40th birthday party cake ideas

Updated February 21, 2017

Turning 40 is a major milestone in life, signalling the beginning of middle age. Time for reflection on accomplishments so far and concern for the future. Most 40th-birthday parties have a good-humoured "over the hill" theme and the cake graphically reflects this with graveyard decor. The cake is the centrepiece of the celebration and sets the mood for the entire event. Choose a cake that celebrates the 40th birthday as only one milestone in a long life.

Shaped Cake

This is a positive occasion to encourage someone who has just turned 40. Make it a lighthearted event, designed to emphasise personal and business accomplishments. A triple-layered, filled sheet cake, cut and shaped into the number "40," sets the right mood. Decorate it with gaily-coloured frosting, miniature streamers, party horns and sparkling candles. Written in script are the words, "Looking forward to another fruitful 40."

Elegant Cake

An elegant 40th birthday affair, lauding the personal or business successes of the guest of honour, demands an impressive tiered cake, three layers high, decorated with fancy royal icing borders, lacework and scroll proclaiming "Best 40th Wishes." Royal icing dries firm and will stand up to an evening of cocktails and entertainment before the cake is served. Forty candles arranged on the broadest bottom tier provide maximum effect, with multiple unlit candles on the top two tiers to symbolise the years to come.

Bright Future Cake

This cake represents the accomplishments in the life of the birthday guest of honour. Photographs superimposed on one side of the cake represent the spouse, children and close friends. Close friends or business associates may appear on the cake if a sufficient number of relatives is not available. A single candle with the number 40 is placed on this side to represent the accomplishments of past years, and a bright sun, along with the signatures of the people in the photographs, appears on the other side to symbolise the future. The cake is bright and colourful and the centrepiece of the room. An example is a three-layer sheet cake topped with white frosting, covered on the sides with shredded toasted coconut and decorated on top with bright red-and-yellow script and decor.

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About the Author

Freelance writing since 2009, Tom Ross has over 30 years of corporate management and hands-on experience in the supermarket industry. Ross was featured on the cover of "Instore Buyer" magazine and his articles have appeared on various websites.