50 Easy Birthday Cake Ideas

These are our favorite simple birthday cakes that anyone can make - even if you haven't made a birthday cake before! With easy shortcuts and step-by-step instructions, anyone can make an awesome birthday cake.

When we were growing up, my Mom always made our birthday such a big deal.

She would ALWAYS go out of her way to make our day special and one of the ways that she did this was by making us whatever kind of birthday cake that we wanted.

Now that my kids are getting older, I want to continue the birthday tradition of making them a special birthday cake, but my decorating expertise is definitely a beginner level.

That’s where these cakes come into play!

These cakes are simple – you could make the cake from scratch or use a cake mix from a box. The frosting on each of them is just buttercream or whipped frosting (no complicated fondant in these recipes!).

Some of these cakes (like the Crepe Cake and Ice Cream Cake) are a fun twist on a traditional cake – my kids love to mix it up and try different things.

Click on the image or the words below the image for all the details on instructions on how to make each cake!

You might also like: Basic White Two-Layer Cake Recipe

 

1. Chocolate Cake with M & M Flowers
This cake was made using a cake mix, canned frosting, and flowers made out of M & M’s chocolate candies. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

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2. Sprinkle Heart Cake
A simple frosted cake (a cake mix and canned frosting work great!) with sprinkles in the shape of a heart. You won’t believe how easy this one is to make!

 

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3. Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
This cake takes me back to my childhood days of being at the mall and seeing these delicious cookie cakes! Switch up your birthday celebration with one of these cookie cakes.

 

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4. Lion Cake
I love the idea of using cupcakes around a circle cake to be the mane of a lion! Such a darling idea.

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5. Easy Pirate Cupcakes
If you are throwing a pirate party any time soon, you have to check out these pirate cupcakes! So easy and so dang cute.

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6. Swimming Cake
If you have a swimmer in your family or are hosting a pool party, this is the cake for you! Candy necklaces, peach rings, pretzels, and Sixlets bring these cake to life!

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8. Basketball Cake
This one might take some time, but no frosting skills are needed – just Reese’s Pieces candies (or M & M’s). I made this one for my little boy’s basketball-themed birthday and it was a hit!

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9. Giant Donut Cake
This cake is AWESOME! Such a great idea for a party and you can change out the color of the frosting to match your decor or theme.

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10. Birthday Crepe Cake
Maybe cake isn’t your thing? This crepe cake is for you! Layers of crepes with a fluffy whipped frosting in-between – it’s so delicious! Similar to the crepe cake you can get at Mimi’s Cafe.

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11. The Easiest Heart Cake
Who would have thought that this is just a cake mix baked in a square pan and a circle pan? Turn the square pan so that it’s a diamond shape, cut the circle cake in half and it suddenly becomes the top of your heart. This is genius!

 

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12. Lego Cakes
If you have a Lego lover in the house, then this cake is for you! This one is also a simple cake mix with large marshmallows on top to turn it into a Lego!

 

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13. Candy Cake
I love this idea for your child’s birthday – simply cover the cake in their favorite candies! And if you want a cute cake stand, check out this one.

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14. EASY Ice Cream Cake
If it’s too hot to bake a cake, try this easy ice cream cake. The secret ingredient is ice cream sandwiches . . . and it’s incredibly good!

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15. Kit Kat Cake
This cake could not be more simple – line the edges with Kit Kat Candy Bars and top off with M & M’s. She said that when she cut the cake, she just cut in-between the sections of candy bars. A few M & M’s spilled out, but it didn’t really make a mess. Such a fun idea!

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16. Butterfly Cake
The official title of this cake is “Butterfly Cake for Dummies” – which means it’s CRAZY easy! I love the idea of using a snack cake (Twinkie or Ho Ho) as a butterfly body).

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17. Marshmallow Cake
Who would have thought that colored marshmallows could be such a cute cake topper? I love the simplicity of this cake – so darling for a first birthday!

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18. Artist Palette Cake
If you have a little artist in your family, this is the cake for you! Such a fun and different idea – just buy canned frosting and divide into small bowls, then dye the frosting different colors to use as the paint circles on the top of the cake. Genius!

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19. Pinata Cake
I loved having a pinata at my birthday party . . . but a pinata cake? Coolest cake ever! It’s just a cake made from a cake mix and she walks you through how to hollow out the center.

