6 Best 50th Birthday Cakes in 3 Categories + Top 5 Alternatives
Turning 50 is sometimes called your ‘golden birthday’ and, ideally, signifies the start of a ‘golden’ age. It’s all about celebrating what you’ve achieved so far in life. Here you will find the best and most delicious ideas for a 50th birthday cake.
A 50th birthday cake should be delicious, beautiful, fun, and personal. This is the time to go all out and bake something truly special that will be remembered for years to come.
50th birthdays can feel a little strange. After all, your 50th birthday signifies you spending half a century on this Earth. Many use their 50th as a time to reflect on their achievements to date, while planning what to do with the second half of their life.
For others, turning 50 is a new beginning. Whichever category you fall into, below are some of the best 50th birthday cake ideas you’ll find.
50th Birthday Cake Ideas for Him
Men celebrating their 50th birthday generally fall into two categories: The ones who see their big milestone birthday with humor and those who just want a quiet one.
Below are some options for 50th birthday cake designs for him, whether he wants to have a laugh or just quietly slip into this new era of his life.
Funny ‘Old Age’ Cake
If the birthday boy has a keen sense of humor, an ‘old age’ cake is sure to make him laugh. Bake our basic cake recipe below and frost using a buttercream of your choice.
Cover in a sheet of fondant icing in a color of your choice – blue or green look good. Craft the person celebrating out of fondant sugar paste.
Now add them in one of the following positions: Lying down asleep with a pillow and a newspaper. Standing on top of the cake with a sugarpaste zimmer frame (top tip: Use skewers inside the paste to make it sturdier.)
Standing up with a sugar paste lawnmower. Bear in mind the cake should earn a laugh not insult, so keep your sugar paste creations fun.
Best Husband and Dad Cake
A simpler idea yet no less effective. Start by baking our basic recipe below, then frost between the layers. Cover the entire cake in white vanilla buttercream.
Cover in a sheet of white fondant icing and smooth until you see no bumps. Top tip: Slightly thicker sheets of fondant will show less imperfections, but they’ll be sweeter too.
Add colorful fondant balls to one side of the top and the opposing side of the bottom of the cake. Decorate the front using a ‘best husband & dad’ cake charm. Cake charms are a great alternative to toppers, as they can be attached to the front of the cake.
Black and Gold Cake
This 50th birthday cake is not unlike the ‘golden cake’ idea we’ve listed for women. Start with a relatively high base by baking our basic recipe in two 9” round tins. Once they’ve cooled, frost between using dark chocolate buttercream. Frost the rest of the cake using the same buttercream mixture.
Cover the cake using a sheet of black fondant icing. Make sure you smooth this down to avoid any lumps and bumps. Try to keep the top of the cake quite angular and cylindrical in shape.
When you’re happy, brush on edible gold dust around the bottom half of the cake and slightly into the top half. You’re aiming for a subtle ombre effect. Add black and gold fondant balls and a gold ‘50’ cake topper.
50th Birthday Cake Ideas for Her
Below are some cake ideas for the special lady in your life celebrating her 50th birthday. Whether she wants to highlight all that is golden or have something unusual, we have you covered. If you’re baking the cake yourself, don’t despair either, our simplest idea is one of the most elegant.
Your 50th birthday is also frequently referred to as your golden birthday, so a gold-colored cake may be the perfect fit. The nicest way to accomplish this style is to not over-do the gold leaf. Instead, start by baking our basic recipe and cover with vanilla buttercream.
Add gold leaf or edible gold spray to just the upper half of the cake, in a sort of ombre effect. You’ll want the cake to just shimmer and showcase a bit of gold, without it looking totally metallic.
Decorate with a simple ‘50’ topper and some edible flowers. Sprigs of lavender or unsprayed roses look lovely, as do bits of thyme.
This delightful cake looks like a true chef’s masterpiece. It’s also slightly gold-hued, yet totally different from any traditional cake. It’s essentially a tall pile of profiteroles piled up into a cone shape and molded together with spun sugar.
As this is a trickier recipe we recommend leaving it to more established bakers. Alternatively, you could buy readymade profiteroles and just assemble the ‘cake’ at home. Croquembouche is great when decorated with other sweets, including chocolate, edible flowers, and sugared almonds.
A simpler option to the elaborate croquembouche is a simple ‘garden’ cake. To achieve this pretty look, bake our basic recipe below and coat in your favorite buttercream. Cover in a sheet of white fondant and make sure you smooth down both top and sides.
Add ‘happy 50th birthday’ lettering in colorful icing. Decorate by drawing on icing flowers and grass. Alternatively, add real edible flowers. Unsprayed borage is particularly pretty, as are daisies, roses, lavender, and micro herbs.
Simple 50th Birthday Cake Designs
If you’re making a 50th birthday cake yourself and feel intimidated by the prospect, don’t despair. The key to a simple yet effective cake design is to take your time mastering the basic recipe we’ve provided below. Measure out each ingredient accurately and follow the recipe step by step.
Frost using a high quality buttercream from the store or a delicious homemade recipe. Take your time with each part of the cake. The simplest designs are often the most effective.
If all you do is bake a scrumptious cake and cover it in very good frosting, then put a nice 50 cake topper on it, it’s already great.
Some of the simplest designs are the best looking. A high quality cake topper such as one made of wood or glitter card can go a long way. Pretty edible flowers, added sweets such as macaroons or sugared almonds, and berries can make a rustic cake look like a showstopper.
Alternatives to a 50th Birthday Cake
Not everyone loves cake. Below are some great alternatives if the birthday boy or girl you’re celebrating isn’t a huge fan, or if they just love something a little more unusual. Number 4 is a mouthwatering option, particularly if they love a picnic.
