Recipes: How To Make A Big Top Circus Tent Birthday Cake

You can make a fun, big top circus tent birthday cake for a child with these tips, instructions and list of ingredients.

Kids love the circus and anything related to it. If you're planning on having a clown perform for your child's birthday party, and even if you're not, a circus cake is a perfect choice for dessert. The cake can be any flavor you want and any type of icing, but white icing makes the colors of the circus scene stand out the most. You'll also need animal crackers, tubes of red, blue, green, yellow or other colors of decorator icing, a coffee filter, straws, and a steady hand.

Using one mix, make two round cakes - 8" or 9" each. After cooling, turn cake out on cake plate and frost as usual, making sure the sides are extremely smooth. Place 6 animal crackers around the sides of the cake, spacing them evenly. Try to choose 6 different animals, if possible. You can save a small bit of the original icing to frost the animals, but just use enough to tint the animal. Add an eye hooves with the decorator frosting. After lining the animals up around the cake, use the decorator frosting to draw cages around each animal, remembering to draw a hitch in between each one. First draw a rectangle around the animal, then add the bars of the cage. Make each cage a different color or use just two or three colors and alternate them. The animals don't have to be in cages - you can line them up, then make multi-colored polka-dots all around them and the cake.

On top of the cake, place novelty clowns, icing balloons, candy confetti or draw a circus scene. For the big top, insert a drinking straw into the center of the cake. Attach a coffee filter at its center, to the straw by using a tiny dab of glue on a cotton swab then holding the coffee filter for a few seconds until it's secure. You can glue a large, colored bead on top of the straw, or scallop the edges of the coffee filter with scissors, if desired. You can also draw on the filter or color the filter by getting it damp with a washcloth, then letting markers "bleed" on it, giving it a tie-dye appearance, or use stamps and ink to imprint a circus-related pattern on the filter. When it's dry, place on the center straw on the cake. Cut straws to make about 8 equal pieces, then place them around the edges of the cake and rest the edges of the big top on top of the straws. You can add a tiny dab of glue to each one to secure the tent. Sprinkle candy confetti around the edge of the cake, where it meets the plate, or use green decorator frosting to draw grass where the cages can sit.

There are variations that can be done to the cake, for instance, you can replace the animal crackers with novelty animals or you can use colorful cloth for the big top, rather than a coffee filter. If your child's tastes run more towards aquatic animals, frost the cake with blue icing, place goldfish crackers all around the cake, then make white frosting bubbles coming out of the fish mouths. Draw undersea plant growth with green decorator frosting and sea shells with yellow. You can also replace the goldfish crackers with assorted novelty fish, sharks and dolphins. Other similar cakes include a safari cake, an Easter cake with bunnies around the sides, or dog houses with occupants.

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