Cake Mistake

Wilton's Children's Birthday Party Book

Children’s Birthday Party Book
Wilton Enterprises

Wilton is the king of all things cake decorating. I will admit I never would think of decorating a cake for my kid. I would order one from my local bakery instead. I can appreciate the techniques used to make these cakes, but honestly, that bear looks possessed. The bear is staring into the eyes of the kid, transmitting the message “Happy birthday! Now I will eat your soul.”

Color me not impressed with the ideas. Speaking of eating someone’s soul, I am going to give a hard NO to clowns on a cake. The other ideas were dated-looking, and if I were a kid, I wouldn’t be that impressed. Maybe we have all seen so many cool cake sculptures thanks to shows like Cake Boss or the Great British Bake Off. This quaint little gem from the 1980s is just not cut out for modern baking.


Easy party ideas

circus party

GI Joe Hero party


  1. I thought that bear was a stuffed animal on your homepage, it did not look like a cake! Also, if any one goes by Teddy, they should be asked if stuffed bear references are irritating to them before making them, or baking them.

  2. I’m disturbed by the bear too. It’s a teddy bear, wishing Teddy a happy birthday, and presumably Teddy is going to eat the soul-stealing teddy.

    My mom always made my birthday cakes, never store-bought (though I think they were mostly Betty Crocker) and never in a shaped pan with fancy frosting effects. No buying a whole new pan just to make one cake for one year. Kids’ enthusiasms change so fast. She’d pipe some simple things — stars, borders. But they were a basic 2-layer round cake with frosting, Happy Birthday (Me) on the top, and candles. Very very occasionally a sugar paste decoration or two.

    The ones in my younger days sometimes had a theme to the decor and invitations, if said theme could be carried out cheaply.


    No hired entertainment of any sort. Just snacks, cake, balloons, party games, party favors.

    I’m sure it would seem dull to today’s kids, but wouldn’t strike them as tacky like these do. Do they even know any of the characters listed?

    I don’t go to a lot of small folks’ birthday parties, but I think they mostly revolve around cakes from the local bakery, and the failures show up on Cake Wrecks.

    The last kid’s party I went to, the birthday boy was 1 and so didn’t much care. His 3 year old cousin ate ALL the decorations and frosting and we left just as her sugar rush set in.

    When a party book might have been used for a shindig for the *parents* of the party boy/girl, it needs to be weeded.

  3. OH MY GOSH THIS BOOK. My neighbour had this book, and made a Cabbage Patch Kid cake for me in 1987 or ’88, based on my own Kid. Best birthday ever! (But yes, this is a bit dated for today….)

  4. I was 10 in ’86, and Larry, Carol, and Marsha were not names my peers had. confirmed they all peaked in popularity before the ’70s.

    1. Larry, Carol, and Marsha might have been the names of the parents of the kids at the party.

      Or the people who wrote/photographed the book.

  5. The lettering on the clown’s balloon is so wonky—I can’t believe that made the finished book.

  6. In Australia we have a kids’ cake book that many of us loved our parents to make cakes from. Once Cakewrecks put the swimming pool cake as a wreck and it caused all the Australian readers to be up in arms at the insult to this classic cake. My mum (and sometimes dad) would make us cakes from the book, but would modify them if they were too complicated or occasionally tell us to choose an easier one. A benefit over this book was that the cake pans were more common shapes – round, square, heart or dome, though cakes had to sometimes be sliced and reassembled. Some kids today still get cakes from the book, especially the train cake. But more often they get bought cakes, simpler homemade cakes or fancier cakes if their parents have a talent for cake decorating.

  7. My library offers patrons a cake pan collection to borrow. It’s been popular, but I hope it doesn’t include clown pans (my own contribution was a set of orange enameled Dala horse pans!).

    1. To be fair, the original miniseries didn’t air till 1990, and the novel came out the same year as this book.

      But “It” wouldn’t have been so scary in 1986 if people weren’t already scared of clowns, and the creepy clown doll in “Poltergeist” was in 1982, so… naahhh.

      NO CLOWNS.

  8. That clown is actually one of the less frightening I’ve ever seen. But yeah, if my kid wanted something this detailed, I’d be calling up a bakery.

Comments are closed.