6 Best 30th Birthday Cakes in 3 Categories + the Best Gift Ideas
There are some very special birthdays in a person’s life: Their 1st, their 16th and so on. But what about the 30th? Your 30th birthday is the figurative end of your youth and the beginning of being a proper grown up. Here you will find great cake ideas for the 30th birthday.
The idea behind this is that your thirties are when most people will find a steady job and, perhaps, start a family of their own. It’s a definite cause for celebration.
Whether you do so with a big bash or a classy, low key affair is up to you, as is whether you really start adult-ing after. Below we give you our top list of cakes that will really set the mood, whichever route you choose.
30th birthdays are important because they celebrate your really starting your adult life. Whether you actually start a steady job now or cruise into family life is obviously up to each individual. You should celebrate with a great birthday cake regardless.
Choose a cake that represents who you are and make it extra delicious. You can’t go wrong with our simple tips and basic cake recipe.
30th Birthday Cake Ideas for Him
Whether it’s your 30th birthday or that of a special man in your life, remember this: It’s the 30th, not the 90th. A lot of 30th birthday cakes can be dull and unimaginative, especially when they are for men. Instead, go with one of our unusual ideas below and create something memorable and special.
Here you’ll find more ideas for birthday cakes for him.
If you like beer, this one’s for you. Picture a delicious vanilla cake shaped like a beer giant pint glass, complete with foam on top.
To achieve this look, simply add some lines to the ‘glass’ cake using dark brown icing or chocolate fondant. Pipe the foamy head using white buttercream. Don’t be tempted to flavor the cake or buttercream with beer, though.
You can complete this fun cake with some ‘happy 30th birthday’ writing in the center. Serve with shot glass-sized mini pints for each guest. Or go one step further and pair it with a selection of beers your friends and family can taste and rate.
A little more tame than the beer cake, but with room for plenty of creativity. A number cake is essentially a cake in the shape of your age, in this case 30. The best part of this cake is that you can have the three made out of one type of cake, and the zero out of another.
Chocolate and vanilla cake is one obvious choice for a pairaing, but you can get creative: Rum and cola flavored cakes, cookies and cream, strawberries and champagne, coffee and caramel.
The best part about this cake is that it’s easy to create using a simple paper stencil, but still looks professional.
Lazy Day Cake
The ultimate ‘owning your thirties’ cake. Bake a rectangular-shaped cake and frost it to look like a bed or a sofa. Add a person made out of fondant, and decorate with things the birthday boy particularly enjoys.
Some popular choices include a fondant football, pizza, a small television, golf clubs, a tennis racket, a fishing rod, and a games console. This is a great cake if you really want to showcase who the person celebrating their 30th is. It’s even better if they like a bit of light-hearted humor.
30th Birthday Cake Ideas for Her
A 30th birthday cake for her should be one of two things: Elegant or fun, and ideally both. What you absolutely do not want is a cake that looks boring and is impersonal. Below we cover some of the best 30th birthday cake ideas for women, from sweet to a little frivolous.
Here you’ll find more birthday cake ideas for girls.
Balloon Girl Cake
You’ve likely seen versions of this cake made for kids before, but they’re great for adults too. The idea is to frost your cake until it is completely smooth using a tall side scraper.
This gives the base an elegant appearance. Add some fondant or chocolate ‘balloons’ or balls to the top of the cake in a small heap. Now draw a few lines down the cake using chocolate fondant or melted chocolate, connecting the balloons.
Add a cutout of the birthday girl to look as though she’s holding the balloons. Finish with a ‘30’ candle or cake topper. You can either cut out a real photo for this or get a cartoon illustration made on a website such as Etsy. If you use the latter, use the same image for invitations or a nice birthday card.
This is a really easy cake to replicate at home, but it looks quite luxurious. You’ll want to frost your cake with a nice buttercream. Then, simply decorate using fondant flowers or pretty sweets such as macaroons. Finish by placing a miniature bottle of champagne amidst the other decorations on the cake.
If your birthday girl likes champagne a lot, you can even infuse the cake with a little bit of bubbly. Substituting the milk in our recipe for champagne will help the air become more airy, while adding a subtle flavor.
The bathtub cake is the perfect 30th birthday cake if the person celebrating likes spa-time. It’s reasonably easy to recreate as well, and you have two options to do so: Either bake a rectangular cake and use fondant to shape it into a tub, or make a small fondant bathtub to sit on top of your finished cake.
Use blue or white buttercream frosting to create the water and bubbles in the bath. Add a fondant head and arms to stick out of the ‘foam’ for the birthday girl relaxing in it.
You can add small fondant accessories to personalise this cake further, similar to our ‘lazy day cake’ above. We recommend gifting a nice spa voucher to go with this one.
Simple 30th Birthday Cake Designs
The best way to create a stunning and memorable birthday cake is to keep it simple. Novice bakers needn’t worry, as you can create a really pretty cake with very little fuss.
Start by baking our easy cake recipe below. Frost your cake using the best buttercream you can make or find, and take your time doing so.
