31 birthday cake ideas with recipes
Check out our inventive ideas for show-stopping birthday cakes, for kids, adults and every birthday celebration
Looking for the best birthday cake to bake? Try our birthday cake recipes, suited to everyone from cocktail lovers to chocaholics to big kids! There's also an easy children's birthday cake recipe that you can decorate how you like, so you're guaranteed an individual birthday celebration cake.
Best ever birthday cake recipes
Kid's chocolate birthday cake
This birthday traybake works brilliantly as a base for any children's birthday cake. It's actually a 'sheet cake', a standard baking treat in Texas. We've added a chocolate frosting here, but you could it personalise it any way you like with icing and toppings.
Ferrero Rocher cake
Combine silky Nutella buttercream with crunchy Ferrero Rocher to make this chocolate and hazelnut cake – perfect for a celebration centrepiece.
Red velvet cake
Give your chocolate cake a red tinge in this classic American cake recipe, covered in silky-smooth cheese frosting for extra indulgence.
Chocolate fudge cake
One of our most popular recipes, and so very reliable. The fudge icing is simply butter, icing sugar and dark chocolate… and you will use it all. Plus it's ready in an hour. If you prefer white chocolate, try our white chocolate fudge cake instead.
Or you could try chocolate drips instead. We’re seeing stark white cakes topped liberally with chocolate, that pours down the sides of the cake in pretty patterns. Great for a chocoholic friend, and much easier to do than piping frosting.
Vegan birthday cake
You wouldn’t believe this fun chocolate cake is made without any dairy or eggs, plus it makes a stunning birthday centrepiece that everyone can share.
Who said your birthday cake had to be made of sponge? Not us. We've taken inspiration from freakshakes to create our OTT freakshake cheesecake.
You don't have to stick to the toppings we've used here – add salted butterscotch popcorn, Oreos™ or even go freestyle!
Boozy birthday cake
Cocktail cakes are great for friends who enjoy a tipple. We love cocktail-inspired food such as piña colada tarts and dirty martini butter on steak, but the winner has to be our mojito cake. Mint and rum infused sugar syrup brushed liberally over light sponges, and covered with a lime buttercream. It’s a celebration cake and a half.
Is there a prosecco-lover with a birthday coming up? Make this prosecco cake, a fabulous combination of Victoria sponge, lemon drizzle cake and a buck's fizz cocktail.
Devil's food cake
Edd Kimber shares his expert tips for creating a deep, dark chocolate cake. Which glorious frosting will you choose – classic fudge or Swiss meringue?
Birthday party guests will love this tropical twist on a retro dessert. We've taken a popular banana cake and given it a banoffee pie make-over. Our cake is packed with bananas, covered in creamy caramel buttercream and topped with caramelised bananas for extra indulgence.
Jamaican ginger and caramel cake
If your friend is having a Caribbean carnival birthday bash bake them this Jamaican rum cake. This layer cake is a real showstopper and makes for the perfect celebration cake, what's more, it's gluten free too.
Malteser chocolate chiffon cake
Children and adults both love this cake, and it tastes as good as it looks! Chiffon cake is covered in a chocolate icing, and acts as the glue to hold a modest five large bags of maltesers. People remember this cake: it’s a party centrepeice, and the chocolate and malt combo works so well with light, delicate sponge.
Ultimate Victoria sponge
Make our classic victoria sponge cake for a simple but sleek birthday cake idea. Try our passionfruit layer cake with fresh, tropical passionfruit throughout generous layers of fresh cream. Sloe gin layer cake uses plums and a sloe gin syrup to update this simple sponge into a impressive showstopper.
This is the perfect birthday cake for someone who doesn’t like too much sweet buttercream or fondant icing. Naked cakes, called so because they’re uncovered around the sides, are only sandwiched together with buttercream, so the better the sponge, the better the cake.
