21 of Our Best Birthday Cake Recipes for Your Party

Everyone deserves a homemade cake on their birthday

Everyone deserves a homemade cake on their birthday, and nothing feels quite as special as a big, over-the-top butter and sugar confection topped with piles of fluffy frosting and crowned with a ring of candles. Whether your lucky recipient's taste tends toward a classic buttery yellow cake, dense chocolate layers, or tropical flavors, one of these tempting desserts should do the trick. Even the birthday guy/gal who loves everything in miniature can find what they want right here. Never buy a birthday cake again with the help of these festive birthday cake recipes.

White Mountain Layer Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream

White Mountain Layer Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream
Forget everything you know about "white cake," this recipe's a game changer: rich and velvety to the point of creaminess, heady with vanilla, and almost as fluffy as angel's food cake. The secret is virgin coconut oil, which amplifies the aroma of butter and vanilla while creaming up lighter (and whiter) than butter alone. I top it all off with silky Marshmallow Buttercream, for a cake that's beguilingly complex despite its apparent simplicity. Get the recipe for White Mountain Layer Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream »Matt Taylor-Gross

Strawberry Cake

Strawberry Cake
Strawberry cake topped with strawberry cream cheese frosting is a favorite soul food dessert; this delicious version comes from Bertha's Kitchen in North Charleston. Get the recipe for Strawberry Cake »Farideh Sadeghin

Molten Chocolate Cake »

Molten Chocolate Cake
Intensely chocolatey with a molten truffle chocolate center, these small cakes are based on chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's signature dessert. Get the recipe for Molten Chocolate Cake »Laura Sant

New Orleans Doberge Cake

New Orleans Doberge Cake
This version of the classic NOLA dessert combines a rich buttermilk cake with both lemon curd and chocolate fillings, surrounded by a vanilla German buttercream and ganache. Get the recipe for New Orleans Doberge Cake »Ryan Liebe | Food Styling Mariana Velasquez

Swedish "Gooey" Chocolate Cake (Kladdkaka)

Swedish "Gooey" Chocolate Cake
Chef Magnus Nilsson's wife likes to serve this beloved Swedish cake, similar to a fudgy American brownie, chilled, but it's just as good piping hot from the pan with a scoop of ice cream. Melting the butter in this recipe first and then stirring it with the other ingredients helps ensure that as little air as possible gets incorporated into the batter. The result: a gooey, more moist cake. Get the recipe for Swedish "Gooey" Chocolate Cake »Magnus Nilsson

Strawberry Lemon Cake

Strawberry Lemon Cake
At New York's Milk Bar, Christina Tosi makes this towering cake every spring, when sweet and tiny tristar strawberries are in season. This is by no means an everyday cake, but it's worth the work that you'll put in, and worthy of a special occasion. Get the recipe for Strawberry Lemon Cake »Matt Taylor-Gross

Lemon Curd Layer Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream

Lemon Curd Layer Cake
Silken white chocolate buttercream frosts a tender yellow cake layered with rich lemon curd in this recipe from the restaurant Rye KC in Leawood, Kansas. Get the recipe for Lemon Curd Layer Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream »Todd Coleman

Heaven and Hell Cake

Heaven And Hell Cake
This rich, multilayered dessert of angel food and devil's food cake, peanut butter mousse, and milk chocolate ganache should be frozen before icing is added and refrigerated before it's sliced. Get the recipe for Heaven and Hell Cake »Matt Taylor-Gross

Danish Dream Cake (Drømmekage)

Danish Dream Cake (Drømmekage)
This delightfully basic white sponge cake, encrusted with a coconut and brown sugar topping, is a dream to make and eat. Get the recipe for Danish Dream Cake (Drømmekage) »Matt Taylor-Gross

Chocolate Cake with Fudge Icing

Chocolate Cake with Fudge Icing
This decadent chocolate cake is taken over the top with a rich fudge icing. Get the recipe for Chocolate Cake with Fudge Icing »Laura Sant

Pecan Cream Cake

Pecan Cream Cake
Packed with coconut and pecans and covered in cream cheese frosting, this cake is a specialty of Georgia home cook Cile Ellis. Get the recipe for Pecan Cream Cake »Landon Nordeman

Thomas Keller's Coconut Cake

Thomas Keller's coconut cake
Thick Italian meringue is sandwiched between moist layers of cake, which is topped off with sweetened shredded coconut in this recipe from chef Thomas Keller. Get the recipe for Thomas Keller's Coconut Cake »Helen Rosner

Yellow Cake with Fudge Icing

Yellow Cake with Fudge Icing
The key to making this cake's rich icing is to stir it vigorously once it has cooled to the proper temperature. Get the recipe for Yellow Cake with Fudge Icing »Todd Coleman

Smith Island Cake

Smith Island Cake
Our recipe for this towering dessert, featuring eight layers of buttery yellow cake with chocolate-fudge icing, was inspired by a decadent version served at Becca's Smith Island Cakes in Tasley, Virginia. Get the recipe for Smith Island Cake »Landon Nordeman

Rose's Famous Caramel Cake

Rose's Famous Caramel Cake
This buttery cake slathered with rich caramel icing has earned local fame on Chicago's South Side—it's one of our favorites to make for special occasions. Get the recipe for Rose's Famous Caramel Cake »James Oseland

German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake
This decadent triple-layer dessert takes its name from German's Sweet Chocolate, a product that's not German at all: the versatile baking chocolate was created by an American baker named Samuel German in 1852. Get the recipe for German Chocolate Cake »André Baranowski

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake
Though cream cheese frosting is typically used nowadays on red velvet cake, classic whipped cream frosting makes for a more balanced sweetness. Get the recipe for Red Velvet Cake »Todd Coleman

Lane Cake

Lane Cake
Filled with a boozy custard studded with raisins, pecans and coconut, this recipe for vanilla layer cake is based on one in Emma Rylander Lane's Some Good Things to Eat (self-published, 1898). Get the recipe for Lane Cake »Todd Coleman

Very Moist Chocolate Layer Cake

Very Moist Chocolate Layer Cake
Adapted from Robbin Gourley's Cakewalk (Doubleday, 1994), this time-tested recipe for moist chocolate layer cake has a velvety crumb and rich chocolate icing—the perfect birthday treat for your favorite chocolate-lover. Get the recipe for Very Moist Chocolate Layer Cake »Todd Coleman

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake
This classic, German, cherry-filled chocolate cake, a masterpiece of cherry brandy-soaked pastry engineering, improves the longer it sits. Get the recipe for Black Forest Cake »Todd Coleman

Spiced Carrot Layer Cake

Spiced Carrot Layer Cake
Orange juice and zest, cinnamon, and ginger add verve and depth to this sumptuous cake. Get the recipe for Spiced Carrot Layer Cake »Todd Coleman