Baby’s first birthday is a big deal—for your child, for you as a parent, and of course for your Instagram feed. (It’s fine; we were all thinking it.) Whether you want an all-out sugar fest or something healthier, take a scroll through our round-up of the best birthday cake ideas around the Web. You’re sure to find a treat that’s perfect for your one-year-old’s big day—and it’ll be as tasty as it is photo-friendly.
Honey Oat Cake with Greek Yogurt Frosting
Your kid’s made it a whole year on planet Earth—so they’ve earned dessert for breakfast, no? Make their morning with a wholesome layer cake from Yummy Toddler Food; it’s stocked with b-fast staples like Greek yogurt, oats and berries. Quite possibly one of the most nutritious birthday cake ideas out there, it’s like a grab-and-go parfait with better self-esteem.
Low Sugar Carrot Cake
Looking for more healthified birthday cake ideas? Consider this carrot cake from The Vintage Mixer—its sugar content caps off at a respectable quarter-cup. The rest of its sweetness comes from applesauce, carrots and a nutty-delish cashew-cream frosting.
Sugar free and Gluten free Cherry Baby Cake
This eensy-weensy, gluten-free cake, also from The Vintage Mixer, is made with almond flour, coconut flour and lots of juicy cherries. Plus, you can whip it up in advance, pop it in the freezer and take it out day-of to add icing. (Frozen cakes are easier to frost, and this tiny little guy will thaw in no time.)
Easy Ombre Smash Cake
It’s a tricky thing, finding birthday cake ideas for a one-year old: You want it to be Instagrammably cute, but not so cute that it breaks your heart when said cake is ham-fistedly destroyed. This easy-peasy ombre design, from This Silly Girl’s Kitchen, is the happy medium: just mix up three shades of frosting, swipe ’em on and voila.
Paleo Sweet Potato Cake
Good news, paleo parents! There are more paleo-diet-friendly kid birthday cakes out there than you might think, and this one from Grazed + Enthused happens to be super-easy and free of dairy, nuts, grains and sweeteners too. So what does have? A chocolate-y avocado-carob frosting that even sugar fiends can get behind.
Apple Spiced Pink Ombre Cake
This kids birthday cake’s pretty in pink, thanks to pureed strawberries and roasted beets. For extra berry fun, Aimee at Simple Bites celebrated her daughter’s one-year-old bash with a side of fresh strawberries soaked in a mix of cane sugar and vanilla.
Chocolate Beet Cake
Because you can’t have enough healthy chocolatey options when it comes to kids’ birthday cakes, here’s another: In this un-beetable dark chocolate confection from The Smart Cookie, you won’t taste the root veggies at all, just sweetness from dates and applesauce and oodles of rich, chocolaty goodness. The gooey, ganache-like frosting gets its silky consistency from—would ya believe it?—tofu.
Obviously, one can’t go wrong with a funfetti batter. But the real magic of this cake from Preppy Kitchen is its exterior: proof positive that not all cute birthday cakes are labor intensive, and that a few well-placed sprinkles go a long way. Just press them onto the bottom of the cake with your fingers and you’ve got festive fabulousness.
Yogurt and Raspberry Ice Cream Cake
This one’s more of a melt cake than a smash cake. Raspberry sorbet filling sweetens up creamy, tangy layers of Greek yogurt in this refreshing cake from Barbara at Buona Pappa. We think it’s one of the best birthday cake ideas for summer babies.
Spiced Banana Date Smash Cake
Scale up with this epic iced banana-date spice situation from Snixy Kitchen. To make the pillowy pattern, blob four dots of frosting in a straight line up the side of the cake. Then, use a spatula to flatten half of the dot. Repeat until the cake is fully fierce. Yay for birthday cake decorating ideas that are way easier than they look!
Healthier Blueberry Cake
Looking for easy birthday cake ideas? Consider the naked cake, which always looks super-cute with little decorating fuss. Kristine’s Kitchen used whipped cream as a smart fluffier alternative to frosting. This delicate little confection is covered in clouds of the sweet stuff. Blend it with blueberries to get that gorgeous lilac tint.
