20+ Decadent Cake Recipes From Scratch
We're huge fans of a box cake mix, but if you've got the time to pay a little extra attention, there's nothing like a homemade cake from scratch. We've rounded up our best from-scratch cake recipes and covered all the bases, from vanilla cake to holiday-worthy carrot cake, cakes dressed up like unicorns, and even cakes inspired by our favorite cocktails. No matter how simple or complex you go, these cake recipes from scratch guarantee a memorable treat.
Chocolate Marble Sheet Cake
Chocolate Marble Sheet Cake Recipe
Swirl chocolate and yellow cake batter together in this marble sheet cake recipe and top with a rich mocha frosting.
One-Pot Chocolate Cake
This delicious chocolate cake from our friend Joy the Baker comes together in one sauce pan, so you can enjoy the rich flavor and whipped topping without the worry of cleaning too many dishes afterwards!
Orange-Carrot Cake with Classic Cream Cheese Frosting
Orange-Carrot Cake with Classic Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
Add some citrusy zing to traditional carrot cake by adding orange zest and orange juice to the batter before baking. For an extra punch of flavor, try adding some zest to the homemade cream cheese icing as well.
Aperol Spritz Cake
The delicate blance of sweet, bitter and citrus that makes the cocktail so refreshing also makes for an unusual citrus cake.
Texas Sheet Cake
This class Texas sheet cake recipe features a homemade chocolate cake layer topped with chocolate frosting and chopped toasted pecans. Its rectangular shape makes this cake perfect for serving to a crowd.
Classic Birthday Cake
For a festive occasion, few treats can match the celebratory spirit of a classic birthday cake—and this easy-to-follow formula is the only one you'll ever need. Our birthday cake recipe yields two dense layers of buttery, vanilla-forward white cake wrapped in classically rich buttercream frosting. For the signature, picture perfect birthday cake look, don't forget to garnish your frosted cake with rainbow sprinkles. You can also stir a handful of colored sprinkles right into the cake batter to create a funfetti effect.
Potato flour serves as the backbone for this delightfully simple Swedish classic. Though gluten-free, sandkaka is similar in texture to a dense, buttery pound cake and, thanks to the starchiness of the potato flour, will retain its moisture for days.
Coca Cola Chocolate Cake
Coca Cola Chocolate Cake Recipe
Coca-Cola cake was a favorite at family reunions during the 1950s. It resembles Mississippi mud cake, a chocolate sheet cake studded with marshmallows that are sprinkled on the top before baking or immediately after while the cake is still hot. In Mama's Tea Cakes: 101 Delicious Soul Food Desserts, chef and author Wilbert Jones stirred the marshmallows into the batter before putting his version of the cake in the oven. If that wasn't decadent enough, in 1997, the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain used twice the cocoa, intensifying the taste. Their rendition was called Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake. —Toni Tipton-Martin
Tahini-Blueberry Sheet Cake With Strawberry Buttercream
Tahini-Blueberry Sheet Cake With Strawberry Buttercream Recipe
Perfect for a graduation party or summer cookout, this impressive dessert offers the ease and crowd-friendly factor that we associate with a sheet cake, as well as a delightful twist of creativity and surprising vibrancy with the incorporation of tahini and fresh berries. If you have a jar of the trendy sesame seed paste hanging out in your pantry, trust us—it's high time to go beyond hummus and welcome it into your dessert life. Tahini lends a delicious toasty quality to the tender cake while fresh blueberries dotted throughout the batter balance this nutty depth with their bright, juicy sweetness. A simple strawberry buttercream ties everything together and makes for a low-effort, eye-catching presentation.
This colorful unicorn-inspired layer cake is the pinnacle of cuteness—perfect for a birthday party or for anyone who's just super into the current unicorn craze. While this cake is fantastically wow-worthy, and does take some time and loving dedication to construct, you don't need to be a pastry chef to pull it off. In fact, creating this mythical masterpiece really is totally achievable for a home baker—just follow the instructions and don't be afraid to have a little fun with it! You'll be amazed what you can achieve with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, some colorful candy, and a little bit of fondant.
Brown Velvet Cake
This decadently moist chocolate cake is similar to red velvet, but skips using an entire bottle of red food dye. Crumbling the cake trimmings for garnish is an easy and elegant way to decorate. Spread the crumbs out on a baking sheet and let them dry out for a while to make them easier to apply to your frosted cake.
