We've got a family member celebrating a birthday this weekend, and it's been a while since we've broken out all three cake pans and embarked on a proper, layered birthday cake. The turn of the seasons has us wanting something particularly Fall-ish—beyond white cake, fluffy frosting, even dark chocolate. Here are eight harvest-inspired ideas. When we think of Fall, we think of apples, spices, nuts, dried berries, and warm, buttery flavors. Of course, we'd never turn up our nose at a chocolate cake, and some people (mostly under the age of 16) will always want a pastel buttercream frosting, regardless of what the calendar says.
But these cakes are inspiration for thinking outside the box. We've decided which one we're making. Can you guess?
1. Banana Nut Birthday Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, from the Kitchn. A moist, sweet alternative to carrot cake, but with the same delicious icing.
2. Harvest Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting, from the Kitchn. Not overly sugary, full of nutritious ingredients, and a two-year-old loved it as much as her parents did.
3. Pistachio Petit Four Cake, from Smitten Kitchen. Pistachios feel very Fall, and yet that have a beautiful (late summer?) color. Plus, there's jam, marzipan, and chocolate ganache.
4. Stacked Applesauce Cake, from Country Living. So simple! Just bake and layer with some whipped cream.
5. Apricot Almond Layer Cake, from Gourmet. A gorgeous tower of macaron layers and dried apricots. Perfect colors for this month.
6. Almond-Banana Cake with Salted Butter Caramel Icing, from Savour Fare. Somehow caramel seems just right when the weather turns cool—not too heavy but buttery and warm. Plus, there's a chocolate icing drizzled over the top.
7. Sweet Potato Layer Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting, from Bon Appétit. Mashed sweet potatoes in the batter? Intriguing...
8. German Chocolate Cake, from Country Living. Because we needed one chocolate option on the list. But with the nutty coconut frosting, it still feels less dense and wintry than an all-chocolate affair.
We're going to aim high and go for the pistachio cake. What would you choose?
Related: How to Frost a Layer Cake
(Images: Elizabeth Passarella; Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan; Deb/Smitten Kitchen; Ann Stratton/Country Living; Quentin Bacon/Gourmet; Kate/Savour Fare; Brian Leatart/Bon Appétit; Ann Stratton/Country Living)