07/15/2013 09:19 am ET Updated Mar 11, 2015

Birthday Cake Recipes And Ideas That Are Guaranteed To Wow

By Lynn Andriani

These magnificent desserts look even better with a candle (or two, or 40) on top.

  • A Sweet With A Serious Wow Factor
    (c) Georgia Glynn Smith
    Though this dessert looks like a plain white, frosted cake, slicing into it reveals seven Roygbiv-colored layers that will undoubtedly elicit oohs and aahs. The recipe, from Edd Kimber's Say It with Cake, may take a bit more time to prepare than others, but we guarantee you'll be licking the confetti-colored crumbs off the plate. Get the recipe: Rainbow Cake
  • A Reminder That Simplicity Is Divine
    Penny De Los Santos
    Sometimes even a cake that seems uncomplicated has an ingredient list a mile long and directions that make you want to pull your hair out. Not this classic from Jennifer Perillo's Homemade with Love. To make her light and airy layer cake, you add the wet and dry ingredients together all at once, and beat the batter on high speed (two things many pros warn against). Trust Perillo, and you'll be rewarded with a moist, buttery -- and can't-go-wrong -- meal finale. Get the recipe: Golden Vanilla Birthday Cake
  • The Most Heavenly Angel Food Cake Ever
    (c) Con Poulos
    Arranging colorful M&M's on top of any cake is one of the fastest ways to instantly transform it into a celebration-worthy dessert. Place those candy-coated chocolates atop fluffy angel food cake that's layered with a mascarpone-cheese-raspberry-jam filling and covered in cream cheese frosting, and you've got one downright amazing birthday treat. Get the recipe: Angel M&M's Cake
  • The Perfect Pink Confection For A Summer Afternoon
    (c) Heather Christo and Jim Henkins
    Strawberry buttercream frosting and freshly sliced strawberries sandwiched between two layers of tart lemon cake make for a dessert that tastes remarkably similar to a glass of pink lemonade -- and that's just a liiiittle more indulgent. The recipe, from Heather Christo's Generous Table, includes fresh lemon zest, fresh lemon juice and a cup of buttermilk (the acid in the dairy helps tenderize the gluten in the batter, so the cake has a softer texture). Get the recipe: Strawberry Lemonade Cake
  • The Red Velvet Cake With A Secret
    Gentl & Hyers
    Rather than let an open bottle of red wine languish on the refrigerator shelf, blogger Deb Perelman, author of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, uses it in place of the usual food coloring in a red velvet cake. The result -- a rich, fudgy marriage of chocolate and wine -- will leave you hopeful for more leftover Pinot Noir in the near future. Get the recipe: Red Wine Velvet Cake
  • Carrot Cake, The Easy Way
    William Abranowicz
    God bless Ina Garten: Her version of the sweet and spiced favorite calls for frosting between the layers of the cake but not around the sides, eliminating a step that, for many of us, results in something that looks like a seventh-grade home-ec project. Throw some diced candied ginger on top, and you'll be sure to impress. Get the recipe: Carrot Cake with Ginger Mascarpone Frosting