Birthdays are a special time for family and friends to come together and celebrate another year of accomplishments, special occasions, and memories. If you’re not a fan of buying your cake from the store, you’re in luck because we just so happen to have gathered the top 34 best birthday cake ideas you can make for your special someone.
These birthday cake recipes include something for everyone – including chocolate, coconut, strawberry, and even delicious cookie dough.
Whatever your special someone enjoys, there’s a tasty, easy-to-make recipe that will make everyone at the birthday party happy.
The best thing about birthdays is that they happen every year, and with these recipes, you’ll always have something new and creative to try.
If you’re looking for a homemade birthday cake idea to make, here are 34 tasty recipes for you to make and enjoy.
1. Coconut Cake
If you can’t escape to an island for your birthday, why not bring the island to you with this delicious coconut cake recipe?
This cake is light and fluffy and perfect for anyone who has a sweet tooth.
The secret ingredient is, of course, coconut.
This recipe calls for cream cheese frosting, but you can substitute it for some heavy cream and ricotta cheese. It’s one of our favorite birthday cakes!
2. Moist Vanilla Layer Cake Recipe
There’s nothing quite like celebrating your birthday with a fluffy classic vanilla cake.
The secret ingredient in this cake recipe is the sweet vanilla extract.
If you don’t have vanilla extract, you can substitute it with a little honey. Or, if you prefer, you can get creative and swap it out for some almond or hazelnut extract.
This will alter the flavor, but hey, why not add your spin to this birthday classic, right?
3. Peanut Butter Cake
Is your child obsessed with all things peanut butter? If so, surprise them with this deliciously moist peanut butter cake for their birthday!
The secret ingredient in this cake recipe is peanut butter. However, you can still create this masterful dessert even if your child has allergies.
Swap out the peanut butter for an allergy-friendly alternative such as soy butter or sunflower butter.
The flavor will be slightly different, but the taste is still delicious.
4. Funfetti Cake
Nothing screams “birthday celebration” more than a vibrant and tasty Funfetti cake.
The secret ingredient in this cake recipe is egg whites, making the frosting easier to whip. No Funfetti cake can be served without sprinkles, both inside the cake and on top.
However, you could easily swap them out for some multicolored nonpareils. If you’re looking for unique cakes for birthday parties, this recipe wows.
5. Red Velvet Cheesecake
If you’re like me, then you’re a sucker for some sweet red velvet cheesecake.
Cheesecake is a fun alternative to a traditional birthday cake.
The secret ingredient in this dish is the unflavored gelatin, as this helps the cheesecake maintain its’ structure and not fall apart.
However, if you’re a vegetarian looking to enjoy this meal, you can swap the gelatine out for some agar-agar made from a seaweed plant.
6. The Best Strawberry Shortcake Cake
If you’re a fan of sweet strawberries, this recipe will be a treat! Strawberries are the secret ingredient in this unique cake recipe.
If you want to get the flavor of strawberries without using the actual fruit, you can swap it out for some strawberry jam. Or if you’re going to get creative and swap out the fruit altogether. Kiwis, raspberries, and rhubarb are the most common substitutes.
This is one of our favorite birthday cake ideas for adults.
7. Ina Garten’s Chocolate Cake Recipe
If you’ve ever heard of Ina Garten’s chocolate cake recipe but never knew how to make it, you’re in luck because we’ve provided the info here.
This cake is a chocolate lover’s dream, with the secret ingredient being a dollop of sour cream.
The sour cream adds some extra moisture and flavor to the ooey-gooey, chocolatey frosting.
If you don’t have sour cream, you can swap it out for greek yogurt or creme fraiche.
8. Funfetti Bundt Cake
This unique and creative recipe blends the best of both worlds: Funfetti and bundt cakes! Best of all, it’s easy to make.
The secret ingredient in this tasty cake is the white chocolate pudding mix.
It not only adds extra flavor but improves the cake’s consistency, too.
If you don’t have boxed pudding mix, you can swap it out and make your own by combining cornstarch, sugar, and artificial coloring.
9. Keto Vanilla Birthday Cake
Who says you have to give up cake if you’re on the Keto diet?
This cake is made with coconut and almond flour, which just so happens to be the recipe’s secret ingredients.
If you don’t have almond flour, you can swap it out for walnut or macadamia flour.
If you’re looking for easy birthday cake ideas for you or someone in your family who is on the Keto diet, this is the recipe we recommend.
10. Cookie Dough Cake
Cookie dough cake is the perfect recipe for anyone who has a sweet tooth. Light brown sugar is the secret ingredient in this tasty cake recipe.
This gives the cookie dough its distinct flavor. This recipe also calls for greek yogurt, but you can easily swap it out for some sour cream.
If your child loves cookie dough, this recipe will have them asking for seconds. It’s an easy birthday cake recipe that makes everybody happy.
11. Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Buttercream
Do you like Guinness? Why not add that rich, bold flavor to your next birthday cake?
This cake is always a hit with adults, and it’s no surprise why. The secret ingredient in this dish is, of course, a cup of Guinness beer.
However, if the store is out, you can get a similar flavor by swapping it out for porter, coffee, and even apple cider.
