Top 20 birthday cake alternatives
Celebrate a birthday differently this year with one of our fun birthday cake alternatives. From towering profiterole stacks to funfetti cheesecakes, we've got plenty of birthday inspiration to dive into.
If you're not a fan of traditional sponge cake or are looking to switch things up this year, look no further: we've collated our favourite birthday cake alternatives which are fit for the occasion, whether you're looking for a genius cupcake idea, celebratory cheesecake or stunning meringue wreath to surprise someone with.
For more birthday treats see our collections of birthday cakes and party food recipes. Also our reviews section for plenty of gift ideas, such as the best hampers, letterbox gifts, baking gifts and more.
A fresh batch of cupcakes is a top idea if you're throwing a party with multiple guests. Serving up to 12, cupcakes are studded with sprinkles for a multi-coloured look which screams birthday.
Birthday cheesecake, anyone? Whip up our simple 'funfetti' cheesecake for a loved one's birthday – it's great for getting the kids involved, too, using just seven ingredients with no cooking required.
While technically not a cake, who could possibly resist a birthday banoffee pie? Especially when it's amped up with crunchy hazelnut praline, salted caramel and muscovado whipped cream. You won't look at banoffee pie the same way again.
Fruity, nutty or chocolatey, decked out with pastry, meringue or crumble, a sumptuously sweet pie is sure to impress a loved one on their birthday. See more inspiration with our collection of sweet pie recipes.
Sing 'Happy Birthday' as you present this epic meringue wreath to a loved one. A fun and lighter finish to a birthday meal, you can also experiment with flavours depending on the season and preference (e.g. swap cranberries for raspberries, pistachios for walnuts).
Who needs birthday cake when there's profiteroles? This 1970s dessert sees featherlight choux pastry stuffed with cream and drizzled in chocolate sauce. It's a classic for a reason, and we see nothing wrong with recreating it for a birthday alternative.
Profiteroles require effort to make, but the results are always worth it – see our double chocolate profiteroles with salted caramel cream and raspberry, white chocolate & pistachio profiteroles for more inspiration.
Oreo lovers, this one's for you: layer up cookies with a simple cream mixture and you're left with a visually stunning fridge cake. It takes just 20 minutes and it's best left overnight for the cookies to soften, making it a nifty make-ahead treat.
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If no-bake desserts are a big thing in your household, check out the rest of our fridge cake recipes.
Switch things up a little by substituting a classic lemon cake for lemon meringue pie. It's one of our top-rated desserts with more than 400 star ratings, so you can be sure the results will be good. Also discover an easy bake that makes a stunning centrepiece dessert with our lemon drop chilli loaf cake recipe.
If the sound of chocolate, cookies and ice cream is 'tick', 'tick' and 'tick', get involved with these cool cupcakes. Aesthetically pleasing yet surprisingly easy to make, you only need a handful of ingredients for this one.
Find more dazzling ice cream creations with our ice cream dessert collection.
If you're feeling up to the challenge, replace a standard sponge cake with these picture-perfect macarons. You could even present them on a cake stand with other bakes as part of a birthday afternoon tea.
10. Giant cookie
If the thought of a traditional sponge leaves you a little uninspired, how does a giant cookie sound? A crowd-pleaser of a cookie, you can adapt this recipe with their favourite treats like marshmallows, pretzels, nuts, toffee or fudge.
We also have our next-level chocolate chip cookies for finessing your cookie-making skills.
A quirky alternative for lemon drizzle fans (who eat nothing but lemon drizzle for their birthdays) – stick a few candles into a pretty lemon drizzle crêpe cake and voila! All their birthday needs are met.
Find more fun twists on lemon cake with our lemon drizzle recipes.
If you're not too sure what to bake for someone's birthday, brownies are always a fail-safe idea. Particularly these gooey squares, amped up with a layer of salted caramel running through the centre of each bite.
If cake is off the cards, whip up these sweet waffles for a luxurious birthday brunch. Smother with fried bananas, vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, and let the waffles do the talking.
What could be more suitable for a birthday treat than a batch of warm gooey double choc cookies, served with glasses of milk for dunking? It's a solid way to round off a luxurious birthday meal with friends.
15. Chocolate trifle
Why reserve trifle for Christmas when you can enjoy it all year around? This trifle is a chocolate lover's dream, layering shop-bought brownies with Irish cream, chocolates and custard.
Surprise the pastry lover in your life to the ultimate birthday treat: a box of cinnamon rolls. This recipe cuts corners by using puff pastry so it's easier and quicker to make.
If cake isn't their thing, chocolate-chip cookie ice-cream sandwiches sure will be. Simply bake a batch of cookies and use two of them to squish into shop-bought ice cream – you'll never look at cookies the same way again!
18. Doughnut muffins
Turn your hand to baking these sugar-dipped cupcakes for a sweet treat with a twist, best served straight from the oven and onto the table with a cuppa.
Those without a sweet tooth, fear not: trade a birthday cake for a celebratory baked camembert, taken to the next level with bacon-wrapped breadsticks for dunking.
20. Grazing platter
Prefer savoury to sweet? Ditch the sweet treats all together in favour of a next-level grazing platter, complete with savoury winners such as chorizo, olives, baked cheese and nuts.