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What is your most popular homemade birthday dessert?

I have a B'day coming up and although it sounds a little weird, I need some help in deciding what to make for a birthday dessert. Nothing in my usual list of goodies sounds particularly exciting.

What is your go to homemade birthday dessert that always gets raves? There is one condition: Please no desserts made with cake mix! Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

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  1. I had my birthday last week....and it's been a birthday orgy for the last two weeks. Between friends and family I've enjoyed:

    A coconut cake
    A cherry clafouti
    Mixed berry pocket pies
    A peach and blackberry pie
    Peach sorbet with blackberry sauce
    a rhubarb upside down cake
    a rhubarb fool(both these rhubarb items were actually served at one dinner, the hostess was ambitious)
    root beer cake(this was actually at a restaurant and not homemade, still interesting)

    They were all delicious but I've spent a lot of time in the gym trying to work all that off! LOL

    They also all held up a candle well, even the pocket pie. :)

    1. Is this for you or are you making for someone else?

      Recently I made a basic jelly roll, filled it with lemon curd, dusted with powdered sugar, served with blueberry sauce on the side. It was for a lemon/blueberry fanatic, and she totally got it.

      Would you consider something frozen? In warm weather, an unusual ice cream bombe might be fun. Personally, I would serve a selection of ice cream sandwiches without hesitation.

        1. re: LindaWhit

          I love a very tart key lime pie or key lime cheesecake.

          My favorite dessert is a dense and spicy bread pudding with a bourbon sauce.

        2. Chocolate cake with cocoa powder and hot water, from a long-ago recipe on the back of a hersey's cocoa tin.

          Made in an angel food tube pan, dusted with powdered sugar in lieu of icing, and served with chocolate or vanilla ice cream.

          1. It varies depending on the crowd but two that are always hits are tres leches cake (served with fresh berries in the summer) and the Elvis cake. With the Elvis cake, I use cream cheese in the pb frosting.


            1. Coconut Layer Cake with Lemon Curd filling,
              Coconut Pound Cake
              Sacher Torte
              Almond Joy Cake

              1. The favorite birthday dessert in our household was always Tapioca Pudding.

                1. Happy Birthday in advance!

                  My family gets to choose what they want for birthday desserts, so here is a quick run-down:
                  Sister - rhubarb custard pie
                  Son #1 - sweet potato or pecan pie
                  Son #2 - Italian cream cake or German chocolate cake
                  Son #3 - cheesecake or chocolate layer cake
                  Everyone at my office - cheesecake
                  I have a girlfriend who makes themed cakes for everyone's birthday, beautifully decorated, not tacky at all, but WAY too much work for me.
                  I rarely eat dessert, but if my birthday was in the summer (which it is not) I would make a tart with a vanilla custard or lemon curd and decorated with a variety of berries on top artfully arranged.

                  1. Pavlova, topped with fresh seasonal fruits (usu. strawberries or peaches or blueberries)

                    1. Cranberry Oatmeal cookies. Based on the Quaker Oats recipe with twice as many cranberries and only the whole rolled oats (never quick). I still get requests to make these, but have not been in the right state of mind to make them in over a year. Mine are small--I start with the recipe (hand mushed--no utensils and I melt the butter first), then make 1" balls from the dough. These balls can be frozen on a plate, then put into a ziplock bag for future use.

                      Keep your nose open--you'll smell when they're ready and find out that the timer has 17 seconds left. Pull out, put on plates to set by the window while the next batch is baking (they don't stick and when put on a rack haven't been any better or worse).

                      These are devoured within 5 minutes (my ex--one of the many reasons for being an ex--ate 3/4 of what I was to take as a gift to my sister's wedding). I never make enough, but they take time, patience, and a good demeanour (bad moods will ruin baking).

                      The original recipe (which has apparently been lost from the lid):

                      Edit: why cookies and not something a candle can be added to? People like cookies. A hole can be made (in advance--these are more like the thinner Cape Cod style), and if then put into an ice cream sandwich, would work.

                      I'm very much over the cupcake craze. Please bring cookies back.

                      1. I just made a three-layer pavlova from this month's Gourmet - http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                        It was beautiful, different, but still had the visual impact of a layered birthday cake. I think it'll be my go-to for summertime birthdays for awhile, despite the fact that it was a little difficult to slice and serve. I'd probably let it sit, assembled for about an hour next time.

                        Of course, I didn't follow the recipe exactly - I made a quick blueberry sauce for the bottom layer and used raspberries rather than blackberries. And I needed extra whipped cream, but that was more personal preference. I think it would be really fun with different fruits/berries on each layer.

