Cake in a Can Birthday Surprise DIY

How to do you turn a can of fruit into a yummy frosted cupcake in a pop-top can surprise? Is it magic?

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Cake in a Can Birthday Surprise DIY

Nope, just a little craftiness. = )

My niece and nephews all share birthdays in September, and because of the start of school, we are normally never able to celebrate in person. Last year I sent them all a “birthday in a box” filled with everything they would need to have their own mini-party celebration. This year, I decided to actually mail a birthday cake surprise…. in a can!

Have you ever baked a cake in a can? I’ve seen it done on Pinterest before, but I actually wanted to send the whole can, and make it a surprise to open the can with the cake inside.

The trick is to start with a can that has a pop-top already, and to use a safety can opener that doesn’t leave a sharp edge. This is the exact can opener I used, but I know you can find it in different brands as well. It safely and easily removes lids, leaving a smooth edge that is suitable for resealing with a plastic lid, or in this case, attaching back on the can. Canned fruit is a good choice to start with, and I wanted to make sure the cans I used had pop-tops. I used 15 oz cans of peaches and fruit cocktail. I emptied out the fruit and saved it for lunches later, and cleaned and dried out the cans to use for baking. Make sure to use a can that started with food in it, so that you know the metal is safe to bake in.

The other key trick is to remove the lid from the BOTTOM of the can, leaving the pop-top intact. And don’t forget, save the bottom lids!

How to make cake in a can birthday surprise @clubchicacircle

After the cans were clean and dry, with bottom lids removed, I made sure to coat them with cooking spray.

I mixed up some Funfetti cake mix together and filled the cans about 1/2 full. I baked them in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Then, before popping them out of the can, I let them cool in the cans first. I popped them out, using a knife around the edges if necessary, and then let them cool completely.

Part two of my cake in a can DIY is the crafty part. I cleaned and dried out the cans again before assembling my birthday cake surprises.

Cupcake in a can assembly steps Part 2

I put fun colored sprinkles and sugar cupcake candy decorations on the bottom of the can. Note: I put the cupcake candy decoration upside-down so that it would be at the top of my can when opened.

Then I squirted in chocolate icing on top of the sprinkles at the bottom of the can. I used enough to cover all of the decoration and fill the bottom.

Then I placed the cooled cake back into the can, with the bottom of the cake showing.

Finally, I placed the lid back on and used clear packing tape to secure. Because I was putting food back into the can, I didn’t want to use glue to reattach the lid. The tape was safer.

Now, you can send off a can with a cute birthday label right? I created four different free printable birthday labels that you can download and print here:

Free Printable Cake in a Can Happy Birthday Labels

cake in a can with free printable labels

Print out the labels, cut them out, and wrap around the finished cake cans. I used pretty washi tape to secure, but clear tape would work too.

Then all the birthday recipient has to do is pop the top and enjoy the cake! Surprise!

Cake in a Can Birthday Surprise

I mailed one off to my niece, and told her I wanted to Facetime with her while she opened her surprise. Her facial expression was priceless. She really thought I send her a can of beans!

When she popped the top, she was pleasantly surprised and gobbled the cake right up!

While I was testing out the cupcake-in-a-can surprise, I had my tween and two of her neighbor friends test it out for me first.

cake in a can yummy craft surprise for kids

I gave them each a can and a fork and the result was a two-thumbs up!

cake in a can surprise treat for kids

This was a fun birthday surprise to make and to send. And clean-up was easy too. Once they were done with the cake, I simply just needed to recycle the can.

birthday cupcake in a can DIY

Try out this yummy birthday surprise craft for someone special. So easy to transport and enjoy!

Looking for another fun way to upcycle something ordinary and fill it with a tasty treat? I love these Strawberry Treat Cups from Crafts by Amanda that started as ordinary red plastic cups. So cute and clever!

strawberry-cups-craft idea

Happy crafting!

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Pauline Molinari

I'm the crafty maven, and I'm on a mission to spread craftiness. With a fine arts degree, over 15 years experience in children's publishing, and a savvy, stylish, sassy tween daughter, I come armed with perspective and passion to inspire tween girls and their mothers to be crafty together. 

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