Cake Recipes

From luscious chocolate cakes to light angel food cakes and multi-tiered birthday cakes, it’s a wide, delicious world of cake out there. Even if it’s just a slab of simple, buttery pound cake enjoyed with a cup of coffee, there is something celebratory about eating a slice of cake. The flip side is that cakes tend to require more effort to bake than a tray of brownies or cookies, but that’s no reason to worry. Our Food & Wine guide to cake includes tips from professional bakers (like starting with room temperature ingredients) to help you make an amazing dessert. We’ve also shared our best layer cakes, so you’ll never wonder how to celebrate another birthday—plus bundt cakes, upside-down cakes, icebox cakes and more.

Most Recent

King Cake with Caramel Crunch

Every year in New Orleans, the game of king caking starts to feel more and more like a full-contact sport. Local shops create and serve (and ship!) these cakes each year from Twelfth Night through Mardi Gras day (and yes, it is absolute blasphemy to consume king cake outside of season here). A traditional part of Mardi Gras for the last three hundred years in New Orleans (and beyond), these cakes are more like brioche than “cake” as we know it. The yeast-raised dough is braided, sometimes around various fillings, formed into a ring, and baked. Afterwards, it’s topped with green, purple, and gold sugar to represent faith, justice, and power, respectively, a nod to the “three kings.” A token of some sort, be it a bean or plastic baby, is stuffed randomly inside, and tradition states that whoever gets the slice of king cake with the token has to host the next party! There are as many thoughts, feelings, opinions, and preferences about king cakes in New Orleans as there are king cakes themselves. I take a pretty traditional approach with the dough, but my team and I dreamed up the idea of adding a layer of caramelized sugar to give our cake a fun, shattering crunch. With cream cheese icing for a less-sweet approach, I find myself craving this cake year-round.

Brown Butter, Radicchio, and Parsnip Cake

With warm spiciness from nutmeg, a satisfyingly crunchy top, and beautiful flecks of parsnip and radicchio, this bundt cake makes a case for being served for either breakfast or dessert—and the leftovers taste even better the next day.

Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Layers of delicate flavors from lemon, honey, and extra-virgin olive oi­l—which helps keep the cake moist and imparts mild fruitiness—come together in this one-bowl batter. Stacked with a fluffy and rich lemon–cream cheese frosting, this easy layer cake is a keeper. Be sure the butter and cream cheese are softened for the smoothest frosting.

Jamaican Black Cake

The cultural idiosyncrasies of each Caribbean island are rich and telling. And Black Cake—even with its own slight variances—offers a delicious commonality between each isle in a way that allows the diversity to shine but leaves the baking tradition of this cake intact. Here, the delicate nuance of raw almonds (and almond extract), the warm spiky notes of allspice, and plenty of rum inform my family's version of Black Cake with a uniquely Jamaican sensibility. I've substituted dark molasses for the more traditional browning or burnt sugar essence. However, despite adaptations, the cake’s blackness, rich density, and ever-present tingle of rum—which also preserves the cake—will always be its most distinguishable features.

More Cake

Ombré Coconut Burfi Cake

Underneath the purple-and-white ombré coat of sweetened coconut, cookbook author and blogger Hetal Vasavada's slim, tall layer cake is bound with a cloud-like layer of Swiss meringue buttercream. But the best part is the chewy coconut filling, inspired by burfi, a type of fudge-like, milk-based Indian sweet. Coconut milk keeps the cake layers incredibly moist with a tender crumb.

Cornmeal Cake Trifle with Sabayon and Candied Kumquats

A masterpiece of technique and flavor, this stunning collaboration between pastry chef Kelly Fields and baking legend Claudia Fleming has many delicious components, most of which can be made ahead. Layers of crumbly cornmeal cake and fresh and candied citrus float on billowy drifts of barely boozy sabayon, topped with a sweet, crisp peaks of toasted Italian meringue. The flavor of the Prosecco will come through strongly in the sabayon, so choose a quality bottle. To easily trim the cake layers to fit, invert the trifle dish and trace its border on parchment paper to create a guide.

Almond-and-Plum Snack Cake

This snack cake catches the eye with its ripe red plums, toasted almonds, and glistening sugary crust, but the tender cake hidden underneath is the real star. The moist cake has tight crumb, but a trio of butter, sour cream, and chunks of thick, sweet almond paste make it exceptionally tender.