When I was growing up, my mother made all of our birthday cakes from scratch. From intricately decorated princess and cowboy cakes to towering ice cream cakes, we never lacked for delicious flavors and beautiful designs. So naturally, I thought I would make all my kids’ cakes, as well. As it turns out, the birthday cake gene skips a generation. Instead of vying for who had the best birthday cake each year like my siblings and I used to do, my kids had a contest for who had the ugliest and/or strangest tasting cake. It was usually a toss-up.
I should probably mention that my mother also owned a bakery and catering business for 15 years; thus proving that bakeries exist for a reason. But even if you are a better baker than I am, there’s no need to take on the stress of baking and decorating an elaborate birthday cake in the midst of planning a party. Especially when you live in Richmond.
With it’s plentiful supply of bakeries, cupcakeries, and sweet shops, you can always count on Richmond for edible solutions. And while you may already have a go-to place for sweet treats (like sheet cakes at Martin’s Ukrop’s Bakery or ice cream cakes at Coldstone Creamery), there are times when you want something that goes to the next level. If you’re looking for a cake that will become the centerpiece of your birthday celebration, both for delicious flavor and eye-catching design, then we’ve got a few places you’re going to want to know about.
We’ve taken a look at some of Richmond top providers of handcrafted, custom-designed cakes and we’ve picked our favorite five based on the following:
- Creativity (ability to create different looks and themes)
- Variety (cake flavors and/or other items offered)
- Turnaround times/ flexibility
From simple to elaborate, these bakeries will amaze you with birthday cakes that perfectly represent your theme, taste amazing and, best of all, add zero stress to your life. Check out our list, but in the meantime, if you have a go-to bakery for custom birthday cakes, we would love to know about it. Drop us a line at email@example.com or leave a comment below.
This Glen Allen bakery began as a cake and candy supply shop in the Tuckernuck Square Shopping Center on West Broad over 30 years ago. Since that time, it has evolved into one of the area’s favorite custom cake resources. Now a home-based bakery, Kalico Kitchen produces cakes that offer a perfect blend of home-made flavor and professional quality design. Whether you’re looking for shaped cakes, detailed fondant designs, or one-of-a-kind themes, Kalico Kitchen can make it happen. Each cake is baked to order, with a convenient pricing model built around how many servings you need, as well as the cake’s complexity. Because they are home-based, they don’t have as quick a turnaround as some of our other bakers, and sometimes orders will need to be placed as much as a month out. But they do offer a unique cake-to-go system for those times when you need something quickly. Each week, they bake a few extra round cakes designed for 20 people. If you’re in a pinch, give them a call and they can put together a cake that incorporated colors and pre-designed elements of your choosing. See the Birthday Cake Gallery here.
Why we love them: Not only are the cakes at Kalico Kitchen delicious and beautifully designed, ordering them is a breeze. With easy-to-navigate online menus, you can browse birthday cake galleries with categories for men, women, kids and more. This online sneak-peek lets you see the various elements and design options available to you. Once you contact the Kalico Kitchen team, all you have to do is let them know the elements you want and the details of your event and they’ll get to work on creating the perfect birthday cake for your guest of honor.
10917 Forest Trace Lane
Glen Allen, VA 23059
For party cake questions, call Liz at (804) 305-2162
The Mixing Bowl is more than a bakery, it’s an institution. Since 1926, The Mixing Bowl has been serving the Richmond community with handcrafted cakes, cookies, pastries and more. Known for their delicious “small” delicacies, they have also earned quite a name for themselves as special event cake designers. And when it comes to birthday cakes, trust us when we say that The Mixing Bowl can bake up cakes with just about any design, shape or size that you might need. From character-themed cakes to original or unusual shapes, they can do it – all with a free consultation and about one-week turnaround. They don’t offer the widest variety of flavors (Yellow, Devil’s Food, Marble Sponge, Red Velvet, Carrot and a variety of pound cake flavors), but they make up for it with reasonable prices, original designs, and all around creativity. See the full menu here.
Why we love them: The choices at The Mixing Bowl are hard to beat. Not only do they offer a full range of bakery items, should you want to add custom cookies, pastries or other baked goods to your order, they have more than enough options to choose from. And with a friendly staff that gets rave reviews time and again, you’ll have no trouble designing the perfect cake or creating the perfect dessert menu for your next birthday celebration.
