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1st Birthday Cake Ideas

If you’re planning your little one’s first birthday party and you are looking for the perfect theme, we’ve got you covered! In this post I’m going to share all of my favorite 1st birthday party ideas, including some of my favorite cakes and cookies for your little girl or little boy’s big day.

1st Birthdays are Special! 

Is there anything more fun than a birthday party for a one-year-old? The themes are just out of this world! And why not? Your child’s first birthday only comes around once and you want to make it memorable!

Grab your baking pans and make sure you’ve got your invitation list ready. Because this is a party no one will soon forget! (Just remember to take lots of photos!)

If you’re torn and don’t know what to do for your baby’s first birthday, take a look at some of these cakes and cookies for inspiration! 

1st Birthday Cakes for Your Baby Girl

If you’ve got a darling little girl to celebrate, we’ve got a host of ideas! Here are some of our favorites from the past ten years or so. 

Pretty, Pretty Princess

You can’t go wrong with a princess theme for a little girl. (And is there anything prettier than a pink cake for a little girl? Add some pretty flowers to dress it up even more!) And remember, you’re definitely not limited to a “specific” princesses if you choose a simple pink and white theme. Your little one will have a blast celebrating your little princess at her first birthday celebration!

Little Cowgirl

Yee-haw! It’s fun to throw a 1st birthday party that’s cowgirl themed! I was a huge fan of this design and I particularly loved the color combination. 

Frozen (Winter Wonderland)

I wish I had a nickel for every Frozen themed cake I’ve baked over the years but this was one of my very favorites. I love these colors together. Talk about a magical winter theme! 

Beauty and the Beast

I absolutely love making Belle cakes and this was one of my favorites. . .ever! I made it for my granddaughter on the spur of the moment, using items I found in my house. She loved it! 

Who’s Turning One? (Owl Themed)

I love owls and this themed party was a blast! You can choose any color combination you like, but a “Who’s Turning One?” Party will be so much fun! 


Is there anything sweeter than little yellow bumblebee cookies? And that cake! This one was so much fun to make. I thought it turned out just darling. 

One is Fun!

I made this one for a little boy, but I think it would be terrific for a girl, too. Is there anything more fun than watching your little one turn one?


We live in Texas and February and March are usually big months for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. It’s not uncommon to see a lot of rodeo themed birthday parties that this time of year. 

Farm Animals

This cake was made for a friend’s daughter on her first birthday. The party was held at a farm, which made it even more fun! 

Doc McStuffins

My granddaughter Brooke was a big fan of Doc McStuffins, so how could I say not to these band-aid themed cookies? And that cake! I used a Wilton tip to create the colorful puffs that gave the cake its color and texture. (This was for a 4th birthday but you could easily do it for a 1st.) 


Little girls absolutely love ballet parties and your little one can be the belle of the dance floor with this cake and cookie combination. 

Pretty Pirate

Aargh! This is a fun theme for a little girl’s first birthday! A pirate birthday party will be a blast—for the kids and the adults! 

Woodland Animals

Oh, how I love the simplicity of a Woodland Animals cake! I had so much fun making this one and I adore the colors. 

Fruity Patootie

I helped my friend April make this one for her little granddaughter and we had so much fun “picking” the different types of fruit to go on it. The little baskets for the cookies were a lot of fun, too! 


Little girls adore their unicorns and, as a baker, I love them too. I’ve done a lot of unicorn cakes over this years but this was one of my favorites. 

Pull-Apart Puppy Cupcakes

I’m a dachshund lover, so when I saw these pull-apart cupcakes I knew I had to bake them. The kids flipped out! (So did the adults, actually.) 

Hot Air Balloon

This is one of my favorite birthday cakes. . .ever! The birthday girl was “flying high” and so were her guests at this Hot Air Balloon-themed birthday party! 


Poppits are all the rage and they are super fun in cake and cookie form. I was particularly fond of these colors. 

Little Cutie

If you love “cutie” oranges you’ll love this birthday party idea. Everything is orange, white, and hints of green at this “Little Cutie” birthday party. 

Barbie Ballerina

These doll cakes have been around for years but I added a new twist with this one, turning it into a Barbie ballerina cake. I even made matching cupcakes! 

Puppy Theme

If you’re an animal lover you’ll get a kick out of this sweet puppy-themed cake, perfect for your little puppy lover’s birthday!

Candy Cake

Want to go simple? Do a colorful candy-land birthday!

1st Birthday Cakes for Your Baby Boy

The fun isn’t just for girls! I’ve made so many 1st birthday cakes and cookies for little boys over the year and I’ve loved them all. Here are some of my favorites. 

Mickey Mouse

Here are a couple of different options with slightly different color combinations. I love a fun blue cake for a little boy!


