Why not birthday cake, you traditionalist conservatives may ask. It’s quintessential, iconic, celebratory, American, even. Well, assuming you’ll have many birthdays, wouldn’t it be acceptable to try something different for at least one of those? Perhaps these alternatives to a traditional birthday cake will strike your fancy for the next day-of-birth celebration in your future.

1) Cupcakes

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​Perhaps these are just smaller versions of birthday cake you argue, but that’s where the imagination can take flight. Add “weird” stuff like bacon, douse them with liquor or have a frosting/toppings bar so everyone can make their own version.

2) Pie


​“A boy doesn’t have to go to war to be a hero; he can say he doesn’t like pie when he sees there isn’t enough to go around.”-E. W. Howe

If that’s not convincing enough, consider the perfection of a graham cracker crust, a buttery, flaky traditional crust or the crumbly satisfaction from a chocolate cookie crust. The fillings of chocolate, cherries, apples, peaches, berries or what-have-you are just the icing on the cake. Pun intended.

3) Cookie Cake

From Great American Cookie’s website

​Nothing says “Happy Birthday” like the chocolate icing on a big, fat, chewy and monstrous-sized chocolate chip cookie.

Grab a giant glass of milk and have at it, or be nice and share with your friends and family. It’s your decision, and it’s not going to be easy.

4) Dirt Cake

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​Better suited for the kiddos or a birthday that falls somewhere near Halloween, this non-cake boasts ingredients like Oreos, cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, pudding and cool whip. In the words of Ina Garten (who would never dream of making such a hideous dessert), “How can that be bad?” Add some gummy worms, and you’ve got an edible compost pile, and who doesn’t like that?

5) Brownies


​Not the most creative thing, but when your birthday boy/girl/man/woman is more into the chewy chocolate squares, it makes a lot more sense than a cake. To spruce things up, add a hint of cinnamon and chipotle powder to make Mexican spiced brownies. Other variations could include adding coffee for mocha brownies, candied ginger, dried mangoes and pineapple for a tropical twist, or, once again, the ubiquitous and trendy bacon (and caramel).

6) Fruit Pizza


​Sounds lame, tastes great. A pizza crust, made from shortbread or sugar cookies, is key, with the “sauce” made from sweetened cream cheese, and the topping of fresh fruit provides a refreshing departure from a boring ol’ cake, especially in the summer.

7) Donuts


Homer Simpson and Paula Deen approved, deep-fat fried, covered in sticky, sugary glaze and pretty much sinful. Give yourself the gift that keeps on giving: in the form of an extra layer for your hips, abs or anywhere that subcutaneous fat collects. Sinner.

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