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The birthday cake is considered an important element of a little girl's party, as girls generally exhibit finely-tuned observation skills, and an appreciation for detail.
Most little girls are creative and imaginative, so any attempt to create something of interest or beauty will be well-received.
The first step is to choose a cake in keeping with the party theme. Some suggested themes and corresponding cake ideas include:
Fairies/fairy wonderland (fairy, butterfly, toadstool, wand)
Princes and princesses (princess, castle, crown)
Magic garden (butterflies, beetles, magic mushrooms)
Dora The Explorer, The Wiggles, High 5, Winnie The Pooh (use characters, props or symbols)
Fairy tales - Cinderella, Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, The Wizard of Oz
Magic (wizard hat, wand)
Animals - zoo, jungle, farmyard etc (giraffe, beetle, pig, snake)
High School Musical, Hannah Montana
Barbie, Bratz etc (place a doll in the middle of a layered cake, and ice/decorate the cake to create the illusion of a skirt around the doll)
Pink party (there is an opportunity here for a simple cake iced and decorated with a selection of pink lollies & candles)
Keep It Simple
Cake-making can be as complicated or as simple as you wish. There is no denying that almost every girl would be impressed by the full fairy wonderland or decorative castle, but time and budget restraints often dictate simpler options. With some clever icing and decorating (using bought lollies and sprinkles), even a kitchen novice can produce an impressive cake. It's better to tackle a simpler object, which can be shaped and decorated to perfection, than to attempt the Taj Mahal of birthday cakes and end up with something unrecognisable - along with a headache.
Look For Inspiration
There are plenty of places for inspiration. Search online, track down a copy of the Women's Weekly birthday cake book, or refer to the Myinvites Birthday Cake article. All will arm you with basic cake-making guidance, and simple tricks to transform a cake base into something magic.
The Wow Factor
Don't be afraid to keep the cake itself simple, using surrounding props to create the 'wow' factor. Crepe paper, cellophane and figurines can all be used around the cake to create impressive decorations that bring the cake to life.
And feel free to enlist the help of your birthday girl in creating her cake. Not only will it take the pressure off you to create an 'adult-standard' masterpiece, but it will help give her a sense of involvement and pride that will be worth gold on the day.