8540 Patterson Avenue
Richmond, VA 23229
For some of us, some “Happy Birthday” in fancy cursive writing and some icing roses is all we need to make a birthday special– that’s where the local grocery store bakery comes in handy. But if it’s a truly special cake you’re looking for, then Zosaro’s is going to be your new favorite bakery – hand down. As a relative newcomer to the Richmond scene (they only opened in 2015), Zosaro’s specializes in professionally designed and decorated cakes, with everything from simple buttercream and dessert cakes to completely custom cakes based on your specific event, theme or personality. With almost any design possible, a cake from Zosaro’s will add style, flair and absolutely originality to your birthday celebration. And should you be looking for something a little extra to round out your birthday sweets’ menu, be sure to check out their Australian-inspired specialties like Australian Mud Cake and much more. See the full menu here.
Why we love them: While Zosaro’s ain’t cheap (specialty cakes start at $250), one look at their magazine-worthy creations and you’ll see that you’re getting what you pay for. However, if $250 is on the higher end of your budget, they still offer plenty of incredible options, including an online shop with a wide range of pre-designed buttercream and fondant cakes at reasonable prices. And again, while specialty cakes require an appointment and two to four weeks lead time, their pre-designed cakes can be picked up with as little as two-day advance notice. Basically, what we’re saying is that there’s no excuse not to treat your next birthday boy or girl something amazing from Zosaro’s!
If cupcakes were all that Pearl’s did, they would still be one of the top bakeries around – and with good reason. But fortunately for all of us, Pearl’s is much more than just cupcakes. Known as one of the premier bake shops in the region, Pearl’s also prides themselves on their original, handcrafted cake designs – which includes some of the best birthday cakes in the Richmond area. From shaped cakes to airbrushed art to fondant masterpieces, the cakes at Pearl’s can truly claim to be one-of-a-kind. And with more than 120 flavor combinations, vegan options, gluten-free offerings and even sugar-free creations, the only hard part about finding the perfect birthday cake is narrowing down the options. Call or email Pearl’s to find out about pricing and turnaround, or better yet, stop in for breakfast and discuss your needs with one of the friendly staff, do some taste-testing and try some of their many other incredible baked goods while you’re there. See a full menu here.
Why we love them: With the ever-rising popularity of cupcakes, cake pops and other designer sweet treats, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of trendy shops in most cities. Finding a way to stand out can be tough, but Pearl’s seems to do it with ease. As we’ve mentioned, Pearl’s offers incredible variety; but somehow they manage to offer just the right combination of old-fashioned flavors and traditional tastes alongside more trendy ingredients and flavor combinations. No matter what you’re looking for, a classic birthday cake with simple flavors or a crazy flavor combo and a far-out design, Pearl’s bakers will whip up the perfect cake using top-quality, local ingredients. Oh, and did we mention free delivery within five miles? Well, that’s just the icing on the cake…so to speak.
You don’t need to have a birthday as an excuse to stop by Morsels. In fact, you don’t need an excuse of any sort. This family-owned Northside gem calls themselves a “late-night desserterie,” with somewhat unconventional eat-in hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6pm until 10pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 3pm until midnight. The rest of the time, they are busy baking up a full range of phenomenal sweet treats including specialty cakes, pies, cookies, bars, cake balls, cupcakes and more. And when it comes to birthday cakes, well…these might be the greatest gift of all. While many bakeries offer your standard chocolate, vanilla, and, maybe, lemon flavors, Morsels goes all out with a crazy range of cake and icing flavors to mix and match. Add Morsel’s stunning creative design, including specialty art work, fondant, shaped cakes, tiered cakes and more, and you’ll have a birthday cake that will be talked about for years. Just be sure to give them a week’s notice – or if you’re in a pinch, call to see what they have on hand. See a full menu here.
Why we love them: The reasons to love Morsels are as plentiful as the cake flavors they offer. But what gets us the most excited, in addition to their incredible variety, is their fantastic pricing. With specialty cakes starting at $30, you can build the cake of your dreams and stay within your budget, while enjoying some of the finest cake in town. Not to mention their impressive quick turnaround. Want to offer more than just cake at your party? Try Morsel’s signature River City Mud Drops (egg-free chocolate chip cookie dough, wrapped in a brownie, then dipped in dark chocolate), custom-flavored cake balls, or a variety of cookies. Whatever you choose, the folks at Morsel will hook you up with friendly service, huge selections and, best of all, birthday cakes that will be a gift for everyone at the party – not just the guest of honor.