Special Quotes to Write on Birthday Cakes

Make a wish: a chocolate cake with colorful candles just blown out
Make a wish with a fully decorated cake. Sally Anscombe / Getty Images

So you’re in charge of the birthday cake, and you need a short, sweet sentiment that befits the occasion and personality of your guest of honor. But before you get frustrated trying to come up with something unique, here’s a quick slice of history to go with a helpful sampling of birthday messages to follow.

According to historians, the very first mention of a "birthday celebration" is in reference to the day of the coronation of a new Egyptian pharaoh, who was believed to be reborn that day as a god. That tradition made its way to the Greeks who baked special moon-shaped cakes and adorned them with candles that would glow like the moon in honor of the lunar goddess Artemis. And the smoke from the candle would act as the vehicle carrying their (make a wish) and prayers to their gods in the sky. Most likely inspired by the Greeks, the ancient Romans were baking birthday cakes to celebrate famous public figures and to honor the 50th birthdays of friends and family. By the 1400s, German bakeries were offering birthday cakes, and by the 1700s, they were celebrating Kinderfesten, annual birthdays for children with a candle added for each year of life. Birthday cakes were too expensive for most people until the early 1800s. Then, new leavening agents became available, such as baking soda and baking powder, which made baking affordable and easier than ever before.

So whether you are baking a cake from scratch or a box, or you’re getting one from a bakery, here are some quotes for the icing on the top. They’re from a general (George Patton); statesman (Benjamin Disraeli); businessmen (Bernard M. Baruch, Henry Ford), media executive (Oprah Winfrey); philosopher (Richard Cumberland); painter (Pablo Picasso), singers/musicians (Cora Harvey Armstrong, Aretha Franklin, John Lennon); actors (Clint Eastwood, Frances McDormand); filmmaker (Lula Buñuel), cartoonist (Charles Schulz), humorist/comedians (Art Buchwald, Groucho Marx); poets (Emily Dickinson, Alexander Pope, William Shakespeare); and many writers (Betty Friedan, Franz Kafka, George Meredith, W.B. Pitkin, Jean Paul Richter, Anthony Robbins, George Sand, Dr. Seuss, Gertrude Stein, Jonathan Swift, Booth Tarkington). Copy these quotes with attribution, or use them as a starting point to help inspire a genius “happy birthday” message of your own.

Anonymous

"Turning 30 is a piece of cake."

Cora Harvey Armstrong

"Inside every older person is a younger person — wondering what the hell happened."​

Bernard M. Baruch

"Old age is 15 years older than I am."

Art Buchwald

"The best things in life aren't things."

Luis Buñuel

"Age is something that doesn't matter, unless you are a cheese."

Richard Cumberland

"It is better to wear out than to rust out."

Emily Dickinson

"We turn not older with years, but newer every day."

Benjamin Disraeli

"Life is too short to be small."

Clint Eastwood

"Aging can be fun if you lay back and enjoy it."

Henry Ford

"Anyone who keeps learning stays young."

Aretha Franklin

"Every birthday is a gift. Every day is a gift."

Betty Friedan

"Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength."

Franz Kafka

"Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old."

Irish Proverb

"The older the fiddler, the sweeter the tune."

John Lennon

"Count your age by friends, not years."

Groucho Marx

"Getting older is no problem. You just have to live long enough."

Frances McDormand

"With aging, you earn the right to be loyal to yourself."

George Meredith

"Don't just count your years, make your years count."

George Patton

"Live for something rather than die for nothing."

Pablo Picasso

"Youth has no age."

W.B. Pitkin

"Life begins at 40."

Alexander Pope

"Count each birthday with a grateful mind."

Jean Paul Richter

"Birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time."

Anthony Robbins

"Live with passion."

George Sand

"Try to keep your soul young and quivering right up to old age."

Charles Schulz

"Once you're over the hill, you begin to pick up speed."

Dr. Seuss aka Theodor Seuss Geisel

"There is no one alive who is you-er than you!"

William Shakespeare

"With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come."

Gertrude Stein

"We are always the same age inside."

Jonathan Swift

"May you live all the days of your life."

Booth Tarkington

"Cherish all your happy moments; they make a fine cushion for old age."

Oprah Winfrey

"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate."