The Best Birthday Cake Recipes
Celebrate by making one of our editors' favorite birthday cake or cupcake recipes for your guest of honor this year!
Classic Birthday Cake
For a festive occasion, few treats can match the celebratory spirit of a classic birthday cake—and this easy-to-follow formula is the only one you’ll ever need. Our birthday cake recipe yields two dense layers of buttery, vanilla-forward white cake wrapped in classically rich buttercream frosting. For the signature, picture perfect birthday cake look, don’t forget to garnish your frosted cake with rainbow sprinkles. You can also stir a handful of colored sprinkles right into the cake batter to create a funfetti effect.
Rainbow Sprinkle Cake
A happy birthday, indeed! Pink frosting and rainbow sprinkles -- what more could you need? Make this joyful cake ahead of time, and ice the day of, so you don't have to do it all in one day.
Yellow Sheet Cake with Chocolate Frosting
This simple sheet cake with homemade chocolate frosting will make you forget that store-bought yellow cake mix and canned frosting ever existed. The thick, creamy icing will have you licking your plate.
Orange-Carrot Cake with Classic Cream Cheese Frosting
Make a classic family favorite stuffed with tasty ingredients including cinnamon, nutmeg, pecans, and, of course, grated carrot. This twist on the original adds orange zest and juice for an extra hit of bright flavor to complement the smooth cream cheese icing.
Punch up a basic chocolate cake with a raspberry jam filling and a buttercream icing flavored with raspberry-flavored liqueur, such as Chambord. The icing will keep its cream-colored hue, so the berry bite will be a pleasant surprise.
Basic White Cupcakes
Follow the latest trend and serve tasty cupcakes instead of a whole cake at your next celebration. These "basic" cupcakes are anything but. Moist, rich, and flavored with a hint of almond and vanilla, they're sure to melt in your mouth. Frost with your favorite icing, or follow our suggestion for coconut cupcakes, found on the recipe page.
This colorful unicorn-inspired layer cake is the pinnacle of cuteness—perfect for a birthday party or for anyone who’s just super into the current unicorn craze. While this cake is fantastically wow-worthy, and does take some time and loving dedication to construct, you don’t need to be a pastry chef to pull it off. In fact, creating this mythical masterpiece really is totally achievable for a home baker—just follow the instructions and don’t be afraid to have a little fun with it! You’ll be amazed what you can achieve with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, some colorful candy, and a little bit of fondant.
Ice Cream-Only Ice Cream Cake
For some, a typical ice cream cake is a wonderful, frozen amalgamation of two of life’s great desserts: ice cream and cake (obviously). However, for others—those who truly prefer ice cream over cake—the fact that most ice cream cakes still contain layers of frozen cake is… a disappointment. And it is for these ice cream loving people that we created this “cake,” made purely of frozen dairy goodness. We use fresh whipped cream fortified with gelatin to “frost” the cake, holding the layered scoops together and coating the exterior, because a stabilized whipped cream holds its texture incredibly well (without becoming rock-hard) in the freezer. You can use any number and variety of flavors/colors to create your own take on this ice cream-only cake; we opted to go with a rainbow of colors to achieve a festive feel in every slice. Use any custom combination to create the perfect frozen cake for a birthday party, gender reveal party, college game day event, etc. You can even dress the concept up to create an adorable Ice Cream Princess Cake.
One-Pot Chocolate Cake
Easy Vanilla Cake
Fresh flowers make this cake simply gorgeous—no decorating skills required! Simply choose edible blooms and petals (such as Carnations, English daisies, freesia, lavender, nasturtium, pansies, peonies, roses, stock, sweet William, tuberous begonias, or violets) For a smooth finish, dip a knife or offset spatula in hot water; then wipe it dry before frosting the cake.
If you've never known the glory of a mayonnaise cake, you're in for a treat! The staple ingredient yields an ultra-moist crumb and keeps the sugar from taking over your taste buds.
Time to oust your box cake mix, and embrace your inner baker with this basic yellow cake formula. This easy recipe will raise your cake-crafting confidence to new heights the first time you try it. As the name suggests, the numbers represent the measurements of the ingredients in the cake. Just remember what number matches with which ingredient, and you can easily memorize this recipe to whip up anytime you please. The buttery yellow cake is moist and has a perfectly dense crumb. Consider the 1-2-3-4 Cake a blank canvas; have fun adding layers of your buttercream frosting, whipped cream with fruit, or your own favorite frosting. One key to keep in mind when making this cake is that you really do need to have your butter softened and, ideally, your eggs at room temperature. Mixing these ingredients in when cold makes them more difficult to incorporate and can yield a “broken” batter. When baking the cake, be sure to use a light baking pan to help prevent over-browning. If you see that the top of your cake is brown, but the center is still wet, make a foil tent over the cake to keep it from getting darker.
Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Celebrate a child's first birthday by making a smash cake and a cake the rest of the group can enjoy-- all from one recipe! By dividing the cake batter between two pans, this recipe allows you to make an individual cake for baby and a larger one for adults to enjoy.
This recipe is from Odette Williams' Simple Cake, a compendium of approachable, delicious cakes for celebrating every day. Per Williams, this cake is "A not-too-sweet chocolate cake, topped with silky Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream, sprinkled with a little sea salt crunch: This is the cake you bake to help you or a loved one get across the finish line."
Ultimate Coconut Cake
"Ultimate" is no exaggeration here—this cake features coconut flour, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut sugar, coconut extract, and (of course) flaked coconut. Given this cake's incredibly moist layers, intense coconut flavor, and lighter-than-air filling, our test kitchen chefs fought over the leftovers.
Ice Cream Princess Cake
This dazzling ice cream “cake” is a dressed-up spin on our Ice Cream-Only Ice Cream Cake. Perfect for any kid who hates cake (yes, they exist), make this wow-worthy frozen dessert using their favorite ice cream flavors and their favorite princess for inspiration to create a truly special birthday treat.