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"The One With The Cake" is the fourth episode of the tenth season of Friends, which aired on October 23, 2003.


It is Emma's first birthday and everyone is joining Ross and Rachel in celebrating it, including Chandler and Monica, who are planning to head to Vermont shortly after the birthday party for a romantic weekend. Rachel insists that they wait until Emma has woken up from her nap to start the party, which slightly exasperates Monica and Chandler as they want to get to Vermont fairly soon.

When Joey realizes he has forgotten to get Emma a present, and that Phoebe has composed a song for her, he decides to use his talents as an actor to give Emma something special: a dramatic reading of one of her favorite books. When he is called by Rachel, he is forced to do an impromptu performance. He nearly reads "Riding the Storm: Coping With Postpartum Depression" before settling on "Love You Forever". While everyone is skeptical at first, by the end of Joey's emotional reading, they are all on the verge of tears. Phoebe then goes and performs her song for Emma, which turns out to be nonsensical and too short, leaving everyone confused. Realizing this, Phoebe quickly improvises a reading, though everyone has to stop her from reading past the title of "Sex & The Single Mother".

When Ross and Rachel look at the birthday cake, they discover that the bakery have made a mistake and made her a cake in the shape of a penis instead of a bunny with Emma's face on it. Everyone is shocked and Joey is confused as to why the shape makes him think it looks delicious. Rachel then storms off to the bakery in Monica's car, but forgets her license and gets pulled over for speeding. By this point, Chandler and Monica are anxious to take the last train to head to Vermont, and Phoebe wants to leave as well as she has a massage client. Ross heads after Rachel with her license, asking Joey to ensure that no one leaves.

Jack and Judy Geller leave shortly after Ross because it is getting dark and Jack cannot see well enough to drive at night. Joey then receives a call from his agent, Estelle, telling him about an audition for which he needs a monologue prepared. Joey picks up the book he read and tells Estelle that he has a monologue. Monica and Chandler are annoyed by his plans to leave because they had made plans before anybody else, and so they decide to make the wind-up toys that they bought Emma race to determine who has to stay.

Rachel and Ross react happily to Emma showing how old she is.

Phoebe and Joey's toys come first and second in the race, because all that Monica and Chandler's toy does is somersault and bark. Phoebe and Joey leave, and Monica and Chandler are left alone with Emma.

By the time Ross finds Rachel on the highway and Monica informs them that everyone already left, it is too late to go to the bakery. While Rachel disappointingly fantasizes about how she thought the party was going to be, (briefly stopping to yell and beep the horn at a student driver) Ross manages to turn the x-rated cake into the bunny that Rachel wanted. While they are gone, Chandler and Monica look after Emma and Chandler teaches her to hold up a finger and signify that she is one year old. The amazement upon them imparting wisdom onto Emma strengthens their desire to have children. Phoebe returns and declares that she slipped her client "a little something" that will wear off after five to six hours. Joey then runs in and yells at the other three to pretend to Ross and Rachel that he has been at the apartment the whole time. Ross and Rachel follow him in, having seen him race past them, and tell everyone that they know that they all left, but it does not matter because they are all here now. They are filled with pride after seeing Emma's new trick and finally begin to celebrate her birthday. This scene forces Rachel to cry happily. Joey complains that he thought the cake looked more delicious when it was a penis.

Throughout the episode, Ross has been filming all of the party guests recording a message for Emma to be shown to her on her eighteenth birthday. At the end of the episode, Ross and Rachel start to record their own message to their daughter, but are interrupted by a loud cheering and screaming outside. Out in the hallway, Monica, Joey, Phoebe and Chandler are racing their wind-up toys again. Phoebe shrieks at her wind-up bear, "Go! Go! Go, Alan! RUN you hairy bastard!"

Cast and Crew

Main Cast

Jennifer Aniston - Rachel Greene
Courteney Cox - Monica Geller
Lisa Kudrow - Phoebe Buffay
Matt LeBlanc - Joey Tribbiani
Matthew Perry - Chandler Bing
David Schwimmer - Ross Geller

Supporting Cast

June Gable - Estelle Leonard
Elliott Gould - Jack Geller
Christina Pickles - Judy Geller
Cali Sheldon - Emma Geller-Greene
Noelle Sheldon - Emma Geller-Greene


