Several city locations of Häagen Dazs offer custom ice cream–cake creations—they even designed a cookie dough–flavored Time Out Kids cake for us! Custom ice cream cakes: $52.95–$110, depending on size; at Häagen Dazs (nycicecream.com) •2905 Broadway between 113th and 114th Sts (212-662-5265) •1188 First Ave at 65th St (212-288-5200) •55 E 8th St between Greene and Mercer Sts (212-777-2477)
Genius pastry chef and owner, Christina Tosi, is known for her wide variety of unique confections, but one of the most popular is her tasty twist on a traditional birthday cake: Three layers of rainbow cake (sprinkles are baked inside!) spread with thick vanilla frosting and topped with crunchy cake crumbles. The wacky riff on Funfetti isn't the only flavor—you can choose from 12 other combinations! Six-inch cake (feeds 8–12) $38, ten-inch cake (feeds 20–30); at Momofuku Milk Bar, various locations (347-577-9504, milkbarstore.com)
Cakes at chic Tribeca Treats range from simple six-inch affairs to multitiered creations with 3-D decorations, like this one decked out with circus animals. Two-tiered cake $140, 3D decorations $40–$50; at Tribeca Treats, 94 Reade St between Church St and West Broadway (212-571-0500, tribecatreats.com)
When people are willing to stand hours in line for a pastry from your bakery, you know you're doing something right. NYC pastry king, Dominique Ansel has made headlines for various treats, but this one, you won't have to wait around for. Little chocoholics will adore this decadent cake, made with flourless chocolate cake, mousse and ganache and dotted with crispy miniature chocolate meringues. Ten-inch Mini Me Chocolate Cake $50; at Dominique Ansel Bakery, 189 Spring St between Sullivan and Thompson Sts (212-219-2773, dominiqueansel.com)
Move over, cupcakes: These cake cups, in flavors like chocolate salted caramel and carrot cake, can be stacked into an impressive party centerpiece. Tower of 30 cake cups, $120 (in plastic cups) or $225 (in glass cups); at Bee’s Knees Baking Co., 347 Third Ave between 25th and 26th Sts (212-989-6400, beeskneesbakingco.com)
For your little animal lover's next birthday, consider a sculpted baby giraffe cake from Baked in Brooklyn. Custom cake, $75 (feeds 15-20 people); at Baked in Brooklyn, 755 Fifth Ave between 25th and 26th Sts, Sunset Park, Brooklyn (718-788-3164, bibcatering.com).
Buttercup’s classic golden layer cakes can be frosted in a spectrum of colors and are tastefully rimmed with kid-pleasing sprinkles. Two-layer, nine-inch cake (feeds 15) $44; three-layer, nine-inch cake (feeds 20) $53 at Buttercup Bake Shop, 973 Second Ave between 51st and 52nd Sts (212-350-4144, buttercupbakeshop.com).
These lollipop-like treats consist of chocolate, vanilla or red-velvet cake mixed with frosting, then coated in chocolate and adorned with sprinkles or sugary accessories. Color pop mix assortment, one dozen $39; by New York Cake Pops (646-406-1948, nycakepops.com).
This underwater-themed birthday masterpiece in the half-sheet size was custom-made for maritime lovers. Vanilla sheet cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, $75 for half-sheet cake, custom design $25. Whole Foods Columbus Circle, Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle (212-823-9600, wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/columbuscircle).
Crown each cupcake, normally topped with Sprinkles’ signature dot, with a different letter to spell out a special message for your birthday child. Cupcakes: $3.75 each, one dozen $45; lettering $10 per dozen; at Sprinkles Cupcakes, 780 Lexington Ave between 60th and 61st Sts (212-207-8375, sprinkles.com).
Rainbow sprinkles add a festive touch around a decadent plateau of frosting, while the simple vanilla top serves as a blank canvas for the birthday candles of your choice. Vanilla sprinkle Colossal (feeds 8–10) $25.99; at Crumbs Bake Shop. Go to crumbs.com for store locations.
This three-layer confection is a playful blueberry-and-mascarpone take on the standard red velvet. Seven-inch blue velvet blueberry-and-mascarpone cake, $44; at Little Cupcake Bake Shop, •30 Prince St at Mott St (212-941-9100, littlecupcakebakeshop.com) •9102 Third Ave at 91st St, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (718-680-4465) •598 Vanderbilt Ave between St Marks Ave and Prospect Pl, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-783-0770)
This classic layer cake is ideal for kids with egg, gluten, dairy or wheat allergies and their friends, as it's 100 percent vegan. Vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, $85 for standard 9" cake. Babycakes NYC, 248 Broome St between Ludlow and Orchard Sts (212-677-5047, babycakesnyc.com).
RECOMMENDED: Kids' birthday party ideas
In a city as obsessed with sweets as ours, the abundant options for party desserts can often be daunting. To help make your youngster's bash a little sweeter, we rounded up the tastiest birthday cakes from our favorite NYC bakeries, including whimsical creations to go along with cute 1st birthday party ideas and slightly more sophisticated varieties for older children and tweens. Plus, we found treats that riff on traditional kids' cakes (think bite-size birthday treats like cupcakes and cake pops) for kids who want to go beyond the traditional layer cake. If you're ready to go all-out with the decor, make sure to stop in at the city's best birthday party supply stores.