30 Birthday Cake Recipes That Are Actually Easy to Pull Off

Everyone's birthday should be special, and baking a cake with plenty of love is a great first step. But let’s face it: We’re not all exactly professional bakers. Before you start trying to sculpt that fondant unicorn you saw on Pinterest, let’s try something a little more realistic. Here are 30 fabulous birthday cake recipes that everyone will love…and that you’ll actually be able to make.

34 Instant Pot Dessert Recipes

1. Chocolate Icebox Cake With Caramel Drizzle

For summer birthdays, we like to follow Coterie member Gaby Dalkin’s lead and make this super retro no-bake cake. It’s a little harder to put the candles in, but so delicious that we’re sure no one will care.

2. Ombre Ice Cream Cake

This gorgeous number is as easy as opening a bunch of containers of ice cream. Plus, you can customize it to the birthday person's favorite color.

3. Funfetti Cake

In our book, there’s no such a thing as too many sprinkles. We’re glad Coterie member Maria Lichty agrees.

4. Piñata Cake

Imagine the look on your kid’s face when he cuts into his cake and candy starts pouring out. We agree: It’s worth a few extra (easy) steps.

5. Cookie Cake With Sprinkles

What could possibly be better than a chocolate-chip cookie? A giant, cake-sized one with frosting and sprinkles, of course. It’s a great alternative for anyone who isn't a big fan of cake.

6. Funfetti Cake Pops

A new spin on cake pops. Cake batter is baked into a popsicle mold, dipped in icing and frozen. It’s fantastic for a summer pool party (and so much less messy than drippy ice cream pops).

7. Rainbow Waffle Cake

The best way to wake up the birthday girl or boy? A stack of frosted rainbow waffles topped with candles. Now that's a good morning.

8. Birthday Cake Petit Fours

Fact: Everything’s more fun when it’s mini. And if you can eat it with your hands? Even better.

9. Chocolate Vanilla Birthday Cake

You *don't* need to choose between chocolate and vanilla. This classic, super-moist cake will give your party the best of both worlds.

10. Peanut Butter Fudge Ice Cream Cake

Why run out to the store to buy an ice cream cake when they’re super easy to assemble at home? We love the classic combination of peanut butter and chocolate, but feel free to sub in vanilla, strawberry or any other flavor you like.

11. Six Layer S’mores Cake

We’re officially drooling over this graham cracker cake with chocolate ganache and toasted marshmallow frosting. It’s a little more involved than a standard cake, but each step is actually really easy. Prep the layers ahead of time so all you have to do the day of is assemble

12. Cake Batter No-bake Cheesecakes

When you’re really pinched for time, these are a total lifesaver. They’re festive, delicious and come together in about 15 minutes.

13. Gluten-free Birthday Cake

Going gluten-free doesn't mean giving up the most important treat of the year. If you have a guest on a special diet, this is the cake for them (bonus—it’s vegan).

14. Red Velvet Lava Cakes

Perfect for a low-key, grown-up birthday party, because you're sophisticated like that. These look so fancy your guests will never believe they took you less than an hour to make.

15. Lemon-blueberry Poke Cake

Only eight ingredients stand between you and your prettiest summer dessert yet. The secret? Boxed cake mix.

16. Texas Sheet Cake

Everything's bigger in Texas. That's why this simple staple is made in a massive 18 x 13-inch baking sheet.

17. The Ultimate White Cake

Hear us out. We love over-the-top rainbow cakes with all the bells and whistles. But white cake is a timeless classic, and this recipe takes you to dessert heaven in just one hour.

18. Brownie Layer Cake

Your guests are drooling already. Must be the double-decker brownies loaded with chocolate chips, chopped nuts and whipped cream. Consider this your new default for anyone who isn't crazy about cake.

19. Naked Lemon And Olive Oil Layer Cake

Your birthday tea party's centerpiece? Check. The olive oil cake gets just the right amount of sweetness from homemade lemon frosting.

20. Sticky Toffee Honeycomb Cake

You've tried sticky toffee pudding, the British sponge cake made with dates and toffee sauce. Enter its drool-worthy cousin, dressed in thick caramel made from honeycomb and butter. Extra whip, please.

21. Cinnamon Sheet Cake With Cider Frosting

Have autumn babies in the family? Introducing apple cider frosting, rich with butter, confectioners sugar and boiled cider. Try making your own cider or lean on a jug of store-bought.

22. Chocolate Bread Pudding Cake

Bread pudding is delicious. But pretty? Not always. A springform pan solves that problem here, as does a generous drizzle of easy, three-ingredient icing.

24. Chocolate Chip Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Cake and cookies, two queens we're always pitting against each other. This dessert gives us both in just 55 minutes. Our forks are ready.

24. Easy Lemon-hibiscus Layer Cake

Hello, summer. You surprisingly won't find any food coloring in the frosting. Thank hibiscus tea bags for its pretty-in-pink hue.

25. Grilled Angel Food Cake With Blueberry Sauce

Bet you didn't think you'd be putting cake on the barbecue this summer. The light-as-air dessert gets a hint of smoke from light charring, plus a burst of sweetness and brightness from lemon-blueberry sauce.

26. Kit Kat Bar Ice-cream Cake

Three ingredients. Zero cook time. That's a cake we can get behind. Just buy your favorite ice cream and get to layering.

27. Strawberry Sponge Cake

Isn't she gorgeous? Caster sugar and whisked eggs keep the recipe traditional and airy, while the icing is an ingenious combo of mashed strawberries and confectioners sugar.

28. Cookies-and-cream Naked Cake

If you find most naked cakes boring, stop right here. This one's topped with Oreos and bittersweet chocolate ganache.

29. Gluten-free, Vegan Lemon Cake

A healthy cake that swaps flour for cauliflower and frosting for sweetened coconut yogurt. We're having seconds. And thirds.

30. 30-minute Angel Food Cupcakes

Lots of guests to feed? Cupcakes are always a hit, and these are basically strawberry clouds. Sounds like an easy win to us.

taryn pire
Taryn Pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...
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