Bakeries have elevated birthday cake decorations from simple sugar flowers and plastic balloons to confectionary works of art. With the possibility that this year's birthday party might be pod-sized, now is the time to splurge on a really great cake. Even better, these stunning creations taste as good as they look.
We've found 13 of New Jersey's best bakeries for amazing, custom, painted, and sculpted cakes that you'll be proud to showcase at your kid's next milestone celebration.
If you're not sure how you'll celebrate, we've found 15 creative birthday party venues to celebrate hosting parties in 2021, and have plenty more party planning tips in our Birthday Party Guide. A word to the wise: Be sure to contact your chosen bakery several weeks in advance, since most shops require lead time for special creations, and some book up fast.
Bakeries in Northern New Jersey
Delivery: Available to all five boroughs of New York and Rockland County plus Bergen County, Passaic County, and Hudson County in NJ.
Retail: No, everything is made to order, and appointments can be made for cake tastings.
Helen Maginn first opened The Cake Fairy in Ireland in 2012 before moving her incredible custom cake studio to New Jersey in 2016. What makes The Cake Fairy truly magical is that each delectable morsel is a work of art, everything is baked in a nut-free facility, and vegan options are available, so there really is something for everyone. One very neat specialty is Maginn's 3-D cakes, which replicate animals, cartoon characters, and more with unparalleled craftsmanship. Of course, there are also amazing tiered and layered cakes, and The Cake Fairy can even hand-paint designs for an extra-special touch.
Delivery: Small cakes can be delivered locally.
Retail: Yes, this retail bakery is a lovely spot to sit down for a sweet snack.
Eye-catching, great-tasting cakes are on the menu at this Bergen County favorite. Kids' custom cakes run the gamut, from sophisticated fondant creations with favorite cartoon characters to amazing molded and shaped confectionary cakes. The bakers here are gifted at replicating a beloved superhero, animal, or sport. They're also known for delectable crumb cakes, which come in varieties like chocolate, carrot, and funfetti.
Delivery: Delivery is available to the NJ and NY area, with fees based on distance.
Retail: Yes, this storefront has goodies baked on the premises and is also available for children’s parties and special events.
Going for something sophisticated and unique? You will not believe the tasty designs that come from Keremo Cakes, which practically makes an edible, whimsical world out of cake. You'll be sure to find your favorite flavors here, too, as Keremo offers four main cake flavors plus about 15 different fillings like peanut butter creme and raspberry mousse.
Delivery: Deliveries are available. Call for pricing.
Retail: No, all cakes are custom-made to order and are priced upon consultation. Complimentary tastings and design consultations are offered by appointment.
Owner Tatiana Kovalenko has won a ton of cake-decorating competitions, and for good reason: Her cakes are showstoppers. Volcanoes, unicorns, monsters, princesses—every cake has a story to tell. Gluten-free, dairy-free, and eggless options are available. You can request Russian specialty cake varieties as well.
Delivery: Splurge offers contact-free delivery for local customers up to 20 miles away. Delivery fees vary based on distance.
Retail: Yes, the shop is open seven days a week and is located right across from Taylor Park, making it a perfect spot for an outing and a sweet treat.
Splurge has shaped cakes that look like crayons, Legos, and animals, as well as towering unicorn and princess cakes. There are whimsical tiered cakes and fun sports cakes as well. Splurge Bakery can definitely deliver the "oohs" and "ahs" you're going for. Everything is baked to order and handmade using the finest ingredients.
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Polkadot Cake Shop was born after the success of the Polkadot Cupcake Truck and can craft tons of fun confections.
Delivery: Polkadot delivers to most of Northern NJ, Manhattan, and select parts of Central NJ. Delivery fees vary depending on the distance from Lyndhurst.
Retail: No, it takes custom orders only.
Fans of the Polkadot Cupcake Truck are thrilled that Polkadot now has a custom cake shop specializing in fantastic wedding and birthday cakes. Polkadot has tiered cakes, layer cakes, and sculpted cakes in buttercream and fondant varieties. There are lots of interesting flavor options like chocolate mint and maple French toast, and well as creative fillings.
Delivery: Deliveries are available and will be factored into the cost of the cake.
Retail: Yes, the shop is open Wednesday through Saturday. During the pandemic, only two guests at a time are allowed inside.
This award-winning wedding cake company makes your child feel super special on their big day. With a dozen sponges and even more fillings to pick from, you have plenty of options to suit your child's fancy. From princesses and superheroes to dragons and ponies, Stella Baking Company can create a special occasion cake for any celebration.
Delivery: No-contact delivery is available within four miles of the bakery.
Retail: Yes, the shop is open Wednesday through Sunday for in-person visits. Fresh-baked cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and fun DIY kits fill the store.
This lovely bakery makes simple, delightful birthday cakes for kids. Some of them have iced cookie decorations, others are covered with carefully painted icing drawings, and still more topped with 3D figurines. Plus, everything is nut-free, peanut-free, and made from scratch.
Bakeries in Central Jersey
Delivery: One- to three-day shipping is available for baked goods, but in-store or curbside pick up is your best bet for larger cakes.
Retail: Yes, but there's not much room to sit down, though you could grab a cupcake or an ice cream cone and stroll through downtown Somerville.
Whether you're going for a sophisticated Sweet 16 galette or an adorable smash cake, Blue Sheep's cakes taste as good as they look. They're fresh, moist, and full of flavor. For custom cakes, there are more than 20 sponges to choose from, like apple spice, strawberry, and cookies 'n creme. Some are even gluten-free. There's also an equally impressive array of European buttercream fillings. Ice cream lovers will be impressed by Blue Sheep's beautifully decorated ice cream cake selection.
Delivery: Ask about local delivery.
Retail: Not available.
Purple Cow Cakery is an organic, luxury cake studio dedicated to creating delicious specialty cakes and French macaroons (or a combination of both). Owner Nicole Contursi strives to make one-of-a-kind, customized cakes that speak to her clients' personalities, styles, budgets, and tastes. Everything here is hand-made from scratch and thoughtfully crafted. Swiss buttercream is favored over fondant for its silky texture, lower fat and sugar content, and versatility.
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Sweet T's Bakeshop utilizes fresh, locally sourced ingredients as the base of its cool creations.
Bakeries in South Jersey & the Jersey Shore
Delivery: Delivery minimum is $250 and must be tiered and meet specific requirements. There is a fee for delivery based on location.
Retail: Yes, the storefront has tons of tasty treats, like cookies, brownies, quiche, cupcakes, pies, and more.
The cake possibilities are endless at Sweet T's, where you can get everything from hand-sculpted dinosaur cakes to hand-painted character cakes to sculpted figures. Plus, everything's made from scratch with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Delivery: Deliveries are available. Call for pricing.
Retail: Yes, the shop is open for treats to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Simply Sweet Cupcakes won Season 8 of the Food Network's Cupcake Wars, so you know its baked goods are delicious. Hoping to bring customers cherished and magical memories with baked confections, these one-of-a-kind tiered cakes, and layered cakes can be iced in sophisticated fondant or silky buttercream dotted with incredible decorations.
Delivery: Call for details.
Retail: No, unfortunately, because of the pandemic, Sugar Rush is transitioning from a storefront location to an at-home custom cake supplier.
Professional accolades have been heaped on these super creative cake makers who seamlessly transition from classy Sweet 16 creations to fun and fabulous celebratory designs and uber-cute first birthday cakes. And, of course, Sugar Rush is well known for its stunningly creative cupcakes, so be sure to check those out as well.
All photos courtesy of the bakeries