40+ Vibrant Cakes to Make This Spring
Not that there's ever a bad time for cake, but there's something about the season of rebirth that really makes you want a slice. Spring is full of opportunities to celebrate, after all, and Easter, Mother's Day, and graduation are all better with a nice cake boasting seasonal ingredients and fresh flavors. These light, colorful cakes reflect spring's best flavors and occasions, from Easter to a row of floral, sunny days.
Make the best of ripe bananas with this recipe for Hummingbird Cake. You'll receive rave reviews and requests for more when Hummingbird Cake is on your dessert menu.
Lemon Naked Cake with Flower Crown
Perfect for birthdays, showers, or special get-togethers, this flower-topped layer cake is so pretty you won’t want to cut it! Made with a lemon cake mix and Lemon Buttercream frosting, it’s incredibly simple to make, even though it looks impressive. Top with a ring of edible flowers and prepare for complements.
Strawberry Poke Pound Cake with Strawberry Glaze
Poke cake meets pound cake in this must-make spring dessert. A perfectly moist, dense vanilla pound cake (with a delightful hint of almond) is filled with a fresh strawberry filling—adding to the cake's tender crumb and providing the perfect fruity sweet-tart flavor balance. Finish the whole thing off with an eye-catching fresh strawberry glaze, and you have a supremely awesome cake on your hands. Be warned, if you share this pound cake with friends, you'll need to be ready to share the recipe as well.
No-Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake
Make this easy dessert a day before serving, as you'll have to refrigerate it overnight.
Coconut-Carrot Cake with Coconut Buttercream
You’ve got dessert duty? We’ve got you covered with this lightly spiced sheet cake that serves a crowd and travels well too. Why choose between carrot cake and coconut cake when both flavors work so well together?
Grand Marnier Cakes
Layer cakes might be the cover girls, but a pound cake holds sway in our Southern kitchens. This recipe reflects the Southern practice of adding a bit of liqueur or other spirits to a cake to ensure it stays moist and delicious. This recipe first appeared in the beloved cookbook, Tea-Time at the Masters, in 1977. While the original recipe called for the cake to be baked in a tube pan, we opted for mini Bundt pans for a tea party-worthy presentation. The orange liqueur glaze gives the simple orange pound cake an explosion of flavor.
One of the most popular vegetables of the summer is zucchini, turning up as cheesy casseroles, fried appetizers, and warm breads. Go one step further and make this chocolate cake, guaranteed to become your go-to recipe for birthday celebrations, potlucks, and simple weeknight desserts. This impressive yet easy-to-make cake got rave reviews in our Test Kitchen and quickly developed a cult following. It’s packed with plenty of green stuff (two medium zucchini), but your family will be too distracted by the chocolate flavor and the nutty brown butter frosting to notice that they are eating vegetables. For optimal texture, shred the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater. A tasty frosting is the crowning touch on a cake, and this Brown Butter-Pistachio Frosting has just the right sweet-salty balance to partner with the deep chocolate cake. Browning butter is a French cooking technique that, when used, can take a recipe from good to fabulous.
Peach Cobbler Dump Cake
Pair the crowd-pleasing appeal of peach cobbler with the convenience factor of a boxed cake mix and you have this ridiculously easy dump cake. Requiring only five ingredients, this is the perfect recipe for when you need to whip up dessert in a hurry. We love the combination of peaches and almonds, but you could easily swap the sliced almonds called for with your favorite nut (pecan halves would be excellent) or eliminate the nuts altogether. Either way, one thing’s for certain—this peach cobbler dump cake will be a hit for any occasion.
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.
Nehi Orange Poke Cake
Orange flavor turns up often in African-American cookbooks, whether the cook enlivens biscuits with a bit of sweet citrus juice or uses it to make pecan pie extra special. Mildred “Mama Dip” Council included two recipes for orange-flavored cake in Mama Dip’s Family Cookbook, her collection of recipes and reminiscences. One is a rich butter cake laced with fresh juice and grated zest. The other relies on an orange cake mix that’s “doctored up” with Mountain Dew. The poke cake featured here, inspired by the latter, is filled with a tangy citrus curd made with Nehi orange-flavored soda. —Toni Tipton-Martin
Blackberry Jam Cake
Fresh Strawberry Sheet Cake
This simple, fresh strawberry cake is the perfect springtime dessert. Besides being wonderfully easy to slice and serve for a crowd, sheet cakes (like this pink beauty) are great for entertaining because they require no special cake frosting skills to look impressive.
