The final chapter on not throwing a grocery store par-tay.

Skip the grocery store cake (yes, this means warehouse stores too). It’s a dead giveaway. I have been in your shoes. Those cakes are already made or easily ordered. They can make one to match your theme and have it ready to go on party day. It’s super tempting to go this route. Not buying your party cake at the grocery store was always going to be the third part in this series but for a moment I started thinking that maybe grocery store cakes aren’t that bad. Sure, they might have big yellow frosting roses on top, but that’s okay, right? Then I spent 20 minutes on one of my favorite sites, Cake Wrecks, and now I’m standing firm. (If you don’t know what Cake Wrecks is or if you are unconvinced, then you need to go there, now.)

If you really want a cake that is already made, find a fun bakery and have them make one. I have several bakers that I trust and they provide all of my cakes and cupcakes for my parties, even my own childrens’ birthday parties. I usually have them make me a plain cake and then I embellish it myself. If you’re up for making your own, then maybe you’ve heard of a little lady named Martha Stewart. I think she has single-handedly transformed the homemade cake into something spectacular and given all of us the confidence to at least try. Inspired by her cakes, I made my kid’s cakes for many years (until I realized that my limited time on party day was better spent on other party awesomeness). If you go this route you can make some great, theme specific cakes. Like a lollipop garden cake, purse cake, or butterfly cupcakes.

I still haven’t persuaded you? Personally, I know what my bakers put into their cakes. A few use all organic ingredients and there isn’t any weird stuff like preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oil. I can even order gluten-free and other allergy-free kinds. Do I even need to mention that they are made from scratch, not a mix? I trust my bakers. I know my bakers’ names and I know what they look like. They are not anonymous store workers. You are going to serve this cake to family and friends and eat it YOURSELF. You might want to know who is making your food.

Your excuses: “I don’t know how to decorate a cake.” Lucky for you, a million other people actually excel in that area. Go find one. Or take a cake decorating class and practice. That’s what I did. “I don’t have time to worry about this. The grocery store is so convenient.” It’s also convenient to look up real bakeries on your computer and call them with your order from the comfort of your own home. “I can’t afford to pay someone to make a special cake. It’s too expensive.” Then make some cupcakes yourself. From scratch. There are recipes all over the internet. Do a test run a few days before. My kids would love to eat early birthday cupcakes. Buy some fun cupcake wrappers from Hey Yo Yo or Bake it Pretty and make some cute cupcake toppers. I even have directions right here to do that. “But I always buy my cakes there and they’ve always done a good job.” Fine, buy your cake at the local grocery store/warehouse place. But go and look at the ingredients before you get your heart set on it. What’s in the cake? What are you serving your kids? “But my daughter wants a topsy tursvy cake like the one she saw on Cake Boss.” Now we’re talking. You definitely need to avoid the grocery store for that one!

Invest some time, money, and maybe some of your talent into the birthday party cake. This isn’t a wedding, but the cake is still a main focal point of a party. You want to get it right.


  1. I couldn’t agree more! I made a homemade cake for a party in the summer and it was a huge hit. The best part is that it was very simple to make.

    Grace    Thursday, January 14, 2010
  2. This whole series is GREAT! I couldn’t agree more. Your whole site is really adorable – I will definitely be linking to you in the future!!

    Jessica@Sewhomegrown    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

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