Clever and Appropriate

Assume the guest of honor and other party guests are reasonably intelligent people unobsessed by bizarre fetishes or a need to be carelessly cruel. 

Therefore, in addition to a cake that is kind of funny and right on, it should also not be:

a. stupid,

b. vile, or

c. lame.

Yikes! We can see the flop sweat right through the monitor. Don’t worry, we’ll help.

Trying to be both clever and appropriate is where a lot of Over the Hill cake planners mess up. In a panic to create something fun and unique, they get seriously weird.

The most common mistake is to pursue a theme on the outer edges of tastefulness. The planner gets a crazy idea that she knows is “out there,” but once the initial shock wears off, she’s sure everyone will be pleased.

Instead, what happens is silence followed by nervous laughter and comments like, “Geez, what were you thinking?”

So, unless your guests are shock-hardened insult comics, take at least one step back from your most outrageous idea. You’ll be glad later. Besides, many of the Over The Hill gifts will be of questionable taste anyway. No need to duplicate those efforts.

You’re almost dead. Ha!

Don’t know what we’re talking about? Sure you do. Here are some common cake ideas in the outer ranges of clever and appropriate.

Figure getting sucked into, or trying to crawl out of, a grave

Funny-saying tombstones and cartoon grim reapers are easy to take but semi-accurate depictions of a real grave can be a step too far. If your concept must incorporate the Great Abyss, look for a truly humorous twist. The cake should not portray the guest of honor’s corpse decaying in the cold earth while loved ones learn to cope with the grief. No one here gets out alive… Happy Birthday!

How to Bake an Over the Hill Party Cake

Step 3: Assemble your ingredients. The contestants on “Chopped” call this mise en place, which is French for get everything ready ahead of time instead of rushing around grabbing one ingredient at a time. Look at you! You’re a French chef! Cracking the eggs into a separate bowl lets you pick out the shell bits before they get mixed in, just like the pros.

Step 4: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. This lower temperature is correct because we’ll be using a dark or coated pan for cooking. If we were using a metal or glass pan, the proper temp would be 350 degrees. Next step.

Toilet, complete with curly turd

This stupid idea is far too common and it must stop. Cake planners try to save the concept with a “funny” caption like, “it’s all crap from here!” What’s crap is this crappy idea for a cake.

What a toilet cake really says is, “You’re shit, this cake is shit, life is shit. Enjoy!” If that’s what you’re going for, fine, but if you want laughs from someone other than Larry the Cable Guy, good luck.

Gross-out decorations like a shriveled penis, wrinkled balls, saggy tits, etc.

Sure, they sound funny in your head and for the right party, you might even pull it off. But all you need is for one person to say, “ Ugh! That’s F’d up!” to turn the crowd against you. Remember, people want a hearty laugh and then a big slice. Don’t make them want to double bag the cake and drop it in a landfill.

So, if your cake theme, decorations, or icing messages are too dark or disgusting, please keep brainstorming. Remember, you won’t know for sure that you’ve gone too far until after the big reveal. Explaining that “it was just a joke” falls flat, so try to anticipate the reactions realistically. 

So, now that we’ve ruined all the really good ideas, can you still be funny and even a bit edgy? If you can’t push the boundaries for an Over the Hill party, then what’s the point?