The Best Birthday Cake Recipes

Baked Alaska Birthday Cake
Photo: © Con Poulos

We love a classic layered birthday cake, but these recipes take a party favorite to the next level with sophisticated ingredients like brown butter, salted caramel, and homemade sprinkles. With everything from a baked Alaska ice cream birthday cake to a dreamy, creamy milk chocolate layer cake, these desserts will get the party started. Whether you're turning six or sixty, we have your perfect birthday treat. If you want to get extra fancy, be sure to check out these decorating tips for camera-ready cakes.

01 of 15

Ice Cream Birthday Cake

Ice Cream Birthday Cake
© David Malosh

This awesome cake for a crowd features chocolate cake, two flavors of ice cream, thick layers of fudge sauce, heaps of chocolate crunchies, and a luscious ganache topping.

02 of 15

Best-Ever Birthday Cake

best-ever birthday cake
Greg Dupree

Who can argue with a classic yellow cake dotted with sprinkles and finished with a chocolate icing? This recipe is exactly that, no boxed mix required.

03 of 15

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake
Abby Hocking / Food & Wine

This towering cake is made with deep red cake layers and lots of cream cheese frosting. Unsweetened cocoa powder and red food coloring give the cake its signature hue. 

04 of 15

'The Bear' Chocolate Cake

The Bear Chocolate Cake

Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

The famous chocolate cake from the television show The Bear features an airy chocolate mousse layered between a fudgy chocolate cake and topped with a rich chocolate frosting. This recipe has several components, and all three elements can be made in advance and assembled the day of your celebration or gathering.

05 of 15

Rainbow Cake

Rainbow Cake
Abby Hocking / Food & Wine

If you're looking for a colorful celebration cake, this seven-layered rainbow stunner is the way to go.

06 of 15

Vanilla-Scented Cornmeal Cake with Olive Oil Buttercream

Cornmeal Cake with Olive Oil Buttercream
Sam Aguirre-Kelly

Pastry chef Bronwen Wyatt's rich, elegant cake is perfect for just about any celebration you may have coming your way. You can simply spread the buttercream frosting to cover it, swirling for a little flair, or follow Wyatt's decorating tips by using a pastry bag to form ruffles and squiggles with the buttercream. Top the cake with your choice of edible decorations.

07 of 15

Chocolate Party Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache and Homemade Sprinkles

Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Ali Ramee

Rich, chocolaty, and so very festive, this chocolate cake with ganache frosting is worthy of a party. Ganache has many applications in pastry, and here chef Paola Velez uses it to make the silky-smooth frosting to top her chocolate cake. If you're making the sprinkles from scratch, remember to start one day ahead so they can dry overnight.

08 of 15

Brown Butter Layer Cake

Brown-Butter Layer Cake
© Pernille Pedersen

Seattle chef Tom Douglas uses brown butter for an indulgent nutty flavor in this fun twist on a classic white cake.

09 of 15

Baked Alaska Birthday Cake

Baked Alaska Birthday Cake
© Con Poulos

This ultimate birthday cake features three flavors of ice cream, moist chocolate cake, nutty ganache, and fluffy meringue.

10 of 15

Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

When you want to keep things simple and bright, this easy and delicious lemon cake only takes one bowl to throw together.

11 of 15

Milk Chocolate-Frosted Layer Cake

Milk-Chocolate-Frosted Layer Cake
© Con Poulos

This cake from pastry chef Karina Gowing is perfection for anyone who loves frosting. The ultracreamy icing, which is almost like a milk chocolate ganache, gets spread liberally over layers of light, delicate, cocoa-flavored cake.

12 of 15

Ombré Coconut Burfi Cake

Ombre Coconut Burfi Cake
Andria Lo

Underneath the purple and white ombré coat of sweetened coconut, cookbook author and blogger Hetal Vasavada's slim, tall layer cake is bound with a cloud-like layer of Swiss meringue buttercream. But the best part is the chewy coconut filling, inspired by burfi, a type of fudge-like, milk-based Indian sweet. Coconut milk keeps the cake layers incredibly moist with a tender crumb.

13 of 15

Crunchy Milk Chocolate-Peanut Butter Layer Cake

Crunchy Milk Chocolate—Peanut Butter Layer Cake
© Tina Rupp

The genius of this layer cake is its extraordinarily crunchy filling, made with almonds, salted peanuts, creamy peanut butter, chocolate, and Rice Krispies. The silky milk chocolate ganache frosting almost pushes the recipe over the top.

14 of 15

Caramel Layer Cake

Caramel Layer Cake
© Christina Holmes

This impressive cake is encased in a fudge-like caramel frosting. Pastry chef Lisa Donovan adapted it from a recipe by Southern-cooking doyenne Edna Lewis.

15 of 15

Yellow Layer Cake with Vanilla Frosting

Yellow Layer Cake with Vanilla Frosting
© Fredrika Stjärne

This classic cake is a birthday party staple.

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