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A birthday cake trick?

Posted: April 29th, 2016, 2:06 am
by acotgreave
This is my first post!
My 7-yr old daughter wants a magic-themed birthday party (hurrah! I've done something right to inspire that!).

I want to link a card trick to her cake. Any ideas?

The simplest would be to make the cake in the style of a couple of playing cards and then force those cards on her and her friends. Her favourite trick is when I do a bunch of forces to the same card, so she'll be pleased with that one. But i do wonder what other tricks I could do. Do you have any ideas?

My skill level? A developing amateur.... I've gotten through Card College 1 & 2. Anything of that level would be great.

Thanks in advance!


Re: A birthday cake trick?

Posted: April 29th, 2016, 8:02 am
by performer
It is no good asking anyone here. All they do are card tricks! If I were you I would go to your local magic shop (if you have one) and seek advice. They will sell you appropriate material. Entertaining children is technically easy as little sleight of hand is required. Alas other skills come to the fore which you may not have time to acquire. Don't do any more card tricks though otherwise you are liable to bore them to death. I suspect the birthday cake one will too! My feeling is that you should hire a professional kids entertainer if you can afford it. Of course if you buy suitable tricks to entertain them it will cost you money anyway.

Re: A birthday cake trick?

Posted: April 29th, 2016, 10:28 am
by erdnasephile
How about "baking" a cake with a dove pan? -- just don't use fire please. (I think David Ginn and others have published routines along those lines)

Another old idea is to do the card/bill to impossible location effect, using the cake as the impossible location. (If you need a ready made routine, check out the one in "The Mark Wilson Course in Magic"). Easy as pie, and the kids (and adults) will be fooled.

PS: FWIW, I think performing magic at your own kid's birthday at their request is a gig you'll (and they) will remember for a lifetime. Don't pass it up, and have fun!

Re: A birthday cake trick?

Posted: April 29th, 2016, 10:51 am
by erdnasephile
PPS: An outstanding resource you might find helpful is "Seriously Silly" by David Kaye. Also, I think "5 minutes with a Pocket Handkerchief' by Quentin Reynolds is absolutely terrific. I used that routine myself for my kid's party and it went over amazingly well--screams, really. So much fun! Plus, watching Mr. Reynolds expertly captivate an entire gymnasium full of kids is a master lesson in and of itself.

Re: A birthday cake trick?

Posted: April 29th, 2016, 12:21 pm
by performer
Yes indeed. I know all about the handkerchief routine. I stole it from the Martin Gardner book. As for the Baking a Cake routine I have seen Quentin do it. I would highly recommend the original poster does something else. But not the card to birthday cake. It will bore the little brats stiff.

He can do this instead. I stole it from Peter D'Arcy who stole it from Clown Bertram. However, I improved it beyond recognition as I am naturally wont to do:


This is probably the finest bit of business I have come across for children’s entertainment. It is I think best used as an opening item although it can be used at any point in the programme.

Simply get an old letter and put it in your pocket or some accessible place. The letter is blank on one side, writing on the other and is in an unsealed envelope.

Start by removing the letter and say “That’s funny, there’s a letter here”

Place it absent mindedly under your right armpit and continue “I wonder why I’ve got a letter, has anybody here sent me a letter? Shall I see what it says?” Now look round with a puzzled gaze and say “That’s funny, what did I do with the letter?”

Naturally the kids will shout “it’s under your arm!” You lift up your LEFT arm and say, looking puzzled “Under my arm?” They will yell “Your other arm!” You reply still puzzled “Your other arm? Oh you mean YOUR other arm!” They will scream “No! YOUR arm!” You say “That’s what I said-YOUR arm!”

At this point the little angels will point out your error in one of the following ways:

1. They will call you names.
2. They will scream the place down.
3. They will trample you underfoot.

As a variation of number 3 they may also attempt to amputate your arm in a most unmedical manner.

The answer to the above bedlam is as follows:

1. Mercy killing
2. Barbed wire across the performing area.
3. Cream buns filled with arsenic.

If the above measures fail you have two alternatives:

A. Take up card tricks
B. Take a priest along with you to give you the last rites.

To get back to business, sometimes a bright juvenile will pipe up “My arm!” He, she or it (especially it) will preen smugly at the other brats as if to defy you to get out of THAT one. You then demonstrate your adult superiority by saying triumphantly “There. That’s what I said. Under your arm!”

After playing this up for an hour and a half or so you then say “Oh, under MY arm!” You then look under the lower part of your arm still keeping your upper arm to your side. “There’s nothing there!” you protest. If they say “higher up” you look heavenword and say “where?” They may shout “lift your arm up!” If they do you react by lifting your LEFT arm up or by just lifting the lower part of your right arm.

Eventually feel around the area where the letter is but making sure the missing object is not seen from the front. Sooner or later the herd will scream “It’s at the back!” You now turn your back to the audience, placing your left hand behind you feeling your back. You shout above the racket “on my back?”

I must warn you that this is a dangerous part of the routine. On the same principle that lion tamers never turn their backs on the animals you also stand a fifty-fifty chance of being eaten alive if you turn your back for too long.

