Graphic By Chris Ritter 1. Wrap your cake pans with these strips or wet towels to make perfectly flat layers. bakedbree.com More info here. 2. Drop your cake from a foot above the counter before baking to bust any lurking air bubbles. saveur.com BAM! (Warning: Don't use this for delicate cakes leavened with egg whites, like sponge or angel food cakes, since they need those air bubbles to stay light.) 3. Leave slices of bread on cakes while they cool to keep them from drying out. bakedbree.com Sounds like voodoo, but apparently it works! The bread will dry out, but the cake will stay moist. Via Baked Bree. 4. Freeze wrapped cake layers ahead of time and assemble the day of the party. smittenkitchen.com More good tips on layer cakes over at Smitten Kitchen. 5. Use fruit purée to naturally tint cake batter pretty colors. smittenkitchen.com This pink (for Smitten's Pink Lady Cake) comes from strawberries. If you want a more noticeable color, you can amp it up a little with food coloring. 6. Ombré layers are less natural, but totally awesome. raspberricupcakes.com Get the recipe here. 7. A rainbow approach is also fun. ribbonandcircus.blogspot.sg Here's how. 8. Funfetti cake is easy to make from scratch; just add sprinkles to your favorite white cake batter. bakedbree.com No shame in boxed mix, but it's kind of fun to do it this way. Get the recipe here. 9. For 3- and 33-year-olds only: Put two Bundt cakes together for a perfect 3 shape. enchantedmommy.com Bonus points for M&M stripes. Instructions here. 10. Or make any number out of cake with these tips. thatslife.com.au The directions are sort of in Australian cake lingo, but the visuals are still helpful. 11. Make a simple frosting swaggy by browning the butter first. thefauxmartha.com Get the recipe for this Carrot Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting. 12. Use this color-by-number guide to make different frosting shades. annaandblue.blogspot.com This handy chart from Food Network Magazine tells you how many drops of red, yellow, green, or blue to use to create each shade. Start with white frosting without vanilla added, since that can change the color. 13. Go crazy, make it ombré! call-me-cupcake.blogspot.com Instructions for this Funfetti beauty here. 14. Tip for easy frosting: Start with LOTS on top... Tap to play or pause GIF Tap to play or pause GIF youtube.com ...and smoosh the extra out from the center to cover the sides. Tap to play or pause GIF Tap to play or pause GIF youtube.com And here's one more frosting GIF, because YUM. Tap to play or pause GIF Tap to play or pause GIF Watch the full video from SAVEUR here. 15. You can melt storebought frosting in the microwave and pour over a cake for easy, super-smooth frosting. sweetcsdesigns.com Instructions here. It comes out like this: sweetcsdesigns.com Pretty! 16. Frosting 201: Fondant Fringes and Their Impact on Levels of Joy asubtlerevelry.com Joy levels proven to increase dramatically in presence of fondant fringe. Here's a step-by-step tutorial on how to make them. 17. Leaving the sides of a cake unfrosted is less work and totally chic. bonappetit.com Get the recipe for this pretty almond "tomboy" cake here. As with most things in life, this works best with Funfetti. nylonpinksy.tumblr.com Trim off the outermost edge of the layers to show off those #sprinks. 18. Use a cookie cutter to make a number out of sprinkles. littlelifeofmine.com 19. Send your message with happy birthday banner. wordsandcake.blogspot.com.au Writing on cakes just never works out the way you think it will. So don't! Get the instructions and a recipe for this sponge cake here. 20. Flowers make a lovely topper for spring and summer birthday cakes. call-me-cupcake.blogspot.com Get the recipe for this red velvet cake (decorated with carnations) here. 21. Fruit can also be very pretty. camillestyles.com Recipe for this Peaches and Cream Cake here. 22. Cut out waxed paper stencils to make these cool designs with sparkly sugar. Tap to play or pause GIF Tap to play or pause GIF brit.co Get the instructions here. 23. Tie tiny adorable balloons to skewers and stick 'em in the cake. thecraftsdept.marthastewart.com 24. Try "paving" a frosted cake with Skittles or M&Ms. paisleypetalevents.com 25. When in doubt, just throw hella sprinkles up on that thing and call it a day. thecakeblog.com 26. Instead of counting out exactly the right number of candles, just place them to make one big number. marthastewart.com 27. For those who prefer not to announce their age, a single candle is always classy. sweetapolita.com As long as there are sprinkles, everything will be wonderful. 28. Extra-tall candles are extra elegant. ana-rosa.tumblr.com Just try not to set everyone on fire, OK? 29. EXTREMELY tall candles are EXTREMELY elegant. asubtlerevelry.com Or maybe just terrifying? 30. Never again get a mouthful of wax in your cake: fruit + wicks = fruit candles! asubtlerevelry.com Here's how to make them. 31. Does your birthday person love banana splits? Go ahead, put one on top of a cake! alanabread.com Here's how to make this behemoth. 32. This is the ultimate cake for a chess nerd's birthday. asubtlerevelry.com It takes a little doing, but it looks sooooo coooool. Instructions here. 33. ALERT ALERT ALERT there are balls of cookie dough inside this cake, which is also covered with cookies. somethingshinyblog.com So much better than those "cookie cakes" people used to bring to school, like, who do you even think you're fooling, you stupid huge cookie. Get the recipe here. 34. For the girly girl (or guy) in your life: pink frosting, sprinkles, and tiny ballerinas. sweetapolita.com 35. Win hearts and blow minds by hiding candy in an awesome secret piñata cake. asubtlerevelry.com Instructions here. OK, class dismissed. Happy birthday to you and me and the whole wide world. Go out there and bake a cake! blog.amyatlas.com Just for the record, we're partial to chocolate. dessertsforbreakfast.com In case you were wondering.