Worked up the courage to attempt baking the kids' birthday cake? We've put together our top 10 tips on how to nail baking kids' cakes in sultry Singapore.
We’ve all been there. You see a picture of an adorable pink Barbie cake on Pinterest and think, “How hard can it be?”. Seven hours, six kilos of flour and a broken spatula later, you’ve got a startled looking Barbie who is slightly lopsided and melting by the minute. Fear not! We’ve got some super simple tips on how to bake kids’ birthday cakes in Singapore and nail it every time. Baking your own birthday cake for kids has never been easier, so go forth and create!
10 tips to baking birthday cakes for kids in Singapore
1. The Golden Rule
This is The Golden Rule. Kids don’t actually give a flying fork what their cake looks like (or tastes like for that matter), as long as it’s chock-full of sugar, butter and topped with brightly coloured icing. Cheesy but true: as long it’s made with love, you can guarantee that your kiddo will adore it too.
2. Know your limits
Pinterest is your friend, but use it wisely. Mums and dads, you need to know your limits. While it might seem awesome in your mind, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to nail the vertical giraffe replica cake. The trick is to keep it simple and if you need to, use store-bought props like sweets, mini figurines or fun icing colours to add some bling.
3. Beware these tropical climes
Humidity is not your friend. It’s not just in your mind, it actually is more difficult to bake a cake in Singapore. Our sultry weather means that dry ingredients (like flour and baking powder) tend to soak up liquids more readily. If your cake falls flat or is too crumbly, try reducing the amount of liquid you add to your mixture. It’s a good idea to do a practice run in the lead up to the main event.
4. Air-con is your bestie
If you’re lucky enough to have air-con in your kitchen, turn it down as chilly as you can stand before you start baking or decorating. If your kitchen is an air-con free zone, when it’s time to decorate you might even consider relocating to a room with air-con or start the creative wizardry part of the process in the evening, when things are a smidge cooler. The colder temperature will mean your icing will hold its shape for longer, and if you need to whack some icing between layers, there’ll be less chance of slipping and sliding.
5. Go back to basics
You need to track down a good, basic cake recipe. It might sound fancy to have a raspberry white chocolate ganache cake, but as per The Golden Rule, your kids won’t care about the $20 block of white couverture chocolate you’ve just melted into your batter. Give yourself (and your wallet) a break and buy a packet mix, or ask a friend (or reliable Facebook support group) for their go-to recipe.
6. Get intimate with your oven
Get to know your oven. Like the first time you tried pencilling in your patchy eyebrows, this one is a matter of trial and error. Ovens can run hotter or cooler than the dial says, so keep an eye on your cake as it cooks and make sure it’s not browning on the top too quickly. You can pop a skewer into the thickest part of the cake to test if it’s cooked – it should come out clean when it’s good to go. If it comes out sticky or with cake batter on it, give it some more time. Another trick is to feel the top of the cake – it should spring back when touched if it’s cooked properly.
7. Don’t scrimp on ingredients
Good quality ingredients are key. Try to buy the best ingredients within your budget, like fresh, cage-free eggs, pure unsalted butter, good quality vanilla extract, full-fat milk and organic flour. This lovely island is dotted with cake supply stores, like Phoon Huat, Bake King, and Sun Lik Trading.
8. Fondant is a dark art
Avoid fondant unless you’re an expert, or you live in the Arctic. Kids absolutely adore fondant (it’s like edible playdough!), but it is super tricky to wrangle, especially in this heat. If you do want to use fondant, make sure you’ve got the air-con pumping and a good supply of cornflour handy. If the fondant becomes sticky, you can use the cornflour to dry it out.
9. When in doubt, use sweets
We’ve been to a lot of kids birthday parties in our time and it has to be said, kids don’t rate a cake by how much it costs, they rate it by how many lollies or chocolates it has on top. We eat with our eyes, right? If you’ve made a boo-boo with your icing and it’s turned out the colour of baby poo, just cover it up with loads of Smarties. The same goes for a collapsed cake situation: cover that mess right up with a bag of gummy bears. Too easy!
10. In the face of adversity, pass the buck to a bonafide baker
And our final pearl of wisdom? There’s no shame in outsourcing. It’s the thought that counts, right? As per The Golden Rule, as long as somebody has made the cake with love, you’re good to go! Lucky for you, we’ve got a roundup of the best store-bought cakes (made with loads of love, guaranteed!) for those last-minute cake-mergencies.
BONUS TIP: Swap fondant for fruits with these birthday cake recipes!
There’s no parent who wants to have their child’s birthday bash ended abruptly by a serious food intolerance or allergy, so although we still love a big birthday cake in all its gooey glory, there’s a lot to be said for the new dawn of fruit birthday cakes. They’re easy, they’re fun and, most importantly, they’re delish (plus there’s not a scrap of gluten or nut dust to be found)…
1. Watermelon fruit pizza cake
Is it a pizza or is it a cake? It’s either (or even both!). Whip this up as a fun watermelon-based dessert after a serving of real pizza, or pop candles on it to turn it into a fruit birthday cake that everyone will want a slice of. Pop over to Modern Honey for full instructions.
2. Four-tier watermelon cake
There won’t be a child at the party who won’t be suitably impressed by this tiered fruity wonder by Women’s Weekly. In fact, why stop… keep on going, we say. Build it up as high as you can for extra parenting brownie points!
3. Pineapple owl centrepiece
Now here’s a different kinda birthday cake to hoot about: an owl carved out of a pineapple! Get instructions (and probably some practice ahead of time) from the good folk at Savory Experiments.
4. Watermelon cake (all made out of fruits)
Blueberries, strawberries and two types of melon make this a mouthwatering fruit cake any birthday kid would be happy to have. Pull it together with easy peasy instructions by Julie Ann Events. Leftovers? Turn them into smoothies!
5. Lion fruit platter
Take a look at the gorgeous fruit platter ideas by Martha Stewart, plop a candle or two in your creation and, voila, instant cool birthday cake. We especially love this sunny number, which is perfect, we think, for a tropical party in the Lion City! Cubs of all ages will love it for sure.
6. Fresh melon cake
Wouldn’t this ‘cake’ be such an awesome standout centrepiece at the birthday party? This dairy-, fat-, and gluten-free recipe from Cooking on the Weekends requires you to thinly slice a melon, stack them, and then drizzle with a balsamic glaze. Bonus points for effort when you top the melon cake with cherries and candles.
7. Fresh fruit cake with honeydew or cantaloupe
Tara Teaspoon came up with this simple yet chic recipe because she wanted the fresh fruit(s) to shine and be the star of the cake. Clever! She’s used a watermelon, but we really like the idea of using a honeydew or cantaloupe – something different since we’ve been featuring the red melon quite a bit in this list!
8. Watermelon and peach fresh fruit cake
How about making a tiered watermelon cake, but this time ’round, slotting peach slices in between each layer and using blueberries as decorations? We love this innovative approach Not Without Salt took to making this fresh fruit cake. It’ll definitely garner a lot of oohs and ahhs from the littlelies when they see this as a birthday cake!
9. Summer fruit cake
This simple yet stunning fruit cake is sure to be the talk of the town (well, more like among your circle of friends) when you take this out during the birthday party. What we like about this is that it’s all fruit – nary an egg or butter has been included in it. Brit + Co has the instructions listed down if you need them.
10. Watermelon friends
These amazing ideas by Watermelon Friends *may* take a bit of practice, but think of the wow factor when your child spots your efforts for the first time. And if it all goes wrong, just have our guide to emergency birthday cakes on standby…
Enjoy your healthy, fruity, birthday cake, kiddo!