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50 Contest-Winning Cakes You’ll Want on Your Dessert Table

When your sweet tooth is calling, answer with one of these gorgeous contest-winning cakes!

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California Lemon Pound Cake

Citrus trees grow abundantly in California, and I’m always looking for new recipes which use the fruit from the orange and lemon trees in my yard. This is one of my favorites! My mother passed this recipe down to me. —Richard Killeaney, Spring Valley, California

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Dark Chocolate Pecan CakeTaste of Home

Dark Chocolate Pecan Cake

Made in a single loaf pan, this doubly good chocolate cake has a nutty praline layer and two layers of fluffy whipped cream. This is the only cake my husband really likes. —Laura Draper, Garfield, Washington

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Berry Pinwheel CakeTaste of Home

Berry Pinwheel Cake

Perfect for special meals, this lovely chiffon cake is a nice change from strawberry pie or shortcake. Don't be afraid t try this jelly-roll-style dessert...it's easy to make. Plus, the waxed paper-lined pan helps make cleanup a breeze! —Becky Ruff, McGregor, Iowa

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Butter Pecan Layer CakeTaste of Home

Butter Pecan Layer Cake

Pecans and butter give this cake the same irresistible flavor as the popular butter pecan ice cream flavor. —Becky Miller, Tallahassee, Florida

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Blackberry-Orange CakeTaste of Home

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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Strawberry ShortcakeTaste of Home

Strawberry Shortcake

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

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Lemon Chiffon CakeTaste of Home

Lemon Chiffon Cake

This moist, airy lemon chiffon cake was my dad's favorite. Mom revamped the original recipe to include lemons. I'm not much of a baker, but whenever I make this dessert my family is thrilled! —Trisha Kammers, Clarkston, Washington

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Chocolate Angel CakeTaste of Home

Chocolate Angel Cake

When I was married in 1944, I could barely boil water. My dear mother-in-law taught me her specialty—making the lightest angel food cakes ever. This chocolate version is an easy, impressive treat. —Joyce Shiffler, Colorado Springs, Colorado

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Citrus Cornmeal CakeTaste of Home

Citrus Cornmeal Cake

Cornmeal adds a rustic quality to this delicate dessert flavored with citrus and almond. It’s sure to be a staple in your recipe collection and also makes a great holiday party hostess gift. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California

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Grandma's Christmas CakeTaste of Home

Grandma's Christmas Cake

One bite of this old-fashioned spice cake will bring back memories. Loaded with raisins and nuts, it tastes extra special drizzled with the rich buttery sauce. —Linda Stemen, Monroeville, Indiana

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Grandma's Carrot CakeTaste of Home

Grandma's Carrot Cake

My grandma was very special to me. She had a big country kitchen that was full of wonderful aromas any time we visited. This was one of her prized cake recipes, and it continues to be a favorite from generation to generation. —Denise Strasz, Detroit, Michigan

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Rhubarb Berry Upside-Down CakeTaste of Home

Rhubarb Berry Upside-Down Cake

I had leftover rhubarb and wanted to create something fresh. With blueberries, strawberries and dried cranberries on hand, I discovered I had a berry upside-down cake. —June Paul, Portage, Wisconsin

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Mocha-Hazelnut Glazed Angel Food CakeTaste of Home

Mocha-Hazelnut Glazed Angel Food Cake

I love this recipe because it combines three of my favorite flavors: coffee, hazelnuts and cherries. —Joan Pecsek, Chesapeake, Virginia

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Lemon-Berry ShortcakeTaste of Home

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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Zucchini CupcakesTaste of Home

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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Pumpkin TorteTaste of Home

Pumpkin Torte

This beautiful layered cake has a creamy filling with a mild pumpkin flavor and a little spice. It's quick and always turns out so well. The nuts and caramel topping add a nice finishing touch. —Trixie Fisher, Piqua, Ohio

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Chunky Apple CakeTaste of Home

Chunky Apple Cake

After taste testing apple cake recipes, I've found this particular recipe the best. Full of old-world comfort, the yummy brown sugar sauce really makes the cake special. For a festive occasion, top with a dollop of whipped cream. —Debi Benson, Bakersfield, California

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Lemon Meringue Angel CakeTaste of Home

Lemon Meringue Angel Cake

I've been told that this dessert tastes exactly like a lemon meringue pie and that it's the best angel food cake anyone could ask for. I'm not sure about all of that, but it is delightful to serve, and each slice is virtually fat free. —Sharon Kurtz, Emmaus, Pennsylvania

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Mississippi Mud CakeTaste of Home

Mississippi Mud Cake

Make this tempting cake and you'll satisfy kids of all ages! A fudgy brownie-like base is topped with marshmallow creme and a nutty frosting. Your family will be very merry when you serve up big slices with glasses of cold milk or steaming mugs of coffee.

