11 Best Birthday Cake Recipes | Handle The Heat
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Best Birthday Cake Recipes

By Tessa Arias
  |  
March 15th, 2022

These are the best birthday cake recipes that are sure to be a hit at any celebration or special occasion! From chocolate cake to vanilla cake to yellow cake, your new favorite birthday cake recipe is waiting below.

Seeing as my birthday is this March, I wanted to share my favorite birthday cake recipes with you all!

The absolute best part of my job is seeing someone trust one of my recipes enough to make it for a special occasion like a birthday party, wedding, family gathering, etc. The thought of one of my recipes becoming a tradition in your families (like the birthday cake your child will request you bake for them year after year!) isn’t something I take lightly.

Below you’ll find all the birthday cake ideas you could ever dream of from easy sheet cake to impressive layer cakes to cookie cakes.

And of course, I’ve included flavors to satisfy every taste preference! Yellow cake covered in sprinkles, lots of chocolate cakes because if you know me you know I love chocolate, fun birthday cake flavor ideas like carrot cake and banana cake – you name it.

If you end up making one of these cake recipes for a special birthday dessert, it’d mean the world to me if you tagged me on Instagram so I can see!

Best Birthday Cake Baking Tips

1. Measure your flour accurately.

If you’ve ever ended up with dry, dense, rubbery, or crumbly cakes, you may have accidentally added too much flour. Measuring ingredients with a digital scale instead of cups is the best way to ensure accuracy. Check out my How to Measure Flour article for step-by-step instructions.

2. Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder – what’s the difference?

Baking soda and baking powder are both chemical leaveners that work to create light textures in baked goods. It’s important to understand that baking soda and baking powder are not interchangeable, even though baking powder actually contains baking soda.

Check out my Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder article for the full breakdown.

3. Why did my cake sink in the middle?

There’s nothing more frustrating than when you bake a layer cake or a loaf and it sinks in the center. The most common reason a cake sinks is that it’s underbaked. This could be due to several factors, which I’ve outlined in my How to Prevent Cakes & Loaves from Sinking article.

4. How to make birthday cakes ahead of time:

You can wrap unfrosted un-cut cooled cake layers completely in several layers of plastic wrap. Place inside a freezer bag. Store at room temperature for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge (do not defrost at room temperature or you will end up with mushy cake).

5. Must-Have Tools for Birthday Cakes:

6. How to turn cake into cupcakes:

Short on time or looking for an easier birthday treat? Almost any cake recipe can be made into cupcakes! Check out my full guide on how to convert cake to cupcakes (and vice versa!).


Best Birthday Cake Recipes

Classic Best Birthday Cake Recipe

Birthday cake on platter with sprinkles on top

This Best Birthday Cake is a classic birthday cake recipe and just tastes like a celebration! Vanilla-scented yellow cake combined with perfectly sweet milk chocolate buttercream will have you wishing it was someone’s birthday everyday. Topped with all the rainbow sprinkles and birthday candles, of course.

Best Chocolate Cake

BEST EVER CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE. I will never make another recipe again!!

This Best Chocolate Cake recipe makes for the most flavorful, moist, and tender chocolate cake you’ve ever tasted! Paired with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting. Everyone LOVES it and you don’t even need a mixer to make the batter. This will be a hit at any birthday party!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

This Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake is a delicious and crowd-pleasing layer cake alternative! This cookie cake features a thick base of chewy and slightly gooey chocolate chip cookie topped with creamy vanilla buttercream and garnished with ALL the sprinkles. Perfect birthday cake for any cookie lover!

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is the most elegant birthday cake recipe. Ultra moist, soft, tender and buttery cake with the most perfect red velvet flavor. Topped with easy cream cheese frosting, and you can get as creative as you’d like with decorating – maybe some confetti sprinkles on top?!

Chocolate Brownie Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Holy indulgence. This Chocolate Brownie Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting is the best birthday cake for any chocolate + peanut butter combo lovers in your life. Three layers of fudgy brownie cake with rich peanut butter buttercream topped with chocolate ganache and as if that’s not enough, peanut butter cups on top too!

Chocolate Sheet Cake

Overhead view of cake with frosting and sprinkles on top

Layer cakes are a lot of work. I get it. Which is why everyone should have a great sheet cake recipe in their repertoire, like this Easy Chocolate Sheet Cake. The cake is tender a nd moist and the chocolate fudge frosting is thick and fudgy. One of my easiest homemade cake recipes! Simple to bake, frost, transport, and serve. Pro tip: serve with vanilla ice cream.

Best Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

Yellow Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting on a cake stand

You’ll never go back to a box mix after you try this Best Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting. Super easy and a million times better homemade, this will become your go-to cake recipe for every celebration!

Brown Butter Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Four layer brown butter carrot cake on a cake stand

For any carrot cake lovers, this Brown Butter Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is a must-make. The cake is perfectly sweet, nutty, and flavorful while the frosting is rich and tangy. My go-to carrot cake recipe. Pro tip: decorate the perimeter of your carrot cake with crushed walnuts or pecans for an easy yet elegant cake decorating idea.

Vanilla Poppy Seed Cake with Whipped Ganache

Vanilla Poppy Seed Cake with Whipped Ganache is three layers of ultra moist cake and pure vanilla decadence. No special decorating skills needed!

Vanilla Poppy Seed Cake with Whipped Ganache is three layers of ultra moist cake and pure vanilla decadence. No special decorating skills needed for this beautiful naked cake! Topped with fresh berries (you can choose between raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries for whichever berry is your favorite!).

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Bursting with sweet flavors, Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting is a huge crowd-pleaser and better than any store-bought cake. Love!

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting is a huge crowd-pleaser and better than any store-bought cake. The banana cake is moist and tender with bites of mini chocolate chips throughout. The peanut butter frosting is ultra creamy, luscious, and smooth. Every bite makes your mouth happy.

German Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting on a plate

What I love most about this German Chocolate Cake recipe is how simple and easy it is. You don’t even need a stand mixer. It takes just over an hour from start to finish. Tender cocoa cake layered with a thick and fudgy coconut and pecan frosting – everyone will be coming back for seconds!


If you want even more birthday cake ideas, make sure to check out my full collection of cake recipes.

    Tessa Arias
    Author: Tessa Arias

    I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

    Tessa Arias

    About Tessa...

    I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

    Find Tessa on  

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