Slices of cake sandwiched between cream and covered in icing are what we think of when we think about birthday or other celebration cakes. Once you know how to make one, you will know how to make them all.
Beautiful layer cakes should not scare you. Cake layers may be frozen way in advance, and many cakes may be fully assembled and frozen, and then thawed before serving. Layer cakes are also forgiving: If you had to piece together a layer of cake because you shredded it while slicing, no one will know; and if one layer has more icing than another, no one will notice.