a birthday cake? These fun ideas are just as beautiful as they are delicious

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Add a Drip

This is a moist and fluffy birthday cake with lots of sprinkles and whipped vanilla buttercream. It’s almost impossible not to feel happy when you see the fun pop of rainbow confetti and bright blue drip down the side! —Courtney Rich, Highland, Utah

Celebrate with these delicious birthday dinner ideas, too.

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Transform It into a Unicorn

This magical unicorn birthday cake tastes as good as it looks. Baking in smaller pans creates impressive height, and a few simple cake decorating tools help turn it into a showstopping dessert. —Lauren Knoelke, Des Moines, Iowa

Take a peek at these easy DIY birthday decorations.

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Cover It in Marshmallows 

Kristin Prough of BlissMakes put together this adorable marshmallow-clad birthday cake using Lucky Charms and a whole lot of creativity. Check out the step-by-step instructions, and get more cake decorating ideas and DIY projects, at

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Add a Mirror Glaze

A shiny, mirrorlike orange glaze covers a chocolate mousse cake to create a delicious showstopping dessert your guests will be talking about for weeks to come.—Matthew Hass, Franklin, Wisconsin
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Pipe on Rainbows

This buttercream rainbow cake by Courtney Rich of Cakes By Courtney is the perfect way to add some extra sunshine to a birthday celebration. Learn how to recreate this colorful creation with Courtney’s tutorial on Also check out how to use a piping bag the right way.

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Try a Naked Cake

A naked cake is completely bare (or nearly so) on the outside. It works best on a layer cake so show off the thick stripes of buttercream or chocolate ganache filling. Without the typical outer coat, the interior of the cake is completely exposed to showcase all the yummy frosting inside—like what you’ll find with this Malted Chocolate Stout Layer Cake. It’s perfect for rustic or minimalist birthdays.

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Curlicue the Frosting

Jennifer from Beyond the Butter created this intricate design by layering swirls all over the top of her cake. Visit Beyond the Butter to get Jennifer’s coconut sheet cake recipe and frosting how-to.

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Add Edible Flowers

This birthday cake with a luscious cream cheese frosting will garner plenty of applause. The flavor really sings. Add edible flowers like rose petals, violas, calendula petals (pot marigold) or dianthus for a fancy floral appeal. —Summer Goddard, Springfield, Virginia

This flower cake is perfect for a princess birthday party! Learn how to plan a princess party fit for your little royal.

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Create an Ombre Effect

This ombre effect adds a chic finish to this chocolate malt-inspired cake that’s topped and filled with crunchy malt candy. Take a look at the full tutorial on Cake by Courtney to read how you can make it yourself.

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Pick a Pretty Hue for the Cake

My husband loved his Mamaw’s strawberry cake recipe. He thought no one could duplicate it. I made this pretty pink cake and it’s just as scrumptious as he remembers. —Jennifer Bruce, Manitou, Kentucky
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Add Chopped Candy to the Cake

When my family is planning a get-together, I can count on three or four people asking if I’m bringing this chocolate peanut butter poke cake that’s covered in chopped candy pieces.—Fay Moreland, Wichita Falls, Texas
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Elegant frosted birthday cakeTaste of Home

Keep the Cake Decoration Simple

This layered chocolate gingerbread birthday cake gets its dreamy finish by spreading icing with the back of a spoon to create a swirled design. Learn how to frost a cake to practice your birthday cake decorating skills.

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Add Sprinkles

This tender, buttery birthday cake with a thin layer of fudge frosting is perfect for a crowd. Its sprinkle-topped decoration is always a hit at birthday parties. —Gaye Mann, Rocky Mount, North Carolina
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Taste of Home

Light It Up with Sparklers

Impressive to look at but easy to make, this old-fashioned cake gets an instant upgrade with sparklers, a petite bunting and chocolate figurine. Check out our favorite edible cake decoration ideas to add to your bake.

