Ideas for 18th birthday cakes

Updated March 23, 2017

An 18th birthday is an exciting time in a young adult's life; she no longer must strive to be seen as a mature individual as she is officially a legal adult. Make a birthday cake for the guest of honour that symbolises this transition and demonstrates your acknowledgement of her maturity.

Child to Adult Transitional Cake

To symbolise the guest of honor's transition to adulthood, make a cake that represents the old and new. Make a two-tier cake and cover it in buttercream icing or smooth fondant. On the bottom tier, add fondant or real decorations of her favourite childhood things, such as dolls, masks, crayons, candies and stuffed animals. Use the top tier to symbolise the transition to adult-like interests with real or fondant items, such as cell phones, diplomas and jewellery. Top the cake with 18 sparklers to symbolise the celebration of the transition.

Photo Cake

Make an elaborate multi-tier birthday cake and decorate its sides with pictures of the guest of honour. Prepare an octagonal cake for the bottom layer, a hexagonal cake for the second tier and a small square cake for the top. Insert three wooden dowels into the bottom layer, and press the upper layers onto the wooden dowels. Cover the entire cake in buttercream icing. Use either the same or different colours for each tier. Find one picture from each year of his life and print the pictures onto edible frosting paper. Each of the first eight pictures should be the same size or smaller than one side of the octagonal cake, the next six should each be the size of one side of the hexagonal cake and the last four should each be the size of one side of the square cake. Carefully transfer each picture onto the cake. Make a photo frame around each picture using icing in a pastry bag with a star icing tip. Top the cake with a favourite picture in a frame.

Purse Cake or Backpack

For a young woman who never goes anywhere without her purse, make a three-dimensional cake in the shape of a purse. Bake two square cakes, join the cakes with icing and stand them upright. Carve away the top corners of the cakes to make a rounded purse and cover the entire creation with a sheet of fondant. Add fondant decals, a zipper and handle. Surround the cake with 18 real or fondant items that are found in a purse, such as lipstick, cell phone, keys, necklace and compact mirror. For a young man heading off to college, use two rectangular cakes to make a backpack-shaped cake. Cover the cake in fondant or buttercream icing and add 18 real or fondant items around the cake, such as a calculator, pencils, notebook and ruler.

Sports Enthusiast

For a sports enthusiast celebrating an 18th birthday, make a cake in the shape of a sports team jersey by carving the shape from a large rectangular slab cake. Cover the shaped cake in sports team's dominant colour and add stripes or decals from fondant. Cut out the numbers "1" and "8" from a rolled out sheet of fondant and place the numbers on the jersey. Alternatively, make a cake in the shape of the numbers "1" and "8" side-by-side and decorate the cake with a fondant ball from his favourite sport.

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About the Author

Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.