Anyhow you obviate the possibility of an early cremation by swiftly turning to the front and hear the horde utter remarks to the effect that the letter is at the back of your arm. Turn round again and push the letter to the front of your arm saying, “There’s nothing at the back of my arm!” Turn front again and the letter will be plainly visible to everybody. Just look ahead not noticing it and listen to the clamour.

When you do this look straight ahead so that you do not see the letter fall. You now look under your arm and find nothing there. Eventually you say, “ Shall I lift my arm up?” You do so and let the letter fall to the floor. When you do this look straight ahead so that you don’t notice the letter fall. You now look under your arm and find nothing there. Through the uproar you will hear some little termite bellow, “It’s on the floor!” Naturally you mishear this and start a minute inspection of the nearest door. Eventually you are prevailed upon to look in a downward direction but somehow you look everywhere except the correct spot. You further complicate matters by somehow managing to stand with both feet together right on the poor downtrodden letter! As you can imagine you will be informed by the assembled volcano that you are “standing on it!” You retort by saying, “Of course I’m standing on the floor but where’s the letter gone?” They will scream, “You’re standing on the letter!” You now take a step or two forward and expostulate, “I’m standing on the letter?” Look down and continue, “I’m not standing on the letter” They will scream, “Behind you!” You look in the air behind you and fail to find the letter.

Finally you look on the floor and say. “Oh there it is!” You’ve found it at last! Look at the kids and say, “Why didn’t you tell me the letter was on the floor?” They will shout, “we did!” You retort, “Oh no you didn’t!” I need hardly tell you what happens now!

Actually I do. After all there may be North Americans reading this who will not realise that in the UK the kids will all reply in unison, “Oh yes we did!” This is purely a United Kingdom thing since it is a feature of traditional British pantomine where the kids have been trained to react in this manner.

Stroll over to the letter bending down to pick it up. As you do so you groan in an ailing voice, “Oooh, it’s a long way down!” As you straighten up say, “Oooh it’s a long way up!” You continue, “Shall I see what the letter says?” Open up the letter and read the blank side. You are now holding the letter writing side outwards in the left hand, your right hand holding the envelope.

Say, “That’s funny! There’s nothing on the letter!” The kids will yell, “On the other side!” You thereupon look in the direction of your ribs and make remarks that there are no letters to be found on your “other side”. You will now hear an agonized spluttering of infants thus: “The other side of the paper!” You react by looking at the SIDE of the paper or by searching desperately on both sides of the ENVELOPE. Of course after a while you eventually discover the writing. Now say, “That’s funny, it’s in Chinese! Oh sorry-it’s upside down!”

From this point on you can carry on how you want. I used to say, “Well it says here that before we do any magic I have to show you the fireworks book. I would then perform the then well-known children’s routine “Fireworks” by Wilfred Tyler. Nowadays I would use a similar but superior item known as "The Magic Menu". But you can lead in to any trick you like by simply stating that the letter is telling you to do whatever the next trick is.

Anyway that’s it.

Re: A birthday cake trick?

Posted: May 4th, 2016, 11:52 pm
by Spellbinder
Since your request was to "link a card trick to her cake", here's how I do it: when it comes time to make a wish and then blow out the candles on the cake, I have the (forced) card rise up out of the center of the cake in the midst of the candles. The back of the card has a message written on it "Your Wish Will Come True!". This is easy to do either with a home made cake or a store-bought cake. It's just a matter of pushing a plastic sleeve down into the center of the cake and covering up the evidence by smoothing out the frosting over the slit. Invisible sewing thread to make the card rise links up magnetically with another piece of invisible sewing thread once the cake is in position in front of the birthday child. Let the candles blow out before making the card rise, so they appear more in the smoke of the candles rather than in the flames. Disconnect the magnets afterwards and tell whomever cuts the cake to pull straight up on the short thread to remove the plastic sleeve when no one else is looking.

Re: A birthday cake trick?

Posted: May 5th, 2016, 4:11 am
by acotgreave
Oh my - these are fantastic responses. The Letter routine is hilarious.

My daughter loves having the same card forced on her in multiple ways - that's fast and easy and probably the easiest to keep the attention of the group that I've used in the past: each child tries and fails to choose any card other than, say, the Queen of Hearts. And finally it disappears.

However - I will check out the other options, as they all sound great.

Many thanks for your advice, I will let you know how it goes!


Re: A birthday cake trick?

Posted: June 6th, 2016, 7:42 am
by acotgreave
I owe you all a reply!

My kids party routine was (mostly) a hit. I did pretty much the entire Letter-under-arm routine - thank you so much for that, the kids found it hilarious.

My letter said "How to do Magic. 1. Get a wand. 2. Get a hat. 3. Do Magic"

From there I crafted a silly routine with collapsing wands and various other visual wand tricks. Once I finally had a wand, I then had a collection of wigs I wore for each trick.

For the magic itself - things went pretty well. The card trick I did do worked (and my daughter since said it was her favourite part!).

The biggest learning point: boy, doing magic for kids is hard! But I had a blast. Thank you for your ideas.