Buying cake from a bakery may be tempting, but nothing says Happy Birthday like a homemade dessert recipe. With the right ingredients and a few tricks of the trade, you can whip up a stunning birthday cake that’s sure to impress. From towering layers to one-bowl wonders, these birthday cake recipes will give you plenty of options to suit any taste.

The first thing to keep in mind when making a birthday cake is to always use a quality recipe. Not only will this ensure that you have a moist, fluffy cake, but it’ll also help the finished product maintain its shape after frosting. For a smoother texture, be sure to whisk dry and wet ingredients together thoroughly before combining them in your mixer. This will eliminate any clumps of flour or uncreamed butter and allow the cake batter to become evenly mixed.

For a classic, old-fashioned treat, look no further than this recipe for a vanilla buttercream cake. It’s a crowd pleaser that can easily be transformed into a more festive confection with the addition of sprinkles or chopped nuts. Alternatively, you can swap out the buttercream for a chocolate or cream cheese frosting for a richer treat.

You can also use this basic recipe to make an easy layer cake that can be dressed up with the birthday boy or girl’s favorite toppings. To give the finished cake a little extra flair, consider adding a border of rainbow jimmies to each side. This is a fun way to add some personality and it looks great with the light green shade of this particular recipe.

A touch of espresso powder amplifies the chocolate flavor in this luscious layered cake. A hint of sour cream helps the layers stay super moist. This is an ideal option for a cake that will be eaten by adults who prefer not to deal with sticky, sugary icings or the added calories from butter.

This simple sheet cake is easy to tote along to a party and bakes up in just one rectangular pan. It uses maple syrup both in the cake batter and frosting for a sweet, delicious taste. This recipe is also great for those who want to serve a vegan cake.

Lemon and coconut are a match made in cake heaven, especially when they’re combined with each other in this impressive seven-inch beauty. The layers are split to make four alternating cake and curd fillings, which are then sandwiched together with a buttercream frosting that’s also flavored with lemon. Top it all with candied Meyer lemon slices and this is a cake that will certainly impress.

A little bit of practice is the key to creating an elegant frosting design for a birthday cake. Try practicing on some scrap pieces of cake or parchment paper before attempting to frost a larger cake. Once you get the hang of it, you can create pretty swirls and curls to decorate a cake that is as delicious as it is eye-catching.