Behold, a little monster for your little monster! To make these shaggy cuties from Joyfully Home, pipe on frosting “fur” through a star tip and add on fondant features. It’s a little more work than some of the other cake decorating ideas on this list, but look at the endgame. Totally worth it.
Milk and Cookies Cake
Double the dessert, double the fun. This cookie-studded marvel from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen is kid heaven, plain and simple. The outside’s obviously tres cute, but the best part is the filling: dreamy whipped cream mixed with crushed cookies.
Baby’s probably not noshing on tacos just yet, but it wouldn’t hurt to get him accustomed to the notion. One of the silliest birthday cake ideas we’ve seen, this concoction from Studio DIY! uses any cake you like, cut in half and flipped to its side. It’s frosted with buttercream tinted in taco-appropriate colors. And the beef? Crushed chocolate cake or Oreos.
Pastel Iridescent Cake
If you’re searching for princess birthday cake ideas that aren’t too princess-y, look no further. To make this darling dessert, use a spatula to slightly ombre-ify the sides of the cake, as 100 Layer Cake did, then stack macarons neatly atop. (You can use extra icing to hold them together.)
It’s dessert and toys, all in one—and less work for you! Instead of slicing off the top of this cake before frosting, you just leave it “rugged,” so it looks mountainous, as Jes at Whisk + Wander ingeniously suggests. Plunk on a few figurines channeling Bambi and co., and it’s woodland wonderful.
Ultimate Sundae Birthday Cake
An ice-cream sundae without ice cream? Blasphemy—unless, of course, you’re referring to this tricked-out birthday cake from Dedra at Queenslee Appetit. It earns its maraschino cherry with four kinds of buttercream (!) and a heavenly ganache. Side perk: Baby will look really, really cute with this smeared all over her face.
Floral Naked Cake with Butter Frosting
This simple white cake from Christine W Photography uses real vanilla bean and is good for the smashin’. Stick a real flower on top—or on the side—for a shamelessly easy, yet gorgeous, pop of color. Don’t forget to wrap the flower stem with plastic wrap to keep it food-safe.
Rainbow Unicorn Cake
These days, adults love unicorns as much as kids do—so this fondant-horned mythical creature cake is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. You don’t have to stack six rainbow-bright cake layers inside, as Marvelous Mommy did, but it does add quite a bit of magic.
No-Bake Golden Birthday Oreo Cheesecake
Baking not your thing? Consider birthday cake ideas that are actually cheesecakes. Lindsay of Life, Love and Sugar whipped up this celebratory cake on a whim—with a divine blend of cream cheese and funfetti cake mix scooped into a crushed-Golden-Oreo crust. Sweet!
Maple Banana Baby Cake
This teeny-tiny layer cake is deliciously moist and satisfying—a la banana bread—and subtly sweet, thanks to maple syrup and fruit. But the real standout is the frosting, concocted by The Faux Martha: With just three ingredients—cream cheese, maple syrup and butter—it’s make-in-your-sleep easy.
Amethyst Geode Cake
Here’s a little somethin’-somethin’ dreamt up by the folks at Whipped Bakeshop in Philadelphia. Your little one (and grown-up guests!) will ooh and aah over the glimmery burst of “amethyst” in this gem found among a slew of cool birthday cake ideas. It’s perfect for February babies!
Festive Fox Cake
This sly confection from Wilton, which takes a few days to concoct just right, is, admittedly, not the fastest kids’ birthday cakes to whip up. But it’s not difficult either; thanks to the fondant cut-out patterns (sold on the site), you’ll be piecing this together with the confidence of a professional pastry chef.
Cute Crabby Cake
Whether it’s because of their bright red color or snappy little arms, cartoon crabs come up a lot in the baby toy and book universe. So, chances are, your munchkin will see a crab cake as a familiar friend. This one—another from Wilton—also makes smart use of fondant and fondant patterns.