 

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20. Camping Birthday Cake
What kid wouldn’t want the great outdoors on top of their cake? Those trees are made from ice cream cones and pretzel rods – I love it!

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21. Mini Elmo Cupcakes
My 2 year old would LOVE these cupcakes! You can make them using a mini-muffin tin for small cupcakes or even make them regular-sized for big Elmo’s!

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22. Fox Face Cake
This darling fox is made using FRUIT snacks – like a Fruit by the Foot or Fruit Roll-Ups. What a cool idea for such a unique cake!

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23. Snake Cake
I think that this cake would be cute with or without candies on top – you could even just frost it and pipe on a stripes or a cool design.

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24. One Bowl Chocolate Cake
Only one bowl needed for this moist and delicious made-from-scratch chocolate cake! Top it with your favorite frosting and sprinkles and BAM! Homemade cake for the win!

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25. Dum Dum Sucker Cake
I love the simplicity of this cake! Here’s another tip – go to the bakery and ask for a plain frosted cake and then you could add your own cute topper, like these suckers!

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26. Monster Eye Cake
If you have a monster party (or even a Halloween party!), this is the cake for you! These eyes are made with Oreos (both big and small). I love it!

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27. Construction Cake
The dirt is made from Oreo crumbs! I know so many kids who would LOVE this cake.

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28. Chocolate Caramel Toffee Crunch Cake
This cake is also referred to as “Better Than ____________ Cake” – you can fill in the blank with whatever you think this cake is better than. 😉 This is the cake that I request for my birthday each year!

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29. Birthday Cake Pancakes
Maybe make the first meal of their birthday something to celebrate by serving some birthday pancakes!

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30. Jersey Cake
If your birthday boy or girl has a favorite team, make them a jersey cake with their name on it!

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31. Lemon Ice Box Cake
This cake could not be simpler – no cooking or baking required! It’s simply graham crackers with a lemon pudding in between and topped with lemon frosting. It’s a family favorite!

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32. Farm Yard Cake
This is actually a cute cake that Kristen made – it’s just a simple cake with animal faces on cupcakes.

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33. Fairy Princess Castle Cake
If you have a princess or prince living at your house, this is the perfect birthday cake! It looks complicated, but it’s basically 2 square cakes on top of each other with wafer doors and ice cream cone towers.

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34. Dinosaur Cake
This is probably the cutest dinosaur cake I have ever seen!

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35. Fish Cupcake Cake
I love that the body of this colorful fish cake is made of cupcakes! It’s so bright and colorful!

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36. Robot Cake
People are seriously so creative! I love how they made a robot using cake baked in normal cake pans!

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37. Sunflower Cake
I love that this cake uses gummy fruit slices and chocolate chips to make such a gorgeous flower. Perfect for a summer party.

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38. Orange Crush Cupcakes
If you have an orange soda lover at your house, they will love these cupcakes! You can also use the batter to bake a 9×13″ cake!

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39. Sailboat Cake
This is probably one of the most creative cakes I have ever seen! That donut life preserver is probably my favorite touch.

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40. Gumball Cake
This would be so cute for a candy-themed party – it’s simply a round cake pan and square cake pan hooked together to make a gumball machine.

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41. Number 3 Cake
If you have someone turning 3 years old in your family, you need this cake! It’s amazing.

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42. Candy Bar Cake
In case you have someone in your family who doesn’t like cake, this is the option for you – it’s a cake made completely of candy bars! Also makes a great gift for a friend or even a graduation present.

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43. Bowling Cake
Such a creative idea! This would be fun for a bowling birthday party.

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44. Balloon Topper Cake
This idea could not be more simple – just frost a cake with whatever color you want and then use wooden dowels or sticks with small balloons attached to them.

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45. Flip Flop Cake
Anyone with a summer birthday will LOVE this cake! Such a fun idea to make them look like flip flops.

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46. Ho Ho Cake
If you have someone in your family who loves snack cakes, this is the cake for them! It’s simple to make and tastes just like your favorite Ho Ho Chocolate Snack Cake!

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47. Rainbow Cake
This cake isn’t difficult, it just will take a little time. But it will amaze all your guests and make it a special day for your birthday kid (or adult! Ha ha!)!

