Looking for the perfect unique birthday dessert? We get it—sometimes cake doesn’t cut it. That’s why we’ve found 25 show-stopping birthday dessert alternatives that are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. From ice cream to cookies, there’s something here to make your celebration extra special.
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Fried Ice Cream
They love ice cream and french fries, so it’s not too much of a stretch to say they’ll probably go nuts for fried ice cream. Add a little fudge and whipped cream, and it’s birthday dessert heaven.
We dare you to find a more cheerful cookie than these sugar masterpieces from The View from Great Island. They’re perfectly festive for any birthday soiree, and a cinch to whip up. Use a whole assortment of sprinkles or customize the colors for your tot!
Birthday Charcuterie Boards
What's better than one dessert? A whole bunch of desserts, on one giant platter. Whether it's a cocoa-themed spread or you want to go full-on birthday-themed, the hottest new trend in food is taking over the party, too. Birthday charcuterie boards are where it's at!
Is there anything better than the cinnamon-sugar goodness of a county fair churro? For those looking to recreate this particular magic at home, we present this recipe from Peanut Butter & Peppers. The secret here is that the churros are baked, not fried—which means they have all the sweet, doughy crunch you expect but you can skip the greasy frying.
Related: Party On! The Trendiest Birthday Themes for This Year
Mini Brownie Bowls
Because cones are so ordinary, right? Up the ice cream sundae bar game by opting for a super sweet bowl the gang can eat: these mini brownie bowls from Life Love Liz are perfect because you can serve them warm or cooled down, depending on how much time you have before you need them.
Why do unicorn cake when you can serve up unicorn-themed sundaes? The best part about this amazing treat from Dawn at Cutefetti is her low-cal version that still has all the whimsy and the taste.
These popular French cookies can be made in a variety of colors and flavors and have an extra-festive birthday appeal—plus it's easy to portion control sugar intake for the younger kids. While they can be a bit challenging to make for the novice baker, Sally's Bakings Addiction has a step-by-step tutorial that just might help you win this whimsical dessert. If you're not feeling up to it, patisseries across the country sell these delectables. You can also order up a batch from [ma-ka-rohn] where you'll also find gluten-free varieties. They ship across the US.
Brownies go sophisticated with this fun recipe from The Cookful. Just whip up a batch using your favorite recipe (or a boxed mix), and dip them into a simple ganache to up the fancy factor.
And for more desserts on a stick, click here.
Baked Birthday Donuts
Do not be surprised if these funfetti-filled donuts become a new birthday tradition. They’re simple to make and super colorful. They’re also perfect for a crowd. Don’t forget the glaze! Get the recipe from If You Give a Blonde a Kitchen.
Are you a fan of flan? How about the creamy goodness of cheesecake? You can have ‘em both with this recipe from A Little Yumminess. It’s more firm than flan and lighter than cheesecake—perfect for a birthday cake alternative that’s a little outside the box. Click here for the how-to!
It’s easy to add cannoli to your birthday party lineup with this genius idea from Hungry Gems. Picture it: smooth ricotta, vanilla paste speckles, and fluffy sugar. Don’t forget the colorful sprinkles for that extra special touch!
Nutella Whoopie Pie
When a dessert has “whoopie” right in the title, you know it’s a reason to celebrate. These delish, unique birthday desserts have a hint of orange, a whole lot of Nutella, and are just the thing to amp up a birthday party. (Psst! They also make great gifts!) Score the recipe by clicking here.
Related: How to Plan a Kid’s Birthday Party on a Budget
Strawberry and Sprinkles Pancakes
Give your usual birthday dessert a flip with this sweet idea from Averie Cooks: pancakes! These phenomenal flapjacks are bursting with sprinkles, topped with strawberries, and the perfect way to begin or end a birthday.
Ice Cream Tacos
Who says tacos have to be savory? Check out how A Subtle Revelry puts them together (And if you're looking for more dessert taco ideas, we've got them).
Strawberry Rice Crispy Pops
We love these adorable pops from Tast-e, and not just because they look like something that belongs in a cotton candy castle. They’re just as easy to whip up as your run-of-the-mill rice krispie treats, and the little ones are sure to gobble them up.
Ice Cream Cupcakes
These may look like boardwalk-style chocolate-dipped cones, but don't be fooled—they're cupcakes! The Flair Exchange shows how to bake the cupcakes right into the ice cream cones, and dip them in a chocolate shell topping.
Banana Split Ice Cream Pie (In a Jar)
Around My Family Table's great idea combines all the best parts of a banana split into a cute mason jar, making it the perfect individual treat for kids. Layer up graham cracker crumbs, different types of ice cream, and fruit toppings for a unique birthday dessert that rocks.
Ice Cream Cake Pops
We’re obsessed with these yummy ice cream cake pops from Better Recipes—and they’re easier to make than normal cake pops. Just scoop mini portions of ice cream, then roll them in your favorite cake flavors.
Oreo Ice Cream Sandwiches
Oreo lovers will go crazy for these ice cream sandwiches with a twist from Frosting and a Smile. You can customize the toppings based on taste or to match the party's theme—either way, your guests will gobble 'em up.
Cookies and Cream Dessert Pizza
Combine your kid’s two favorite things—pizza and cookies—and you’ll get this insanely delicious dessert from Amuse Your Bouche. This version is topped with marshmallow fluff, Oreos and chocolate, but you can get creative topping it with your favorite sweets and fruits.
These ice cream bars from Half Baked Harvest are a step above your usual picks from the ice cream truck. Customize them with Oreos, chocolate chips, sprinkles, and nuts—the sky's the limit. This unique birthday dessert can be made ahead of time or little chefs can get involved in topping their creations themselves.
Funfetti Cake Batter Popsicles
For a birthday-appropriate twist on popsicles, try this clever idea from Unusually Lovely. It’s super easy to whip up with the help of cake mix, rainbow sprinkles, and heavy cream.
This unique birthday dessert from Mooshu Jenne is perfect for an outdoor party. Layer chocolate pudding, whipped cream, and crushed chocolate cookies for "dirt" that's sure to be delicious.
Peanut Butter Oreo Ice Cream Cake
Guests of all ages will be wowed by this impressive cake from Lauren's Latest. It's pretty easy to throw together using Oreo cookies, chocolate ice cream, and a seriously delicious peanut butter caramel sauce.
Circus Animal Truffle Bark
Turn your kid's favorite cookie into this colorful truffle bark from A BaJillian Recipes. This would also work perfectly as a take-home treat for goodie bags.
— Taylor Clifton, Abigail Matsumoto, Erin Lem, Susie Foresman & Amber Guetebier