They’re the new addition to vintage-feel weddings and look really rustic, plus they’re easy to do as the frosting is quite rough and uneven. They're usually decorated with flowers, berries or fruit, and tiered sky-high in traditional wedding cake fashion. Try our lemon curd layer cake, then using a spatula scrape around the sides of the cake for that classic naked cake look.
Triple chocolate caramel cake
Triple chocolate caramel cake is olive magazine's answer to the 'ombre' cake. Four sponges with dark chocolate, milk chocolate and caramel to give a gradient shading.
Add three different ganache frostings to the mix, and you've got yourself a real winner. You can create the ombre effect using natural colourings and flavours. It really is easier than you think.
Courgette and coconut layer cake
If you have a friend who loves veggie cakes then make them our easy courgette and coconut cake for their birthday. This super moist and moriesh layer cake is packed with fluffy cream cheese icing and topped with crunchy coconut chips, a modern take on the British classic carrot cake.
Chocolate, tahini and honey celebration cake
Check out this chocolate celebration cake with tahini and honey. This indulgent layer cake is a real crowd pleaser and looks impressive too.
Vegan chocolate cake
Decent espresso powder is the key to this luxurious vegan chocolate sponge, sandwiched together with indulgent (and butter-free) chocolate buttercream.
Ice cream cake
Whether you’re going for the easy option with our white chocolate and strawberry ice cream cake, or the tricky-but-worth-it devil’s food cake, ice cream is always a welcome addition to our layered cakes.
They're very easy cakes to make, but will obviously melt in time… so eat them up quick! The devil's food cake uses pistachio, strawberry clotted cream and vanilla ice cream - but you can choose whatever flavours you want.
Cupcakes cook in a fraction of the time that sponges do, and they don’t take long to cool either. Perfect if you’re in a rush. Our chocolate and vanilla cupcakes are simple, and everyone will be coming back for a second. Ready in under an hour.
We've got loads of other cupcake recipes to choose from: how about coffee and walnut; frosted lemon fairy cakes; raspberry and chocolate brownie cakes; matcha cupcakes; sticky honey cakes; or blackberry and chocolate cupcakes.
Peanut butter layer cake
We all know that one person who's absolutely obsessed with peanut butter, so why not surprise them on their big day with this triple layered nutty bake?
Looking for more peanut butter inspiration? Try Dan Doherty of Duck and Waffle's recipe for chocolate brownie, caramel crunch and peanut butter ice cream or this sweet and salty peanut butter, chocolate and pretzel tart.
White chocolate fudge cake
Our white chocolate fudge cake is covered with American-style whipped frosting, which is lighter than a ganache or butter cream. Even though the icing is quite rough and ready it still manages to look really elegant and is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser!
Perfect for a celebration or get-together, this classic dessert is a vanilla sponge traybake, decorated with icing and sprinkles – and it's ever so simple to make.
Seal a spent vanilla pod in an airtight container of sugar for a few weeks to create delicious vanilla sugar – it's perfect in coffees or vanilla-scented bakes such as this classic sandwich cake.
This triple-stacked sponge cake is slathered with a light and airy Oreo buttercream, made by whizzing up the biscuits with butter and icing sugar.
This tropical loaf cake makes the perfect birthday treat. The use of coconut yogurt, coconut oil and condensed milk make this easy bake incredibly moist.
Coffee cake with cappuccino buttercream
Try our super easy coffee slab cake, this recipe is nut-free and comes with a creamy cappuccino buttercream. This simple yet moreish cake is perfect for parties, birthdays or just family gatherings.
Make blackberries the star of this pretty cake with fresh fruit baked into the sponge and a vibrant coulis drizzled over freshly whipped cream.
Black velvet cake
Flavour this rich, dark marble cake with Guinness and prosecco – the luxurious soft cheese icing represents the settling bubbles of stout when it's poured.
Golden syrup cake
We've put a sweet spin on the classic coffee and walnut cake by using golden syrup — the perfect bake to serve with your mid-morning brew.
Chocolate courgette cake
Use up a glut of courgettes in this decadent, chocolaty cake that serves up to 12 – great for a birthday or other celebration.
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