Plain old chocolate cupcakes are so passé. It’s time to up the ante for your kid’s next birthday party with some on-trend desserts that will wow guests of all ages – including the parents. We’re talking uber-creative cake pops, whoopie pies, doughnuts and cupcakes in flavors you’d probably never dream of devouring. Excited to plan that party yet? Read on for six trendy birthday treats that’ll have your mouth watering.

Gourmet Cupcakes
Cupcakes don’t have to be boring vanilla-with-chocolate-frosting anymore. Planning a ballerina or princess party? Try strawberry lemonade cupcakes from Betty’s Bakery in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn (the cake base is PINK!). A milk and cookies party? You need to get the cookies and cream cheesecake cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake, SoHo featuring an Oreo base, a cookies and cream cheesecake middle and cookies and cream buttercream frosting. Other bakeries doing fun cupcakes with several locations around the city: Crumbs (their giant cupcakes come in flavours like like S’Mores – a chocolate cupcake filled with vanilla cream cheese frosting, topped with chocolate cream cheese frosting and covered with chocolate chips, marshmallows and graham cracker pieces – woah!) and Baked By Melissa (creator of bite-sized colourful cupcakes that you can order dipped in chocolate).

Custom Cookies
No birthday party dessert table is complete without cookies. Right now we love custom-made cookies in fun shapes like ballet slippers, poodles, tiaras and rockets. Eleni’s is the place to go for your sweet cookie fix (their signature sugar cookie is light, crisp and not too sweet), as they have a wide range of designs they can whip up for parties. Looking for something out of the ordinary, or on a budget? A surprising place you’ll find custom cookies at a reasonable price is on Etsy.com. Since they’re shipped from all over the US, make sure to order your cookies in plenty of time to avoid a DIY job the night before the party.

Cake Pops
Cake on a stick – who thought up this genius idea? If you’re new to cake pops, they’re literally crushed up cake, mixed with frosting and then dipped – twice – in chocolate and decorated. A premiere source for cake pops in the city is New York Cake Pops, with delicious flavours like red velvet, chocolate, vanilla and cookes and cream. These made-to-order treats aren’t available in a bakery, but they’re perfect for parties. For more exotic cake pops, try Goodiebites, another made-to-order shop that delivers anywhere in Manhattan from the Battery to 110th Street. You’ll find fantastic flavours like Pretzelicious (Yellow cake with vanilla frosting, covered in purple candy coating, then dipped in crushed pretzel pieces). Possibly the best thing about cake pops is their ability to be decorated to suit your birthday party theme – puppy dogs, Sesame Street characters, ladybugs and more – the possibilities are endless. Be warned – they’ll be gone before you know it, so order more than enough to go around.

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Glazed Doughnuts
The oft maligned doughnut is making a huge comeback to the birthday party scene this year, as the humble ball of yeast goes gourmet. Of course a company in Williamsburg, called Dough, is leading the charge with this resurgence. Their massive doughnuts are soft and fluffy, with delicious glazes like bright-pink hibiscus and dulce de leche with almonds. They also offer the filled variety, plumped with options like Nutella, chai cream and spiced plum.

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Artisan Popcorn
No longer just a snack to wolf down at the cinema, popcorn has gone designer. Popcorn makes a great addition to a snack table – it’s so more-ish that it’s irresistible, especially when it comes in flavours like raspberry, salted caramel and sundried tomato. The place to go for fancy popcorn is Populence NYC, who call themselves popcorn artists. These purveyors of fine popcorn switch out flavours seasonally, so check their website for the latest flavours. The best bit? The choices are healthier than most desserts – choose popcorn with a topping like garlic rosemary for a treat that offsets the rest of the sugary sweets piled up around it

Whoopie Pie
If you’ve been living on the moon and never tasted a whoopie pie before, here’s the lowdown. It’s two round pieces of cake (usually chocolate) with a sweet filling (usually cream cheese or frosting). We think the best whoopie pies in New York can be found at One Girl Cookie in Brooklyn, where they make not just the chocolate variety, but also a pumpkin one that tastes similar to gingerbread.

Which of these sweet treats is your kiddos fav? (Or yours? We won’t judge)

— Christine Knight

Photos courtesy of Christine Knight, Raquel Frechette, Populence, Goodiebites.