Birthdays are your golden ticket to spend a little extra time in the kitchen, as you make your dream cake. It’s your chance to experiment with new flavors, create a work of art in the most delicious form, or repeat your favorites. The possibilities are endless when it comes to baking a cake, from the cake batter to the frosting to those awe-inspiring finishing decorations. However, whether you decide to keep it simple or make it over-the-top, choose flavors that make you happy, to help make your special day shine even brighter.
You can never go wrong with the delicious classics: yellow, chocolate, marble, confetti, and red velvet. But if you are looking to step outside the box this year, you may find inspiration from the list below.
Simple Cake Batters
- Lemon Poppy Seed
- German Chocolate
- Apple Spice
- Chocolate Chip Cookie
- Raspberry & Vanilla Swirl
- Orange & Maple Pecan
- Vanilla Lavender
- Lemon Blueberry Basil
- Coconut & Strawberry
- Dulce de Leche with Toasted Almonds
- Apple Cider Caramel with Walnuts
Traditional Flavors from Around the World
- France: Galette des Rois “King Cake”
- A puffed pastry cake that’s filled with a warm almond frangipane, and often a little charm called “fève” will be hidden inside for a guest to find during the celebratory dinner.
- Japan: Mochi
- A specialty rice cake that Japanese often view as a sign of good fortune.
- South Africa: Vetkoek “Fat Cake”
- Crispy on the outside and filled with a deliciously warm minced curry that won’t have you regretting staying away from the traditional sweet side of birthday cakes.
- Greece/Turkey: Revani
- A cake batter made with semolina flour, then sweetened with natural syrups and flavored with a variety of citruses.
- Germany: Black Forest Cherry Cake
- Rich, sweet, decadent, and a nice little kick from the abundance of fresh cherries and cherry liqueur.
- China: Peach-Shaped Pastries filled with Lotus Paste
- In Chinese literature, the peach is to signify a prosperous, long life.
- Chile: Lucuma
- Layers of dried meringue complemented by fruit fillings and a sweet custard for the frosting.
Different Types of Cakes
- Meringue Cake
- If celebrating during the winter months, warm up with a hot chocolate-inspired meringue cake that beautifully combines two dark chocolate meringue layers with a fluffy marshmallow buttercream frosting.
- Crepe Cakes
- A lovely surprise awaits an admired breakfast treat. From Meyer lemon to double chocolate hazelnut to being tiramisu-inspired, you’ll always be able to create something new.
- Pound Cake
- Delightful when served alongside warm fruit and toasted nuts. For a little inspiration, try a classic vanilla pound cake with warmed pears and toasted almond shavings.
- Genoise Cake
- Most commonly known as a sponge cake, this type of cake is popular in France and Italy when rolled up into a roulade.
- Angel Food Cake
- Each bite is very light as this cake batter is whipped only with egg whites and best served with your favorite summer fruits.
Frostings to Delight
- By far the most popular, a buttercream frosting is versatile and very forgiving. A simple buttercream includes the delicious combination of butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract; then add whatever additional ingredients that’ll most complement your cake batter.
- Meringue Frosting
- Most often known as the seven-minute frosting, as it is a combination of cooked egg whites and sugar that’s vigorously beaten until very fluffy.
- Whipped Cream
- It can’t get much simpler than this: whipped cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract to round out the flavors. A perfect addition to a summer birthday cake, as it is light and pairs delightfully with fresh berries.
- Who knew mixing melted chocolate and heavy cream could add such a beautiful coating to your favorite cake?
- More on the liquid side of frosting consistency, glazes can create a shiny hard crust when cooled on pound cakes, Bundt cakes, and more.
- Cream Cheese
- Similar to buttercream frosting, it’s easy and makes a creamy addition to any spiced cake.
Three Tips on Baking a Fluffy Cake
- Room Temperature Eggs
- While the science behind room temperature ingredients is vast, the simple matter of fact is that room temperature eggs help create a more evenly mixed and voluminous batter.
- Spoon & Level the Flour
- It’s important to scoop your flour out of the bag or jar into the measuring cup, then level it off with a knife. This can be a defining step in making a moist cake over a dry cake.
- Adequate Mixing
- Remember to only mix the batter until “just combined.” Over-mixing the batter can cause it to become tough and deflated in the oven, while under-mixing won’t evenly distribute the ingredients that cause it to rise properly.
Whether you prefer to keep it classic or choose to think the sky is the limit, it doesn’t take an expert to bake a beautiful cake!