This is one of the most fun birthday cakes.
12. Homemade Funfetti Cake From Scratch
Funfetti is one of the best birthday cakes, but if you’re looking to make it from scratch, you’ve come to the right place.
Rainbow sprinkles are the secret ingredient in this dish, as they add a crunchy element and some bright, vibrant colors that your kids will enjoy.
This recipe also calls for some powdered sugar for the frosting, but you can swap it out for arrowroot powder or granulated sugar.
13. Mint Chocolate Chip Layer Cake
Is mint chocolate chip your favorite type of ice cream? Did you know that you can get these same flavors in your cake?
Mint chocolate candies are the secret ingredient in this refreshing dessert.
If you don’t have mint chocolate candies, you can get a similar flavor by swapping it out for peppermint extract.
The flavor will be slightly different but still delicious, which is why it ranks as one of the best birthday cake recipes out there.
14. Chocolate Oreo Cake
Oreo lovers, rejoice! This sweet cake is perfect for your next birthday party, because who doesn’t love this famous cookie?
This cake is very moist, and a lot of that has to do with the secret ingredient: buttermilk.
The buttermilk helps make cakes nice and fluffy, but don’t worry if you don’t have any.
You can easily substitute buttermilk for milk, cream of tartar, or even watered-down yogurt or sour cream.
15. Pina Colada Layer Cake
This pina colada cake will easily make you feel like you’re celebrating your birthday on a tropical beach somewhere.
Crushed pineapple is the secret ingredient in this delicious tropical-inspired cake.
If you don’t have crushed pineapple, you can swap it out for pineapple chunks, rings, or even juice. Or, if you prefer, you can swap it out for another fruit like blackberries, raspberries, or strawberries.
It’s one of the unique homemade birthday cake ideas.
16. German Chocolate Cake
German chocolate cake doesn’t always get the love and attention it deserves.
This sweet dish features pecans and coconut – two delicious ingredients that pair perfectly together.
The secret ingredient in this dish is instant espresso powder.
While it’s not necessary to add, it enriches the flavor of the chocolate cake, if you do. If you don’t have espresso powder, you can easily swap it out for some instant coffee instead.
17. Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
If you’re celebrating an October birthday, why not celebrate the season with some pumpkin pie cake?
It’s no surprise that the secret ingredient in this cake recipe is the pumpkin puree. It’s the main star of the dish! But, if you don’t have pumpkin puree, you can easily swap it out for some sweet potatoes or even frozen butternut squash for a similar consistency.
This cake is smooth, creamy, and perfect for those October birthdays!
18. Super Moist Vanilla Cake
This cake is not only great if you enjoy vanilla cake, but it’s guaranteed to stay moist down to the last bite.
The secret ingredient is the vanilla extract which gives this cake its vanilla flavor.
If you need to change anything out, change out your granulated sugar for brown sugar.
This is a great dessert cake to serve up to your guests at your next dinner party or brunch.
19. Homemade Strawberry Cake
This is a great cake you can make from scratch for not only the strawberry lover in your life but a great cake to share with the whole family.
The secret ingredient for this one is pink food coloring. Believe it or not, the strawberries themselves give it that pink hue, but this helps tie the whole presentation together.
If you need to substitute something, swap out the vanilla extract for maple syrup.
20. Triple Chocolate Cake
This chocolate lover’s dream is the perfect dessert to follow up a delicious birthday dinner with.
The secret ingredient here is white chocolate. It’s one of the three chocolates represented in this cake and is one that we feel gets overshadowed by its dark and milk siblings.
However, it brings its sweetness to the table. If you need to change anything, you can swap out the whole milk for half and half.
21. Lemon Blueberry Cake
This next recipe is not only deliciously fruity but also 100% vegan, which is pretty cool.
The secret ingredient here is lemon, which will make up a lot of the flavor of the cake and the frosting.
If you want to change things up, you can swap out the vegan versions of ingredients like milk and butter for their non-vegan counterparts if you’re not concerned with making a vegan birthday cake.
22. Mandarin Orange Cake
This next cake is the perfect blend of sweet and citrus. If you’re a fan of oranges, this is the cake for you.
The secret ingredient for this one is the oranges. It might not seem like the biggest secret, but it’s essential for making this cake what it is.
If you need to mix anything up, try using maple syrup instead of vanilla extract. Bring this one out the next time you have some friends over for birthday brunch.
23 . Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake
We love salted caramel, and we especially love it when it’s mixed with chocolate.
Your secret ingredient for this one is the salted caramel sauce that brings out the cake’s salty caramel flavor.
If you want to change something up, then try using salted butter instead of unsalted butter for cooking.
This is a great dessert for when you’re entertaining company or if you need to bring a sweet treat to your friend’s birthday party.
24. S’mores Layer Cake with Homemade Fluff
Looking for another delicious birthday cake recipe? Well, look no “s’more” with this sweet cake for you and your family to enjoy.
The secret ingredient for this one is the graham cracker that not only contributes to part of the classic s’more taste but adds texture to the cake.
If you need to swap something out, we recommend experimenting with different chocolate chips to get different types of chocolate flavors.
