Sweet 18 Birthday Cakes

18th birthday number cake

Sweet 18 birthday cakes are a fun, memorable way to top off a teen's birthday celebration. By making a cake yourself, you can save money and tailor the design to the teen's favorite colors and decorations.

Celebrate Turning 18 With a Special Cake

Rather than specific templates, these cake ideas are meant to be starting points for your own creativity. Use one as a base for your own design, or choose elements from all of them to create an entirely new cake.

Number 18 Cake

A number cake is a classic way to celebrate a birthday, and it's simple enough to be made by most decorators with a little bit of experience.

  1. To create a number cake, bake two 9-inch by 13-inch sheet cakes, and let them cool completely.
  2. Wrap the cakes tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze them briefly to let them firm.
  3. Then remove them from the freezer and use a sharp serrated knife to cut a "1" out of one cake and an "8" out of the other. You may have to patch various parts of cake together to form the "8," so don't be concerned if it breaks, since you can frost over it later.
  4. Frost the cakes with a crumb coat, and let the layer firm before frosting with a thicker, smooth layer of buttercream frosting. If you'd like, you can coat each number with fondant as well.

Alternatively, make a smaller cake. To do this, lay a single 9-inch by 13-inch sheet cake horizontally and cut both numbers out of the cake.

Sheet Cake Design

Create your own sheet cake design if you're someone with an artistic streak and a knack for using a pastry bag and piping tip. Bake a 9-inch by 13-inch rectangular sheet cake, frost it with a thick layer of buttercream, and smooth the frosting over to form a flat surface on top. You can then use the surface to transfer a traced design, pipe on a pattern or picture freehand, or arrange fondant figurines in a meaningful way. If you're a beginning decorator and want to make a traditional-looking cake, you can simply pipe a decorative border around the top and sides of a sheet cake and then pipe a "Happy 18th Birthday" message in the middle.

Adding Details

18th birthday beautiful bird cake
  • Take a cake from ordinary to extraordinary by finishing it off with details that are specific to the birthday teen's personality. If you don't know him or her well, ask parents or friends about the teen's favorite colors, hobbies, foods, and interests. There are many ways you could incorporate the answers into your cake.
  • Use a small plastic soccer ball as a cake topper if the teen is in a local soccer league, and decorate the cake in the colors of his or her favorite team.
  • Bake a character cake if the teen has a favorite show or movie for which Wilton makes a corresponding pan.
  • Roll out strips of tinted fondant in the teen's favorite colors and arrange them in a lattice pattern on top of the cake.
  • Make your own personalized cake toppers from craft materials and stick them on a batch of homemade cupcakes.

Simple 18 Birthday Cakes Ideas


If you're not yet confident in your decorating skills or you don't have the time and equipment to create a complex design, try something simple and classic instead. It can look just as professional as a more complicated cake, and it may even taste better!

  • Focus on the Candles: Decorate the cake with a simple design, or just frost it and pipe a short message in the middle. Fill the border of the cake with 18 candles.
  • Let the Topper Do the Work: Buy or create a cake topper that will work well for the party, and stick it in the middle of the cake. Pipe a small border around it to draw more attention to it.
  • Go Pre-Made: Let a bakery make the cake for you, and add your own personalized touches after you pick it up and before you serve it.

A Cake Worthy of This Milestone Birthday

An 18th birthday is one of those occasions that deserves to be marked in style. Put a lot of thought into the design you choose, and make sure your have the skills to either create it yourself or find a cake decorator who can. That way you can ensure the celebration is as sweet as the new adult who gets to blow out the candles!

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Sweet 18 Birthday Cakes