10 Birthday Cake Toppers Sure to Surprise and Delight


Birthday parties have quite the to-do list: Deciding on the theme, decorations, and activities makes the days leading up to the event seem like part of the celebration itself. It needn't be elaborate—kids will be happy with a small party as long as they are made to feel special. Yet even a simple party requires planning; the sooner you start organizing, the earlier the excitement begins and the fewer details you'll have to work out on the day itself.

The birthday child will likely have ideas about the kind of party he wants, so involve him in the planning. Let your child pick the theme, help you with shopping and decorating, and take part in baking the cake. As part of the fun, let him pick out his toppers. These can be candles that spell out his name, announce his new age, or or his latest fascination with dinosaurs. (Or, echo the metallic decorations on the table and around the room with these silvery flower- and star-shaped bases for cake candles as shown here.) Baking and decorating your child's birthday cake (or cupcakes) is worth the effort. Spend time on that, and choose other foods that are easy to serve, eat, and clean up. Doing so helps spread out the anticipation; that way the focus isn't on a couple of hours of a single day.

Although it might be more efficient to do it all yourself, there's pleasure in working with your child toward an important goal. Plus, he'll have the reward of enjoying with his friends the magical day he helped plan.

  • Get Our Best Kids' Birthday Party Ideas
01 of 09

Dinosaur Candle Toppers

dinosaur cake toppers
Kirsten Francis

The birthday boy is begging for a cake topped with his beloved prehistoric creatures (or zoo pals or superheroes). You want one that will delight taste buds young and old. Our party-pleasing compromise: Grab a handful of birthday-candle holders and some prized figurines: protoceratopses, sharks, unicorns. Snip the spikes off the bottom of the holders, glue the bases to the tops of the toys, and insert candles. Arrange them on a cake iced with our fudgy three-ingredient frosting, and make everyone's wishes come true.

02 of 09

Pom-Pom and Cornflower-Punched Toppers


It's hard to improve on a cupcake, except perhaps with a bright pom-pom topper. Simply punch out cornflowers from kraft paper using a craft punch. Use the pointed end of skewers to pierce center of cornflowers. Dab hot glue at each cornflower center, and affix one pom-pom to each cornflower and skewer. Slide cornflower skewers into the cupcake tops, and guests will be ready for their first bite.

03 of 09

Alphabet Letter Candles

birthday candles and toppers
Lucas Allen

These handmade beeswax candles—shaped from cookie cutters—shine a warm light on any birthday celebration. For each candle, cut out 4 of the same letter from beeswax sheets, using cookie cutters. If the wax is hard to handle, soften it using hair dryer (on low). Make 2 stacks of 2 letters. Press a toothpick vertically into a single stack. Vertically press in the end of the candlewick above the toothpick, so the toothpick and the wick meet. Trim the wick to 1 inch above the top of the letter. Press the second stack of letters down on top, sandwiching the toothpick and wick between them; press to join the stacks of letters together.

04 of 09

Flag Toppers

Aaron Dyer

These mini ever-waving flags make any treat—be it a cake, cupcake, or cocktail—fit for any celebration. Brush ribbon with fabric stiffener, then lay them on top of pencils to form the ripples. To create bigger waves, place thicker tools—like markers—under the ribbon as it dries. (Prevent sticking by placing plastic wrap between the ribbon and the tools.) Let them set overnight. Snip wooden skewers at various lengths, then hot-glue the flags to wooden skewers and display your dessert with pride.

05 of 09

Iced Letter Cookie Toppers


It's as easy as A-B-C to plan a party using the initial of the birthday child. Kids can help make the monogrammed cookies that adorn these cupcakes.

06 of 09

Photo Cake Toppers


Make a picture-perfect cake (or cupcakes). Color-copy images onto card stock and affix back-to-back with double-sided tape around coffee stirrers.

07 of 09

Cupcake Topper


Have extra cake batter left over? Make mini cupcakes topped with candles and add them to the birthday cake for an extra-special treat.

08 of 09

Silk-Flower Holders


A cake adorned with silk-flower candleholders can double as a centerpiece at the table. Simply place flowers, minus their centers, on rounds of waxed paper and push the tacks into candles from underneath.

09 of 09

Butterfly Cupcake Toppers


The best cake toppers (as little ones wholeheartedly would agree) are edible: Let pretzel-winged butterflies take flight on your next birthday cake or cupcakes. Their bodies—piped dots of blue buttercream—end in candy-coated-chocolate heads and licorice antennae.

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