20 Birthday Cake Recipes That Will Be the Star of Your Celebration

Buttermilk Caramel Cake
Photo: Carson Downing

Unique flavors, creamy frostings, beautiful design—each of these homemade birthday cakes has something extra special about it. And if you think you're too old for a birthday treat, you're wrong—these adult birthday cakes were made just for your big day.

01 of 20

Layered Ice Cream Cake

Layered Ice Cream Cake
Blaine Moats

Customize this birthday cake recipe with any ice cream you like. The cake has to freeze for at least four hours, so be sure to allow yourself plenty of freezing time before you top it with frosting, traditional rainbow jimmies, and birthday candles ($1, Party City).

02 of 20

Chocolate Waffle Cake

Chocolate Waffle Cake
Hannah Bigot

This delicious dessert starts with a boxed cake mix, which makes it easy to prepare for any birthday celebration. Use a classic waffle maker ($30, Target) to whip up a whole batch of chocolate waffles, then layer with a banana cream cheese frosting and top with fresh berries. Yum!

03 of 20

Pink Lemonade Cake

Pink Lemonade Cake
Andy Lyons

Make a gorgeous pink layer cake with all the flavors of your favorite summer drink. Plus, our easy recipe shows you how to create four pretty layers out of two cakes, instead of four! Finish the cake with fresh sugared lemon slices.

04 of 20

Blueberry Lemonade Poke Cake

Blueberry Lemonade Poke Cake
Jacob Fox

This shortcut birthday cake recipe starts with a boxed mix. Dress it up with homemade blueberry sauce and lemon curd. Finish this big-batch dessert with whipped topping and fresh lemon slices.

Test Kitchen Tip: Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

05 of 20

Double Chocolate Cake

Double Chocolate Cake
Andy Lyons

You can't go wrong with a classic chocolate cake for a birthday celebration. Top this delicious cake with a chocolate frosting, or go all out with sprinkles and frosted decorations—just don't forget the candles!

06 of 20

Vanilla Ruffle Cake

Vanilla Ruffle Cake
Andy Lyons

Dress up a plain vanilla cake with the help of a piping bag ($4, Walmart) and our homemade frosting. Decorate your cake with pink ruffles like we did, or opt for a color that matches the party theme.

07 of 20

No-Added-Sugar Rich Chocolate Cake

No-Added-Sugar Rich Chocolate Cake on white cake stand topped with cream and chocolate curls
Brie Passano

Don't let dietary restrictions keep you from celebrating with a proper birthday cake. This no-added-sugar recipe is perfect for anyone who is watching their sugar intake—and the best part is, it tastes just as good as regular cake. Instead of topping it with frosting, go with unsweetened whipped cream, tangy dark chocolate swirls, and fresh berries.

08 of 20

Peaches & Cream Prosecco Cake

Peaches & Cream Prosecco Cake
Andy Lyons

This gorgeous cake has Prosecco in the cake batter, and in the filling —what better way to celebrate a birthday? This delicious combination of cake, peach filling and whipped cream frosting is perfect for a grown-up birthday celebration any time of year.

09 of 20

Bundt Cake with Meyer Lemon Glaze

Meyer Lemon Glaze
Andy Lyons

You don't need amazing decorating skills to create a gorgeous birthday cake. Use a pretty bundt cake pan ($45, Williams Sonoma) to make your favorite cake (we love this Triple-Citrus Pound Cake), then top it with a delicious homemade lemon glaze. No frosting or sprinkles necessary!

10 of 20

Layered Blueberry (Pan) Cake

Layered Blueberry (Pan)Cake
Hannah Bigot

This fun cake is the perfect spin on breakfast for dinner—or dessert, in this case. Make a pancake-stack out of six layers of delicious blueberry cake, then top with white chocolate squares, maple syrup and whole blueberries.

11 of 20

S'mores Icebox Cake

S'mores Icebox Cake recipe square white dish
Brie Passano

S'mores-lovers, prepare yourselves. Layers of fluffy marshmallow frosting, chocolate chips, and graham crackers combine to make a birthday cake you'll never forget.

12 of 20

Carrot-Pecan Ice Cream Cake

Carrot-Pecan Ice Cream Cake
Andy Lyons

This birthday cake combines the childhood nostalgia of an ice cream cake with the grown-up flavor of carrot cake. To make it, layer homemade carrot-pecan cake with any flavor of ice cream (we recommend vanilla, butter pecan, or rum raisin) and top with nuts and toasted coconut flakes.

13 of 20

Angel Food Ice Cream Cake

Angel Food Ice Cream Cake
Marty Baldwin

Ice cream cake has always been a birthday classic. Make your own with a boxed cake mix ($1, Walmart) and store-bought ice cream—it's easier than you might think!

14 of 20

Six-Layer Strawberry Cake

Six Layer Strawberry Cake
Kritsada Panichgul

Six layers (yes, six) of strawberry buttermilk cake alternate with layers of strawberry cream cheese frosting. Then a thick layer of buttercream frosting envelopes the entire cake in creamy goodness.

15 of 20

Chocolaty Harvest Fruit-Topped Cake

Chocolaty Harvest Fruit-Topped Cake
Andy Lyons

This fall cake is perfect for anyone with an autumn birthday, but you can really bake it any time of the year. Nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon give the chocolate cake an unexpected flavor.

16 of 20

Buttermilk White Cake with Coconut

Buttermilk White Cake Coconut
Con Poulos

This moist white cake gets plenty of crunch thanks to think coconut flakes. As one reviewer raves, "Had been saving this recipe in my drawer as I went a time without an oven, longest month of my life! The cake is SO goooodd! Love it."

17 of 20

Gluten-Free Birthday Cake

slices of yellow gluten-free cake with buttercream frosting and sprinkles
Blaine Moats

This easy gluten-free birthday cake was adapted from our favorite yellow cake recipe. It starts with a homemade flour mix and is finished with a homemade buttercream frosting. Don't skimp on the sprinkles!

Test Kitchen Tip: Turn this recipe into confetti cake by stirring sprinkles into the cake batter.

18 of 20

Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches Strawberry Shortcake
Blaine Moats

This birthday dessert mash-up is a cross between classic tres leches cake and strawberry shortcake. Sandwich strawberries between two cake slices, then drench the dessert in creamy milk sauce. Finish with piles of fluffy homemade whipped cream.

19 of 20

Dulce de Leche Cake

Dulce de Leche Cake
Andy Lyons

The pretty design on top is what sells this stunning cake, but it's simply foreshadowing the creamy, caramel inside.

Test Kitchen Tip: For the best flavor, make this cake the night before serving and frost just before slicing.

20 of 20

Buttermilk Caramel Cake

Buttermilk Caramel Cake
Carson Downing

This Southern-style birthday cake is extra-moist thanks to buttermilk in the batter. Frost the finished layer cake with a rich caramel frosting and top with a sprinkle of edible flowers ($15, Etsy) like nasturtium, pansy, or violets.

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