I’ve had my fair share of project fails, and nine times out of ten, they happen when I’m trying to decorate a cake or cupcakes. My idea of successful cake decorating has become using little toys and miniatures to delight the birthday person or just throwing sprinkles everywhere—which is great for little kids. They honestly do not care if the cake has perfect lettering or smooth fondant. Sure, everyone appreciates something pretty, but don’t fool yourself into believing that birthday cakes have to be Pinterest perfect; kids just want to get to the eating sugar part.
When we were prepping for this issue, we were enchanted and more than a little intimidated by the idea of surprise cakes. These cakes look innocent enough on the outside, but when you cut into them, you find an explosion of colorful cake and candy. And the biggest surprise? They are really not that hard to make. Really!
Our assistant editor Christina Cook challenged herself to make one. It was the hit of a party with her friends. Not much time to admire it, she says, because people just wanted to eat it. She made one more for a photo shoot, and another that we assembled in the office. Then, our art director Heather Gott made one for the cover. That’s no less than 20 layers of cake for this issue. Each of us attempted the cake, and each of us succeeded. We step you through making your own surprise cake. (We think it would be a blast to make for the Fourth of July!) Another great part of making this cake is that your child can participate, picking their favorite colors and candy to surprise their guests.