According to our food editor, it's not really a party without a sheet cake. Preferably with lots of sprinkles.
Classic Birthday Cake
Credit: Micah A. Leal

1. No baking skills required

Well, hardly any. Sheet cakes, like this Classic Birthday Cake, are an excellent choice for first-time bakers, folks who are short on time (or patience), and people who don't have the best track record when it comes to homemade desserts. (If the words "crumb coat" mean nothing to you, stick with a sheet cake.) Most sheet cakes come together in a single bowl, and you don't need to invest in a special baking pan. Any 13-inch by 9-inch baking pan will do. While the cake bakes, whip up an easy frosting like this four-ingredient Vanilla Buttercream.

Watch: How to Make Banana Pudding Poke Cake

2. It travels well

Unless you're hosting the birthday party, the cake's going to have to go with you. And anyone with experience will tell you that driving a car with a layer cake inside is a recipe for, well, scraping dried icing off of your floor mats. Save yourself the stress and make a sheet cake. It can be transported and served right out of the pan it was baked in.

3. It can feed any size crowd

Unlike a layer cake, which can be tricky to slice, you can cut a sheet cake into any portion size you like—perfect for folks wanting "just a sliver" or for the guest of honor, who always deserves the biggest piece.

4. You can send a message loud and clear

If you happen to have piping skills, a sheet cake is a blank canvas for birthday greetings written in icing or sprinkles. Or, if the birthday guy/gal is under 10, it gives you plenty of space for the superhero/Disney character/rainbow-hued animal they are currently obsessed with.

Sheet cakes are great for other occasions too. The "GOOD RIDDANCE" cake I made for a friend's going-away party was an instant hit. Everyone's laughter and the rich, chocolatey cake made saying goodbye a bit easier.