With all of the amazing bakeries in town there’s no shortage of options when it comes to finding a fantastic kid’s birthday cake in NYC. But which cakes really deliver when it comes to both look and taste? We’ve got suggestions, from great gluten-free, the best in buttercream, and ice cream cakes, to delicious last-minute saves, crazy custom cake creations and more. Read on for the best kids’ birthday cakes in NYC, no matter how you party!
For the Cookie Cake & More: Gracie Baked
Relative newcomer Gracie Bensimon (she's been in business about a year-and-a-half) specializes in "nostalgic 90s-themed treats and completely customizable cakes with endless flavor combinations." Her most popular cake for kids is 'The Cake', a funfetti cake with cookie dough filling and funfetti frosting. All cakes are eight-inches and cost $60. You can also truly create the cake of your kid's dreams, choosing from cake flavor, frosting flavor (you can do a different one on the inside and outside), fillings, spreads (hot fudge, caramel, etc.) and crunchies for added texture. Want to keep it simple? Order up a couple of Cookie Cakes (six-inch gooey chocolate chip cookies, pictured above) and call it a day. Gracie Baked will delivery throughout NYC for $20, and they also ship nationwide. Want to sample the goods beforehand or pick up your cake? Visit Gracie Baked at Williamsburg's N. Third Street Market on weekends, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
For Harlem Homemade Goodness: Make My Cake
Started as a home-business more than two decades ago, Make My Cake has gained legions of fans for its confections. The heart of the business is the family recipes of Josephine “Ma” Smith, said to combine the baking traditions of Mississippi and Alabama with Harlem soul. Must-haves here include the red velvet cake, German chocolate cake, sweet potato cheesecake and strawberry cupcakes. Need a cake delivered? Call 212-932-0833.
2380 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.
139 St. Nicholas Ave.
For Deliciousness on Demand in Queens & Brooklyn: Martha's Country Bakery
Martha's Country Bakery is a destination for both coffee- and dessert-lovers alike. Founded in 1972, it's now a mini empire, with five locations throughout Brooklyn and Queens. (You can find them in Forest Hills, Astoria and Bayside—and in two spots in Williamsburg.) Shops are stocked with full cakes made daily, and staffers are happy to customize with a birthday message or sign. Martha's makes cakes in almost 20 flavors, but ones especially popular for kids' birthdays are strawberry shortcake, strawberry/banana, and Oreo mousse. (We are wild for the berry napoleon.) You can get a seven-inch cake for $40, or an eight-inch for $43; larger sizes and sheets cakes are available, too, and you can even order online for cakes from the Williamsburg store at 263 Bedford.
Martha's Country Bakery
For Inspired Creations in Queens: Silk Cakes
This Forest Hills, Queens bakery describes itself as an "Asian American Cake Boutique", and makes both inspired cupcakes and cakes for celebrations and every day treats. Styles include chiffon cakes, buttercream cakes, as well as vegan and gluten-free. Go classic with your flavors (chocolate, vanilla, red velvet), or less common and Asia-inspired with strawberry chantilly, green tea, purple yam, and black sesame-flavored cakes and fillings. (See all the options here.) Pre-made cakes are available, and they will make a custom cake to your design as well. Can't make it to Forest Hills? Silk Cakes delivers to Manhattan—just make sure you order at least two days in advance.
98-14 Metropolitan Ave.
For a Last-Minute Cake That Doesn't Look it: Butterfly Bakeshop
Birthday party planning can be overwhelming, and sometimes figuring out the cake goes by the wayside. If you need a boffo cake with quick turnaround, consider one of the Xtreme Cakes from Butterfly Bakeshop's 48 hour Collection, created with procrastinators everywhere in mind. If you've got more time, they are also happy to make a custom cake in the form of pretty much anything you can come up with, as evidenced by the Minecraft-themed cake shown here.
4709 30th St. #406
To Mix it Up: Little Pie Company
Yes, you can get delicious cakes and cupcakes here, but why not change it up with some pie? This bakery consistently tops lists of where to get the best pie in the city, both big and smal. Founded by classically-trained Broadway actor Arnold Wilkerson in 1985, this shop has a pie no matter the season, from apple and pumpkin in the fall and winter, to key lime, peach and cherry in the spring and summer. (And lots, lots more.) The shop has an extensive cake menu as well, including special occasion cakes and sheet cakes.
