Surprise Cake Stands Are the Most Thrilling Thing to Happen to Birthday Cakes Since Sprinkles

published Jun 12, 2023
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slice of birthday cake sits with a candle on top, and another similar cake slice in background
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

I’m always looking for unique ways to surprise my kids and make celebrations (or even a regular Tuesday) feel special and memorable. As someone with a pretty strong sweet tooth, a cake alone is usually enough to get me excited. But what’s even more exciting is when a surprise pops out of the middle of a seemingly normal cake. 

If this sounds like fun to you, read on:.

What Is Surprise Cake? 

Surprise Cake is a popping cake stand that allows you to hide a fun surprise or present inside the birthday cake. Before the surprise pops out, it simply looks like a regular cake or cupcake stand. You can choose a stand that plays “Happy Birthday” or “Pop Goes the Weasel” before the surprise pops out, or you can choose a silent stand that pops when you pull a trigger. 

The price of the stand varies from $70 to $80 on Amazon, depending on what type you get and what options you choose. 

How Does Surprise Cake Work? 

The cake stand works with round cakes up to 10 inches in diameter, and the cupcake stand can hold up to 18 cupcakes. 

It doesn’t take too long to set up. I set up this store-bought cake on the stand in about 15 minutes. First, you need to put your surprise inside the clear tube and set it into the stand. Then, align your cake on top and core the cake so the surprise tube is able to pop through. 

I’ve found that the most difficult part is coring the cake and then patching the top of the cake to disguise the hole in the middle. I cored this cake just after I took it out of the refrigerator; I think it would have been a bit easier if I had waited until it got to room temperature. 

For this cake, I replaced the top layer of cake and icing and rearranged the chocolate shavings to disguise the hole once I had the cake on the stand. In the past when I used a homemade cake, I’ve saved extra icing to disguise the hole. You could also wait to ice the cake until after it’s cored and placed on the stand to make it easier. To disguise the hole, you could also add small decorations or sprinkles — just make sure anything you add on top of the hole isn’t too heavy so the tube is able to pop through. 

If you’re getting a cake from a professional baker, you could give them the stand pre-loaded with your surprise. Be sure to give them the instructions and explain how the stand works so they can have the cake ready to go on the stand for you!

Once you have your cake set up, you either pull a trigger or wind the music box to make the surprise pop out. It comes right through the middle of the cake and never fails to elicit gasps of glee and laughter. 

What Is Surprise Cake For? 

The most obvious occasion to use the Surprise Cake popping stand is for birthdays, but that’s definitely not the only occasion I’ve used it for. We often bring it to family gatherings just to add a little fun. The cake stand is a bit pricey, so it’s probably not something you only want to use once. Even if you reuse the stand for the same person, it’s still fun and exciting — especially because they don’t know what’s going to be in the tube. 

Here are some other fun ways to use surprise cake.

  • Fill with candy for a gender reveal.
  • Fill it with tickets to a concert or event.
  • Put an ultrasound picture in the clear tube for a pregnancy announcement. 
  • Put small party favors in the tube for a kids’ birthday party. 
  • Add pictures of a vacation destination to announce to your kids where you’ll be going on vacation. 
  • Put the first clue of a scavenger hunt in the tube.

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