5 Creative Birthday Cake Recipes to Wow Your Guests
1. Chocolate Oreo Cake
Ingredients for the Cake
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup boiling water
Ingredients for the Icing
- 1 1/2 cups butter
- 1 1/2 cups shortening
- 8 to 9 cups powdered sugar
- 3 cups Oreo crumbs (about 30 Oreos)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 to 7 tablespoons water
- 5 Oreos, chopped, optional
Note: You’ll need at least one full package of Oreos. If you plan to decorate the outside of the cake with more Oreos and crumbs, as shown, you might need a second package.
- Prepare three 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom, and grease the sides.
- Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together.
- Add eggs, buttermilk and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Add vanilla to boiling water and add to mixture. Mix well.
- Pour into three 9-inch cakes pans and bake at 300˚F for about 25 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
- Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
- Make icing while cakes cool. Beat together butter and shortening until smooth.
- Slowly add 4 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
- Add vanilla and Oreo crumbs and mix until smooth.
- Add another 4 to 5 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add water or milk until you get a smooth consistency.
- Set aside about 3 1/2 cups of icing for the filling inside the cake and add chopped Oreos, if using.
- Once cakes are cool, remove cake domes from top with a large serrated knife.
- Place first layer of cake on cake plate. Spread 1/2 of the icing with the chopped Oreos on top in an even layer.
- Add second layer of cake and add the rest of the icing with chopped Oreos on top in an even layer.
- Add final layer of cake on top and ice the outside of the cake with remaining icing.
- Finish cake off with chopped Oreos and crumbs, if desired.
2. Chocolate Peanut-Butter-Cup Overload Cake
Serves 12 to 20
- 2½ cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 3 eggs
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- 1½ cups strong black coffee, hot
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 4½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- Peanut Butter Icing (recipe follows)
- Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)
- 30 miniature peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped, divided
- Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, line bottoms with rounds of parchment paper, grease parchment, then flour the insides of the pans, set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for an additional 20 seconds (batter will be very thin).
- Divide batter evenly among prepared pans.
- Bake for 20 minutes and rotate the pans in the oven. Continue to bake until a tester inserted into center of cakes comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs), about 12 more minutes.
- Cool the cakes (in the pans) on wire racks for 20 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.
- Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Cover with 1 cup of the peanut butter icing and sprinkle with 10 of the chopped peanut butter cups. Top with a second cake layer and cover with another 1 cup of the icing and another 10 chopped peanut butter cups. Place the final cake layer on top face-down. Frost the cake with the remaining peanut butter icing, smoothing as best as possible.
- Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour, until the icing is set.
- Slowly pour the chocolate ganache over the top of the cake, letting it flow over the sides of the cake. Top with the remaining 10 chopped peanut butter cups.
- Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes, allowing the ganache to set up. Keep the cake refrigerated, removing it from the refrigerator 20 minutes prior to serving.
Peanut Butter Icing
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- Place confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
- Add the heavy cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- While the cake chills, make the chocolate ganache. Place the chocolate in a 4-cup measuring cup; set aside.
- Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and warm until it just comes to a boil.
- Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk until the ganache is smooth. Set aside to cool, whisking occasionally, until it has thickened slightly, yet still a pourable consistency.
3. Strawberries and Cream Cake
Takes 1 hour to make. Serves 9.
Ingredients for the Cake
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour
- 5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons strawberry Jell-O mix, dry
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk (or milk mixed with lemon juice--check notes)
- 2/3 cup chopped fresh strawberries
Ingredients for the Frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 (8-ounce) package of full-fat cream cheese (don't use low fat), at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 to 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Ingredients for the Topping
- 1 and 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoon white sugar
Make the Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan and set aside.
- Beat the room temperature butter with hand mixers until light and creamy. Slowly add in the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy,
- In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs and then add the mixture and mix along with the freshly squeezed lemon juice. Beat in the buttermilk.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and cornstarch 2 to 3 times and then add in the Jell-O mix, baking soda, and salt. It is important to separate bowls so the cake isn't over-beaten which will result in a dense cake.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat at low speed until just combined.
