When deciding on cake decorations for a 40th birthday, take the recipient's personal hobbies and interests into account instead of focusing solely on age. While you can create a cake in the shape of a large number 40 to celebrate the occasion, add decorations in the form of golf balls and clubs for an avid golfer, chocolate musical notes for a musician or buttercream roses for an avid gardener.
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Construct a four-tiered cake with each tier representing one decade of the birthday boy's life. For small parties, create a miniature four tiered cake by using a 10 inch diameter cake as the base followed by an eight inch cake, six inch cake and a cupcake for the top tier. See the stacked tiered cake construction link in the resources to learn how to use wooden dowels to support and stabilise each layer of the cake.
Number 40 Cake
Numbered cake pans simplify the process of creating a cake shaped like the number 40 but they are not a necessity. Instead of purchasing new pans, trace a nine by 13 inch cake pan onto a large sheet of paper twice. Draw a four and a zero in each square as large as possible and cut them out. Bake two nine by 13 each cakes and use the cut out numbers as stencils to carefully carve away the excess cake.
Decorate a simple frosted cake with nostalgic candy from the recipient's childhood. You may be able to find retro candies in candy stores or they can be ordered from several Internet websites including Old Time Candy and Sweet Nostalgia. While they aren't edible, retro toys make great cake toppers; just be sure to clean the toys thoroughly before you place them on the cake. If you cannot locate the desired toys or prefer edible cake toppers, mix up a batch of candy clay. The recipe is available on the Wilton website, in the resources section, and can be shaped in the same manner as modelling clay.
Personalise the birthday cake with a recent picture of the recipient, a childhood picture or one of each. Purchase photographs printed on edible paper with edible inks from a bakery or laminate regular photographs to protect them from becoming damaged when applied to the frosted cake. Laminated photographs should look fine but they will need to be removed before you begin cutting and serving the cake.
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