17 Birthday Cakes You Can Totally Pull Off at Home

It's Not a Party Without One

Ice Cream Cake

The Spruce/Kristina Vanni

What makes a birthday cake special? Knowing that someone made it just for you! We've collected the best recipes to help celebrate the big day that bakers of every skill level can master. You'll find lots of great ideas here for adults and children alike, from a classic chocolate birthday cake to tropical-flavored confections, a simple yet elegant cheesecake, and whimsical, multi-layered treats ideal for kids birthday parties.

  • 01 of 17

    Classic Chocolate Cake

    Classic Chocolate Cake

    The Spruce

    It's hard to find anyone who doesn't love chocolate birthday cake. If you've got a couple of mixing bowls, a whisk, measuring cups, and two cake pans, you can make this rich and decadent chocolate cake that makes good use of common pantry ingredients.

  • 02 of 17

    Unicorn Birthday Cake

    Unicorn Birthday Cake

    Kristina Vanni

    A unicorn birthday cake exploding with color and candy is a fabulously festive party dessert. Watch kids' eyes light up when you present three, brightly-hued cake layers coated in a decadent vanilla buttercream frosting, loaded up with gummy bears and candies, and festooned with a rainbow lollipop horn.

  • 03 of 17

    Ice Cream Cake

    Ice Cream Cake

    The Spruce/Kristina Vanni

    With three colorful delicious flavors inside to deliver the wow factor when it's sliced, this is a great make-ahead cake for any party. It takes some patience to wait for the individual layers of ice cream to freeze, but the resulting sky-high frozen dessert is more than worth it.

  • 04 of 17

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

    Kristina Vanni

    This giant cookie cake combines everything you love about chocolate chip cookies with the moist and tender crumb of a buttery pound cake. It's simple to bake up in a bundt pan and will delight cookie-loving kids and adults alike.

    Continue to 5 of 17 below.
  • 05 of 17

    World's Best Carrot Cake

    World's Best Carrot Cake

    Jason Loucas/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    Perfectly moist and delicious carrot cake studded with pineapple and pecans and covered in a rich cream cheese frosting is a hands-down winner when it comes to birthday time. Use small, slender carrots (such as those found at farmer's markets) for the sweetest crumb.

  • 06 of 17

    Mango Mousse Cake

    Mango Mousse Cake

    The Spruce/Ulyana Verbytska

    Two layers of light and fluffy sponge cake filled with the dreamiest mango mousse make for a spectacular party dessert. The sponge (or store-bought ladyfingers) is soaked with a fruit-flavored syrup, which complements the tart sweetness of the creamy mousse.

  • 07 of 17

    Black Forest Cake

    Black Forest Cake

    Getty Images

    Our winning version of the classic Black Forest cake is an indulgent medley of rich chocolate cake layers, canned dark sweet cherries, cherry liqueur, and a simple whipped cream frosting. Topped with alternating colors of chocolate curls, plus maraschino cherries, it's a show-stopping dessert for any occasion.

  • 08 of 17

    Rainbow Cake

    Rainbow Cake

    Leah Maroney

    What could be more whimsical and fun than a slice of multi-hued rainbow cake? This cake of many layers may look like a baking challenge, but it's not as overwhelming as you think. It makes a wonderful dessert for kids birthday parties or a best-selling bake sale treat.

    Continue to 9 of 17 below.
  • 09 of 17

    Classic Fruit-Topped Cheesecake

    Classic Fruit-Topped Cheesecake

    The Spruce/Diana Rattray

    Heavenly smooth, creamy, and nestled in a buttery graham cracker crust, this classic restaurant-style cheesecake is a simple, yet special dessert. The topping of sour cream and cherry pie filling adds beautiful color, tang, and sweetness.

  • 10 of 17

    Fluffy Vanilla Cake

    Fluffy Vanilla Cake

    The Spruce

    For those who prefer vanilla to chocolate, this light and moist vanilla cake is sure to please. It's easy to make from scratch and can be finished with your choice of frosting and decorated to suit any occasion.

  • 11 of 17

    Red Velvet Cake

    Red Velvet Cake

    Getty Images/from_my_point_of_view

    Red velvet cake covered in fluffy cream cheese frosting is as visually striking as it is delicious. Feel free to scatter some chopped pecans on top for extra crunch in every slice.

  • 12 of 17

    Chocolate Banana Cake

    Chocolate Banana Cake

    Dennis Gottlieb/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Your guests will go bananas for this rich and moist chocolate layer cake. Use bananas verging on over-ripe for an intensely tropical flavor in the finished cake. You can also add a few chocolate curls on top for a party-worthy presentation.

    Continue to 13 of 17 below.
  • 13 of 17

    Strawberry Angel Food Cake

    Strawberry Angel Food Cake

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

    Strawberry angel food cake makes a wonderful birthday or baby shower dessert. While this recipe requires a few steps, the preparation is straightforward, and guests will swoon for the airy cake texture and sweetened whipped cream filling.

  • 14 of 17

    Italian Wedding Cake

    Italian Wedding Cake

    The Spruce/Kristina Vanni

    If you love coconut, this stunning Italian wedding cake is for you. Two layers of fabulously rich and moist coconut cake are covered with a decadent vanilla cream cheese frosting, and adorned with delicate coconut shreds for a gorgeous effect.

  • 15 of 17

    Flourless Chocolate Cake With Creme Anglaise

    Flourless Chocolate Cake With Creme Anglaise

    Shilpa Harolikar/Getty Images

    Flourless chocolate cake is a beautifully sweet and dense dessert included on many upscale restaurant menus. Learn to make it for your table at home, including a luxurious topping of crème anglaise, which beautifully complements the fudgy richness of the cake.

  • 16 of 17

    Triple Layer Lemon Cake

    Triple Layer Lemon Cake

    Dennis Gottlieb/Getty Images

    Three lovely lemon cake layers filled with tangy lemon curd and frosted with a heavenly lemon-coconut cream cheese icing make this dessert absolutely irresistible. It makes an excellent birthday cake for mom or a great bridal shower treat.

    Continue to 17 of 17 below.
  • 17 of 17

    Tiramisu Cake

    Tiramisu Cake

    The Spruce/Kristina Vanni

    A store-bought angel food cake is a great shortcut in this stunning, easy recipe that also includes cream cheese, strong brewed black coffee, and coffee liqueur to recreate all the flavors of the classic Italian tiramusu dessert in cake form.