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Down East Blueberry BuckleTaste of Home

Down East Blueberry Buckle

This buckle won a contest at my daughter’s college. They shipped us four lobsters, but the real prize was seeing the smile on our daughter's face. —Dianne van der Veen, Plymouth, Massachusetts

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Mrs. Thompson's Carrot CakeTaste of Home

Mrs. Thompson's Carrot Cake

I received this recipe from the mother of a patient I cared for back in 1972 in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was, and is, the best carrot cake I have ever tasted. It’s requested for many family gatherings and celebrations. —Becky Wachob, Kelly, Wyoming

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Key Lime Pie CupcakesTaste of Home

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

I bake over 200 of these cupcakes for our church suppers, and we always run out. If you can't find Key lime juice, use lime juice. Just add a tad more sugar. —Julie Herrera-Lemler, Rochester, Minnesota

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Peppermint Cream Pound CakeTaste of Home

Peppermint Cream Pound Cake

I came up with this recipe when I was looking for a twist on traditional pound cake. I love the look and flavor of peppermint, especially at Christmas, so it seemed like a natural pairing. Everyone at work loved the results, and my family did, too. — Carolyn Webster, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

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Cranberry Pecan Upside-Down CakeTaste of Home

Cranberry Pecan Upside-Down Cake

At our house, cranberries are a favorite. I made this dessert for the first time in the 1990s. It started out as a pineapple upside down cake—I just changed a few things around! It keeps and travels well, so it’s perfect for taking to church dinners. And we love to share it with our son and grandchildren. —Doris Heath, Franklin, North Carolina

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Peachy Gingerbread Cake RollTaste of Home

Peachy Gingerbread Cake Roll

My father loved gingerbread so I combined two or three recipes to create this one for him. This fruity, spiced cake roll gets kudos every time I serve it. —Dawn DePew, Blacklick, Ohio

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German Chocolate CakeTaste of Home

German Chocolate Cake

According to my husband, this is the best German chocolate cake recipe in the whole world. Every bite has a light crunch from the pecans, a sweet taste of coconut and a drizzle of chocolate. —Joyce Platfoot, Wapakoneta, Ohio

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Cream Cheese Sheet CakeTaste of Home

Cream Cheese Sheet Cake

This tender, buttery cream cheese cake with a thin layer of fudge frosting is perfect for a crowd. It's always popular at potlucks and parties. It's not uncommon to see folks going back for second and even third pieces. —Gaye Mann, Rocky Mount, North Carolina

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Aunt Lou's Fresh Apple CakeTaste of Home

Aunt Lou's Fresh Apple Cake

My Great-Aunt Lou made a luscious fresh apple cake recipe that became a family tradition. My mom makes it for our annual beach trip to the Outer Banks. —Cristy King, Scott Depot, West Virginia

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Chocolate-Coconut Angel CupcakesTaste of Home

Chocolate-Coconut Angel Cupcakes

My guests are never satisfied with just one of these, but that's OK because they are so light. The meringue-like tops make them different, and the chocolate and coconut make them memorable. —Bernice Janowski, Stevens Point, Wisconsin

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Sacher Torte SquaresTaste of Home

Sacher Torte Squares

Sacher torte is a Viennese cake that requires several steps. My squares are an easy alternative, but they still feature the classic apricot and chocolate flavors. —Arlene Erlbach, Morton Grove, Illinois

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Pecan Cake with Cookie Butter FrostingTaste of Home

Pecan Cake with Cookie Butter Frosting

My mom and I bought a jar of cookie butter to try it out, and we fell in love with it. I knew the flavor would go well with maple syrup and pecans, so I came up with this cake. I like to make a pretty design on the top of the cake with pecan halves. —Natalie Larsen, Columbia, Maryland

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Pineapple Marzipan CupcakesTaste of Home

Pineapple Marzipan Cupcakes

The marzipan is subtle in these cupcakes, but oh so good. I've also made this recipe in a loaf pan. —Johnna Johnson, Scottsdale, Arizona

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Apple-Pumpkin Upside-Down CakeTaste of Home

Apple-Pumpkin Upside-Down Cake

We love the combination of classic fall fruits in this cake. I bake the apples on the bottom to keep them plump and moist, then flip the cake so they're on top. This is best served warm with vanilla ice cream, but we enjoy digging in any time of day. —Christina Yahraes, San Francisco, California

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Strawberry Shortcake CupsTaste of Home

Strawberry Shortcake Cups

Back when store-bought shortcake was an unheard-of thing, my grandmother passed this mini strawberry shortcake recipe down to my mother. Mother later shared it with me, and I've since given it to my daughter. —Althea Heers, Jewell, Iowa

