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30 of Our Best Summer Cakes

Slice into these cake recipes—filled with fresh seasonal ingredients like berries, peaches, cherries and zucchini—to sweeten up potlucks, family reunions and more summer celebrations.

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Lemon Layer Cake

This citrusy cake with a luscious cream cheese frosting will garner plenty of raves. The flavor, a duet of sweet and tangy notes, really sings. —Summer Goddard, Springfield, Virginia

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Grilled Angel Food Cake with Strawberries

One night I goofed, accidentally using the balsamic butter I save for grilling chicken on my pound cake. What a delicious mistake that my entire family loved! For a patriotic look, add a drizzle of blueberry syrup. —Tammy Hathaway, Freeman Twp, Maine

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Mamaw Emily's Strawberry Cake

My husband loved his Mamaw's strawberry cake. He thought no one could duplicate it. I made it, and it’s just as scrumptious as he remembers. —Jennifer Bruce, Manitou, Kentucky

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Pineapple Upside-Down Muffin Cakes

A friend submitted this recipe to a cookbook our school district was compiling. The first time I made them, the whole family declared the recipe a winner. Delicious and healthy to boot, they remain favorites to this day. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas

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Patchwork Quilt Cake

This cake has a great homemade flavor and tender crumb. Be sure to pile on the buttery frosting, which adds a burst of vanilla. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Strawberry Ladyfinger Icebox Cake

This cake is inventive and yet familiar. Be sure to use a springform pan; otherwise you cannot invert the cake or remove it from the pan. If it breaks while you're transferring the cake to the serving plate, just push it back together and press gently. —Stella Ohanian, Porter Ranch, California

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

Years ago, I added some zucchini to a peanut butter bar I had created, and this time I wanted to try it with a cake. The zucchini makes it super moist, but doesn't get int the way of the chocolate and peanut butter goodness. —Marilyn Blankschien, Clintonville, Wisconsin

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Down South Sweet Tea Cake

I think this recipe combines two of the best and most famous ingredients from the South: sweet tea and pecans! Using a cake mix simplifies prep and helps ease the holiday time crunch. —Melissa Millwood, Lyman, South Carolina

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Cherry Nut Cake

My grandmother made up this recipe for her children. Using Ozark-grown cherries and walnuts, she invented one they all liked. Granny always used cream from the dairy farm near her home, but the half-and half works well and is easier to find. —Diana Jennings, Lebanon, Missouri

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Zucchini Cupcakes

I asked my grandmother for this recipe after trying these irresistible spice cupcakes at her home. I love their creamy caramel frosting. They're such a scrumptious dessert you actually forget you're eating your vegetables, too! —Virginia Lapierre, Greensboro Bend, Vermont

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Sour Cream Pound Cake

Because I'm our town's postmaster, I can bake only in my spare time. When I do, I especially like pound cakes. This one tastes great as is, or tucked under ice cream and chocolate syrup like a hot fudge sundae! —Karen Conrad, East Troy, Wisconsin

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Strawberry Shortcake

I grew up helping my mom make a lot in our farmhouse kitchen; roasts, soups, pies and strawberry shortcakes. This sunny strawberry shortcake recipe brings back memories of family summers on the farm. —Janet Becker, Anacortes, Washington

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Red, White & Blueberry Poke Cake

A sweet treat in the summer, this patriotic poke cake with dazzling red and blue stripes is a fun one to make with the kids. —Elisabeth Schulz, Blossvale, New York

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Root Beer Float Cake

I add root beer to both the cake batter and fluffy frosting of this summery dessert to get that great root beer float taste. Serve this moist cake to a bunch of hungry kids and watch it disappear! —Kat Thompson, Prineville, Oregon

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Cherry Cola Cake

Cherry cola and marshmallows make a zippy chocolate dessert that is scrumptious topped with vanilla ice cream. — Cheri Mason, Harmony, North Carolina

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Banana Split Icebox Cake

One day a friend showed me how to make a traditional icebox cake with just cream and graham crackers. I make it extra special with the fruit. Now everyone at your potluck can have a banana split, no muss, no fuss! —Shelly Flye, Albion, Maine

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Tropical Carrot Cake

I look forward to August because our family reunion means fun and great food, like this classic cake with the special flair it gets from pineapple. My great-aunt gave me this recipe, and I always make it for the reunion. —Victoria Casey, Enterprise, Oregon

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Lemon-Berry Shortcake

This simple lemon shortcake is tender and not overly sweet. Enjoy this summertime classic with a generous layer of whipped topping and berries. —Meryl Herr, Overland Park, Kansas

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Slow Cooker Mixed Fruit & Pistachio Cake

This cake is easy to make on a lazy day and a guaranteed-delicious dessert for several days, if you can make it last that long. It's wonderful for the fall and even the holidays. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada

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Raspberry Custard Kuchen

Back where I grew up in Wisconsin, people have been baking this German treat for generations. We love it for breakfast or as a special dessert. It's no fuss to fix and impressive to serve. —Virginia Arndt, Sequim, Washington

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Chocolate-Dipped Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

I created this recipe based on our family's love of chocolate-dipped ice cream cones. Red heart-shaped sprinkles make them fun for Valentine's Day. Vary the color to match the occasion. —Jennifer Gilbert, Brighton, Michigan

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Summer Celebration Ice Cream Cake

I wanted to make my youngest son an ice cream cake one year for his summer birthday, as he prefers ice cream to the traditional cake. He picked the flavors and I decided to try my favorite brownie recipe as a crust. It worked! —Krista Frank, Rhododendron, Oregon

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Pink Lemonade Stand Cake

If you love a moist and creamy cake, this is it. Lemon juice and lemonade give the layers a tangy touch, and the subtle pink frosting makes it beautiful. —Lauren Knoelke, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Fresh Raspberry Icebox Cake

Layered icebox cakes are so fun because they look impressive but couldn't be easier. Fresh raspberries make this one really special. Use Anna's Ginger Thins to get the scalloped edges, or regular gingersnaps if those are not available. —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah

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Blueberry Zucchini Squares

I saw a bar recipe using apple and lemon peel on a muffin mix box. I tried it from scratch with shredded zucchini and fresh blueberries instead. It’s a nifty combo. —Shelly Bevington, Hermiston, Oregon

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Blackberry-Orange Cake

My grandmother made luscious fruit pies and cobblers using blackberries from her garden. I decided to follow her lead and create a blackberry cake that's always lovely with a summer meal. —Lisa M. Varner, El Paso, Texas

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Lime Angel Food Cake

For my husband's family reunion, I took a store-bought angel food cake and turned it into this special dessert with a lovely lime cream frosting topped with toasted coconut. It went over big! —Nancy Foust, Stoneboro, Pennsylvania

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Fluted Lemon Cake with Fresh Fruit

This citrusy, golden-brown cake looks especially beautiful baked in a fancy bundt pan. Serve each slice with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh fruit.—Donna Pochoday, Morristown, New Jersey

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Shortcake with Fresh Rhubarb Sauce

Every spring when her rhubarb was ready, my mother-in-law chopped it up for this moist cake. If your rhubarb is too tart for the sauce, just add in some strawberries. —Rena McCalment, Sharpsville, Indiana

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Red, White 'n' Blue Torte

Guests will see fireworks when you turn a frozen pound cake into a patriotic pleaser. Assemble this tempting torte early in the day and keep it in the refrigerator until it's time for dessert. —Margery Bryan, Moses Lake, Washington

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