As Julia Child once said, “A party without a cake is just a meeting.” And how true! These bakes make any gathering—whether it’s a birthday, graduation party or just a weeknight dinner—into a celebration.
You can make these celebratory desserts at home easily. Just check out our essential techniques, homemade cake recipes and must-have gear to get started. Soon, all your gatherings will be celebrations.
Classic Cake Recipes
- Easy cakes: New to baking? Check out these 24 cake recipes for beginner bakers.
- Old-school cakes: Check out our most iconic cake recipes from chocolate cake in a 13×9 pan to a standout coconut cake.
- Layer cakes: Try our 40 favorite layer cake recipes on for size.
- Bundt cakes: Fancy pans give Bundt cakes a gorgeous finish without a lot of extra work. Try these recipes out for a pretty (but simple) dessert.
- Sheet cakes: Need a delicious dessert for a crowd but don’t have the time for layers? Our sheet cake recipes are exactly what you’re looking for.
Cake Baking Tips
Beginners and experienced bakers alike can always benefit from a few tips. Read up on our Test Kitchen’s best techniques before you head into the kitchen.
How to Decorate a Cake
Give your delicious cake a fitting finish with stunning decoration. The good news: Decorating a beautiful cake doesn’t need to be fussy or difficult. We’ll show you how to frost your favorite cake. Start with these great decorating tools!
The Gear You Need to Start Baking Cakes
Be sure your kitchen is stocked with all the right gear for your best bakes. Check out our favorite supplies—whether you’re just starting out or are a serious decorator.
- Hand mixer: If you’re just starting out (or are just short on space), invest in a good hand mixer. Our Test Kitchen has some recommendations.
- Stand mixer: Serious about your baking? You’ll want a stand mixer that can tackle cake batter, frosting and much more. This is our Test Kitchen’s favorite brand.
- Bundt pans: There are so many gorgeous pans you can use to make these easy, elegant cakes.
- Baking essentials: Check out the baking tools you need—as chosen by our Test Kitchen and editors—to make everything from pies to pastries, cookies to cupcakes and so much more.
There are so many amazing kinds of cakes out there—everything from dense, fudgy flourless cakes to airy angel food. Considering that, it’s no wonder there are a lot of frequently asked questions about cakes. Let’s get to the bottom of some of the most common.
Q: What are the most common cake types?
A: There are many kinds of cakes out there, but there are a few basics to know:
- Butter cake: Recipes for these cakes start with creaming together butter and sugar. Many cakes fall under this category, and not just butter-flavored cakes. Butter cakes can take the shape of a red velvet layer cake, a simple chocolate sheet cake and many more variations.
- Pound cake: Pound cakes are a type of butter cake. They tend to be a bit dense and are commonly made in loaf pans.
- Bundt cake: Bundt cakes are akin to butter and pound cakes. They are baked in a fluted, decorative cake pan. They are typically finished with a dusting of powdered sugar or a simple glaze.
- Sponge cake: Sponge cakes are made by beating eggs to give the cake batter lift. Sponge cake recipes don’t typically call for leavining agents. You’ll find sponge cakes are pliable and perfect for recipes like cake rolls.
- Angel food cake: You know these classic airy cakes. They’re made by whipping together egg whites and sugar. Then flour is folded in to make an exceptionally light cake.
- Flourless cake: These cakes are exactly what they sound like—cakes made without flour. They tend to be dense and fudgy.
- Chiffon cake: Chiffon cakes are an American invention. They are made with oil (not butter) and use whipped egg whites to get their fluffy texture.
Q: What is the difference between sponge cake and regular cake?
A: “Regular cake” is a fairly broad term. However, what sets a sponge cake apart from other cakes is that it uses whipped egg whites to get a lift—not leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder. See the difference with our top 10 sponge cake recipes.
Q: What was the first cake ever made?
A: There are some history buffs out there wondering about what the first cakes were like. The answer to this question can vary since what we’ve come to think of as cakes is very different from what people hundreds of years ago considered cake.
The word “cake” came into the English language in around the 13th century, though it typically described sweetened bread. It wasn’t until about the 17th century that the frosted and decorated cakes came into being in Europe. These cakes were made with yeast since baking powder wasn’t a common ingredient until the late 1800s.
Bake These Next
Cake is just the start for some recipes. Use similar techniques to make some of these tasty cake cousins.