Odds are kiddo won’t remember every single one of the individual gifts he receives at his birthday parties (even though he probably pined over each one for months). But the birthday cake…now, that’s something she’ll savor for years to come. From extravagant cupcakes to gluten-free sheet cakes, here are the tastiest local options for sweet tooth-satisfying treats.

photo: cookie jar dc

Best for: An Edible Party Favor

If party goers are on the adventurous side, forego the usual for something slightly more raw. Stop by Rise Bakery in Adams Morgan where Cookie Jar DC sells their signature sweets, including eight cookie dough flavors like sugar cookie funfetti and double chocolate M&M. You can find these treats at other stores around the DMV, or you can schedule a delivery should you be swamped with other birthday party details. 

Rise Bakery (pop up)
2409 18th Street NW 
Online: thecookiejardc.com

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photo: cakeroom

Best for: Something Classic

You won't want to order a cake from Cakeroom by phone. Nope, you should most definitely walk into this Adams Morgan bakery so that you can see the colorful display counter of round cakes (they don't do sheet cakes), smell the fresh baked EVERYTHING, and taste (yes, you might as well) the sweet goodness. Bottom line: Junior will likely request a birthday cake from this spot every year from here on out.

Cost: $30 and up

2006 18th St NW (Adams Morgan)

(202) 450-4462

Online: cakeroombakery.com

Best for: Gluten-Free Confections

Happy Tart Bakery in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood is a gluten-free paradise tucked behind a row of shops. Cakes here come in a range of flavors from almond to orange, and dairy-free butter cream and other toppings are available if you want to go vegan as well. Options include custom decorations, fondant, and sculpted cakes.

Cost: $40-$102/layer cakes

2307A Mount Vernon Ave., (Alexandria, Va)
571-244-3662
Online: happytartbakery.com 

Best for: Custom Decorated Sugar Cookies

Sure, Del Ray Cakery has "cake" in it's name (and their cakes are some of the tastiest), but if kiddo isn't big on butter cream, do birthday cookies instead. Del Ray Cakery can custom make a special decorated sugar cookie in vanilla, chocolate or gingerbread. Don't be shy--no idea is too big or too small for this gem of a bakery.

Cost: $2.75 per cookie (minimum of one dozen cookies)

Online: delraycakery.com

Best for: Vegan Goodies

Sticky Fingers is D.C.’s signature vegan bakery, and with good reason. Their cupcakes won Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars All-Stars,” proving that vegan doesn’t have to mean “any less delicious.” The bakery offers a bevy of tasty cake options just right for celebrating another year, including the kid-friendly “Cookies ‘n’ Cake” and a finger licking-yummy S’mores cake.

Cost: $30-$75/layer cakes

1370 Park Rd., NW (Columbia Heights)
202-299-9700
Online: stickyfingersbakery.com

Best for: Crowd-Pleasing Sweets

This Gaithersburg bakery hawks out an old-school treat with new school flavor. From mini bundlets to three-tiered masterpieces, there is something yummy for even the most discerning palette. Some of the most popular flavors include red velvet and white chocolate raspberry.

12133 Darnestown Rd. (Gaithersburg)
Online: nothingbundtcakes.com

Best for: Extravagant Kiddy Cakes

Fancy Cakes by Leslie, a premier wedding cake bakery in downtown Bethesda, also makes amazing kids’ cakes (see gallery here). They’ll put together any design you can conceive of, from a cake shaped like Cookie Monster to an edible Rubik’s Cube to a pastry ski mountain. No matter the birthday boy’s or girl’s interests, Leslie’s kitchen can conjure up the ultimate birthday experience.

Cost: $245.00 and up/fondant cakes; $375 and up/3-D cakes

4939 Elm Street (Bethesda, Md)
301-652-9390
Online: fancycakesbyleslie.com

Best for: Cupcakes

Baked and Wired, a hip bakery and coffee shop in Georgetown, makes—hands-down—the best cupcakes in the District. Moist and flavorful with rich, buttery frosting, these can hold their own as replacements for a full-fledged birthday cake. Besides, nowhere else can you get treats called “Chocolate Cupcake of Doom” and “Unicorns & Rainbows.” Cost: $3.65/per cupcake 1052 Thomas Jefferson St., NW (Georgetown) 703-663-8727 Online: bakedandwired.com

—Ayren Jackson-Cannady