Cake is one of those things that hardly needs an occasion—every piece, fork for fork, can be something special (or casual) every time. In light of this, we've collected all our best birthday cake recipes for you, from a classic cheesecake to a Smarties cake to an over-the-top Gravity Cake, the next occasion to bake a cake (birthday or otherwise) is never too far away.

Classic birthday cakes

The term "birthday cake" sounds big and difficult to conquer—you want it to meet not only your expectations of it, but of the person whose birthday it actually is. The birthday cake itself creates big, extravagant images in our heads and to top it off, there is this important day and even more important person to celebrate—no pressure. But if you face the task and make a big and beautiful birthday cake—with neatly stacked layers, the creamiest of creams, festive decorations, and everything else that most definitely belongs there–you'll see it's not so hard at all, and all that worry was for nothing.

Chocolate-strawberry naked cake

Chocolate-strawberry naked cake

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Strawberry Chiffon Cake with Russian Buttercream

Strawberry Chiffon Cake with Russian Buttercream

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Raspberry sheet cake

Raspberry sheet cake

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Chocolate chip-espresso icebox cake

Chocolate chip-espresso icebox cake

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Candied kumquat and caramel cake

Candied kumquat and caramel cake

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Blackberry stripe cake

Blackberry stripe cake

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Birthday cakes for children

There’s one thing to remember when it comes to birthday cakes for kids: They can never be too sweet or too colorful! To make a playful cake even better, hide a little surprise inside to make those big, earnest eyes gleam with delight.

Kids' party chocolate cake with sprinkles

Kids' party chocolate cake with sprinkles

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Smarties cake

Smarties cake

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Molten chocolate cake

Molten chocolate cake

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Zebra bundt cake

Zebra bundt cake

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Simple birthday cakes

If you stick to a few simple rules, then any birthday cake can be classified as "simple," but when it comes to a relaxed, hands-off preparation—these recipes (pardon the pun), take the cake. For those who prefer to keep it as simple as possible but still want to make an impression: We recommend fresh lemon cake from the tin with a swoosh of vanilla cream.

3-ingredient Calabrian walnut cake

3-ingredient Calabrian walnut cake

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Easy chocolate loaf cake

Easy chocolate loaf cake

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Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

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Covered German apple cake

Covered German apple cake

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Classic German cheesecake

Classic German cheesecake

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Marbled coffee cake

Marbled coffee cake

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Lemon-lavender yogurt loaf

Lemon-lavender yogurt loaf

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Birthday cakes for extra special occasions

I would say that baking a cake for your mom's 50th, an 18th birthday celebration, or your grandfather's 80th can be called an extra special occasion. Therefore, the cake should be bigger, a little more decadent, and somehow scream "extravagant." It gives you the opportunity to experiment with different ingredients as long as you take the time and plan ahead. Just as in the Kitchen Stories test kitchen, where every recipe is prepared and examined carefully, it is worthwhile for a larger project like this one—so take a test day!

Tangy lemon sheet cake

Tangy lemon sheet cake

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Gravity cake with white chocolate buttercream

Gravity cake with white chocolate buttercream

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Strawberry cheesecake

Strawberry cheesecake

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Cherry chocolate rum cake

Cherry chocolate rum cake

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6 unique birthday cakes

I hope everyone has eaten a crêpe cake at least once in their life, but if not, at least you've seen one or heard of it? It might not be what comes to mind when you think "birthday cake," but it fits the bill in a unique way. In addition to this, here are some other ideas for a rather more unusual birthday cake.

Nectarine-ginger mille crêpe cake

Nectarine-ginger mille crêpe cake

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Roasted strawberry cake

Roasted strawberry cake

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Ombré cake

Ombré cake

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German plum-semolina cake

German plum-semolina cake

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No-bake vegan strawberry cake

No-bake vegan strawberry cake

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Blood orange upside-down cake with thyme

Blood orange upside-down cake with thyme

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Our top tips for preparing perfect birthday cakes

How do you grease and flour a cake tin like a professional? How do you get a smooth surface to top with a whipped up frosting? What about decoration ideas that range from easy, to more difficult (also click here)? And how on earth do I cut cakes and tarts!? Click through the links for the answers.

More delicious ideas for you