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10 Best Birthday Treats That Aren’t Cake

This year, why not let your kiddo blow out their birthday candles over delicious donuts, whoopie pies, or a giant cookie?

Erica Silverstein



How about blowing out the birthday candles on something other than cake this year? Maybe you're just not a fan of fluffy baked goodness covered in teeth-tingling frosting, or maybe you’re looking for an alternative birthday idea to spice up your kiddo's special day. Get your sweets on with these 10 birthday party desserts that aren’t cake.

1. Cookie Cakes

Cookie Cake


Skip the cake and celebrate with a giant chocolate chip cookie. Cookie cakes are perfect for birthday celebrations because you can still decorate them with frosting and stick candles on top. We recommend slicing the cake like a pizza, rather than stuffing the whole thing in your mouth Cookie Monster style. Nom nom nom!

2. Dirt Pie

Dirt Pie


Dirt pie was a big hit at my son’s 8th birthday party. It’s a fast and easy birthday dessert that combines vanilla or chocolate pudding, crushed-up Oreo cookies, and a smattering of gummy worms to resemble — you guessed it — dirt. Serve it in individual cups or a large bowl, or get creative by displaying it in a pail or flowerpot as if it really were gardening soil.

3. Rice Krispie Treats



Trade chocolate for marshmallows and celebrate with a snap, crackle, and pop. I’m talking good ol’ Rice Krispie Treats, made with puffed rice cereal and marshmallows. You and the kids can gobble them up plain, or shape them with cookie cutters, dress them up for the party with frosting and sprinkles, or dip them in chocolate and skewer them on a stick.

4. Ice Cream Sundae Bar



Who wants to wait patiently for someone to serve up a slice of cake, when you could be piling toppings on a scoop of ice cream yourself? Any party with an ice cream sundae bar is sure to be a hit. Set out a colorful array of fruit, nuts, candy, sprinkles, and sauces, then stand back while the ice cream fiends attack.

5. Fruit Parfaits



Some families prefer healthy non-cake birthday treats. If that’s you, I present the fruit parfait. Take a clear glass, and layer your favorite yogurt with colorful fruits and berries and granola or crushed-up nuts or graham crackers. The rainbow fruit colors are so pretty, your guests won’t realize the dessert is actually good for them.

6. S’mores



Everyone’s favorite camping treat is a perfect birthday cake alternative, especially for summer birthdays. If you don’t want everyone waiting around the fire pit, have an adult roast the marshmallows and then dish them out with mini Hershey’s chocolate bars and graham crackers. Or whip up a s’mores pie to get the same gooey taste in sliceable pie form.

7. Churros



Prefer French fries to cake? A fried birthday treat might be calling your name. Get a little international, and serve up Spanish churros with thick hot chocolate dipping sauce. Your party will get five stars for originality and deliciousness.

8. Cheesecake Cupcakes



You want a handheld birthday dessert, but traditional cupcakes get the thumbs down. Meet the mini cheesecake. It looks like a cupcake and can handle a candle, but it’s made with a graham-cracker or cookie crust and a sweet creamy, cheesy filling — no flour in sight. For party style, go wild with berry or funfetti toppings, an Oreo cookie crust, or chocolatey filling.

9. Whoopie Pies



A whoopie pie sounds naughty, but these sweet sandwich-style desserts can be a nice substitute for cupcakes at your next birthday bash. Bake up a soft chocolate cookie to serve as the bun, then fill with a marshmallow buttercream frosting. But don’t stop there. Make your whoopie pies extra festive by dyeing or flavoring the frosting, using alternative cookies such as red velvet or gingerbread, or upgrading the filling with candy or colorful cereal mix-ins.

10. Donuts



Donuts: They’re not just for breakfast anymore! Your birthday kid will go nuts when you surprise them with a display of tricked-out donuts from your favorite extreme donut shop or marble-glazed or unicorn donuts you frosted yourself. Or do a DIY donut-decorating bar, and let the kids work some magic with frosting and toppings. I promise you will hear zero complaints about a lack of birthday cake.