12 of our most show-stopping birthday cake recipes

If there’s a time to go all-out with a cake, it’s a birthday. Whether your loved one enjoys a fruity cake, something chocolatey, or old school classics like carrot or coffee cake, we’ve got show-stopping ideas galore to choose from in this handy guide.

Celebrating another trip round the sun might mean a big party or it might mean a few friends round for tea. But if there’s one thing necessary to ensure many happy returns, it’s blowing out the candles. After all, what’s a birthday without cake?

12 of our most show-stopping birthday cake recipes

Choosing a birthday cake

Choosing a birthday cake can be daunting. You want to make something that the recipient will love, but that won’t steal their thunder by being too show-offy. You might need to factor in something that is easy to transport. And seasonality can come into the equation too! You might want to cook with the best fruit of the season. We’ve brought together 12 cakes that will meet all needs in our handy guide.

Our best birthday cakes to make for someone you love

Rhubarb and custard layer cake

Does it get much more exciting than rhubarb and custard in layer cake form? Here we’ve decorated the cake using a drizzle of melted truffles, candied rhubarb and chocolate shards. Serve with extra roasted rhubarb and syrup on the side, and you have yourself a masterpiece.

Birthday cake

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Paul Hollywood’s chocolate fudge cake

If there’s a man who knows about cake, it’s Mr Paul Hollywood. This recipe is ideal for a birthday, given its impressive height and we also love that it can be made ahead of time. Paul says “If you love chocolate cake, you have to try this one.” And who are we to argue?

Chocolate cake

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Lemon and courgette layer cake

Courgette cake has gone from the fringes to the mainstream in just a matter of years. If you know someone with a birthday in August or September, it just makes sense to try out this lemon, poppy seed and courgette cake when there’s a glut of the vegetable around.

Lemon and courgette cake

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Paul Hollywood’s ultimate carrot cake

This recipe is crazily popular for a reason. Paul Hollywood uses pecan nuts for crunch and flavour, and there’s a lovely warmth coming from cinnamon and ginger. It’s topped with cream cheese frosting, and decorated with a crown of orange zest.

Carrot cake

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Mary Berry’s Malteser cake

You’re in the safe hands of the Queen of cakes, Mary Berry, with this recipe. We love this uncomplicated crowd-pleaser for when you need something that’s going to be a favourite with the whole family.

Malteser cake

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Coffee and walnut cake

Why do we love coffee and walnut cake? 1) It’s usually an adults-only birthday cake, which means more for us. 2) It’s got all the richness of a good cuppa joe, but none of the bitterness. 3) It’s truly scrumptious!

Coffee and walnut cake

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Spiced plum cake with swiss meringue

Nothing says a celebration like some torched meringue, are we right?! This golden sponge is studded with juicy plums then coated in a thick layer of swiss meringue frosting. Perfect for autumnal birthdays.

Plum and almond cake

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Chocolate cake with caramel poached pears

Taste this chocolate buttercream and just TRY not to squeal with glee. We love this number for an autumn or winter birthday as the rich chocolate sponge is complimented by caramel poached pears which make everything just that little bit extra special.

Chocolate and pear cake

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Vegan chocolate cake

Vegans, we got you! Our chocolate cake comes with a vegan buttercream made with vegan spread and your choice of non-dairy milk. The amaretto and black cherry jam are a classy filling, and everything is then covered in a gorgeously silky ganache made from just 3 ingredients. It’s gob-smackingly good!

Vegan chocolate cake

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Zesty bundt cake

A bundt cake is always impressive, and this one comes with a mojito drizzle which feels fittingly celebratory. The yogurt and mint make this one fresh and lively and ideal for summer birthdays.


Find the recipe here

Peanut butter drip cake

If you know a peanut butter fan, you’ll know that they are often fanatical about the spread. Treat them to what you know they love with this peanut butter and chocolate drip cake.

Peanut butter

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Red velvet cheesecake bundt

Sweet toothed friends and family will delight in our red velvet cheesecake bundt. The oil and buttermilk in the sponge keeps it delightfully moist, and with its cheesecake filling and cream cheese drizzle icing, it’s really quite splendid.

Red velvet

Find the recipe here

Find all our birthday cake ideas here.

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