Directed By:
Gary Halvorson

Written By:
Robert Carlock


  • This episode appears on the Friends - The One with All the Birthdays DVD.
  • This is the last appearance of Elliott Gould and Christina Pickles as Jack and Judy Geller, as well as the last appearance of June Gable as Estelle Leonard aside from a photo of Estelle at her funeral.
  • Jack says that he had a car accident where he drove right through a manger scene, with the papers thinking that was a hate crime, alluding to Jack being Jewish.
  • When talking to Estelle on the phone he says he doesn't have a monologue but in "The One In Barbados, Part 1", Ross says Joey has a monologue from Star Wars.
  • This is one of the rare episodes where no scene occurs in Monica's apartment.
  • At the end, Monica and Chandler's wind up toy ends up going in a circle, Monica is then seen re-winding the toy.
  • The uncut DVD version of this episode involves Ross mentioning his Big Brother audition on the video camera. His audition is heard in the last scene, before Ross and Rachel shoot their message for Emma's eighteenth birthday.
  • Neither of Rachel's parents are there for the party which seems odd. They were also not seen or mentioned during the birth of Emma.
  • The joke about Joey facing three cameras every week and not being prepared is a poke at Matt LeBlanc who was notorious for forgetting his lines.
  • Emma's first birthday is celebrated in this episode. Under Rachel's plan she revealed on her 30th birthday, Rachel would be married and have 3 children by the time of Emma's second birthday.
  • During the cold opening, in the uncut DVD version Ross says that he promises that he won't do any magic this time but then indicates to Rachel that he will.
  • Judy and Jack suggest that they may not be alive for their granddaughter Emma's 18th birthday. While the actors who played her paternal grandparents, Christina Pickles and Elliott Gould, along with Marlo Thomas who played her maternal grandmother Sandra Greene are alive, the actor who played Rachel's father (Ron Leibman) died on December 6, 2019 and thus was not alive for Emma's 18th birthday in 2020.
  • This is the only time on the show, when Rachel's surname is spelt "Green" (on Emma's cake box). Every other in-universe appearance of the name is "Greene". However, since Rachel ordered the cake by phone, it's possible a bakery employee made a mistake, either the secretary who took the order or a cook who made the cake.


  • Judy mentions that her parents died young; however her mother died at a very old age in "The One Where Nana Dies Twice" (S1E8).
  • In the cold opening, when Rachel asks Monica and Chandler "Can't you can drive up later?" she uncrosses her legs but in the next shot, a close-up of Ross, Rachel and Monica, her legs are crossed again.
  • Emma was born in May, so her birthday would have been on the end of season 9 or start of season 10, but it is on the 4th episode of the 10th season.
    • The events of this episode, along with the other four, could've taken place in May, but this episode may have been pushed back in airing in favor of the Joey/Rachel arc.
  • When Ross and Rachel re-unite with everyone with the fixed birthday cake, Joey can be clearly seen sitting down in the background of the first shot. When the second shot focuses on all of the cast, Joey can be seen standing up, contradicting the previous shot.
  • When Monica is talking to Chandler about waking Emma up, as she walks over to him, crew lights are visible in the top left corner of the screen.
  • When Monica's mom and dad are leaving the party, they are standing next to each other while her dad explains why he can not drive anymore. Her mom has both hands in front of her holding on to her purse, in the next shot one arm is around Monica.
  • When Jack and Judy leave Joey's apartment, there is a birthday banner on the counter that has fallen off. When Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe are racing the toys to see who gets to go, the banner is back on. In this time no-one has fixed the banner as there is not enough time for them to do so off camera and the people on camera don't fix it. It's most clear that it's back on when Monica is saying, "Technically, our dog never crossed the finish line".
  • Phoebe's robot in the toy race is behind Joey's. Joey then says unlucky and picks his toy up. Phoebe then picks hers up and it is about a yard in front of Joey's. The toy can't move that fast.
  • When Ross and Rachel are driving back, Ross starts to put the seat belt on. Instant cut, and he has his seat belt on.
  • Just before Rachel and Ross come back from the cake store, Monica is holding Emma on her lap. Emma is holding a green toy in one shot, when the camera angle changes it is nowhere to be seen.
  • When Joey says he's taking off for the audition, Phoebe holds the water bottle on her right hand. In the next take, is on her left hand.
  • At the end after Rachel and Ross have come back from the cake store, when they are asking Emma how old she is, we can see Joey walking to sit down, then in the next shot he is sat down, then walking to sit down again.
  • When Monica says "I want one!", Emma is holding a toy. In the next shot, she is holding a plastic pot and Chandler's hand is on Monica's back.
  • In "The One With The Kips", when Joey falls asleep with the toothbrush in his mouth, the toilet is on the side visible. However when Joey and Phoebe see if Chandler climbed out the window, the toilet is on the other side. It was also on the same side as this episode when Rachel had the apartment baby-proofed.  
  • Jack claims not to know who Joey is but since they've met on many occasions, this is nonsense. What's more he conducted their daughter's wedding.  
  • When Joey puts the spoon down saying "I'm so confused", he then gestures towards the cake. When the shot changes to show Rachel, Joey can be seen making the same gesture.  
  • When Jack and Judy leave, they head to the right slightly to go off stage rather than turn left towards the stairs.  
  • Emma's toys change positions between shots with a cuddly dog appearing in front of her.  
  • When Joey first goes to leave, he goes to open the apartment door without first unlocking it.  
  • When Joey and Phoebe leave, no sound of the door closing is heard.  
  • In the TV episode, Rachel changes position between shots after Rachel says about Emma "to be honest she didn't sleep well last night". This is because in the uncut DVD episode Monica says "you flipping kidding me Greene".  
  • In the tag scene, Phoebe's shouted line "Run, you hairy bastard!" is cut out in the TV version resulting in a jump in Ross and Rachel's position.  
  • Ross mentioned that Rachel has been pulled over and he has to bring her license to her. A police officer would not wait for somebody to bring a driver's license to somebody after they had been pulled over.  

External links

Episode Navigation

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Preceded by
"The One With Ross' Tan"
Series Ten Episodes Followed by
"The One Where Rachel's Sister Baby-Sits"