For the star of your next birthday party, look no further. Our collection of sheet cakes, tiered cakes, cupcakes, and more will provide ample inspiration whether you're baking for a friend or serving a classroom of eager kiddos.
August 10, 2011
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Our Favorite Birthday Cake Recipes
If you are searching for the perfect birthday cake, you're sure to find exactly what you're looking for in our varied collection. From sheet cakes to layer cakes, meringue frostings to buttercream frostings—here you will find something for everyone.
Our first selection, White Birthday Cake with Italian Meringue Frosting, is a gorgeous white cake that's great for any birthday. The fluffy meringue icing glides easily over the layers and acts as a canvas for any decoration you choose.
2 of 23Photo: John Autry
Vanilla Cake with Italian Meringue Frosting
Our Italian meringue covered cake makes a beautiful and festive addition to any birthday celebration. Sweet vanilla cake is light and buttery—it won’t leave party-goers feeling overindulged.
3 of 23Photo: Iain Bagwell
Mile-High Coconut Cupcakes
The simple act of sharing something sweet that's been made with care brings such tremendous joy. Good desserts conjure good times and cheerful celebrations—and it's not only the taste but the shared memories that are integral to our appreciation. So go ahead and show off with these Mile-High Coconut Cupcakes.
4 of 23Photo: John Autry
Pound Cake with Strawberry Glaze
Look for whole-wheat pastry flour in the baking aisle at major supermarkets. Garnish with additional strawberries and fresh mint leaves.
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Double-Caramel Turtle Cake
A candy bar in cake form—yes, please. Let this caramel, chocolate confection be the star of your next birthday party.
6 of 23Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Fresh Coconut Cake
This coconut cake can be enjoyed year round—even if your birthday celebration falls during the cooler months. Even though fresh coconut is sublime, you can use Goya brand coconut water in place of fresh coconut water and buy coconut flakes in the baking aisle.
7 of 23Photo: Randy Mayor
Strawberry Layer Cake
To make this birthday cake kid-friendly, use fresh orange juice instead of Grand Marnier in the cream cheese frosting. The bright pink cake will be a lovely surprise when you make the first slice.
8 of 23Photo: John Autry
Chocolate-Orange Layer Cake
Orange-flavored filling complements the bold chocolate cake and decadent glaze. There is no doubt that this cake with be a birthday party showstopper.
9 of 23Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Yellow Butter Cake with Vanilla Meringue Frosting
You'll find potato starch on the baking aisle at most of your local supermarkets and health-food stores. Also known as potato flour, it helps ensure the cake will have a fine crumb and moist texture. Your birthday guests will surely notice just how delicious this cake is.
10 of 23Photo Courtesy of Oxmoor House
Sour Cream-Cocoa Cupcakes
These cocoa-laden cupcakes make a delightful surprise for gluten-free chocoholics. Sour cream gives the cupcakes a moist and dense texture, leaving you more satisfied with each delicious bite.
11 of 23boblin
Carrot-Apple Spice Cake With Browned-Butter Glaze
We challenged ourselves to come up with a showstopping dessert that uses boxed cake mix as a starting point—and we succeeded. Fresh carrot and apple plus a splash of bourbon boost the flavor of the layers, while the browned-butter glaze is, well, the wildly delicious icing on the cake.
12 of 23Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Coconut Cake with Buttercream Frosting
This coconut cake recipe is one of our readers' all-time favorites. The frosting is also popular for several other cupcake and cake flavors like carrot, spice and basic white. Before you light the birthday candles, garnish the cake plate with sugar-frosted cranberries and rosemary sprigs.
13 of 23Photo: John Autry
Warm spices and brown sugar add rich, caramelized flavors to this carrot cake. If you can't find fromage blanc, use more cream cheese. This cake is great for a big birthday crowd—it's easy to slice and serve without having to worry about sliding cake layers.
14 of 23Photo Courtesy of Oxmoor House
Strawberry-Almond Cake Roll
Don't panic—this strawberry and whipped cream-filled cake is surprisingly easy to roll.
15 of 23Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Caramel Layer Cake
Work quickly to spread the frosting on the cake before it begins to set. We call for light brown sugar in the cake to lend a subtly sweet flavor, but dark brown in the frosting to provide a contrasting rich caramel flavor that your birthday party-goers will love. You can use light brown sugar for both the cake and frosting, if you prefer.
16 of 23Photo: John Kernick
Black Forest Cherry Cake
The original cake has many layers; our streamlined version is easy to assemble and doesn't sacrifice any flavor or presentation panache. The heavy cherry filling may cause the cake to sink slightly in the center once assembled, but it won't detract from the stunning presentation—especially once it is aglow with birthday candles.
17 of 23Photo: Randy Mayor
Nathan's Lemon Cake
This is a namesake because the recipe developer’s mom baked it for his birthday every year. We've adapted this recipe to trim the fat and calories, and it's still a moist, lemony treat.
18 of 23Photo: Rumulo Yanes
Red Velvet Cupcakes
You can't go wrong with velvety red cupcakes topped with creamy white swirled frosting. To make a stylish swirl: Dot the thick frosting with a few drops of red food color paste, and stir gently to give it a swirled appearance. Carefully spoon into a zip-top bag, and pipe out.
19 of 23Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Black and White Angel Food Cake
If your birthday honoree can't decide whether he or she wants vanilla or chocolate, this cake is the perfect choice because it delivers both. Beaten egg whites create the light, airy texture of this classic dessert. Place leftover yolks in an airtight container, cover with a thin layer of water, and refrigerate for up to two days.
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Texas Sheet Cake
This cake yields 20 servings—great for a big birthday crowd. What else? It’s nutritionally sound yet boasts rich, moist texture and flavor.
21 of 23Photo: Lee Harrelson
Fresh Lime Chiffon Cake
This lime chiffon cake is just the right dessert to serve on a warm spring or summer birthday. Light in taste and texture, the recipe uses fat-free whipped topping to keep the calories on the light side as well. For the prettiest presentation, be sure to use the suggested garnishes.
22 of 23Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Yellow Sheet Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Here's a moist, buttery dessert that can make even the smallest birthday gathering a true celebration. It was a favorite with our staffers, receiving top scores for its taste. Fresh edible flowers, such as mums, make an easy, pretty decoration; most people remove the flowers before eating the cake. If you're offering the cake at an informal gathering, serve it right from the pan.
23 of 23Photo: Randy Mayor
Lemon-Lime Layer Cake
To create a nutritionally sound birthday cake that's moist and tender with luscious frosting, we use a combination of full-fat (butter), reduced-fat (1/3-less-fat cream cheese), and fat-free (egg substitute) ingredients. As with any baked good--especially one that's light--measure all ingredients carefully. Twisted lemon and lime slices are a pretty garnish that indicates the flavor of the dessert.