25. Boston Cream Pie with Chocolate Ganache
Does your birthday person love Boston Cream Pie? This one is topped with a sweet chocolate ganache, and it’s delicious down to the last bite.
The secret ingredient for this one is sugar, which will make it nice and sweet.
If you need to swap out an ingredient, try changing the whole milk to half and half. This is the perfect cake for the Boston Cream lover in your life.
26. Berry Vanilla Naked Cake with Lemon Whipped Cream
Are you looking for a unique birthday cake that doesn’t feature chocolate? If so, this one is perfect.
This is a deliciously fruity cake that is light on the frosting.
The secret ingredient is a mix of strawberries and raspberries that make up the berry flavor.
If you need to swap out the vanilla extract, try opting for some maple syrup instead.
This light confection is great for a delicious brunch treat for you and your friends while you sip on birthday mimosas.
27. Best Resse’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
Is there a better combination than chocolate and peanut butter? What about a cake with peanut butter cups on it?
This cake is a perfect blend of all of the above. The secret ingredient here is the peanut butter cups used to top the cake.
This hits home the blend of chocolate and peanut butter this cake brings. If you need some options for alternative ingredients, you can use either cooled strong coffee or water.
28. Classic Red Velvet Cake
This recipe is a classic take on a traditional red velvet cake – and a massive hit at birthday parties!
This silky smooth treat is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. The secret ingredient here is the cocoa powder, which gives this cake its signature sweetness.
If you’re in a pinch and don’t have granulated sugar, you can easily swap it out for brown sugar instead.
This is a great recipe to try out the next time you have company over for a birthday dinner.
29. Caramel Cake (Salted Caramel Cake)
We have found a delicious recipe for all of you caramel lovers out there.
The secret ingredient here is the dark brown sugar used in the buttercream, as it provides a deeply sweet frosting for your cake.
If you want to change things up, try adding some sea salt to the mix to turn this caramel cake into a salted caramel cake. If you’re looking for unique birthday cake ideas, look no further than this.
30. Moist White Cake
White cake can be a simply delicious cake for a birthday party. With this recipe, the cake will be moist and stay moist down to the last bite.
The secret ingredient here is the shortening which gives the cake a flaky texture.
If you’re looking to change things up, you can add some almond emulsion for some added flavor.
This is the perfect cake to bring out at your next birthday celebration with friends and family – or even co-workers!
31. Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream
We love a good lemon cake. This lemon layer cake with lemon cream cheese buttercream is a sweet treat with that classic lemon zing.
The secret ingredient here isn’t quite a secret. It’s the lemon since it plays such a crucial role in the overall flavor of this cake.
If you’re looking for a substitute ingredient, try swapping your vanilla extract for maple syrup to ensure that you get the same level of sweetness out of it.
32. Smash Cake Recipe
What’s a smash cake? It’s a small cake designed for your 1-year-old to smash on their first birthday.
Why have they destroyed a whole cake when you can make up something just for them?
The secret ingredient here is the flour, which gives the cake its body.
If you need to substitute anything, you can swap out the milk for either water or creamer, depending on how thick you want the cake.
33. Best Yellow Cake Recipe
There’s nothing quite like a good yellow cake. This yellow cake recipe is perfect and will most likely be the best yellow cake you will ever have.
The secret ingredient for this one has to be granulated sugar, which gives the cake its sweetness.
If you need to replace anything, go for swapping your vanilla for maple syrup to ensure it maintains that level of sweetness that vanilla provides.
34. Love at First Sight Chocolate Cake
Sometimes, you know right away whether or not it’s love. When you see this cake from across the room, we guarantee you’ll fall head over heels for this delicious chocolate cake recipe.
The secret ingredient for this chocolate infatuation is cocoa because it gives this cake its chocolatey goodness.
If you’re in a pinch and need to swap out something, you can use either canola oil or coconut oil if you want a birthday cake that’s a little healthier.
34 Easy Birthday Cake Ideas
This recipe encompasses everything we love about traditional birthday cake: sweet, moist, and delicious enough for a second helping.
- 1 c butter, room temperature
- 2 c white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 eggs, separated, room temperature
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 3 c all-purpose flour
- 1 c milk, room temperature
- 1 pinch salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease and flour your pan (preferably either a 9x13” pan or three 8 or 9” pans)
- Mix sugar and butter until the batter is smooth and creamy. Add egg yolks in one at a time, mixing each time they’re added. Add in the vanilla extract (or your substitute).
- Sift flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the mixture to the batter, alternating with milk. Continue mixing after every new ingredient is added to the bowl.
- In a separate mixing bowl, beat your egg whites until it forms a stiff peak. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Add ⅓ of egg whites into your cake batter and slowly fold in the rest.
- Pour batter into your pan.
- Bake until the cake bounces when you touch it with your fingertips. Always be safe and wear the proper gloves to remove the cake from the oven. Cakes baked in 9x13” pan will be done in approximately 35 minutes, and those in 8-9” pans will be done in about 25 minutes.
- Once fully cooked, cool on a wire rack.
- Serve and enjoy.