Everything you love about classic Italian tiramisu, layered into an impressive cake.
Raspberry, Sumac, and Almond Pound Cake
The nuanced brightness of sumac matched with warming notes of almond and jammy raspberries takes a classic pound cake construct over the top and into pure wow-worthy territory. While it may seem like a lot between the batter and the pound cake’s raspberry-sumac glaze (especially if this is a new seasoning to you), sumac—which is the dried, powdered berries of the sumac bush—is a spice you need not be overly reserved with. Given sumac’s delicate tart flavor, a fair amount is needed here to shine within the context of the dense, buttery cake.
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.
Creamy Peach Icebox Cake
Layers of cool and creamy ice cream, sweet pound cake, and juicy fresh fruit hit the spot on a hot day. You only need seven ingredients to create this show-stopping dessert which is guaranteed to be a hit at your next summer party. Here is the secret to getting clean and neat slices: run hot water over the blade of your knife, wipe it with a moist towel, and cut. Do this for each slice. While prep time is only 20 minutes, this dessert needs at least 8 hours of freezing time, so be sure and plan ahead if you want to make this for a gathering.
Nathan's Lemon Cake
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.
Dark Chocolate Avocado Cake with Chocolate Avocado Frosting
This vegan cake (no eggs or butter!) is so delicious that our kids begged for more. The frosting is silky smooth, and the cake is light and loaded with chocolate flavor, and healthy fats.
Million Dollar Pound Cake
Aperol Spritz Cake
The delicate blance of sweet, bitter and citrus that makes the cocktail so refreshing also makes for an unusual citrus cake.
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.
The Ultimate Carrot Cake
These layers are tender, so remove from pans carefully!
Rum and Coke Pound Cake With Lime Glaze
Pound cake is easy to make and infinitely variable. When plain, you can almost defend it as a breakfast or afternoon snack. But dressed up with any manner of fruit or cream or ice cream or other garnish, it can hang at everything from a backyard barbecue to an elegant dinner party. So, it occurred to me that perhaps I might mash-up one of my go-to summer desserts with one of my go-to summer drinks!
This rum and Coke pound cake benefits from the same attention to detail as my version of the cocktail. European-style butter (I like Kerrygold or Plugra for this), light brown sugar to pick up the caramel notes in the cola and the rum, and vanilla paste which has all those lovely vanilla seeds in it and is closer to using fresh vanilla pod than extract.
Easy Vanilla Cake
Fresh flowers make this cake simply gorgeous—no decorating skills required! Simply choose edible blooms and petals (such as Carnations, English daisies, freesia, lavender, nasturtium, pansies, peonies, roses, stock, sweet William, tuberous begonias, or violets) For a smooth finish, dip a knife or offset spatula in hot water; then wipe it dry before frosting the cake.
Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
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.
Dr Pepper Texas Sheet Cake
Chocolate sheet cakes were popular among early 20th-century cooks from Kentucky to California. Dr Pepper cake takes its cues from those recipes. Fragrant with spices like ground cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg and topped with chocolate frosting, that’s speckled with pecans, it may remind some of Texas sheet cake. For nearly 20 years, I baked a version of this sweet treat to celebrate the birthday of a friend and neighbor from Wichita Falls, Texas, who was haunted (in a good way) by her childhood memories of the delicious dessert. —Toni Tipton-Martin
Peach-Bourbon Upside-Down Bundt Cake
Fresh summer peaches turn sticky and sweet when baked in the bottom of a Bundt pan with butter and brown sugar. After you place the peach slices in the ridges of the pan, gently spoon the cake batter over the fruit, then smooth the top with an offset spatula.
Chocolate Fudge Sheet Cake With Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting
The addition of cinnamon adds a kick of “something special” to this rich chocolate sheet cake, but if you prefer, you can reduce the amount or leave the cinnamon out all together; you will simply have a delightful, classic chocolate cake on your hands. Once topped off with a decadent chocolate-cream cheese frosting, this cake is ready to please at virtually any event you bring it to.