Cupcakes are a good alternative to cake if you’re wanting to make something a little easier and quicker. Our basic recipe below will yield 24 cupcakes, which you can frost with a buttercream of your choosing.
Add some food coloring, sprinkles, and cake toppers for an easy to share, fun treat both big and small guests will love. Cupcakes also make a great homemade gift from children or grandchildren.
If the person celebrating has a sweet tooth, but not necessarily for cake, cookies should be your go-to. Since the dawn of Crumbl cookies, large, chewy cookies filled with chocolate chips and other goodies are ‘the’ thing. Re-create these by making a selection of large cookies.
Decorate these with an iced ‘happy 50th birthday’ message. These are a fun thing for kids to contribute to a 50th celebration, too.
You could make them a cheeseboard, or you could go one step further and craft a cheese ‘cake’. Stack multiple wheels of cheese on top of each other for an irresistible tiered cake.
Decorate with edible flowers, herbs, and fig halves for a rustic look. Serve with truffle honey, crackers, and jellies. If they love cheese, this cake alternative is sure to put a smile on their face.
It’s a well-known fact that Belgian waffles are a hit with both big and small. Craft a delicious birthday ‘waffle’ cake by whipping up your favorite waffle recipe.
A waffle maker or silicon mold will yield the best results. Once they’re done, stack the waffles in a high tower and top with strawberries, cream, and syrup. These make a great addition to a birthday breakfast or picnic.
There are two ways you can create a charcuterie alternative to cake: You could recreate the ‘cheese’ cake above, and add ‘roses’ made of salami and prosciutto. Decorate with sprigs of thyme and berries. White mold-ripened cheeses such as camembert and brie make for a striking looking ‘cake’ here.
Alternatively, create a stunning charcuterie board. Offer a selection of cold meats and cheeses. If they have a multi-cultural background, it may be fun to select cured meats and cheeses from their country of origin. Finish with a selection of dips, crackers, fruit, and pickles.
Happy 50th Birthday: Best Quotes & Captions
The best birthday messages are heartfelt and personal and this goes for the 50th as much as for any other special birthday. However, if you find yourself stuck for ideas, you’re not alone. Below are some of the best quotes and captions you can copy or modify as part of your special birthday message:
- “Suddenly you find, at the age of 50, that a whole new life has opened before you.” — Agatha Christie
- “50 is the new 25 (times two). Here’s wishing a very happy birthday to you!”
- “Big cheers to 50 years.”
- “Happy birthday to my best friend! Ready for another trip around the sun with you.”
50th Birthday Gift Ideas
Your 50th is also known as your ‘golden’ birthday, so something to do with the color gold is a great place to start. Whether you give our golden cake above or go for a full gold theme with some gold jewelry or accessories, here are some top ideas to get you started:
Jewelry is a great place to start. You might give something with the person’s birthstone or you might have a special piece engraved. Watches are great for engraving a personal message on the back. Bear in mind not everyone likes gold-colored jewelry, so have a look at what other pieces the person wears first.
A personalized photo book of 50 years of special memories is a great, more budget-friendly idea. Gold-colored beer or a beer tasting kit are a fun gift for a friend’s 50th. Nostalgic toys or memorabilia are great, too, though we’d recommend steering clear of tacky apparel and random 50th gift baskets.
If the gold theme doesn’t suit, try and think outside the box: Gift an interesting experience they can share with you or a loved one. Make something personal that shows you care. Cake or one of our delicious cake alternatives above are a great way of showing your love with something homemade.
50th Birthday Party Ideas
A 50th birthday bash should really celebrate this important milestone. It should be a means of honoring the person celebrating and showcasing who they are. Whether you plan a big golden birthday celebration or a smaller tea party, make sure you focus on what the person enjoys most.
One lovely party idea is a themed cocktail party, with special cocktails from their youth. You could take this a step further with a tasting menu at a nice restaurant beforehand. Cocktail mixing classes are a fun touch, and you could create cocktail-flavored cake to go alongside.
Spa retreats are always a popular choice, whether for the actual ‘party’ or as a relaxing gift. A spa-themed cake is a fun way to stick with the vibe of the day. Many spas are attached to hotels, so you could book an overnight stay for special family and friends.
If all else fails, a simple garden or tea party with plenty of buffet treats is always a winner. Get some ‘50’ balloons, and a selection of our cake alternatives above for an irresistible party spread. You could even put out picnic blankets and outdoor beanbags for any younger guests.
Basic Recipe for a 50th Birthday Cake: A Simple Guide
Our basic cake recipe is easy to follow yet will produce a delicious 50th birthday cake. Personalize it to your liking by adding different extracts such as, for example, almond, rum, or orange. Add chocolate powder for a hit of delicious cocoa. Add food coloring for a subtle shade of color.
Those with dietary restrictions may also substitute as follows: Replace the flour with your favorite gluten free flour. Replace eggs with yogurt or aquafaba, milk with your choice of almond, oat, or coconut milk, and the butter with coconut butter or oil.
- 2 ¼ cups self-raising flour
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup salted butter
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 3 medium eggs
Here’s how you do it:
- Preheat your oven to 350F and prepare two 9” cake tins or one 9”x13” pan by greasing with butter or cooking oil.
- Use a mixer to whisk the sugar and butter until fully combined and quite fluffy.
- Stir eggs, milk, and the vanilla extract in a separate bowl until fully combined.
- Gradually mix the butter and sugar mixture with the eggs and flour until completely smooth.
- Pour the finished cake batter into your greased baking pans and bake for 30-35 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when the center is softly browned and springy when gently pressed.
Leave your baked cake to cool down to room temperature before frosting and decorating it.