40th birthday cake ideas for men

Updated April 17, 2017

Birthday celebrations have included cakes for many years, with the practice dating to ancient Greece. Milestone birthdays, such as a 40th, typically include a larger celebration, offering the chance to have an especially creative cake, whether focusing on the number 40 or other creative ideas. When choosing or creating a cake to celebrate the birth of a man, be sure to keep it masculine and focused on his tastes.

The Number 40

A 40th birthday, for man or woman, is a big milestone. One way to celebrate such a milestone in cake is to use the number 40. This can be done in several ways: arranging 40 candles on a plain cake in the shape of the number, using two number-shaped candles: a four and a zero, creating a cake that is itself the number 40 or using icing to draw the number one or many times on the cake.

Birth Year

Commemorating a man's 40th birthday doesn't have to include the number 40. Celebrate by creating a cake themed to his year of birth. Check an encyclopedia or online for what events happened the year he was born, perhaps even on the very day of his birth. Find out what movies and music was popular at the time. Create a cake that incorporates one or more of those items to create a cake that truly celebrates his 40th year milestone.

Life Interests

After 40 years of life, a man will certainly have interests and hobbies that make him who he is. A milestone birthday, including a 40th, doesn't necessarily have to be about the age. Bakeries offer a variety of cake styles that are tailored to specific interests, such as a motorcycle for a Harley-Davidson fan or a basketball shape for a sports fan.

Perhaps the 40-year-old whose birth is being celebrated is especially proud of his alma mater. A cake in that theme, using the school colours and mascot, could be an appropriate way to mark the milestone.


If the celebrated man's age is not a sensitive subject, an over-the-hill cake can be appropriate. Create a mounded cake, either with a specially formed cake pan or by cutting away the top layer to mimic a hill shape. Decorate with green- or brown-tinted coconut to convey grass on the hill, and place a toy car on the cake to represent the man celebrating his birthday.

To further convey the idea that 40 is one step closer to the grave, add tombstones or miniature grim reapers. These items can be found in baking or party stores, especially around Halloween. To be slightly less morbid, perhaps consider adding a clock, either drawn on with icing or an actual working watch face, to show how time keeps passing.

Instead of focusing on the 40-year-old man's age, why not change perspective and create a cake to emphasise his youth? Find out what kind of cake he had at his first birthday party and recreate it. Or have the cake be inspired by something he loved as a child, such as a favourite cartoon or book. This kind of cake can make the 40th birthday even happier.

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About the Author

Marilyn Walker is a communications professional living in New York City. She is originally from Oklahoma and holds degrees in journalism from Oklahoma State University (bachelor's) and the University of Maryland (master's). Walker has written professionally since 2004.