13 Grocery Store Chains You Should Consider When Buying A Birthday Cake

Nothing slaps as hard as a perfectly frosted birthday cake. Luscious, moist cake swaddled in creamy frosting, with a punch of flavorful filling nestled in between layers: This can be a high-stakes and challenging dessert to recreate. Fortunately, grocery stores have stepped up their celebration cake-baking game with cakes that can be served as-is off the shelf, customizable offerings, and even cakes that cater to the most stringent dietary restrictions.

You'll need to consider the preferences of the person you're celebrating; there's no sense in focusing on a grocery store specializing in fruity cakes when the celebrating person prefers chocolate every time. Additionally, some stores only offer round cakes, which limits the number of servings (although there are ways to stretch even the smallest cake to feed a crowd).

When choosing a grocery store for a birthday cake, it's a good idea to call ahead and inquire about availability and customization options to ensure you get the cake that best suits your celebration. The best grocery store to buy a birthday cake depends on your location, too. Many stores are local to a region of the U.S. But we ate dozens of cakes and surveyed friends and family nationwide in order to find great grocery store cakes. If you want to buy a celebration cake from a grocery store, here are (in no particular order) some known for their quality and variety of birthday cakes. Note that prices and decorating options may vary across the U.S.


Publix is known for its bakery department — even accomplished home bakers skip the homemade birthday cakes in favor of Publix's consistently delicious sheet cake. This Southern grocery store chain makes its frosting with real butter (unlike others on this list), and many eaters think this makes it stand out from other grocery store bakeries.

In addition to offering a wide variety of cake and frosting flavors, Publix allows you to turn a regular sheet cake into an ice cream cake. Premade cakes can be customized while you shop, and custom orders for more intricate or personalized cakes are also available. Cakes start at around $20.

The main downside of Publix is that the store only offers one prepackaged vegan birthday cake, and most of its locations have no gluten-free cake options. It's possible to work around this by purchasing frozen gluten-free or vegan cupcakes, but it's not quite the same as ordering a cake from the bakery. Otherwise, it's a great option.

Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market is known for using organic ingredients, which holds true for custom and pre-made birthday cakes in various flavors. Cakes are made with cage-free eggs, unbleached flour, natural butter, and no artificial colors, sweeteners, or flavors. There is no high-fructose corn syrup in any of the cakes.

Whole Foods has partnered with Cakes.com to offer easy custom ordering. While you cannot customize an order directly online, the company provides an order form that makes planning your purchase simple (you can also call your local Whole Foods Market directly). Prices range from just $18 for a 6-inch round cake serving six to eight people to a quarter- or half-sheet cake making up to 40 slices (at $75 or more). Need a full sheet for a milestone celebration? Those start at $125 and can feed up to 80 people.

Whole Foods Market stocks plenty of grab-and-go cakes if you're in a hurry or if you've procrastinated and don't have time to order a custom cake. It has many delicious vegan and gluten-free options, making them a great choice if you need to work around dietary restrictions.

Trader Joe's

This entry into the grab-and-go category of grocery store birthday cakes comes from the store noted for its unique food items offered at low prices. Trader Joe's desserts are infinitely crave-able and its new Party Cake stands poised to join the pantheon of some of its best sweets.

No, you don't have choices, and it's not customizable, but it is two things: delicious and affordable. The party cake is a festive, decorated round layer cake that serves up to 10 people for just $7. It has two layers of white vanilla cake and is frosted with vanilla buttercream. Sprinkles mark the sides, but the top is left blank, so you can write your personalized greeting.

It's not gluten-free, and those looking to stick to a vegan diet will find their cake plate empty. But look at the bright side: The affordable price point opens the budget to explore some of TJ's other gluten-free and vegan treats.


If you are tasked with bringing a birthday cake and budget is a concern, Safeway is one of the best options on the list. It has a broad selection of light and fluffy birthday cake designs and flavors, including options for dietary restrictions like gluten-free or vegan cakes that won't break the bank.

