Forget presents: Cake is the real reason to look forward to getting a year older — and it better be good. That in mind, we called our favorite local bakeries, asked them to send us one of their signature cakes, and ate them on a sugar-fueled Friday to find the right cake for every birthday possible situation.
For When You Can’t Decide
Crazy Hair Cake
The Snackery, Larchmont
Yes, it looks super-cool, but this textured, patchwork-colored three-tier cake is hiding an egalitarian center under its sugary icing: one layer each of vanilla, chocolate, and red velvet, meaning you’ll never have to debate about the flavors again.
For Pulling out All the Stops
Lulu Cake Boutique, Scarsdale
Lulu’s reputation for beautifully decorated, only-the-best-ingredients cakes holds strong with this new menu addition, featuring tiers of chocolate cake, house-made gianduja mousse, prailine crunch, and gold-dusted Ferrero Rocher that scream special occasion.
For When You’re Craving Magnolia
The Kneaded Bread, Port Chester
This better-than-boxed update on a childhood favorite has all the hallmarks of Magnolia Bakery’s popular cakes (rich, buttery cake and sugary icing). But we’ll freely admit that The Kneaded Bread’s version is better, with moister cake and smoother, less sweet icing.
For Not Letting Dietary Restrictions Ruin the Party
Coconut Cloud Cake
By the Way Bakery, Hastings-on-Hudson
We’re not sure how owner Helene Godin makes perfectly textured, delicious dairy- and gluten-free cakes, but we are sure that this Coconut Cloud cake is her pièce dé résistance.
For When You Just Want a Really Good Cake
Pretty in Pink Cake
Baked by Susan, Croton-on-Hudson
It doesn’t have crazy bells and whistles or complicated fillings, but this old-fashioned cake hits the perfect balance, with moist, chocolatey cake; bright, raspberry-ganache filling; and smooth, creamy icing.
For Your Italian Grandma
Black & White Cake
Homestyle Desserts Bakery, Peekskill
This is the cake you bring to the Italian restaurant to slice and serve at the family birthday party. Dubbed the “people pleaser,” it’s got a little bit of everything, with vanilla and chocolate cake sandwiched around cannoli cream and chocolate mousse.
For When You Want to Kill at Parenting
Cookie Dough Extreme Cake
The Dessertist, Croton-on-Hudson
C’mon, just look at it: This edible-cookie-dough cake is a kid’s (and let’s be honest, also a parent’s) dream, featuring layers of brown-butter cake, filled with cookie-dough cream, and finished with a towering mountain of The Dessertist’s signature edible cookie dough and chocolate chip cookies.