8 Birthday Cake Recipes for Your Next Celebration

updated May 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Everyone celebrates their birthday differently, but if there’s one common thread, it’s the presence of a cake (or, at the very least, a birthday-inspired dessert). Whether you’re baking a celebratory treat for yourself, your kids, your best friend, or a coworker, here are our eight all-time favorite birthday cakes and birthday-inspired desserts.

A super-simple, foolproof recipe is especially important on the day of a birthday party. After all, the last thing you want is to be stuck in the kitchen as the festivities begin, or to dig into a disappointing dessert. This classic birthday cake recipe requires just one bowl, and bakes into a buttery, tender-crumbed cake every single time. The chocolate frosting is just as easy.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Even easier than our classic layer cake is this one-bowl sheet cake, which you’ll cut into squares and serve straight from the pan. Because it can serve up to 16 people, it’s perfect for larger celebrations, such as classroom parties or an office birthday. Don’t forget to top with your favorite sprinkles!

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

If your idea of the perfect birthday cake is the Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix, but you’re determined to make something from scratch, look no further than this sprinkle-studded white cake layer cake. Because it’s a white cake, not a yellow cake, the sprinkles stand out especially well.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

If you’re baking on a weeknight — or in need of a last-minute birthday cake — this milk chocolate Bundt cake has you covered. We swapped oil for butter so you don’t have to wait for butter to soften, which also makes the cake moister (it’s the same technique used in muffins). A Bundt pan is a super-simple way to give the cake a festive look without worrying about stacking layers or piping frosting.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Don’t worry — we didn’t forget about you chocolate sheet cake lovers out there. This large-format cake is ready in 30 minutes, and you can whip up the four-ingredient frosting as it bakes. The best part? You don’t even need to wait for the cake to cool before you frost it; this frosting is designed to be poured over a warm, fresh-from-the-oven cake.

(Image credit: Brie Passano)

Making a full-size homemade ice cream cake can be a day-long project. Not so with this single-serve version, which boasts layers of store-bought pound cake, chocolate wafer cookies, and the ice cream flavors of your choosing. You can even assemble these up to one month ahead, then pull them out of the freezer when the festivities begin.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

This one-bowl batter yields 24 fluffy cupcakes, ready to be topped with our even fluffier buttercream. You can use any rainbow sprinkles you have on hand, but the very best sprinkles for Funfetti cakes are jimmies — those long and thin rainbow sprinkles. They practically melt right into the cake, creating the iconic Funfetti effect.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

These little treats (you may know them as the stars of Starbucks’ bakery case) are trendy for good reason — they’re super-moist and fudgy and covered in a thin layer of crunchy icing. Whether you serve them in place of a traditional cake or make them out of leftover cake scraps, you really can’t go wrong.