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Top the Cake with Shards of Chocolate

The combination of mocha and peanut butter will satisfy every sweet tooth at your table. The garnish is a little extra work, but what are special occasions for? —Tammy Bollman, Minatare, Nebraska
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Use a Pretty Bundt Pan

I adapted a basic pound cake recipe from my great-aunt for this treat. It makes a moist cake that pops out of any decorative Bundt pan perfectly for a stress-free birthday celebration. —Nancy Zimmerman, Cape May Court House, New Jersey
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Cover It in Cookies

Don’t have any special frosting tools on hand? You can still create a gorgeous themed design for your birthday cake using shaped cookies. Use storebought to save time. Simply place them on top of the cake, or adhere them to the sides with extra frosting as we did with this darling carrot layer cake.

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Decorate It with Toasted Meringue

I’ve been told that the meringue topping on this dessert tastes exactly like a lemon meringue pie and that it’s the best angel food cake anyone could ask for. —Sharon Kurtz, Emmaus, Pennsylvania
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Roll Out a Wacky Pattern

This wacky argyle cake will be the star of your birthday party with its patterned fondant decoration. Learn how to decorate with homemade fondant that looks (and tastes!) great. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Pile Popcorn on the Cake

Kettle corn is an unexpected cake decoration, perfect for birthday boys or girls who like a balance of salty and sweet.
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Recreate Your Favorite Game

My friend asked me to make her son's 5th birthday cake, and when I asked her what he wanted on it, she said, "Oh, just put on gobs and gobs of candy." Instead of piling on candy haphazardly, I thought it should look like the Candy Land board game. The birthday boy, his friends and family members loved it! —Pen Perez, Berkeley, California
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Dust the Cake With Spices

I found this recipe more than five years ago and have been making it for family gatherings ever since. The coffee-flavored frosting complements the moist banana cake and the dusting of instant coffee adds the perfect finishing touch. —Kathy Hoffman, Topton, Pennsylvania
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Marble the Icing

Everyone loves the rich flavor in this decadent cake made with four types of chocolate. Alternate drizzling the chocolate and white chocolate topping over the cake for a marbled effect. —Anna Hogge, Yorktown, Virginia
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Bake the Rainbow

Some cakes stand on their own without icing. For this bright Rainbow Cake, use a little whipped cream to make fluffy clouds. —Janet Tigchelaar, Jerseyville, Ontario
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Get Fancy with Your Piping

I make this cake on birthdays and other special occasions because it looks and tastes so amazing. Go crazy with the piping to get as much icing as you can in each slice. —Christina Pope, Speedway, Indiana
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Find a Fun Candle

You don’t always need to go all-out with your cake decoration. Sometimes a single snazzy candle is the perfect complement to your birthday cake. We love this star-shaped sparkler.

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Go Nuts with the Cake

This recipe truly lives up to its name. The pecan-dotted cake is stacked in three layers, and made-from-scratch frosting is the crowning touch.—Karen R. Jones, Claypool, Indiana
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Add Some Sugared Fruit to the Cake

When you want an extra-special dessert for the holidays, it’s hard to beat a seasonal homemade cake. I like to drizzle mine with a simple but elegant glaze flavored with amaretto and top it with sugared cranberries. —Jackie Howell, Tucson, Arizona
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Drizzle the Ganache

This cake won grand champion at the 2000 Alaska State Fair, and you will see why once you taste it. My decadent chocolate cake boasts a luscious ganache filling and fudge buttercream frosting. —Cindi DeClue, Anchorage, Alaska
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Spell It Out

Get creative when writing a message on your cake. If using a piping bag isn’t your thing, Add a message using letter-shaped candles or go all out with a custom cake topper.

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Top the Cake with Citrus Twists

This Key lime pound cake was inspired by a basic pound cake recipe that I like to play around with. A few thin slices of lime add a burst of fresh flavor. —Pat Stewart, Canton, Georgia
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Go Crazy for Coconut

We named this a “pina colada” cake because it has coconut, pineapple and rum. It’s a soothing finish at the end of a big spread. Pile on the shredded coconut for a snowy look. —Debra Keil, Owasso, Oklahoma
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Make a Shape On the Cake

This luscious cake is really versatile for all-year fun. I've changed the design on top to a heart for Valentine's, a pumpkin for autumn and a tree for Christmas. —Flo Burtnett, Gage, Oklahoma

Katie Bandurski
As Senior Shopping Editor, Katie connects Taste of Home readers with the best gifts, deals and home products on the market. An avid foodie and a holiday enthusiast, Katie is an expert at cultivating meaningful moments. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and watching Christmas movies.
Caroline Stanko
As Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.