The best homemade birthday cake recipes

We love a classic layered birthday cake, but these recipes take a party favorite to the next level with sophisticated ingredients like brown butter, salted caramel, and homemade sprinkles. Featuring everything from a baked Alaska ice cream birthday cake to a dreamy creamy milk chocolate layer cake, these desserts will get the party started. Whether you’re turning six or sixty, we’ve got your perfect birthday gift. If you want to go fancier, be sure to check out these camera-ready cake decorating tips.

Ice Cream Birthday Cake

© David Malosh


This amazing cake for a crowd features chocolate cake, two flavors of ice cream, thick layers of chocolate sauce, loads of chocolate crunchies, and a delicious ganache topping.

The best birthday cake

greg dupree

Who can argue with a classic yellow cake sprinkled with sprinkles and finished with a chocolate frosting? This recipe is exactly that, no box mix required.

red velvet cake

Abby Hocking / Food and Wine

This stunning cake is made with deep red cake layers and lots of cream cheese frosting. Unsweetened cocoa powder and red food coloring give the cake its signature hue.

Chocolate Cake ‘The Bear’

Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

The famous chocolate cake from the TV show. Bear features an airy chocolate mousse layered between a sweet chocolate cake and covered in a rich chocolate frosting. This recipe has several components, but all three elements can be made ahead of time and assembled the day of your celebration or gathering.

Rainbow cake

Abby Hocking / Food and Wine

If you’re looking for a colorful celebration cake, this rainbow stunner is the way to go.

Cornmeal Cake With Vanilla Aroma And Olive Oil Buttercream

Sam Aguirre-Kelly

Pastry chef Bronwen Wyatt’s rich and elegant cake is perfect for just about any celebration that comes your way. He can simply spread buttercream frosting to coat it, twirl for flair, or follow Wyatt’s decorating tips by using a piping bag to form ruffles and scribbles out of the buttercream. She tops the cake with edible decorations of her choice.

Chocolate party cake with dark chocolate ganache and homemade sprinkles

Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Ali Ramee

Rich, chocolaty, and very festive, this chocolate cake with ganache frosting is party-worthy. Ganache has many pastry applications, and here chef Paola Vélez uses it to make the silky-smooth frosting to cover her chocolate cake. If you’re making the sprinkles from scratch, remember to start a day ahead so they can dry overnight.

Brown Butter Layer Cake

© Pernille Pedersen

Seattle chef Tom Douglas uses brown butter for a deliciously nutty flavor in this fun twist on a classic white cake.

Baked Alaskan Birthday Cake

© With Poulos

This ultimate birthday cake features three flavors of ice cream, moist chocolate cake, pecan ganache, and fluffy meringue.

Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

When you want to keep things simple and bright, this easy and delicious Lemon Pie only requires one bowl to make.

Milk Chocolate Covered Layer Cake

© With Poulos

This cake from pastry chef Karina Gowing is perfect for anyone who loves frosting. The ultra-creamy icing, which is almost like a milk chocolate ganache, spreads liberally over layers of light, delicate, cocoa-flavored cake.

Ombré coconut burfi cake

andria lo

Beneath the purple-and-white ombré layer of sweetened coconut, cookbook author and blogger Hetal Vasavada’s tall, skinny layer cake is topped with a cloud-like layer of Swiss meringue buttercream. But the best part is the chewy coconut filling, inspired by burfi, a type of milk-based Indian sweet similar to fudge. The coconut milk keeps the cake layers incredibly moist with a tender crumb.

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cake

© Tina Rupp

The genius of this layer cake is its extraordinarily crunchy filling, made with almonds, salted peanuts, creamy peanut butter, chocolate, and Rice Krispies. The silky milk chocolate ganache frosting almost pushes the recipe over the top.

Caramel Layer Cake

© Cristina Holmes

This stunning cake is enrobed in a caramel icing shaped like a fudge. Pastry chef Lisa Donovan adapted it from a recipe by the doyen of Southern cooking Edna Lewis.

Yellow Layer Cake with Vanilla Frosting

© Fredrika Stjärne

This classic cake is a birthday party staple.