Halloween desserts definitely call for having a little extra fun in the kitchen. This kinda-cute, kinda-creepy Graveyard Cake is easy to make, fun to decorate (so recruit the kids' help), and is sure to be a perfectly spooky centerpiece for any Halloween dessert table.
Ultimate Coconut Cake
"Ultimate" is no exaggeration here—this cake features coconut flour, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut sugar, coconut extract, and (of course) flaked coconut. Given this cake's incredibly moist layers, intense coconut flavor, and lighter-than-air filling, our test kitchen chefs fought over the leftovers.
Time to oust your box cake mix, and embrace your inner baker with this basic yellow cake formula. This easy recipe will raise your cake-crafting confidence to new heights the first time you try it. As the name suggests, the numbers represent the measurements of the ingredients in the cake. Just remember what number matches with which ingredient, and you can easily memorize this recipe to whip up anytime you please. The buttery yellow cake is moist and has a perfectly dense crumb. Consider the 1-2-3-4 Cake a blank canvas; have fun adding layers of your buttercream frosting, whipped cream with fruit, or your own favorite frosting. One key to keep in mind when making this cake is that you really do need to have your butter softened and, ideally, your eggs at room temperature. Mixing these ingredients in when cold makes them more difficult to incorporate and can yield a "broken" batter. When baking the cake, be sure to use a light baking pan to help prevent over-browning. If you see that the top of your cake is brown, but the center is still wet, make a foil tent over the cake to keep it from getting darker.
This decadent chocolate sheet cake is a prime choice for a Kentucky Derby viewing party—or any party, for that matter. The richness of this moist, buttermilk chocolate cake is intensified by utilizing the molasses notes of brown sugar (in addition to granulated sugar) and adding a generous sprinkling of chocolate chips in the batter. And then, you top the cake with an insanely delicious bourbon buttercream, candied walnuts, and a chocolate drizzle. Yeah, it's some kind of wonderful.
Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting Recipe
This vibrant pink layer cake is pure strawberry-on-strawberry goodness, with fresh strawberries going into the cake batter and frosting. One thing to note about the buttercream frosting—it is absolutely bursting with berry flavor, but is easily over-mixed. If you find you've broken your emulsion when whipping this frosting up, no worries. You can simply mix in a little more powdered sugar to restore it. That said, we love how purely strawberry-forward the flavor of this frosting is, so we'd advise being very light-handed when adding extra powdered sugar, as it will dilute the berry flavor. In our opinion, it's better to have a slightly broken frosting that tastes like strawberries than a perfectly pristine frosting that tastes like sugar.
Million Dollar Pound Cake
Million Dollar Pound Cake Recipe
Just 7 ingredients - and all of them common pantry staples - are all you need for this rich classic pound cake recipe.
This recipe is from Odette Williams' Simple Cake, a compendium of approachable, delicious cakes for celebrating every day. Per Williams, this cake is "A not-too-sweet chocolate cake, topped with silky Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream, sprinkled with a little sea salt crunch: This is the cake you bake to help you or a loved one get across the finish line."
Elderflower Pound Cake with Lemon-Elderflower Glaze
Elderflower Pound Cake with Lemon-Elderflower Glaze Recipe
This delightfully floral pound cake is a super fun and elegant twist on the classic 7-Up pound cake—not to mention, a most delicious introduction to elderflower if you're not familiar with its flavor. Easy to whip up and incredibly impressive, this elderflower dessert is a fantastic option for your next dinner party.
Red Velvet Cake with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting
Red Velvet Cake with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
This cake bakes best in four pans. If you need additional pans, use 8-inch aluminum foil disposable pans. Just be sure to place them on a baking sheet for stability.
Banana Pudding Cake
One of our testers called this "the ultimate banana pudding in cake form." Tender laters of cake, creamy vanilla custard, and bananas come together to create a mouthwatering dessert. Warning: There won't be leftovers.
Nathan's Lemon Cake
This is a namesake because Nathan Coulon's mom baked it for his birthday every year. We've adapted this lemon cake recipe to trim the fat and calories, and it's still a moist, lemony treat.