Have you ever had almond cake? I highly recommend it. Easy to make and really good! If you are looking for an alternative to the traditional birthday cake, may I suggest almond cake?
I found the recipe on smitten kitchen. It suggests serving this with strawberry-rhubarb compote. I didn't do that this time, but definitely want to try it that way in the future.
To make it feel more like a birthday cake, I covered it in whipped creme fraiche and decorated it with cherries and slivered toasted almonds.
I like the look of a tall birthday cake, so I was tempted to make another layer and stack it with a layer of creme fraiche in between. The cake is pretty dense, though, so I am glad I stuck with a single layer in the end. A cake can still say "Happy Birthday" even if it's short, right?