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What are your favorite non-traditional birthday cake ideas?

I want to make a cake for my friend, but I know he doesn't like the traditional floury cake + frosting. I also want to do something fancier/more interesting. Any suggestions/recipes?

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  1. My little sister requested a punch bowl cake for her last couple of birthdays (well, at least the last two I was able to attend). Punch bowl cakes aren't fancy, but they are tasty, and a nice spin on a traditional cake. I've always liked ones made with a devil's food type cake recipe, fresh whipped cream, cherries, and coconut.

    1. Pie.

      Does he like cheesecake?

      1. Growing up I never liked a sweet cake (still don't) so there might be birthday cake for guests there was always something else for me. Sometimes it was angle food cake with whipped cream, sometimes a jello cake with whipped cream and once I remember strawberry tarts. Now I prefer to have chinese cake (SO is chinese) and even had it as a wedding cake. It is light white almost sponge cake with fruit and whipped cream between the layers and on top. Very light and tasty.

        1. well, pie is the cake of the moment if you want to go in a totally different direction.

          i'm like your friend - not a fan of the standard frosted cake. i grew up eating ice cream cake for birthdays. you could do the kind that alternates layers of ice cream *and* flour-based cake, or skip the floury cake altogether and get creative by putting things like crushed cookies, pie crust, chocolate chips, sprinkles, caramel sauce, fudge sauce, etc between layers of ice cream. that would be my choice :)

          2 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            +1 for ice cream cake...we didnt get them all the time so they were a special treat...
            and almost always carvel...
            with the occasional B&R

            i would always dig it apart and go for the crunchy things (what r they called anyway) in the middle..

            1. re: srsone

              ours were Carvel too. sadly it's now awful, awful stuff. and the crunchy things were called "crunchies" :) we always ordered extra with our cakes!

          2. Lemon tart served with sweetened whipped cream and some raspberries

            Angel food cake with whipped cream and fruit

            Strawberry shortcakes

            flourless chocolate cake (epicurious has a good recipe "la bete noire") for the chocolate lovers.

            We've also done birthday ice cream sundae bar and homemade cookies, no cake at all.