Like some other bakeries on the list, Safeway bakes its cakes off-site and receives them naked and frozen, ready to be decorated. This makes them the most consistent of all cakes — industrially managed, large-batch baking can scale up with a consistency that's not always possible in small stores.

This consistency extends to the people who decorate your cake in-store, too. Order a custom cake and know that the balance of cake to frosting will always be spot-on — they are not too sweet, and the frosting is not so extravagant that you'll have a thin scrim lining your mouth for hours after the party. The price is right, no matter the size of your celebration. Round cakes will set you back around $20; a quarter sheet can be had for less than $30.


We cannot discuss grocery store birthday cakes without visiting Costco. Costco is one of the original sheet cake bakers with affordable and delicious offerings in various flavors. The most popular of these, a half-sheet cake that feeds around 50 people, was discontinued in May 2020 but returned in 2023. While sheet cakes often take the spotlight, some of Costco's cult-like cake following was built on the cheesecake mousse filling used in its round cakes. This light and fluffy filling tames the cloying sweetness that often overpowers other layer cakes (even those made at home).

The other big plus for these cakes? The price. Sure, you can get a ½ gallon of mayo at Costco for $10, but a half-sheet cake is an even better value: under $30 for a cake that feeds nearly 60 people. These are perfect for office parties, school events, and other larger gatherings. And, yes, Costco will personalize the cake for you. Call at least 48 hours in advance for more options.

Costco does have gluten-free offerings in some locations, but they are few and far between. Vegan cakes are harder to find, and neither vegan nor gluten-free cakes are available in sheet cakes of any size.


Kroger is a grocery store chain with locations in the South and Midwest. When it comes to ordering customized cakes, Kroger is one of the best with easy online ordering in flavors that range from standard chocolate and vanilla to confetti and red velvet. This company used to bake all of its cakes in-store but recently consolidated all of its baking in a central Florida bakery. While this dilutes the delicious bakery smell that used to waft toward you as you walked into each store, it does make for a more consistent birthday cake.

Cakes can be simply personalized while you shop, but order customized cakes ahead of time so they're ready for your party. Cake prices start at around $20 for an ⅛ sheet and climb up to $70 (more if your customization gets complicated). Many Kroger bakeries offer prepackaged gluten-free cakes, but these are not generally able to be personalized (and tend to be smaller). Vegan options are limited and may not be available at all.


H-E-B is a Texas grocery store chain that offers a surprising variety of birthday cake options (including decorated cheesecakes for those who prefer it). Many Texans boast that their wedding cakes were customized in an H-E-B bakery, high praise for such a pressure-filled occasion.

When you're shopping for something slightly less intense, H-E-B has you covered. The grocery store can customize any cake in any size, with prices ranging from $10 to $50 (more depending on your specific size and decor). H-E-B has more choices for cake customization than many upscale grocery store bakeries: Choose between six cake flavors, four types of frosting, and five fruit fillings.

Luckily, H-E-B stocks many different options for gluten-free and vegan cake eaters. These are available in the freezer and cooler section of the bakery, so they are not baked fresh by H-E-B, but the varieties are more extensive than many larger chains across the U.S. Gluten-free and vegan diners can choose from fruit, chocolate, and vanilla cakes — cupcakes, too.

Giant Eagle

Giant Eagle is a regional grocery chain that is one of the easiest to order a customized birthday cake from. There is a simple online form that directs you through your choices — if you weren't sure what cake size or style is right for your gathering, the grocer can help.

The customization offerings are also extensive. Choose from six cake flavors, eight fillings, four icing flavors, and thousands of images and decor ideas. It's important to note that the gluten-free and vegan offerings are very limited; many locations have no options, so be sure to call ahead to see what's available in your area.

The biggest issue with Giant Eagle is the location. There are over 400 locations across just five states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and Indiana. Legendary in its locale but not available everywhere, if you are traveling to one of these states and need a cake, this is a great place to order.


ShopRite offers a good selection of cakes that can be personalized out of the case or made to order and customized. The store has the standard round and sheet cakes but also offers special shapes, such as a princess skirt cake. Prices are typical of middle-range grocery stores, with a fruit-filled half-sheet cake starting at around $45 (round cakes start at just $9).

