I grew to hate cake after years of making them for monthly birthday parties and other events, plus a childhood of the same sheet cake with horrible green icing and red roses, turned me off cake. So every year, when it comes to my birthday or other celebrations I find ways to make alternative desserts. There are also people who can't eat cake due to the ingredients/allergies, or can't bake to save their lives, so other than the same boring sheet cake you can buy at the grocery store or expensive one at a cake shop, why not try and alternative cake!
1. The "Faux" Croquembouche
This has got to be my favorite because I actually made one for my birthday party last year and everyone loved it. The Croquembouche is actually a popular dessert in France usually made for things like Christmas, Baptisms, or Weddings. It is made of choux pastry balls piled into a cone and bound with honey, spun caramel sugar, chocolate, or powered sugar for a lovely pull apart dessert. Now if you aren't a baker, forget about all that, and head straight for your local donut shop, order enough donut holes to cover a foam tree cone you can find at any craft store, and then use toothpicks to stick the donut holes all over. You can add some decor, or sugar, syrups, etc, and you've got this lovely faux Croquembouche.
2. The Oreo Cake
You can't get much simpler than this one. Love oreos (or any other cookie) more than anything. Simply purchase en mass, and stack accordingly and you'll have something that resembles a cake, that you'll probably also get a few laughs out of guests as well.
3. The Healthiest "Cake" Ever
This cake is absolutely perfect for Vegans, those with gluten allergies, those living a totally healthy lifestyle, or for kids parties where you want to curb the sugar level. All you need is a couple of seedless watermelons and other optional fruit, and a knife. Cut off the rind of the watermelon and carve to the cake shape you desire. You can then decorate if you choose with optional fruits. Bonus, this is sooo easy to slice.
4. Rice Krispy Cake
Rice Krispy cakes would probably be a lot easier to make for most people, than baking a cake from scratch. Here is an easy recipe. https://www.ricekrispies.com/en_US/recipes/the-original-treats-recipe.html Simply make bigger batches, and use cake pans to make the desired shapes. Side note, bakers use Rice Krispies in their cakes all the time to help add height or to help stabilize their cakes, and because they are easy to make and mold/cut to any shape they need.
5. The Trifle
Whenever I need to bring a dessert over to a party, a trifle is my go-to for no hassle cake. Usually they involve pudding, cookie or candy bar crumbles, brownies or cake (which you can buy pre-made), and whipped cream. There is nothing to it. Dump like a layer of crumbled brownies or cake on the bottom, a layer of pudding, a layer of whipped cream, a layer of candy bar crumbles, repeat until you reach the top, then top with more whipped cream and crumbles, and that's it. Syrups are optional.
6. Easy Ice cream Cake
Here is another super simple recipe, if you can even call it that. You can make your own ice cream using an ice cream maker or buy from the store. Take a cake pan and cover it with wax paper so you can easily remove your cake or use a cheesecake pan. Melt your ice cream a bit, and put in it whatever you'd like...fruit, candy bar crumbles, cookie crumbs, etc. and then layer the bottom of a cake pan with either store bought crumbled cake which you mash down to form a crust or make a graham cracker crust, then place your ice cream inside re-freeze, and then take out when ready to serve. Cut with a hot knife. Side note: when adding fruit, go for smaller cut up pieces rather than large chunks.
7. Forget cake and go for pie
This is a great alternative if you loathe cake, but love pie. You can simply buy pies of various sizes or of course, make them if you have baking talent.
Cheesecake is surprisingly easy to make especially if you opt for the no bake variety. Here is an easy recipe. http://www.marthastewart.com/858246/no-bake-cheesecake Then either top with fresh fruit, whipped cream, shaved chocolate, canned fruits, or leave plain.
9. Donut Cake
Just like the first one, just stack up your favorite donuts, and add a little decoration like powdered sugar, flowers, ribbon, etc.
You can make a beautiful display out of bunches of macaroons, bought fresh from a bakery. Many companies will prepare them as such so it's no fuss no muss for you to display it ready to go. Make sure you make one big enough to where everyone can get at least 2 if it is the main dessert.