30th Birthday Cake!

30th birthday cake 30th birthday cake Happy Birthday to me! Today is a big one for me—I’m 30 years old. I’m saying goodbye to my 20s and welcoming my 30s with open arms… and cake. 🙂

For the last two years, I’ve shared my birthday cakes with you, so I guess this really makes it a tradition now. You can see last year’s here.

Emma Chapman's birthday cakeToday is my actual birthday, so this cake was made a little bit before so I had time to photograph and share it with you all. I sort of love that I have “a thing” I do to celebrate with all of you, my online friends. But of course, I also promptly ate a piece of this cake and shared it with Janae who was helping me photograph that day. So in that way, I kind of get to spread out the celebration, too.

Best birthday cake Emma Chapman's birthday cake So what is this cake? It’s actually really simple. It’s Joy’s Everybody’s Birthday Cake. I saw this recipe on her site recently, and with my birthday coming up, I thought it looked just perfect. At the moment I’m knee deep in cookbook development, regular stuff for ABM, and a little bit of menu development for our soon-to-be-open bar… so it was sort of a relief to just read someone else’s work and follow it. The end result being a truly delicious cake! If you’re in need of an excellent yellow buttermilk cake with creamy chocolate frosting (a true classic), then I highly recommend you try Joy’s recipe.

And then I decorated it with gourmet, colorful popcorn. I kept seeing bags of this at my grocery store, and I really just wanted an excuse to buy it. So I thought I’d use it to decorate my cake. 🙂

Best birthday cake Emma Chapman's birthday cake 30th birthday cake Guys, I’m really excited about my 30s. For real! I feel like the first half of my 20s was filled with self-doubt, worry, a lot of hustling just to make rent, failure, multiple broken heart moments, but a few great friendships. Then the second half of my 20s turned out MUCH better as I finally felt like I found my stride with a career path, I fell in love and got married, I bought my first and then second house, and I got to travel and see some truly amazing places.

If my 30s are going to be anything like the second half of my 20s, then I am ALL IN! I have no doubt this decade will also hold plenty of challenges and difficult moments, and I certainly don’t think I’ll always know how to navigate it all, but I feel cautiously confident and hopeful. And I just keep thinking that if on my 20th birthday someone had showed me a glimpse of what my life was going to be like by the time I turned 30, I think I would have seriously jumped for joy. (I’m really thankful for my life, if you can’t tell!) So I’m hoping something similar is true by the time I reach 40, ten years from now.

Blah, blah, blah birthdays. Sorry to ramble so much. It just feels like a big one this year and I’m really excited about it. 🙂

To all my fellow Aquarians out there—happy birthday to you too! xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Janae Hardy.

  • Happy Birthday Emma! May your 30s bring you lots of love, happiness and success! And your cake looks absolutely gorgeous: I’m obsessed with that popcorn topping!
    Lots of love!

  • Happy Birthday! I turned 30 last week too 🙂 AMAZING cake!

  • Being in my early 20’s (23) I totally relate to everything you said about the self-doubt, worry and the hustling to make rent (and the other stuff too though ha). It’s nice to know that things are gonna get better for me in a few years. I hope I live a fabulous life like you all do at A Beautiful Mess 🙂

  • Hey we share our birthday! Been reading ABM for years but I didn’t know 🙂
    Happy belated birthday to you Emma! Wishing you many more beautiful years to come.
    (and cheers to the big days – I got 18 on thursday which means I’m of full age here in Germany!) Your cake looks amazing. thanks for inspring me daily! (seriously.)

  • Happy belated birthday, Emma!! That looks like the most delicious cake ever, I love that you used all that colors popcorn. It’s such a unique cake decoration!! Cheers to your next decade!!!

    xoxo. Holly Erinn

  • Happy Birthday fellow Aquarian! I love how gracefully you seem to be entering your thirties. I plan to do it flailing and a bit of whining. Only 2 years until that explosion… 😛

    On a separate note, my god am I jealous of what you’ve accomplished before 30. I hope you are giving yourself a MAJOR pat on the back for the shop, the successful blog, the apps, the book(s), the partnerships. I mean, holy cow. Always rooting for ya!

  • That is one “beautiful mess” of a cake ;).

    Happy birthday! 🙂 Hope you had a great one.

  • Happiest of birthdays. Looking forward to sharing your 39*s on ABM blog!

  • Happy Birthday! Love the idea you had to decorate your cake with popcorn! I hope your 30s are like the second half of your 20s too!!!