- Remove the stems from the strawberries and finely chop. Add in the finely chopped strawberries to the cake.
- Pour the batter evenly in the prepared 9 x 13 pan.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.
- Cool the cake for at least one hour and then chill in the fridge for another hour.
Make the Frosting:
- Beat the softened butter and room temperature cream cheese until completely creamy. Beat in the vanilla. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar until smooth and your desired consistency.
- Spread the frosting over the cake
Top With Sugared Strawberries (Optional)
Stir together the sliced strawberries and sugar in a medium bowl. Let them stand at room temperature for about 20 to 30 minutes. Add them to the cake ONLY when serving and not beforehand.
Note: If you don't have buttermilk, remove 1 tablespoon from your milk and replace it with lemon juice. Mix and allow to sit for 5 minutes before using.
4. Lemon-Blueberry Layer Cake
Takes roughly 3 hours to make, including 30 minutes of prep and time to cool. Serves 10 to 12 people.
Ingredients for the Cake:
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature1
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups (345g) sifted all-purpose flour, (spoon & leveled)2
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk3
- Zest + juice of 3 medium lemons
- 1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh (258g) or frozen (do not thaw-- 275g)
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces (224g) full-fat, brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners' sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30ml) heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
Make the Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease and lightly flour three 9x2 inch cake pans with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until creamy—about 1 minute.
- Add granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until everything is completely combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
- Beat on low speed for 5 seconds, then add the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Remove from the mixer and stir lightly until everything is just combined.
- Toss the blueberries in 1 tablespoon of flour and fold into the batter.
- Batter will be extremely thick, but do not overmix. Overmixing will create a tough, dense textured crumb.
- Spoon batter evenly into 3 prepared cake pans. If only using 2 cake pans, your bake time will be longer. Bake the three layers for about 21 to 26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine took 21 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Make the Frosting:
- Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 3 full minutes.
- Add confectioners' sugar, 1 tablespoon cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low.
- Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes.
- Add 1 more tablespoon of cream to thin out, if desired.
Assemble and Frost:
- First, using a large serrated knife, trim the tops off the cake layers to create a flat surface.
- Place 1 layer on your cake stand.
- Evenly cover the top with cream cheese frosting.
- Top with 2nd layer, more frosting, then the third layer. Top with frosting and spread around the sides. (Note: The recipe doesn't make a ton of frosting—just enough for a light frost—so use sparingly).
- Top with blueberries or lemon garnish if desired.
- Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting, or else the cake may fall apart as you cut.
Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare cakes and frosting a day in advance. Keep cakes at room temperature, covered tightly. Refrigerate prepared frosting in an airtight container until ready to use. Frosted or unfrosted cakes may be frozen up to 2 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature if desired before serving.
- This batter will fit into a 9×13 pan. Fill 2/3 full. If there’s extra batter, you can make a few cupcakes. I’m unsure of the baking time since I only typically make it as a layer cake.
- Room temperature eggs preferred for even distribution among batter. Simply set into a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes before using or set out when you set out your cream cheese/butter for the recipe.
- Be very careful not to overmeasure your flour. This will result in a heavy, dense crumb. You want a precise 360g. For a lighter crumb, you can use 3 1/4 cups sifted cake flour instead.
- Please use buttermilk in this recipe. See note in post about how to make a DIY version at home.
- 1 medium-size lemon = approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest = 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.
- Use brick-style cream cheese. Not cream cheese spread.
- Heavy cream with 30% or more milk fat preferred in frosting for the creamiest texture. For a less creamy texture, milk would be fine.
- Use buttermilk. Buttermilk, known for providing exceptional moisture to your baked goods, will leave each bite tender and lush. I’ve found that lemon cakes can easily be dry and gritty. There’s none of that in this recipe! Buttermilk, a little brown sugar, and 4 eggs assure the final product is as moist as it could possibly be without being wet.
5. Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake
The most impressive and decadent of all chocolate cakes. Light and airy in texture and not overly sweet in taste. Pure sweet bliss!
Serves 12 to 16 people.
- 6 tablespoons butter, cubed
- 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- ¾ teaspoon espresso powder
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar (I used dark)
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 5 tablespoons hot water
- 7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 ½ cup cold heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon powdered gelatin
- 1 tablespoon water
- 6 ounces white chocolate, chopped
- 1 ½ cups cold heavy whipping cream
- Preheat your oven to 325˚F.
- Butter a 9-inch round springform pan. Set aside.
- Separate egg yolks and whites. Set aside.
- In a double boiler, melt chocolate, butter and espresso powder, whisking until smooth. Cool slightly for 5 minutes.
- Add egg yolks and vanilla extract and whisk until well combined.
- In a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, whip egg whites with salt for 30 seconds, or until frothy. Add half of the brown sugar, sprinkling it over the frothy whites. When the sugar is well mixed in, add the remaining half. Whip until soft peaks form. It can take from 1 to 3 minutes. Keep checking your peaks.
- Whisk in ⅓ of whipped whites to chocolate mixture. Do not whisk vigorously. Be gentle. Whisk just until the mixture lightens in color. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently fold in the rest of whites, until no streaks remain.
- Carefully pour the chocolate mixture into prepared pan. Smooth the top out.
- Bake the cake for 15 to 18 minutes ( center should spring back when gently pressed ).
- Leave the cake in the springform and cool completely, at least 1 hour. It will collapse. You can cover cooled cake and refrigerate overnight.
- In a small bowl, mix together cocoa powder and hot water. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a double boiler, melt chocolate. Cool 3 to 5 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, whip cream, sugar and salt at medium speed. Whip for 30 seconds. It should slightly thicken. Increase the speed to high and whip the cream until soft peaks form. It should happen quite fast (20 to 30 seconds), so do not walk away. Set aside.
- Whisk cocoa powder mixture with melted chocolate until smooth. At first, it will look like your chocolate seized but keep whisking. It will come back together and be smooth.
- With whisk, fold in ⅓ of the whipped cream into chocolate mixture to lighten it. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream, until no streaks remain. It is important or the mousse won't set right.
- Spoon the mousse over cooled cake layer. Tap the form on your countertop 3 times to get rid of any air bubbles. Smooth the top with a spatula. Wipe the inside of the pan with a paper towel from any mousse smudges. Refrigerate the cake for at least 15 minutes so the mousse can set.
- Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl. Quickly stir with a small spoon. Set aside.
- Place white chocolate in a large mixing bowl.
- In a small saucepan, heat up only ½ cup of cream until boiling. Remove from heat. Add gelatin and stir until completely dissolved. Pour the cream and gelatin mixture over white chocolate. Let sit for 20 to 30 seconds, then whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Stir occasionally.
- It should slightly thicken.
- Whip the remaining cream at medium speed for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, about 15 to 20 seconds.
- With whisk, fold in ⅓ of the whipped cream to chocolate mixture. Do not whisk vigorously. Gently, until all smooth. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the rest of the whipped cream into your chocolate mixture, until no streaks remain.
- Spoon the white chocolate mousse over the semi-sweet chocolate mousse. Smooth the top out.
- Chill the cake for at least 2.5 hours.
- When ready to serve, run the knife around the cake in the pan. Remove sides of the springform.
- For clean cuts, use dental floss or warm but dry knife.
- Decorate slices with chocolate curls. Serve.
- Refrigerate the remaining cake, covered, for up to 3 days.
Notes: Please follow the instructions carefully. It is important to plan well when making the cake. You cannot speed up any process. Every layer has to set. Be gentle when folding the whipped cream into chocolate mixtures. Whisk gently. It is important to fold in until no streaks remain for the proper setting of the mousse. Take your time—this cake is worth it.
© 2016 Nabiilah Bundhoo