Lemon-Orange Pound Cake
This recipe is from the cookbook, Stop and Smell the Rosemary, by the Junior League of Houston. This pound cake is sublime in its simplicity, but we decided to fancy it up a bit with a Bundt pan and two contrasting icings. You can leave out the yellow food coloring gel and have a cake that is just as pretty with a few extra lemon and orange slices for garnish. The Lemon-Orange Pound Cake is perfect for a bridal shower or a spring tea.
Carrot-Zucchini Cake with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting
Zucchini makes a brilliant addition to carrot cake, adding a verdant note to the sweet carrot.
Meyer Lemon Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
A polenta cake from pastry chef Hannah Buoye, of A16 Rockridge in Oakland, was the model for this dense, moist dessert. As the sliced lemons bake under the cake and absorb butter and brown sugar, they take on a marmalade-like quality. Be sure the cake is fully baked before you remove it from the oven (see step 6), or it may sink.
Two-Step Pound Cake
You'll need a heavy-duty stand mixer with a 4-qt. bowl and paddle attachment for this recipe.
Perfect Chocolate Bundt Cake
Intensely chocolatey and incredibly moist, this is truly the perfect chocolate bundt cake—and undoubtedly, a chocolate lover’s dream. The cake’s rich chocolate flavor is enhanced with the addition of coffee in the batter and coffee liqueur in the glaze. Be sure to coat the inside of your bundt pan with either shortening plus a thin layer of flour or baking spray (which is nonstick cooking spray that contains flour) in order to ensure that your cake comes out clean and easy.
Tahini-Blueberry Sheet Cake With Strawberry Buttercream
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.
Funfetti Pound Cake
The “funfetti” treatment is such an easy way to give classic pound cake a festive upgrade. This colorful, sprinkle-laden bundt cake is perfect for celebrations of any sort—from birthday parties to graduations. Use whatever color blend of sprinkles you like for the occasion at hand. Pro tip: Be sure to beat your butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy; this is what gives a classic pound cake its lift without the use of a leavening agent like baking powder or soda.
Apple Coffee Cake
Looking for the perfect breakfast treat? This Apple Coffee Cake is warm, fluffy, and practically begging to be accompanied by a glass of milk, tea, or coffee. There’s a nice buttery, crunchy topping, and the glaze is gooey without making a mess. All together, you’ve got the taste of apple cobbler, but the fluffy texture of cake. If you don’t have Granny Smith apples, feel free to use a different type, or even a mixture of two types (Just not Red Delicious, because those don’t bake well).
Strawberry Snacking Cake with Strawberry Whipped Cream
A simple vanilla cake, accented with hints of brown sugar and spices, and topped with bright, juicy strawberries—what more could you want? This rustically elegant strawberry cake is exceptionally easy to mix up, and is delightful served with coffee or tea for breakfast. (And we all know, cake for breakfast is always a good decision.) The strawberry whipped cream adds a lovely touch of decadence to the not-overly-sweet snack cake. We suggest enjoying this cake the day it’s baked.
Vegan Carrot Cake
Our Vegan Carrot Cake is super moist, with all the spices and delicious textures you’d find in a classic carrot cake—even the vegan cream cheese frosting gives you that little tang you want spread on top. Applesauce is a surprisingly good substitute for eggs and helps baked goods retain moisture. We prefer using Miyoko’s cream cheese, as it’s widely available and has the right flavor profile for this recipe. Most grocery stores have vegan options now, but a health food store might be your best bet for ingredients. Be sure to keep the Miyoko’s cold before whipping, and don’t let it reach room temperature. Unlike dairy-based cream cheese, it contains live cultures that will cause it to become too acidic.
Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake
Looking for a way to make people happy with just five ingredients? This Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake is it. All you do is dump, sprinkle, and bake for a sweet, juicy, and fruity dessert that’s so simple even kids couldn’t mess it up. Just make sure to scatter the butter evenly so all the dry mix gets coated. If you’re not keen on cherry pie, almost any canned pie filling will do. For a quick upgrade, top with sliced almonds.