424 W. 43rd St.
For That Exploding Cake You Saw on Instagram: Flour shop
If you follow social media, you’ve seen these cakes taking NYC by storm, and yes, they are indeed "exploding"! Cut into them and an explosion of sprinkles and colorful confections comes pouring out. Then there’s the various colors of layers, the sweet icing, and the sprinkles on the outside that make this cake a favorite with young kids, tweens, and grown-ups alike. But beware: this cake might become the hit of the party, no matter who is booked for the entertainment!
177 Lafayette St.
For the Ultimate Ice Cream Cake: Ample Hills
The beloved Brooklyn ice cream parlor, Ample Hills Creamery, packs its fun, creative flavors into a cake mold and voila!, a fun, creative birthday cake is yours! Cakes are made-to-order and include homemade brownie or signature ooey gooey butter cake base, hot fudge or caramel, a layer of ice cream, another layer of fudge or caramel, a second layer of ice cream, and finally whipped cream and toppings. Ummm, what are you waiting for?
Ample Hills Creamery
623 Vanderbilt Ave.
305 Nevins St.
421 Van Brundt St.
141 Eighth Ave.
34-02 30th Ave.
For Fans of Magnolia Bakery: Buttercup Bake Shop
After helping to open Magnolia Bakery (the spot made famous by the gals on “Sex and the City”) Jennifer Appel was up for a solo venture. She started Buttercup Bake Shop, and this store’s classic American desserts have been wowing customers for years. The layer cakes are as delicious as her cupcakes, and will please grown up guests as much as the kids. There are many flavors to choose from, and it’s worth a trip to the midtown location to also sample the many puddings or bars...and pies, and cookies and bundt cakes!
973 2nd Ave.
Upper East Side
For The Best In Buttercream: Billy’s Bakery
If you prefer the look and taste of a fluffy, buttery frosting, Billy’s Bakery is the place for you. Like most of these bakeries, custom cakes require just 48 hours notice, but Billy’s Tribeca location will even host your party.
75 Franklin St.
For Classic Cakes from a European Pastry Chef: Der Pioneer
A relative newcomer to the scene (it opened in early 2017) Der Pioneer has quickly gained a devoted following. Björn Böttcher and Greg Barbiero are behind this Kensington cafe, where Böttcher, a classically-trained pastry chef who has worked in European luxury hotel kitchens and beyond, creates delicious and refined—but still kid-approved—desserts both big and small. Flavors and fillings include dark chocolate, milk chocolate mousse, and white sponge cake with passionfruit mousse, and cakes come in 6-inch ($28), 10-inch ($52), and half-sheet cake ($110) sizes. We're still thinking about the birthday cake we ate at a kid's bash a few months ago. Amazing.
737 Church Ave.
For a Great Cake on the Go: Veniero’s
The Strawberry Shortcake from 120 year-old Italian bakery Veniero’s probably isn't the first thing to come to mind when you think of a kid's birthday cake, but we’re here to tell you this cake is a crowd pleaser. And the shop sells so many every day, you can just walk in a buy a fresh one — and you can ask them to dedicate it. (A fridge stocked with other flavors like Oreo Cheesecake and Tiramisu cake, is there for your perusal, too.)
342 E. 11th St.
For Cake in All Forms: Mia’s Bakery
Mia's does cake any which way you like it: classic cake, cupcake, cake pops — all in traditional and more exotic flavors. The bakery will decorate something from its extensive menu of cakes with a simple "Happy Birthday", or create an elaborate custom confection. (The shop routinely displays impressive cakes in its windowed storefront.) Sampling here is easy — a bit too easy. Slices are displayed in the massive illuminated case, along with the other sweets, which also include tarts, cookies, etc. The roomy cafe and a menu of coffee, teas and more will get you to stay a while.
For a Donut Cake: Dun-Well Donuts
If your little one is less about cake and more about cake donuts, or if you've already been to 12 kids birthday parties this month, and you just can't eat any more sponge cake, order a tiered donut “cake” from Dun-Well in Brooklyn. The shop's organic, artisanal donuts also happen to be the first all-vegan version sold in NYC.
Now in Manhattan, you can get your delicious vegan donut fix on the Lower East Side or in East Williamsburg. And if you just need to have them right here, right now, Uber Eats will deliver them to your door.