                        1. Chocolate Lasagna

                          4 sheets fresh lasagna noodles
                          1 lb Mascarpone cheese
                          2 8-oz logs goat cheese
                          8 egg yolks
                          1 fresh whipped cream
                          1 egg
                          1 tsp vanilla
                          Cocoa powder
                          1 cup confectioner's sugar
                          1 bag dark chocolate chips
                          2 cups red wine
                          1 cup refined sugar
                          1 box each, raspberries and blueberries

                          Butter the inside of a lasagna dish or pan. In boiling water, cook lasagna al dente and place in ice bath to stop cooking. Set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
                          In a small saucepan, bring red wine to a boil and stir in refined sugar. Reduce to a nice light syrup. Cool and add the fruit; refrigerate.
                          In a mixing bowl, place Mascarpone, goat cheese, eggs, vanilla and sugar. Start mixing together. Add cocoa powder a small amount at a time until the mixture is a nice light brown.
                          Place a noodle layer on bottom of pan and add a layer of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle top with chocolate chips. Repeat with two more layers. Place last noodle on top and brush and sprinkle with chocolate chips.
                          Place pan in over for 20 minutes to heat through. Remove and let cool in refrigerator.
                          To serve, cut into squares, top with berries and whipped cream. Garnish with strawberry if desired. Can even be served slightly warm.

                          1. Hummingbird cake - 3 layers of bananas, pineapple, nuts and coconut. I have never met anyone who doesn't like it.

                            1 Reply
                            1. My Grandmom's sour cream pound cake with fresh strawberries in grand marnier syrup and whipped cream (or ice cream, depending on the birthday person's request).

                              Also, chocolate bar cake with chocolate sour cream icing or peanut butter icing.

                              Love to make dessert!

                              1. Like some others, my answer depends on the Birthday Boy or Girl. And, yeah, I'm usually the baker, even if it's my own bday. But that's okay : D. Some favorite requests:

                                - Fresh fruit cobbler or tart
                                - Coconut layer cake
                                - Any kind of chocolate layer cake
                                - Warm molten chocolate cakes...my sister's choice, always.

                                For my own birthday, flan or panna cotta. Although, now that I've finally made the Pastel Vasco from Suzanne Goin's "Sunday Suppers At Luques," that just might become my favored birthday treat.

                                1. Carmelized Pear upside down Tart.

                                  1. Bete noir (flourless dark chocolate cake - basically a large round flat chocolate truffle) smothered in dark chocolate ganache. For a birthday I cut the honoree's initials (and maybe some stars) out of waxed paper, set them on top, dust heavily with confectioner's sugar, then carefully remove the waxed paper letters. Looks very cool!

                                    1. homemade ice cream, different flavors, but we love the berry swirl with vanilla.
                                      A pineapple/dried cherry upside down cake. -Wolfgang Puck's recipe
                                      Creme brulee - berry bottoms
                                      Carrot Cake and
                                      I haven't tried this one yet, but I'm thinking of making a brownie soufflee for my birthday!

                                      1. My best friend always wants boccone dulce, though this year she requested the triple coconut pie from the Dahlia Lounge in Seattle (found the recipe online; very good).

                                        My dad loves bananas foster or pineapple upside down cake. OUt of all of those, the boccone dulce is my favorite.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: girlwonder88

                                          I'm your favorite girlwonder?!!?! ;o)

                                          In our house- people demand a dense, cheesecake topped with fresh berries for birthdays. I use lots of eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and the favorite crust is ground up shortbread cookies. I don't have fun baking, but with the KA, a cheesecake is a cinch.

                                          If I had my way, I'd get a Cassata Cake (Sicilian) every year for my b-day. But strangely, no one ever asks. I'd settle for a good cannoli, if that's easier for you. No candle required!!

                                          1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                            ooooo yes, good cannoli. Gotta make these one day. I have the little round tubes. What is stopping me?

                                        2. Thank you so much to my fellow Chowhounds for all of your replies and for expanding my dessert horizons! Your suggestions were marvelous and so thoughtful! Without pause I would make and devour all of the desserts suggested, however, having to share with my DH, he has one would call a "senstitive" palate - cannot tolerate some things due to allergies. That said...
                                          Yes it is my birthday, and it will be just DH and myself celebrating. I will have the entire day Tuesday to bake and have decided to go crazy and to make the following for myself:
                                          1) Flourless Chocolate Cake
                                          2) Boccone Dulce that I will change a bit
                                          3) "Elvis Cake" from my mothers 1942 family cookbook
                                          4) Rustic Apple Tart from a recipe that I adapted from Jacques Pepin
                                          5) "Foundation Cake" also my mothers cookbook, a stained and treasured keepsake dated 1951 from Carnation milk. I forgot about this cake that my mother made for my childhood birthdays until I found the cookbook this morning,
                                          Yes, I know that is a LOT to bake and there will be plenty of left overs. I plan on taking leftovers to neighbors the next day, and DH will have variety in his lunch for the rest of the week.
                                          I'll post the results of the baking frenzy on Thursday morning as soon as I wake up from Wednesday nights' sugar coma!
                                          Thanks again.

