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Beyond Boxed Chocolate and Vanilla: 7 Wild and Delicious Birthday Cake Ideas

Think outside the cake mix box when choosing a cake flavor.
Think outside the cake mix box when choosing a cake flavor.
Annabelle Breakey/Getty Images

The average American is expected to live into their 70s which means that most people have at least 70 opportunities to eat birthday cake. While chocolate and vanilla cakes taste great, it seems crazy to waste all those cake opportunities on these classic flavors year after year, especially when there are so many amazing cake flavors to be discovered and enjoyed. Think outside of the cake mix box and try a different flavor at least every few years. Life is exciting and the cake that celebrates it should be too!

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Dirt cake is a decadent cakes made with a chocolate pudding base that is mixed with Oreo cookies, butter, cream cheese, and whipped cream, and then topped with gummy candies for decoration. Often served in a terracotta pot or garden bucket, it truly looks like dirt but tastes divine. It’s the perfect cake for a gardener or just anyone who likes to get dirty.

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The orange creamsicle cake is a different take on a favorite frozen dessert of many. Starting with a basic boxed white cake mix, add vanilla pudding, orange juice, and orange gelatin to give this cake its orange creamsicle flavors, and then top it with a cream cheese frosting with hints of orange and vanilla extracts.

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Mocha, the combination of chocolate and coffee, is one of the most delicious combinations for the caffeine inclined. A dark chocolate mocha cake almost seems too decadent, but it’s so good that it’s too hard to resist. The combination of dark chocolate cocoa and strong brewed coffee topped with a chocolate ganache and then frosted with a mocha cream that is made using heavy cream, cocoa, and ground coffee is divine but only appropriate for those that can handle the caffeine.

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While it may be called carrot cake, this dense cake isn’t exactly the best way to get a serving of vegetables. Shredded carrots, cinnamon, and walnuts give this sweet treat its rich flavors. Top it with a cream cheese frosting for the perfect combination of savory and sweet.

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Some people much prefer the ice cream that typically accompanies a piece of birthday cake so why not just make it the main event. Ice cream cake is easy to make and the flavors are only limited by what’s available at the local grocery store or ice cream shop. Simply bake a cake using the directions on the box of mix for two eight-inch round layers. Add a layer of softened ice cream in between the cake layers and allow it to set in the freezer. Then stir the remaining softened ice cream until it is thin enough to spread like frosting over the entire cake.

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It may seem a bit indulgent, but rum cake isn’t actually overloaded with the liquor that provides much of its flavor although it certainly is present. With its lack of frosting it’s not as sweet as many other cakes, and for a mature crowd, this cake is a surefire hit. Starting with a boxed yellow cake mix, this cake gets spiced up with vanilla pudding, dark rum, and walnuts and topped with a rum glaze that soaks into the cake for full flavor throughout.

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This hodge-podge of a cake isn’t named after its origins. Dump cake gets its name from the method in which it is made which involves “dumping” different ingredients including cherry pie filling and crushed pineapple into a baking dish. A box of cake mix and pats of butter create a crust on top of the fruit combo that makes this cake a bit of a hybrid of cake and pie.

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