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Classic Cakes: The Birthday Cake

Updated: Mar 31

There have been birthdays as long as there have been people on the earth. And there has been birthday cake as long as there have been birthdays. The tradition of making a sweet centerpiece to celebrate one's birth has been a staple throughout Western Europe, achieving popularity in the mid-19th century. However, history has dated some of the first birthday cakes back to ancient Roman times, when they were made into flat circles leavened with yeast and topped with honey.

These days, birthday cakes are more extravagant affairs -- here are some of our favorite takes on the celebratory confection.


Confetti Layer Cake by Sally McKenney (Sally's Baking Addiction)

For many of us, birthdays evoke a strong sense of nostalgia, and blogger Sally McKenney's Confetti Layer Cake does just the trick. Intended to mimic a boxed funfetti cake one used to get way back when, McKenney's version contains all the trappings of the classic dessert: butter, vanilla, sugar, and -- of course -- rainbow sprinkles. Contrary to the birthday celebration itself, it's a cake that certainly defies the passing of time -- in the most delicious way possible.

Chocolate Cake with Halva Filling, Tahini Frosting, and Sprinkles by Molly Yeh (My Name is Yeh)

What do you get for yourself when you finally hit the quarter-life mark? A mini "smash cake", of course! That's exactly what blogger Molly Yeh did for her big 25th. For her take on the classic cake, she incorporated unexpected flavors such as halva and tahini with chocolate sponge, ultimately creating a cake that's as unique as her own background.

Vegan Funfetti Cake by Holly Jade (Little Blog of Vegan)

If you've got certain dietary restrictions, blogger Holly Jade has the recipe for you! For her own vegan spin on the birthday cake, Holly Jade used dairy-free butter and milk, as well as vegan (and gluten-free!) sprinkles. Top it all off with vanilla and almond buttercream, and you're all set!


Images by Sally McKenney, Molly Yeh, and Holly Jade.

Check out The French Workshop's selection of cakes here.

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