222 Montrose Ave.
102 St. Marks Street
New York, NY 10009
To Have Your Singular Cake Concept Realized: Sweet Amanda Leigh
Got an idea you need executed? (Or want some help coming up with a birthday cake that will blow you kid's — and everyone else's — mind?) Check out Sweet Amanda Leigh. Owner Amanda Leigh Maffucci specializes in custom-made cakes, and will talk with you about what you want, and the little guest of honor, to make a one-of-a-kind confection for the big day. Flavors run from the tried and true — deep chocolate and classic vanilla — to the festive and uncommon, such as "funfetti" and "almond gossamer," although Maffucci is happy to create any flavor she does not offer. Frostings and fillings range from chocolate and vanilla buttercream to fresh strawberries and "toasted marshmallow." Our sources tell us the cakes taste as good as they look! Custom cakes start at $150.
Sweet Amanda Leigh
For The Naked Cake, made by you!: Milk Bar
If you’ve seen a naked cake it was either from this place, or inspired by it. While there are many imitators, this is original, created by sweet master Milk Bar owner Christina Tosi. (She's also the genius behind cereal milk ice cream, compost cookies and crack pie birthday cake.) The newest take on this now classic is that you can customize the naked cake to suit your celebrant's tastes, picking everything from the filling layers to the crumbs. Milk Bar has eight locations throughout NYC.
For the Cake You Might Want for Your Birthday, Too: Butter & Scotch
Butter & Scotch is a bar that makes great cakes for those with a sense of humor, and possibly an appetite for an aperitif. But with rich vanilla cake, pink frosting and rainbow sprinkles, the cake both looks and tastes really good, making it a crowd pleaser revelers of all ages. This cake was named New York magazine’s “Absolute Best Birthday in NYC”, and so yes, their cake is their best seller.
818 Franklin Ave.
For Design Awards: Empire Cake
This storefront bakery on 8th Ave. in Chelsea became well-known for its many homemade versions of a Twinkie, but any neighborhood mom will tell you, their cakes are what’s celebrated on the kids birthday party circuit. Delectable creations are made-to-order, and no design challenge is too great, as evidenced by the Elsa/Spiderman combo above.
112 8th Ave.
For a Gluten- and Nut-Free, Vegan, or Dairy-Free Cake: Everybody Eats
This Gowanus Brooklyn bakery swears you can't tell the difference between its gluten-free cake and the alternative. (It's gluten-free baguette is served at the River Cafe, so they must be doing something right.) And, you can even get one on the same day as long as you call before 11 a.m. (Procrastinators, rejoice!) Plan ahead and choose from flavors including yellow, chocolate, and red velvet cake; frostings of Italian buttercream, or whipped cream, and fillings of fresh fruit, pudding, and chocolate ganache. Cakes start at $85 for a seven-inch round, which serves six to 10 people.
294 Third Ave.
For Your Budding Gemologist: byPensa
Bushwick-based Nicole Pensabene has been working in the wedding industry for more than 10 years, and her bakery byPensa has gained quite a following among brides and grooms-to-be. She’ll work with you to create whatever kind of cake you want, but one of her most striking designs is that of a cake that looks like a geode. It’s particularly striking in blue or purple. Here it’s topped with additional sweet “stones.” byPensa does not currently have a storefront, but they do deliver for an additional fee.
For Nutella Lovers: Du Jour Bakery
Though Vera Obias, the co-owner (with her husband) of Du Jour Bakery, can make as beautiful a birthday cake as any well-trained pastry chef (check Du Jour’s Facebook page for proof) families are going bonkers for her Nutella Crepe Cake, otherwise known as 18 layers of crepes with whipped cream, Nutella, and toasted hazelnuts. (Otherwise known as Heaven on Earth. )
365 5th Ave.
For Vegan, Organic and Gluten-Free: Clementine Bakery
Proudly declaring on their web site, “we’re vegan and organic all the time, and gluten-free when you request it,” this bakery in Brooklyn makes great looking cakes and they avoid soy, too. They obviously have a way with custom creations as well, as evidenced by this Peppa Pig tour de force. (If you can make it to the mothership in Clinton Hill, their cakes, pies and other treats are also sold at cafes and other establishments throughout the city; click here to find Clementine near you.)
395 Classon Ave.
feature photo: Ample Hills Creamery