Freshly baked cake coated with thick buttercream frosting is the dessert that comes to mind when most of us think about birthdays. It's far from the only party-worthy dessert, though. When baking isn't in the cards, these are the sweet treats that will make your celebration special.
1. Ice Cream Cake
Despite having a winter birthday, this has always been my cake of choice. Ice cream cake is a crowd-pleaser no matter what time of year it's served. Go big with a full-sized cake, or use a muffin tin for single-serve cakes. You've also got options when it comes to how much work is involved. If you want to go all in, make the ice cream and chocolate topping from scratch; if you have less time to devote to dessert, go ahead and lean on store-bought supplies.
Our Favorite Ice Cream Cake Recipes
2. No-Bake Cream Cheese Pie
A super-velvety and lush cream cheese pie will easily win the hearts of cheesecake-lovers. This no-bake pie comes together with a handful of ingredients and can be made up to a day in advance. Any type of fresh fruit makes a welcome topping, although shaved chocolate or toasted nuts are also great choices.
Get the recipe: No-Bake Cream Cheese Pie
3. Nutella Skillet S'mores
No one will miss the cake when dessert is a hands-on skillet s'more affair. There's no campfire required — instead all you need for this sweet treat is a skillet, graham crackers, marshmallows, and a jar of Nutella. Pull it fresh from the oven and get ready to dig in.
Get the recipe: Nutella Skillet S'mores
4. No-Bake Icebox Cake
Layered with graham crackers, whipped cream, and fresh fruit, icebox cakes are the ultimate no-bake solution when making a traditional cake isn't in the cards. Icebox cakes are super versatile, so you can swap in the ingredients you love.
Icebox Cake Recipes We Love
5. Individual Strawberry Shortcakes
Strawberry shortcake is the dessert that's loved for its sweet simplicity, and it's totally worthy of birthday celebration status. When you don't have time to bake, trade the layered cake for individual-sized versions using store-bought biscuits, fresh whipped cream, and sliced strawberries. Can't find decent strawberries right now? Just swap in a different fruit that's in season.
Get the recipe: How To Make Strawberry Shortcakes for a Big Party
6. Quick Fruit Trifle
Fruit trifles are quite possibly the MVP of fast and fancy desserts. They come together with few ingredients and little effort, yet always look beautiful and taste amazing. When you don't have time to bake, pull off this dessert with a store-bought pound cake, whipped cream, and your favorite fresh or frozen fruit.
Get the recipe: Quick Strawberry Trifles
7. DIY Mini Fruit Pizas
Don't stress about not baking. Instead, why not make dessert a DIY, hands-on affair to let everyone join in the fun? Take this occasion to splurge on the really good sugar cookie dough, whip up a batch of buttercream, and prep a variety of colorful fresh fruit to make cookie pizzas. It's a sweet treat for all ages.
Get the recipe: Mini Fruit Pizzas