Odds are your kid won’t remember every single one of the individual gifts he or she receives for their birthdays (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 some of our favorite local options for sweet tooth-satisfying treats.
Best for: An Edible Party Favor
If party goers are on the adventurous side, forego the usual for something slightly more raw. Stop by Sophie's Dough, which sells their signature sweets, including 13 cookie dough flavors like Gimmie S'more, Cookie Monster, and Birthday Cake. You can scoop these treats up at Sophie's brick and mortar in the Springfield Mall, or you can schedule a delivery should you be swamped with other birthday party details.
Sophie's Dough (in Springfield Mall)
6500 Springfield Mall (Springfield, VA)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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