Fun Cut-up Cakes: Dalmations, Minnie Mouse and Other Shapes from Childhood

Fun, easy cut-out cakes

When I was a kid, every time my birthday rolled around, my Mom would ask what kind of cake I wanted. She wasn’t referring to chocolate versus marble – she meant the design. We had several good resources to choose from for ideas.

My sister chose the elephant cake


Baker's Coconut Animal Cut-up Cakes

First was the Baker’s Coconut Animal Cut-up Cakes cookbook from 1959. This was one of those promotional items a company would create to promote their product. Well, I hated coconut. Still do. But this little booklet brought years of joy to me and my siblings.

The best thing about it, beside the instructions on how to cut the cake into different shapes, were the full-color photographs of the finished product.

When it was my sister’s birthday in October, I would peruse the booklet anyway, dreaming of what cake I might choose when March rolled around. By the time my spring birthday hit, I was full of ideas.

I chose the butterfly cake


Since I am a Pisces, the fish cake was a must. We used Life Savers for the bubbles. It was iced green, no coconut, of course, and was the hit of the party.

One year I chose the butterfly design- this was a tricky one. The more cut edges to the piece, the more difficult it is to keep loose crumbs out of the icing while frosting. My Mom taught me that you always put wax paper under the edges and ice from the bottom up for a cleaner look.


When my daughter turned five, she chose the dog, “Spot the Fox Terrier”. We decorated him as a Dalmation, however, since she'd been a dalmation for Halloween that year and I'd had one as a pet when I was a kid. It came out quite nice, and she enjoyed adding the black frosting ‘spots’.

My Daughter's Dalmation Cake

My earlier attempt at Minnie Mouse had much poorer results. Everyone at the party thought it was Ms. Pac-Man. (I was a Pac-Man fanatic back in college!)

Betty Crocker's New Boys & Girls Cookbook

A second resource we used for cake designs was Betty Crocker’s New Boys & Girls Cookbook. One cake stands out in my mind as the piece-de-resistance of my childhood: my brother’s castle cake from his 8th birthday. I'm not sure which cookbook it came from. My mother made the drawbridge out of Hershey’s chocolate bars, ice cream cones formed the towers, and those little colored mints scalloped the edges. This was a cake fit for King Arthur!

My brother's castle cake

Betty Crocker's Cakes Kids Love - 1969


Betty Crocker’s Cakes Kids Love

Our third and final resource for cake designs was Betty Crocker’s Cakes Kids Love from 1969. This tiny hardcover book had more ideas than Baker’s, but the pictures were drawings, not photographs; this limited its appeal to us as children.

One cake my mother undertook was it's “Animal Parade” cake. A double layer round cake (not cut into a shape!), it was decorated around the sides with a medley of bears, roosters, mice and such, made of Nilla Wafers and red hots. Impressive enough, but I must say, I’m a sucker for a cut-up shape cake, myself.

Animal Parade Cake


Rabbit cake

After my husband & I were married, we discovered that his mother had made a cut-up cake from Baker's Animal Cut-up Cakes too. It was the rabbit, which was featured on the cover of the 1956 version of the cookbook.

My turtle cake won't win any prizes!
My turtle cake won't win any prizes!

As my kids got older they requested store-bought sheet cakes and ice cream fudge cakes from Dairy Queen for their special occasions. By then, cut-ups were old hat. I had already decorated rectangle cakes to look like Spongebob and enlisted frosting to simulate Pokémon. Let's face it- I wasn't as skilled a decorator as my mother was. (Take a look at that turtle cake for proof!) That’s okay. They're all good memories.

Of course, today the internet is full of countless ideas for cut-ups and decorating. For me, sifting through the photographs of Baker’s Coconut Animal Cut-up Cakes still brings a smile and that feeling of being king for a day. I bet those cakes would have looked awesome with coconut.

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Comments 16 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

Sounds like you had many fun looking birthday cakes when you were young and carried on that tradition with your own kids. Brings a smile to my face just thinking of the cute ideas.

acc12 profile image

acc12 5 years ago Author

Peggy W, yes, I've seen my share of cakes! Fortunately, you don't have to be an artist to create a fun shaped cake. Sometimes the botched cakes create more fun memories than the masterpieces! Thanks for checking out my hub & commenting.

Elizabeth Zwingli 5 years ago

That must have been so much fun ! Enjoyed this hub a lot.

acc12 profile image

acc12 5 years ago Author

Glad you liked it - maybe next birthday I'll have to give a cut up cake a try again!

Ardie profile image

Ardie 5 years ago from Neverland

These are SO cute! I tried making the castle cake for my daughter one year - thank goodness she was still little and didn't pay any attention to the fact it was AWFUL! Some of the others here look easier :) Great hub

acc12 profile image

acc12 5 years ago Author

Ardie, Thanks. The ones that don't work out are usually good for a laugh later, in hindsight!

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 5 years ago from USA

Love the dalmatian! We make a lot of decorative cakes as well in our family. They always taste good, even if the design isn't always as good as we wanted it to be. I don't have those books, but there are several new ones on the market.

acc12 profile image

acc12 5 years ago Author

Millionaire Tips, I like that dalmation too- many cuz we had one when I was a kid. There are a lot of good cookbooks out there these days, not to mention online articles. Thanks for the comment.

biancaalice profile image

biancaalice 5 years ago from Southern California

This is such a cute hub. I never thought of this for simple cake ideas. I'm not exactly top notch cake maker, but I think I can give it a try for my son's 1st birthday coming up. Thanks.

Voted up, useful & all.

acc12 profile image

acc12 5 years ago Author

Biancaalice, These cakes are pretty easy to assemble, even if you don't bake very often. They're a fun change of pace from the usual rectangles, too. Good luck!

Kris 4 years ago

Take it from me....hang onto your book. I got rid of mine when my kids grew up & no longer were interested in cut up cakes. But now I have grandkids & can't wait to make one for them! So I'm ordering the book again off Amazon. I was just happy to see that they are still available!

acc12 profile image

acc12 4 years ago Author

Kris, Good idea! These cakes would be fun at parties too. There's a definite nostalgia about the books.

mollymcphillips profile image

mollymcphillips 3 years ago from Minnesota

That's so funny that I stumbled upon your article. I just happen to meet a woman who was copying out of this book at FedEx, and I thought how fun it would be to make those cakes. You never need a special cut-out pan again. So cool!

acc12 profile image

acc12 3 years ago Author

Mollymcphillips - That's funny, this must be one popular book. Brings back childhood memories - plus still useful today. Happy baking.

Laura Estrada 2 years ago

Yo tenia este libro en mi juventud...o sea hace 45 años hize todos los pasteles....un cisne...un pes,,,un leon,,,,un elefante...una jirafa.....esta LINDISIMO...

acc12 profile image

acc12 2 years ago Author

Laura- thanks for your comment. Animals do make such fun shapes for children's cakes. Glad you enjoyed the hub!

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