Themes for specialty birthday cakes include popular animated characters, seasonal designs, bold patterns and unusual colors. Baking supply manufacturer Wilton offers a number of cake design ideas on its website, Wilton.com.
Baking supply companies such as Wilton sell a variety of specialty cake pans shaped like cartoon characters, animals, teddy bears and sports equipment. Bakers who use these pans decorate the finished cakes with intricate frosting designs. Bakers also use frosting to apply complex geometric designs to traditional round cakes, creating dramatic stripes or chevron patterns. Some specialty cakes reflect the season, such as autumn cakes decorated with fondant leaves in fall colors. Food coloring can be added to vanilla cake batter before baking to create unique colors and rainbow designs.