I admit it. I do not make my children's birthday cakes. I'd rather cheat.
I've spent a couple years getting to this point and truthfully, I'm very ok with it. Let me explain.
For my daughters last birthday in December (I know...) I made a sheet cake and it was pitiful and obviously homemade with sagging edges and as much height as a peanut butter sandwich. I had about 40 people to serve and this wasn't going to cut it. Even if I doubled up, I'd likely need 4 boxes of cake mix and need to do 2 1/4 sheets as all I have is a 9x13 pan. Given the stress and preparation madness of the holidays I thought I might be on the verge of losing my mind over this cake situation.
So as a last minute resort (and I truly mean last minute as in the night before her 10am party) I went to Fred Meyer to just buy a half sheet cake. But since I was so late, I was out of time for a special order and the limited availability was cheap looking but expensive.
In my moment of distress, my pinterest mind kicked in and I bought a 1/2 sheet white cake (no filling) for $17.99 It was decorated with holiday colored sprinkles and curling ribbon (really? This is a thing?). I had no idea what kind of frosting was on this cake, but I swung for cool whip and went home to contemplate my next steps.
First order of business was to remove the curling ribbon. It's not edible and it weird. Then, I scraped all the sprinkles off. Of course this also takes off most of the frosting with it. Luckily it was a whipped frosting that tasted like cool whip, so I refrosted the top with the plain white cool whip. Ta-da! Blank canvas.
I quickly mixed up my daughters colors of choice, fed them into my handy ziplock bags fit with piping tips and went to work. After about 15min, I had a fantastic frosted cake of her liking and almost-zero stress. And it turned out that the white cake was super moist and DE-LISH! So I did the same thing for my son's January birthday. Hey, if it ain't broke... and sometimes, it's just fine to cheat.
To further support my cheat, both cakes were actually eaten! There was little to no remaining cake with many people opting for a second piece. Compared to overly sweet and sometimes stiff butter cream, this never happens. We didn't even serve ice cream.