Budget birthday cake ideas

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Updated March 2023

Buying a themed birthday cake from the supermarket can set you back £10-£15 (and they’re often not very tasty!) while ordering one from a baker could cost you upwards of £50 – that’s a lot of money for something that will be demolished by the little ones in ten seconds flat!

The most obvious way to save money is to bake your own – if you have the ingredients in your pantry anyway, it’ll cost you next to nothing and be much tastier! As a backup, if you really hate cooking, Aldi do a vanilla buttercream or chocolate celebration cake for less than a fiver that could be decorated. We all just want our little ones to have a cake they love, so here’s how to easily create a themed cake.

A ready-made personalised cake topper is the easiest solution of all. Make your own cake at home, or buy a cheap plain cake or tray bake, and you can literally just order the topping to throw on top – Amazon has so many to choose from and they’re as little as £3.99!

You can choose from an icing cake topper to cover the whole top of the cake, or a cut-out topper that’ll poke into the top. For a freebie, you could paint or print your own cardboard toppers, cut around with a craft knife and attach with skewers.

We went for personalised edible topper from Amazon for Finn’s 9th birthday, with a scrummy homemade strawberries and cream cake, and he was really pleased with it – it couldn’t have been easier and it only cost about a fiver.

There are also other simple, crafty options to consider – for instance, a round cake with white icing and some black cut-outs can be easily made into a football for any footie lovers! Or you could use ice-cream cones to create a unicorn horn or castle turrets, and ice over the top.

You can also buy cake moulds to make the whole cake into a themed shape, or the age of your child, with no extra work – just spoon the cake batter into the mould and watch it take shape. Lola’s unicorn birthday cake was a simple mould which made decorating it so much easier, and it was only a few pounds from a bargain shop.

If you’re feeding lots of people, and want to keep things really simple, why not make a batch of cupcakes? You could add some colourful icing, or there are lots of cheap mini cake toppers to be found online to suit any theme. For my son’s fifth birthday, I spent about £2 on Avengers cake toppers. My lovely Nan made 30 cakes, we popped some buttercream on top and a cake topper, and suddenly had 30 themed cakes for just a few quid.

If you’re artistic, or have the time to play around with it, you can do fabulous things without any of these cheats! My Mum and Nan had a fab cake book when I was little and they made all sorts of amazing creations – from princess castles to frogs! Most are not as difficult as you would imagine and, with the internet at our fingertips, it’s worth googling to see if there’s an easy step-by-step method to make amazing cakes at very little cost!

Check out my super simple cake recipe – this can be used for cupcakes or doubled to make a larger cake. Or, for something a little different, you could always try my chocolate fudge cake, carrot cake or chocolate fridge cake recipes.

My fridge cake makes a great gift and is ALWAYS a big hit!

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