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Apple-Sweet Potato Pecan Dump CakeTaste of Home

Apple-Sweet Potato Pecan Dump Cake

This quick cake has lots of delicious apples, sweet potatoes, spices, pecans and caramel. My surprise of white cheddar cheese enhances the wonderful filling. —Kathy Specht, Clinton, Montana

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Chocolate-Peanut Butter Sheet CakeTaste of Home

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Sheet Cake

I love peanut butter and chocolate, so I combined recipes to blend the two. This chocolate peanut butter cake is heavenly served plain or topped with ice cream. —Lisa Varner, El Paso, Texas

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Coconut FruitcakeTaste of Home

Coconut Fruitcake

A neighbor gave me this recipe when we first moved to this small town, saying it dated back to the 1800s and everybody in the area made it. I soon discovered why when I took a taste...and I'm not a fruitcake fan! —Lorraine Groh, Ferryville, Wisconsin

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Cream Cheese Chocolate CupcakesTaste of Home

Cream Cheese Chocolate Cupcakes

Smooth cream cheese inside makes these cupcakes so rich. The classic combination of peanut butter and chocolate chips comes through in every yummy bite. You'll be asked to make them again and again. —Shirley Dunbar, Mojave, California

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Sour Cream Pound CakeTaste of Home

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 this sour cream pound cake recipe. 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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Cardamom Pumpkin Pudding CakeTaste of Home

Cardamom Pumpkin Pudding Cake

This no-egg cake is quick, easy and bursting with flavor. I like to serve it with ice cream or whipped cream. —J. Fleming, Almonte, Ontario

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Orange Cream Chiffon CakeTaste of Home

Orange Cream Chiffon Cake

Light and luscious, this sponge cake is bursting with orange flavor. It’s the perfect dessert to serve after a filling meal, or with afternoon tea or coffee.—Faith Sommers, Bangor, California

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Dutch Apple CakeTaste of Home

Dutch Apple Cake

My husband and I came to Canada from Holland over 40 years ago This traditional Dutch recipe is a family favorite and has frequently gone along with me to potluck suppers and other get-togethers. —Elizabeth Peters, Martintown, Ontario

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Chocolate Pound CakeTaste of Home

Chocolate Pound Cake

You'll find that this cake goes well with ice cream, but it's also delicate enough to serve in small pieces with tea. —Ann Perry, Sierra Vista, Arizona

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Fresh Plum KuchenTaste of Home

Fresh Plum Kuchen

In late summer when plums are in season, this tender fruit-topped cake is delectable! The plum slices look so appealing arranged in circles on top. For variety, I sometimes substitute fresh pear or apple slices instead. —Anna Daley, Montague, Prince Edward Island

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Chocolate Ganache Peanut Butter CupcakesTaste of Home

Chocolate Ganache Peanut Butter Cupcakes

I've been baking cakes for years and enjoy trying new combinations of flavors and textures. For this peanut butter cupcake recipe, I blended peanut butter and chocolate. As soon as I took the first bite, I knew I had created something divine! —Ronda Schabes, Vicksburg, Michigan

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Cranberry Crunch CakeTaste of Home

Cranberry Crunch Cake

New Jersey is known for its cranberries, and this cake is a delicious way to use them. The marshmallows melt and seep through the cake, making it moist and very tasty. It’s great for brunch or just with a cup of coffee! —Adelaide Krumm, Manasquan, New Jersey

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Carrot FruitcakeTaste of Home

Carrot Fruitcake

Even those who don't care for fruitcake love this special holiday dessert. It's a fun way to "dress up" that old favorite, carrot cake. Try it—your friends and family will agree. —Ann Parden, Chunchula, Alabama

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Apple Pear CakeTaste of Home

Apple Pear Cake

When my sister Catherine made her apple cake for me, I knew I needed the recipe. When I made it, I added some pears from the trees on our acreage. The resulting apple pear cake is so moist and tastes so good. Now every time I make it, people want my recipe. —Mary Ann Lees, Centreville, Alabama

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Orange Dream Mini CupcakesTaste of Home

Orange Dream Mini Cupcakes

The bright taste of these cute cupcakes reminds me and my friends of orange-and-vanilla frozen treats. —Jen Shepherd, St. Peters, Missouri

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Contest-Winning Gingerbread with Lemon SauceTaste of Home

Contest-Winning Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce

I asked my mother-in-law for this recipe once I learned it's my husband's favorite. Now I bake it whenever he needs an extra-special treat. Spice cake topped with lemony sauce makes us both smile. —Kristen Oak, Pocatello, Idaho

Caroline Stanko
As an Associate Digital Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.