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48. Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes
This was one of my favorite treats when I was a little girl – I loved that the cake was cooked right in the ice cream cone!

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49. Peaches and Cream Cake
For someone who maybe doesn’t like a frosted cake, this peaches and cream cake will hit the spot!

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50. Sprinkle Cake
This cake is stunning!!! My kids would go wild over all the sprinkles!

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30 Responses to “50 Easy Birthday Cake Ideas”

  1. Courtney O'Dell
    Thanks for featuring my easy cake frosting tutorial, Kristen! I also put one up yesterday that shows how to use the same method on cupcakes! This is an adorable roundup- ill be promoting! And how CUTE is your mom for the bus stop idea? Love it!!!
  2. I've made a couple of these cakes. I love cake decorating! I am no pro and that definitely shows in my cakes but they're still pretty darned nice if I do say so myself, and I've been recruited more than once by friends and family to make the cakes for special occasions for them. Fondant is not too tricky. Go for it! If you use store-bought try to find one that tastes good. Some store-bought fondants are kind of icky. You can knead in a little bit of flavor oil/extract to help with that. I personally like just making homemade marshmallow fondant. It's messy to make but it is easy to work with. It is very sweet. No matter what kind of fondant you use, my top advice is this: when using it to cover a cake, roll it as thin as you possibly can. In my experience it's much easier to work with when it's very thin (I like to keep mine about 1/8th of an inch thick or so) and this keeps the flavor/sweetness of it from being overpowering as compared to the flavor of the icing and cake underneath. Not all cakes must be fondant covered, though, really. I am a fan of buttercream and nine times out of ten if I am making a cake for a special occasion, it's fondant free. I know someone who thinks they're awesome with fondant but they aren't, and their cakes are always covered with far too thick fondant and it's just not pleasant.
  3. Ok, I am not a baker and just about all of these "easy" cakes look like they are way beyond my kitchen capabilities, but I think I could make that Kit Kat cake and it looks so yummy, that I may just give it a try!! I am going to pin this and enlist my kids to help out! :)
  4. dearcat
    These cakes are great. I used to make cokes using the Wilton method, but now that I have arthiritis I can not handle the flower nails and the bags. My grandchildren and great grandchildren will be very pleased. as ever, dearcat
  5. Sarah @ Craft Quickies
    Such a fun roundup, Kristen!!! I love that story about your mom and the card table at the bus stop---amazing!! My mom was great with birthdays too. I am amazed by the cute party ideas and cakes she came up with prior to the blog/Pinterest era! I decided to step up my game and try to be like her this year with my son's party. Luckily a Viking Hat cake is easy to make, b/c apparently cake decorating at large is NOT my special talent. ;) xoxo
  6. It has been observed that usage of a car largely determines the maintenance schedule of that particular car. What prompted me to write about this topic is that a short while ago a local teen died in a collision and the headline read 'Speed Suspected In Teen Collision Death'. Basically, there are two most important and significant car accessories types such as interior car accessories and exterior car accessories. My blog post - car floor mats
  7. Nu Koenigsman
    I LOVE this ides, but would SOMEBODY just tell me a easy recipe for a regular cake? My child is turning 12, and her birthday is red carpet themed. I bought an edible red "cake carpet" and i'm going to put a strip of it down the middle of the cake with golden stars. I just need a cake itself and i cant find any good recipes! PLEASE help! Thanks so much!
  8. Anne Rhodes
    Hello, I am a teen librarian at the Mansfield/Richland County public library in Mansfield, OH. We are hosting a cake decorating class for teenagers this summer and were hoping to get permission to use some of your cake photos to help our teens get ideas for their creations. We are planning to make some posters that we can use to show the kids what to expect at the program and give them ideas while they are trying to learn. All of our programs are free and open to the public. We will not be making any financial gain from the use of your photos and ideas. They will not be copying exactly but just using your ideas to spark their own imaginations. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Anne Rhodes, Teen Librarian MRCPL
    • Hi Anne, You are more than welcome to use our photos for your cake decorating class. We usually ask that you give credit to the blog that it comes from. In our post "50 Easy Birthday Cake Ideas" not all of the cakes are from SixSistersStuff.com. Some are from other blogs or websites. When you click on the title it will take you to that blog and you can give credit to them for their picture. Sounds like so much fun! We would love to see some of the great cakes they make. :)

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