I will admit it: I like a decorated cake. Something beyond just frosting. Sure, a frosted but undecorated cake tastes just as good as an undecorated cake but the festive and fun factor is so much better with a decorated one. But the time, the skills, the mess, the confusion of what exactly to do? It can be pretty frustrating when all you want is a party-ready cake. A while ago, I threw together a quick cake and decorated it like a champ. The cake part came out fine (I’m a pretty good baker), but the frosting was a little off. Like, too heavy, sagging down the sides. But I tell you what, no one noticed because the decoration stole the show.

This is exactly is why I’ve put together 41 cakes that are totally adorable and will make you look like a birthday goddess, but are easy enough to fudge if you are short on time (or short on skills). If you’re not a baker or on a time crunch, a store-bought cake with one of these decorative hacks will taste just as delicious and will win you just as much praise.

Here are my favorite easy birthday cake decorating ideas that look hard, but are simple enough that anyone (including you!) can do them. Check them out in the slideshow.