Birthdays are meant to be celebrated — and if yours or a loved one's is coming up, you may be on the hunt for the best birthday cake recipes for the big day. But what about birthday party desserts that aren't cake? Whether you're not a fan of traditional birthday cake, you just want to switch things up this year, or you're looking for a certain kind of dessert to fit a birthday party theme, trying to find birthday cake alternatives can be a bit challenging. Thankfully, there are many recipe options out there that'll satisfy these requirements — and some of them are even easier to make than the cake you're probably used to having.
The great thing about your birthday is that you don't need to follow a specific layout for your special day. Want to spend all day snagging the best birthday freebies? No problem. Rather spend a few hours putting to use all of those great baking gifts and cooking gadgets you got for the holidays? You can do that too! Nothing — not even choosing a unique birthday dessert — should come in between you celebrating your birthday the way you want.
From princess-themed cupcakes to fruit-based dessert pizza, whatever you're craving for your birthday, these best birthday cake alternatives are the perfect place to start. Who knows, you might just find your new favorite birthday party treat to have from here on out.
Who ever said birthday parties have to feature birthday cakes? This sweet strawberry pizza is the perfect pick for a unique dessert to celebrate your big day.
Get the Strawberry Pizza recipe.
Giant Sugar Cookie Bouquet
This giant sugar cookie recipe combines the best of cookies with the festive feeling of a cake. Plus, it makes a great canvas for gorgeous decorations like these flowers.
Rainbow Waffle 'Wiches
What could be more fun than birthday waffles? Maybe waffle ice cream sandwiches, complete with colorful sprinkles? This recipe would make just about anyone smile on their birthday.
Get the Rainbow Waffle 'Wiches recipe.
Frozen Raspberry Meringue Pie
This frozen, pink-colored raspberry pie would be a great birthday treat on a particularly hot day.
Cherry-Caramel Ice Cream Puffs
These ice cream puffs are part delicious pastry, part tart ice cream, and part gooey, delicious caramel topping — and way more impressive than any birthday cake could be.
Fresh Fruit Cheesecake Pie
If you're in a bit of a hurry and want to throw something together that feels indulgent without being too heavy, this no-bake cheesecake pie is a guaranteed hit.
Birthday Dutch Babies
A Dutch baby is kind of like a pancake, but even better. They also look gorgeous topped with whipped cream, powdered sugar, and fresh fruit. This would be perfect for a birthday breakfast or brunch.
Get the Dutch Babies recipe.
Lemon Poppy Seed Tart
This tart would be a great birthday cake alternative for those who prefer fresh and tart flavors to traditional sweet ones like vanilla or chocolate.
Get the Lemon Poppy Seed Tart recipe.
Princess Birthday Cupcakes
A classic vanilla cupcake is a perfect way to celebrate a birthday. But make it unique by frosting them in pink buttercream and arranging them in the shape of a princess dress.
Get the Vanilla Cupcakes recipe.
You know what would make this meringue wreath even better? A sparkler or a gorgeous set of candles set in the middle for an unforgettable celebration.
Get the Meringue Wreath recipe.
Surprising your special someone with some birthday cinnamon rolls first thing in the morning is a thoughtful and delicious way to kick off their birthday. Pro tip: Heat up the leftover cinnamon rolls later for dessert and pair with ice cream.
Get the Cinnamon Rolls recipe.
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Churros with Chocolate-Caramel Sauce
Churros served with hot chocolate-caramel dipping sauce? This is one dessert that's always a good idea.
Meringues are one of the most special-looking desserts out there, so this recipe is sure to impress anyone on their birthday (especially if they love chocolate).
Lemon Poppy Seed Jelly Donuts
Sure, you've heard of birthday cake, and even birthday cupcakes, but what about birthday donuts? This lemon poppy seed jelly donut recipe would be great for a brunch birthday celebration.
Banoffee Ice Cream Pie
This gorgeous-looking pie combines banana, caramel, and chocolate flavors for an absolutely delicious effect. Add some candles and you have the most epic birthday pie there ever was.
Get the Banoffee Ice Cream Pie recipe.
Chocolate Sweetheart Cupcakes
These chocolate cupcakes are the perfect way to say happy birthday. Instead of writing Valentine's Day messages, write a happy birthday message or spell out their name amongst a dozen or so cupcakes. It'll make a big impact and the pre-portioned treats make everything easier for a group get-together.
Strawberry Ice Cream Cheesecake
Bring on the good stuff with this perfectly combined strawberry ice cream cheesecake recipe as this year's birthday treat.
Olivia Muenter is a freelance writer and former fashion and beauty editor who writes about fashion, beauty, lifestyle, relationships, travel, home decor, and more for Woman's Day and beyond. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Refinery 29, Glamour, Byrdie, Apartment Therapy, Philadelphia Magazine, and more. When she's not reading (or talking about reading on Bad on Paper, the bookish podcast she co-hosts), you can find Olivia working on her first novel, curating the perfect playlist, or shopping online.
Ni'Kesia Pannell is an entrepreneur, multi-hyphenate freelance writer, and self-proclaimed Slurpee connoisseur that covers news and culture for The Kitchn. She's the former Weekend Editor for Delish who also writes about faith, health and wellness, travel, beauty, lifestyle, and music for a range of additional outlets.
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