Create a sweet birthday by thinking outside the cake

Birthday cake is so five minutes ago. Today, fads and crazes in the baking industry are affecting celebrations everywhere and as trend experts, we know you are looking for alternatives to standard birthday cakes with butter cream frosted flowers.

The Year of the Cupcake --

Cupcakes are everywhere! There are books, blogs, tv shows and food trucks all catering to the sweet treats that are cupcakes. Maybe it's the fact that cupcakes are miniature versions of the real deal, and it allows people to feel like a special, individual cake has been baked just for them. Regardless, one of the best things about cupcakes is anyone can make them. Go as elaborate or simple as you please. Make the cake from scratch, or use a boxed mix.

They are perfect for themed birthday parties, and you can make a beautiful cupcake, no matter if you're a novice or an expert. Try having some un-iced cupcakes at a child's birthday party, and let everyone decorate their own -- with plenty of aprons and frosting to go around, this is a great and yummy way to bring out the artist in everyone.

Forget lollipops -- Cake Pops are the new sensation!

These bite-sized wonders “popped” on the scene a few years ago, and the craze hasn't slowed down a bit. The super-simple recipe (It's a boxed cake, cooled and crumbled with a jar of icing) has everyone trying their hand at the dessert.

Once the morsels have had time to set up, and have a stick inserted -- the decorating options are endless. There's room to play with colors, shapes and flavors, which allow you to tailor make these too-cute treats for the birthday girl or boy. Try individually wrapping the pops as a great take-home favor, or wrap a piece of Styrofoam in birthday wrapping paper and stick the pops in for a cute display at any birthday party. Simple or elaborate, these treats are sure to make a statement.