    Julie http://www.xfallenmoon.com/

  • Happy Birthday Emma!! I also turn 30 this year and look forward to it! By the way I listened to the podcast you mentioned on IG and loved it 🙂

  • Happy birthday! Here’s to an awesome year. And that cake looks awesome!

  • From a fellow Aquarian, happy birthday to you! I made the exact same cake just last weekend for my boyfriend’s birthday and it was delicious! 30s are the best, and 40s aren’t so bad either (I turn 41 on Sunday! ) ☺️

  • Happy (belated) birthday, Emma! I didn’t have time to congratulate earlier because I was busy celebrating my own birthday… 😉 I turned 33 yesterday. The number feels a little weird because in my head I’m still 24! But I guess that’s alright.
    Anyway, you made yourself a beautiful birthday cake – I might steal it from you next year!

  • Emma!!! Happy 30th birthday!!! Warm wishes for a great day… and a great decade ahead you! you’ll see, this decade is the best! enjoy it!

  • Happy Birthday Emma! Your cake looks absolutely amazing! I’m so excited to see what this decade has in store for you!
    xo April | April Everyday

  • Cake goals! Such a whimsical idea with the colorful popcorns… amazing 🙂

  • Happy Birthday Emma! You deserve to love your life! I really enjoyed listening to what you had to say on the Elise Gets Crafty podcast, and I am really excited to see and hear more about the Golden Girl Rum Club. I agree that my early twenties were really hard and the second half of my twenties have been way better, and I’m excited for my thirties. I can imagine that I will feel even more self-assured and settled into things.

    Did you hear about the photographer who traveled the world photographing and interview 30 year olds? It inspired me: http://www.techinsider.io/what-its-like-being-30-years-old-around-the-world-2015-11?utm_content=buffer8eb5e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer-ti

  • Happy Birthday Emma!! My 25th birthday is in three days (looks like I’m one of the fellow Aquarians you were talking about – no?) and I really like your idea for the cake! Popcorn with chocolate sounds so awesome! So, thank you for that! Hope you have a great time!!

  • Happy birthday Emma! Life gets interesting after 30 and that’s in my opinion =D There are so many things to discover when one turns 30 and we face the world with confidence. Be happy and embrace the 30s.

  • Happy birthday Emma!

    Gotta love being an Aquarius! My bday is next week, and it’s 31. I LOVED turning 30! Had a tough twentieth decade too but learned a lot and was so happy to close that learning chapter and move on to better things. Wishing you all the best in all your endeavors and may your 3rd decade be the best one yet!


  • Happy Happy birthday Emma! Your cake looks delicious. Enjoy your 30s. They’re so much more interesting than the 20s (says someone who’s comfortably slid into the 40s). Thanks for inviting us all over for cake!

  • Happy Bday Emma! When I hit 30 I wasn’t quite sure, but my 30’s have been awesome. There’s something about your 30’s where you’re more confident, stable, and things are starting to fall into place b/c you’ve learned so much from failures in your 20’s haha! Love the good ole 30’s. Welcome 🙂

  • Happy Birthday! That cake is amazing- you have a talent! 🙂


  • Whooop whoop! We’re birthday twins! I hope you have/had an amazing birthday! I know I had an amazing 16th birthday (:

  • Seeing someone so accomplished excited about turning 30 is making me feel better about turning 30 this summer! Thank you!

  • That looks like a whole lot of goodness coming your way!! Have a very Happy Birthday!!

  • This cake looks delicious! Happy Birthday Emma!


  • Happy Birth-day Emma! How exciting to be starting your 30’s and with a beautiful cake!
    May your whole day and the rest of this birth year be filled with gorgeous wonder and happiness 🙂

  • Happy Birthday Emma!

    Hope you had a beautiful full day. And may this 30th year be glorious and a turning point for the better!

    God Bless!

  • I love that you made your own cake. Happy Birthday!

  • So easy and fun. What a great idea. Thanks for sharing. Happy Birthday.

  • Happy birthday! The cake looks realy festive 😀 I turned 29 on the 15th of Jan. One more year to go before I hit the three O! My late 20s are not the most fantastic I could have hoped for and I’m excited about a better next chapter but I stay positive. I wish you even more wonderfull for the years to come 🙂

  • Haaaaaaaaappy Biiiiiiiiiiiirthday 🙂
    The cake loooks amazing. I´d love a slice noooow =D
    I hope you had a wonderful day – I wish you all the good stuff and that your wishes will come true

  • Happy Birthday! So refreshing to hear how your embracing the next chapter in your life. My 30th is not far around the corner, and I go back and forth between excited and very anxious. Maybe I just need to make myself some cake…

  • Happy Birthday! And just so you know my 30’s and 40’s were my favorite age. Really til 55. I’m 59 now but in my head I will always be 15. ?

