Up to this point, I’ve only thought about kid’s birthday parties in terms of little kid themes, from construction vehicles to dinosaurs—or whatever my kids are obsessed with at the moment. As my older son grows up, though, the themes are becoming looser (hello, laser tag) and I’m looking at different kinds of cakes. These cool birthday party cake ideas for tweens and teens are simple, fun, and a little more sophisticated—perfect for older kids.
I’m not sure I love how fast my big guy is growing up, but I’m more than happy to get rid of that fire truck cake pan that was the source of my biggest birthday cake disaster to date. Phew.
Top: “Naked” Birthday Cake at What’s Gaby Cooking | Watercolor Painted Cake at Sugar and Cloth
Related: Celebrate anything with these awesome funfetti recipes, from cake to marshmallowy treats.
This Arrow Birthday Cake with gold foil and dust accents at A Subtle Revelry is perfect for right now thanks to its hip design. Check out the how-to even if the design isn’t exactly right for your tween or teen, since the tutorial will help even if you go with different shapes and colors. Triangles are cool now, so maybe those? Or squares for your Minecraft obsessed tween? Read up and go wild.
Themes are not completely dead! While they may feel corny to your 15-year-old, I can’t think of an 11-year-old who wouldn’t be amused by an emoji-themed party or at least this Emoji Party Cake that you should also check out at A Subtle Revelry. I love that the how-to is for making the cake toppers, because involved cake decorating is not my wu tang. Order a yellow cake from a local bakery and this is actually pretty straight forward. Just act on this fast before it’s so not cool anymore. Ha!
One very easy way to make a cool looking birthday treat is to bake or buy a plain cake and decorate it with a fab store-bought topper like these Happy Birthday Cake Flags at the Oh Happy Day store. Simple and chic, but not too grown up, these flags feel festive without also feeling kiddie.
Related: Super cool dinosaur birthday party cakes and cupcakes that are actually easy to make.
If you’d rather save the money and are up for some light crafting, you can top your cake with this free printable Marbled Happy Birthday Cake Topper at Oh Happy Day instead. Same simple idea, but without spending extra dough or waiting for shipping.
This gorgeous Watercolor Painted Cake at Sugar and Cloth is so pretty and, though it looks like it might take serious cake decorating skills, the free-from of watercolor paint means you don’t actually have to be an artist to make this. Unlike many other cakes with a similar look, the “watercolors” are painted on plain frosting, so this is a good one if you’d rather not deal with fondant.
I’m in love with this gorgeous “Naked” Birthday Cake at What’s Gaby Cooking, which is less R-rated than it sounds. It looks way too gorgeous to be something that I could make, but Gaby provides step-by-step instructions and the rustic look kind of makes my normal icing look intentional! If you can’t replicate this exactly, at least borrow the idea of topping a cake with flowers and meringue cookies—so pretty.
Related: How to store baked goods, from cakes to pie, so that they taste great even 3 days later.
You have to check out this Easy Ice Cream Sandwich Cake at Sprinkle Bakes. It’s genius! And ice cream cakes make people of all ages happy. They do—it’s a fact. If you don’t make this one for your tween or teen, I say pass the recipe their way and ask them to make it for you on your birthday!
I love the Rainbow Doodle Birthday Cake (top) at Sweetapolita but, as you can see, it’s styled for a little one. If you look at the cover of the Sweetapolita Bakebook (bottom), though, you can see the same idea made for an older kid. I even prefer the chocolate cake layered with brightly colored icing pictured on the book cover for older kids, so grab that chocolate cake recipe! And draw whatever you want on top—or let the birthday kid at it.