This grocery store bakery shines in its selection for special dietary needs. Not only does ShopRite offer gluten-free cakes, but it also has cakes made without peanuts or high-fructose corn syrup. Also, you'll find a no sugar added option and 11 kosher cakes to choose from. These are available in the freezer and cooler sections (meaning they are not part of the regular bakery), but this makes them attractive for those concerned with cross-contamination.

ShopRite's many locations are in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. This means you'll have to hop on the turnpike if you're out of the region, but it might be worth the trip.


Hy-Vee's fun and funky birthday cakes are only available in six Midwestern states: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. But these stores offer a selection of delicious and customizable birthday cakes, including gluten-free options.

The store offers round and tiered cakes, sheet cakes with edible photos, plus character and themed cakes to suit any birthday celebration. For custom cakes, you can choose from six standard cake and frosting flavors, or call your local stores to discuss any other flavor not listed. Hy-Vee has gluten-free chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse in the cooler and freezer sections (but not kept with gluten products, so that celiac diners can enjoy their cake without worry).

Prices for round layer cakes range from $15 to just under $30, and sheet cakes are competitively priced ($33 to $70). These prices are subject to change depending on the intricacy of your custom order, so if you want to keep the price down, opt for a personalized cake that you select from the premade selection.


Albertsons and Kroger announced their intention to merge in October 2022, subject to FTC approval, a deal that could benefit shoppers when it comes to the range of birthday cakes. Like Kroger, Albertsons offers a range of birthday cakes, including specialty cakes for various occasions, all made fresh in the bakery. And if you want a beautiful cake, you've come to the right place. In 2016, a baker from Albertsons took second place in the 21st annual International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA) Cake Decorating Challenge.

In this case, you get more than what you pay for. A full sheet cake is around $70, and an 8-inch double-layer cake sets you back less than $20. These prices are comparable to other stores, but you get a professionally decorated cake that's as impressive as it is delicious. The biggest issue with Albertsons is the lack of gluten-free and vegan options. You can select sulfite- and fish-free cakes (one would hope that's the case with all cakes), but there is only a limited selection of cakes for these dietary restrictions in each store.


Wegmans offers a full-service bakery, with the bulk of the cake business being birthday cakes. Because of this, there is a large range of options when it comes to ready-made cakes, but custom cake orders are also welcomed. Pick two colors for standard decorations and more for premium prices. Add an edible picture of the celebrated person, and include a personalized message (up to 50 characters).

Like some of the other upscale grocery stores on this list, Wegmans is committed to healthier options in the cakes. Wegmans' cakes feature frosting free from artificial colors — fruits and vegetables provide brilliant hues without adding flavor. There are also gluten-free cakes, cupcakes, and cookies if you are ordering around dietary restrictions.

Not enough time to order a fully customized cake? Wegmans can still help make it personal. Call or stop in just 24 hours in advance to have one of the plain cakes customized with flavors, writing, frosting, or decor. Small sheet cakes start at $11 and serve six (with prices for a full sheet around $72), and the largest round cake costs around $22.

The Fresh Market

If you want something beyond the standard vanilla or chocolate cake, The Fresh Market is the grocery store for you. With new flavors like Boston Cream Cake, Pineapple Brown Sugar, Triple Chocolate Truffle, and Red Velvet, this company is changing how people look at the humble grocery store birthday cake.

The bakery department also loves to take custom orders, but it has limited, sometimes sketchy online ordering capability. Still, it's easy enough to pick up the phone to craft a custom cake for your occasion. The Fresh Market does not offer sheet cakes, and the round celebration cakes are priced around $25.

Are you looking to buy cake and supplies in one fell swoop? The Fresh Market offers the Birthday in a Box package. It includes a cake (Strawberry Dream Cake and Triple Chocolate Truffle Cake are definite favorites), vanilla ice cream, utensils, paper plates, birthday candles, a greeting card, and a reusable thermal tote to keep everything at the perfect temperature.