Survey: What Was the Most Spectacular Birthday Cake You Ever Made or Received?

We absolutely loved the recent article in the New York Times on the peculiar emotions and struggle of baking birthday cakes. Elly Schull Meeks talks about it as a milestone and rite of passage for a mother looking to create a certain experience for her children. And we recognized some of the cakes she talks about...

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That doll-in-a-ball-dress-cake? Yes, we had one, and we were just a shade too old to appreciate, unfortunately. You can read her whole article here:

The Birthday Cake as a Milepost

We've also pushed ourselves towards some pretty crazy cakes to please young friends; it's funny how concerns about artificial coloring and even materials (Hello spray on blue food coloring! Have to have the moat!) fade on birthdays. We have even used those sort of screen-on images for cakes (Winnie the Pooh is really, really essential at a certain age).

So here are a few of the cakes we've made and spent days over - and all for a good cause. It's so fun to bring out this sort of creativity once or twice a year.

Birthday Baking: Chessboard Cake with Chocolate Chess Pieces
Slideshow: New Pirate Ship Cake Pan and More From Nordiware
Fun Product: Nordicware Castle Cake Pan (and cake with moat!)

What about you? What are your best cake memories (or worst!) - on the giving or receiving end? What's the most spectacular birthday cake you've ever had?

(Top image: HAPPY BIRTHDAY (found at a thrift store) by Flickr member stOOpidgErL. Licensed for use under Creative Commons. All other images Faith Hopler)

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Baking, Sweets

Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.