My birthday is this week (July 17), and I remember many of my past birthday cakes, from special shaped cakes to a requested chocolate cake. I don’t know what I’ll have for this year’s birthday cake yet, but it is definitely more fun making for others now than I am older. From simple to elaborate, cakes make birthdays extra special. There is nothing wrong with store-bought cake or ordering your own. But it can be fun to try new recipes for yourself and for others, especially for children! Do not worry about a cake flopping or looking funny because the attempt and effort that is put in are usually what matters most to others. Here are some examples of cakes my mom made for me in the past, as well as a couple of birthday cakes my husband made for me.


As you can see, they are not all perfect designs, but all were delicious and made with love. If those pictures inspired you, Salina Public Library has a lot of books, physically and digitally, that you can check out for more inspiration and instructions. Several of these books include steps to make designs not in a typical cake shape. The library also has an instructional DVD to check out. In addition to these cookbooks, there are multiple children’s books about birthday cakes that you can check out for kids to read while the cake is in the oven! 

A notable book the library owns is written by a cake designer who runs cake-decorating channels How to Cake It and How to Cake It Step by Step on YouTube. Yolanda Gampp’s book “How to Cake It: A Cakebook” teaches you how to make cakes shaped like a party hat, toy bulldozer, a golden pyramid and much more. 

Other items that might inspire you include the DVD “Cake Decorating: Fun with Fondant. Basics & Birthdays” by Robin Hassett, and books “Cake Decorating Skills” by Tracey Mann, “All About Cake” by Christina Tosi (founding chef of the Milk Bar chain of dessert and bakery restaurants), “Party Cakes: 45 Fabulous Cakes for All Occasions, with Easy Ideas for Children’s Cakes” by Carol Deacon, “The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Cake Decorating: 40 Stunning Cakes for all Occasions” also by Carol Deacon, and “FamilyFun Birthday Cakes: 50 Cute Easy Party Treats” by Deanna F. Cook. With so many ideas at your fingertips, you’ll surely find inspiration for your next birthday. 

“The Busy Girl’s Guide to Cake Decorating: Create Impressive Cakes and Bakes No Matter What Your Time Limit” by Ruth Clemens is a title that you might relate to. Cakes with elaborate designs look like they take a lot of time you don’t have. This book may help with baking a cake that looks impressive but will not take hours to prepare. 

Salina Public Library also has general cake books that will help with anyone wanting to make a cake, not necessarily needing a fancy design. These include “The Cake Book” by Tish Boyle, “The Perfect Cake” by Susan G. Purdy, “The Cake Bible” by Rose Levy Beranbaum, and “Perfect Cakes” by Nick Malgieri.

If you need a birthday cake that is gluten-free, Salina Public Library has “201 Gluten-Free Recipes for Kids: Chicken Nuggets! Pizza! Birthday Cake! All Your Kids’ Favorites – All Gluten-Free!” by Carrie S. Forbes in which you can find a fun birthday cake recipe for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance

In addition to recipe books, Salina Public Library has children’s books about birthday cakes that may be fun to read on their birthday. These include “Little Mouse’s Birthday Cake” by Thacher Hurd, “Princess Bella’s Birthday Cake” by Trisha Shaskan, and “The Birthday Cake” by Sven Nordqvist.

If you are unable to make it to the library in time before you want to make a birthday cake or if you prefer digital materials, there is a selection of birthday cake books on Hoopla and Sunflower eLibrary as well. 

If you don’t have a Hoopla account, all you need is your library card number, PIN and an email address. You can use some of your 10 monthly checkouts in Hoopla to check out books about birthday cakes, which contain very creative recipes. These include “Birthday Cakes: 50 Traditional and Themed Cakes for Fun and Festive Birthdays” by Janne Jansen, “Fun & Original Birthday Cakes” by Maisie Parrish, “The Cake Mix Doctor’s 25 Best Birthday Cakes” by Anne Byrn, “20 Best Birthday Cakes Recipes for Kids” by Betty Crocker, and “20 Best Birthday Cakes Recipes for Tots” by Betty Crocker. Hoopla also has a few birthday cake-themed books that would be fun to read with kids on their birthday too! These include “Birthday Cake: A Little Moral Story About Sharing” by Dan Yaccarino, “The Cake Master And Other Birthday Stories” by Highlights, and “Birthday Cake and I Scream” by Fred Katz

On Sunflower eLibrary, which is accessed with your library card number and PIN, you’ll find the cookbook “Martha Stewart’s Cakes,” and a storybook about a birthday cake, “Birthday Cake Chase!”.

With all of these options, you should be able to find the right book for you to create the birthday cake or cakes you desire – simple to elaborate – as well as some fun storybooks for kids that are about a birthday cake! The most important thing to remember is to relax and have fun, and not stress about the end result. I remember my mom worrying if the cake she was making would look right and cry when the cake she attempted wouldn’t be perfect or if something was messed up in the process of baking the cake such as some of the cake falling apart or missing ingredients. But I would always tell her not to worry as the end result was always a delicious cake, even if it didn’t look like she imagined. Please do your best to remember that rather than achieving perfection, if you achieve a smile on someone’s face, making someone’s birthday more fun, that is all that truly matters. Everyone loves cake of some sort, no matter what it looks like, as well as merely the gesture of a cake made just for them.