  • Happy Birthday Emma! Enjoy life 🙂

  • Happy birthday Emma! I turned 30 last September and so far I’m enjoying being an adult who really knows what she’s doing…or something 😉 Seriously though, early-30s are so far better than late-20s!

    Becky :: http://accooohtrements.wordpress.com

  • Happy birthday! Your cake looks amazing. It’s good to hear that you’re so positive about turning 30. I’m about to turn 27 and I definitely agree that the second half of my 20s has been better than the first (so far).

  • Quite excited to discover we born just the same day. I like your blog very much but never live a comment. Today however happy 30 birthday for both of us 🙂

  • Ahhhh! The dirty thirty!!! Happy birthday to you!!! Your cake looks amazing!!!

  • Happy birthday, Emma!! Hope you have a fabulous day today!! <3


  • Happy Birthday! Hope that cake was as delicious as it looked, because it looked mouth-watering. Wishing you a beautiful day!

  • Happy Birthday Emma !!!!!
    It’s my birthday as well today, and it’s so cool to share it hahaha
    I might make this cake for my party on Saturday, but as a gift to myself I got your new app with all the additional options 🙂
    Have a great day!

  • HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Hope you have the greatest day!! I love you so much!! I hope the very best to you this year!!:)


  • Happy birthday Emma !

    Be welcome in your thirties, you’ll see, it’s a fantastic period. Your cake looks amazing. As usual, you did something gorgeous with simple things. And thanks for sharing joythebaker, I just discovered it by your link, such a great website.

    Joyeux anniversaire from Provence,

  • Happy Birthday Emma!! I am saying goodbye to my 20’s as well in March and I must say I am quite excited too 🙂 Have a great day celebrating!

  • I made Everybody’s Birthday cake the other day for no reason at all–well, for very personal reasons. It was delicious! SO DELICIOUS!
    Also, I turned thirty a few years ago and I kid you not, my life has completely changed for the better. And I’m so excited that you’re going to get to go into your thirties and that we get to, kind of, be a part of it.

  • Happy Birtdhday and all the best for you!!!!!

    Greetings & Love

    Have a great day Emma! I’m one of those “birthday week” people so you go on girl and yak about your special day all you want 🙂 IT’S YOURS!

  • Hey Emma, we’re birthday twins!! Hope you have a wonderful day of love, laughter and lots of fun! From Marcia in London (I’m 32 today, I can confirm that the thirties are indeed super duper!)

  • Hi Emma! Happy 30th birthday! The cake looks great. I’m a long time reader but have not commented before, I don’t think. Anyway, 30’s are great, lots for you to look forward to. As I get closer to 50 myself (48 currently), I also like to think I have lots of good things ahead. (Yes, you have some ‘older’ readers!) Anyway, best of everything to you and yours! Lisa

  • This cake is magical! The candy colored popcorn was a great idea.
    I’m 22, turning 23 at the end of this year and the first half of your 20’s sounds exactly like me right now. Hopefully once I hat 25, things will start to look up!

    Monica – Mocha and Moccasins

  • First of all: Happy Birthday to you Emma! I hope you are having a great day!! And of course I’m wishing you all the best for your 30s! 🙂

    And second: that cake looks absolutely fabulous!! Not too much over the top, just the right amount of quirkiness with that popcorn!

  • Happy Birthday Emma!! The cake looks perfectly celebratory! Can’t can’t can’t WAIT for the cookbook! Love your recipes.

  • Happy Birthday Emma! It has been wonderful to watch you grow, alongside with Elsie, and share that story with us over the years. Cheers to many more wonderful decades of happiness and creativity!

    PS: turning 30 last year was a great experience for me too! Bought my first new car, buying a house now, etc. Lots of cool adulting things, haha.

  • Happy Birthday Emma! It has been wonderful to watch you grow, alongside with Elsie, and share that story with us over the years. Cheers to many more wonderful decades of happiness and creativity!

    PS: turning 30 last year was a great experience for me too! Bought my first new car, buying a house now, etc. Lots of cool adulting things, haha.

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