I love farm cakes so much. I had a blast making the “hay” out of buttercream using a simple Wilton tip. And that barn! Talk about a blast. The cookies were fun, too, and a great choice with the cake. This remains one of my favorite sets, perfect for your birthday boy. 


Boys love pirates, too. I’ve made a lot of pirate cakes over the years! Talk about a special first birthday cake option for your little baby!

Paw Patrol

Every little one loves Paw Patrol and this bone cake is super easy and fun to make! The “puffs” of frosting are made with a simple Wilton 1M tip. 

Little Hunter

If you’re all about the hunting life you’ll love this cake and cookie combo for your little boy’s first birthday. 

Hungry Caterpillar

Talk about bright colors! Little ones love Hungry Caterpillar and it makes for a great birthday party theme! 


Oh, how I loved making this cake and cookies! The colors, the designs, the styles. . .what a blast! If you have a fireman in the family (or a little boy who dreams of one day being a fireman) this will be a fun party theme. Talk about an amazing first birthday cake!

Cat in the Hat

Does it get any cuter than this? These colors just scream “whimsey” and fun! 


Hosting a birthday party for your little one in the middle of winter? Why not go with a winter them and create a cake to look like a snowman or penguin? 

Little Man

We had a blast at this “Little Man” birthday party and even have fun mustache cookies! 


Baseball is such a fun and easy theme. And it translates well to cake and cookies. The kids will love it! 

Under the Big Top

Why not host a circus themed party? That’s what we did for my grandson’s first birthday. We loved these amazing colors! (And the cake was fun to design.) 

Your Favorite Team

If you have a favorite sports team, your little one’s birthday party might be the best place to celebrate them! 

Smash Cake Ideas

In our family we love to create little “smash” cakes for one-year-olds. They are usually made with soft layers of cake and a whipped cream frosting that’s light and easy for the baby to “smash.” And make absolutely sure the cake layers aren’t braced with any support dowels or anything that could hurt the baby at the moment of the big smash!

My smash cakes are really tiny and simple. You can use a 4″ round pans or even 6-inch cake pans but make sure it’s a soft cake and a super soft and fluffy icing. I use the Wilton 1M tip to make puffs so the frosting is extra fluffy.

What Flavor Cake Should I Choose for my Child’s First Birthday Cake?

I love decorating cakes for birthdays and I’ve got so many favorite flavors. But when it comes to little kids I usually get requests for vanilla, strawberry (if there are no allergies) or chocolate. When it comes to the smash cake a vanilla cake is best, for sure! This is usually your child’s first cake, after all.

Here are some of my favorite cake recipes for your little one’s event:

The Most Delicious White Cake From a Box: This is my go-to recipe and it’s the perfect choice for your special day!

Ultimate Chocolate Cake Recipe: I love this moist chocolate cake recipe but you’ll want to skip the espresso if you’re making it for kiddos! (They’re wound-up enough already!)

Strawberry Lemonade Cake: Here’s a fun option to make everyone happy! And strawberry cake is great served with ice cream. In fact, all of my cake flavors are!

If you’re looking for a healthy first birthday cake I’ve got some gluten-free options. Regardless of what you bake up, you’re sure to make it the best first birthday cake ever!

Of course, ever cake needs frosting. Here are my most-requested recipes:

Dreamy Buttercream Frosting: This is the one I use most often on my cakes and cupcakes. You can flavor it with cocoa to make chocolate frosting or strawberry preserves to make strawberry frosting. It’s delicious, no matter what and perfect for your child’s very first birthday cake!

Easy Swiss Meringue Buttercream: This would be a terrific option for the smash cake because it’s light and fluffy.

Easy White Chocolate Buttercream: This is my new favorite, a lovely not-as-sweet version of a traditional buttercream!

Cream Cheese Frosting: This one is luscious, creamy, and melts on the tongue. Best of all, it’s really simple to make and only takes five ingredients.

Stabilized Whipped Cream: You can make it with fruit or plain. It’s delicious and light as a feather! Just be sure to store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Now Let’s Talk About Cookies!

I love to work with themes so my cakes always have corresponding cookies. I’ve learned that kiddos love the cookies as much (if not more than) the cake! That said, I’m going to share my go-to recipe for painted sugar cookies and frosting below.

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies: I wish I had a dollar for every batch of these I’d made over the past ten years. I’d be a very wealthy woman!

Royal Icing: I love using royal icing on my hand-painted cookies. Enjoy the recipe. And while you’re out it, check out my tutorial so you can learn how to paint cookies like a pro!

That’s it for this post, friends! I hope you enjoyed these fun ideas!

If you make any of these cakes for your child’s birthday, don’t forget to leave a review and a comment below. And while you’re at it, go ahead and pin some photos to your Pinterest boards!

About the Author

Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 165 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.

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