A smooth, well-finished buttercream looks great even if all you add is a ‘thirty’ cake topper or a number 30 candle. If you want to get a little fancier, our top design tips above will give you plenty of ideas. Remember to make your cake personal and craft it with love. The rest will pretty much take care of itself.
Alternatives to a 30th Birthday Cake
Not everyone is a huge fan of birthday cake, even for their 30th birthday. We cover some of our top cake alternatives below. Whether your birthday boy or girl just prefers other baked goods or you want to be a bit different, these are sure to hit the spot.
Cupcakes are always a good alternative to cake. They’re easy to frost beautifully, even if you’re a baking novice, and they’re great for sharing.
If you’re using our basic recipe below you’ll get up to 24 cupcakes instead of the two 9” tins. Try adding multi-colored frosting or individual fondant designs such as flowers or balls for different sports.
Cookies or Brownies
Giant cookies are hugely popular. One huge cookie or many for sharing are great options instead of birthday cake. Alternatively, you could make a selection of brownies for a chocoholic birthday bash. Both can be decorated beautifully with fondant writing or individual sugar ornaments.
If you prefer pancakes to cake, this excellent alternative is for you. You may choose to make thick, fluffy pancakes or thin crepes for this. Just stack them in a high pile with cream between each layer.
Decorate using fruits and maple syrup. Alternatively, you can pile up plain pancakes and serve them with a selection of toppings on the side. This option makes for an especially great 30th birthday brunch.
Happy 30th Birthday: Best Quotes & Captions
As with any birthday message, it’s best to write something personal and from the heart. A 30th birthday can be a little daunting for some, based on the symbolism of becoming a ‘real’ grown up it’s long been associated with.
Yet your thirties may well be the best years of your adult life. Make sure you convey a message that’s positive and really celebrates this beautiful milestone. Below are some ideas to help you write the perfect message.
- “Thirty is an attitude. It says: You know what you’re doing, and you’ve got what it takes to get where you’re going. You’ve never been stronger, wiser, or more ready for adventures than you are right now. So welcome to your prime time.”
- “You’re 18 with 12 years experience.”
- “Here’s to maturing like a fine wine. Happy 30th birthday!”
30th Birthday Gift Ideas
30th birthdays are an excellent gift opportunity. On the one hand you can get some truly special presents, on the other it’s the ideal time for funny gifts.
If cake is your main gift or you’re surprising someone who really loves sweets, you can also stick with this theme. There are some excellent bath products available that smell and even look like baked goods.
A personal and sentimental gift option is something handmade, besides your delicious cake of course. A ‘thirty things I love about you’ poster is a good idea, and one that’s sure to be cherished.
A bespoke ‘30’ necklace with a birthstone is a good gift for women. A ‘30’ flask with a special engraved quote can be a fun option for men.
Many gift shops now offer bespoke gift hampers, including delicious food items, candles, bespoke mugs, and more. These types of items are always readily received and will make a much better alternative to ‘30’ socks or boring gift cards.
30th Birthday Party Ideas
When it comes to throwing a great 30th birthday party, you have tons of options. The obvious choice for a cake lover would be a tea party or picnic.
Bake our basic recipe in one of the fun design ideas we’ve given you above. You could even bake all of our cake alternatives too. Have your guests bring a dish or drink for the ultimate 30th birthday feast.
Themed parties are another great choice, especially if the person you’re celebrating has a particular hobby. A dance party can be made special with the booking of a dance instructor who can teach, for example, the salsa or jive.
You could throw a sports-themed party, a games night, or a movie marathon complete with the screening of a favorite film as well as themed snacks.
You could also stage the ultimate surprise party by inventing an intimate dinner at a nice venue, where all their friends and family will be waiting. And if none of these sound right, then a nice evening just eating delicious cake can be perfect too.
Basic Recipe for a 30th Birthday Cake: A Simple Guide
Below is our basic recipe for a simple yet delicious 30th birthday cake. You can alter this recipe to your liking by adding a different type of extract such as almond or orange.
The finished cake can also be infused with alcohol. Simply slice off a thin layer from the top of the cake. Spoon on some of your favorite spirit, and replace the layer before icing.
You may also substitute the flour for your favorite gluten free alternative. Use aquafaba instead of the eggs, oat or almond milk instead of regular dairy, and coconut oil instead of butter for a vegan option.
- 2 ¼ cups self-raising flour
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup salted butter
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 3 medium eggs
And this is how you do it:
- Preheat your oven to 350F and prepare two 9” cake tins or one 9”x13” pan by greasing them with butter or cooking oil.
- Use a standmixer or hand mixer to cream the butter and sugar until you get a pale and fluffy mix.
- Mix the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl by whisking until they are fully combined.
- Gradually mix the egg, flou, and buttercream until you have a smooth cake batter.
- Pour the cake mix into the prepared tins and bake for 30-35 minutes. The center should be soft and browned yet springy when you gently press it.
Leave the baked cake to cool down to room temperature before frosting and decorating it.
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