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: OneJayneDoe

                                            That is going to be a LOT of baking (and quite yummy tastings!) Can't wait to hear how everything turns out - especially interested in the Elvis Cake (not referring to THAT Elvis, I'm assuming, since it's from a 1942 cookbook!), and the Foundation Cake.

                                            Have fun!

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              I am referring to the "Elvis" Cake reference, but everything that is old is new again - I remember eating banana cake with PB frosting as a child long before the cake was named for him. Classic!

                                            2. re: OneJayneDoe

                                              Sounds so fabulous-and what a great thing to do for your birthday! I'm excited for you.

                                              Tell me more about foundation cake; I've never heard of it and am intrigued.

                                              And of course, Boccone Dulce, you've always been my favorite :)

                                              1. re: girlwonder88

                                                Hello - Back with an update. The Foundation cake is a simple butter cake that Mom made for the kids for our birthdays (if that's what we asked for - one year I asked for and got a pineapple pie! Unforgettable!) She would top it with cooked frosting that I scraped off - too sweet. I never did have a taste for frosting after that. But I digress.
                                                Today was baking day for the B'day and almost all is done but the assembly. The Flourless Chocolate Cake is done! The Foundation Cake is done and frosted with the America Test Kitchens Chocolate Frosting - I like it a lot and I don't like frosting that much. The Elvis cake is done and awaiting the peanut butter icing which is also done. The Boccone Dulce meringues are cooling in the oven. I decided to made a change in the recipe. I added ground almonds to the meringue and whipped up some Grand Mariner pastry creme to add to the layers. The Rustic Apple tart pastry is chilling in the fridge. I'll bake that off in the morning before DH wakes up - he'll have delish aromas in the morning when we go off for our day. Thanks again for all of your suggestions and comments. I'll post again Thursday with the results of the taste test and photos if I can.

                                                1. re: OneJayneDoe

                                                  Hope you have a FABULOUS day on your birthday Miss JayneDoe!!
                                                  If nothing else, your day will definitely be sweet!!

                                              2. re: OneJayneDoe

                                                Sounds like a great celebration. What is foundation cake?

                                                1. re: chowser

                                                  Usu. just a plain or sponge cake, sometimes it can be a pound cake.

                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    Thanks--I tried googling and only found a couple of references to regular cake but wondered if there was more to it.

                                              3. At this time of year, when our own local strawberries are in season, I love strawberry shortcake...make with freshly baked scones, split, strawberries and lots of whipped cream...mmmmm....

                                                1. Well, I learned a valuable lesson! When DH came home and saw the Foundation Cake under the glass dome, he told me that it was bad luck to bake your own birthday cake. Is that true?
                                                  When I finally cut into the cake, it looked beautifully moist and smelled delicious. We both took a bite and wow! Was I ever disappointed. It tasted horrible, only worse. It was dry, and tasted like nothing - flat, dusty breadcrumbs come to mind. I don't understand why - the cake wasn't overmixed or overbaked. The frosting was good; DH commented that it wasn't one of my "best", although he enjoyed the exact same frosting on a different cake last month.
                                                  I was left to The Elvis cake (banana cake with peanut butter frosting) and again - it was not good! The cake was moist but it carried a funny taste and didn't have the bright banana taste that I am used to.. It just fell flat. Batting 1000 - haven't even had the "courage" to taste the flourless cake or the boccone dolce.
                                                  I did make the desserts with Plugra instead of my usual butter. I can't see how that could make things taste so Awful! I'm an experienced baker, I'm flummoxed, and beyond disappointed. Back to the drawing board. Thank you for all of your suggestions! If I didn't make something that you suggested it was most likely due to the fact that DH is allergic to coconut and just plain finicky!

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: OneJayneDoe

                                                    Awwwwwww Jayne.
                                                    I'd buy you a foo-foo umbrella drink (umbrella drinks re-balance the universe) and give you some regular butter so you can go for round 2!!
                                                    I am not a baker at all- I barley (typo but it's funny, so it stays) know how to say 'fondant' but I'm willing to bet if you pick yerself up, dust the flour off and try again, it will be great.
                                                    You didn't eat any of those crazy pine nuts that make your taste buds all wacky, didja?!?!

                                                    1. re: OneJayneDoe

                                                      Awwww, sorry to hear the two cakes didn't come out - I do hope the flourless cake and boccone dolce redeem the poor showing by the first two cakes!