Types of Cake Every Baker Should Master

Angel Food Cake

Kristina Vanni 

Baking cake from scratch is an essential skill in any baker's wheelhouse. Although there is nearly an encyclopedic list of recipes available, this list of fifteen covers the fundamental types of cakes. So grab your mixing bowl and preheat your oven because together, we'll endeavor to become better bakers.

  • 01 of 15

    Pound Cake

    Sour cream pound cake

    The Spruce 

    Pound cake is a classic cake, traditionally using one pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. It’s dense, delicious, and the perfect base recipe for a number of unique variations. This sour cream pound cake halves the butter and folds in sour cream for a tangier, moister version. Or, try this lemon lavender pound cake for a dessert that’s both fragrant and sophisticated. 

  • 02 of 15

    Butter Cake

    Kentucky Butter Bundt Cake

    The Spruce

    Butter cake is similar to pound cake, calling for roughly equal parts eggs, sugar, flour, and of course, butter. That said it’s lighter in texture than pound cake, thanks to its use of leavening agents. This Kentucky butter cake recipe simplifies the original, permitting all its delectable ingredients to be whipped together at once. But to truly recreate the magic of the American South, substitute the butter sauce in this recipe for one that includes a dash of bourbon.

  • 03 of 15

    Layer Cake

    Chocolate Layer Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

    Iain Bagwell/Photolibrary/Getty Images

    What’s better than one layer of cake? Two or more, of course! At its most basic, layer cake is two layers of cake, held together by icing, preserves, or another filling. The best part about this style of cake is that it can be as fancy or un-fussy as you please. Create a decadent tower of German chocolate layer cake or pare it down with a two-layer butter pecan cake.

  • 04 of 15

    Sponge Cake

    Light and Airy Sponge Cake recipe, cake with fresh fruit on a plate

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

    Sponge cake is light and airy, so it splendidly absorbs a number of drizzles, syrups, and creams. Since the sponge cake came about before leavening agents were discovered, it achieves its height and texture from whipping the eggs in its recipe for up to 15 minutes. Thank goodness for stand mixers!  

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  • 05 of 15

    Angel Food Cake

    Angel Food Cake

    Kristina Vanni 

    As its name would imply, angel food cake nearly reaches the sky. There are two secrets to its height, (well, perhaps more like three). First, it nixes the egg yolks from its batter, whipping only the whites. Second, when it’s finished baking it’s cooled upside down in its mold, preventing the cake from collapsing. Once you’ve placed it on its serving dish, simply tumble a variety of fresh berries over top and enjoy.  

  • 06 of 15


    Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

     Elaine Lemm

    While some prefer light desserts, others like them rich and creamy. In this case, cheesecake is your match. The basic recipe begins with a crust, most often made from crushed graham crackers or cookies, and a cream cheese-based filling. Because it’s so simple, cheesecake can readily be tailored to fit your taste. Give this chocolate swirl cheesecake a whirl or go for a no-bake matcha green tea cheesecake

  • 07 of 15

    Chiffon Cake

    Delicious Banana Chiffon Cake
    Banana Chiffon Cake. Asri' ri/Getty Images

    Chiffon cake is made with a myriad of ingredients, but the end result appears effortless and elegant. The recipe calls for vegetable oil, which stays liquid at room temperature, to make for a moist yet light cake. Indulge in this mellow-yellow banana chiffon cake, or pucker up to this lemon chiffon cake recipe. 

  • 08 of 15

    Flourless Cake

    Flourless Chocolate Cake

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    This cake excludes flour, making it both bold in concept and flavor! What’s more, it’s an easy recipe to follow, so you’re only a few steps away from enjoying a rich, not-too-sweet dessert. Sprinkle just about anything that appeals to you over-top, like candied macadamia nuts or raspberry sauce.

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  • 09 of 15

    Upside-Down Cake

    pineapple upside down cake recipe, upside-down, dessert, receipts
    Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Recipe. © 2014 Sarah Bossert/Gettin Images, licensed to About.com, Inc

    Few things are as joyful as an upside-down cake. It gets its name from the way it’s baked, with its toppings placed at the bottom of the pan. After it’s cooled it’s flipped back right-side up, revealing a filigree of pineapple rings and bright cherries on top. Make it for a summertime gathering, or simply to lighten up a rainy day.

  • 10 of 15

    Pudding Cake

    Pudding Cake
    Baked Ricotta Pudding Cake. Photo by J. Meier

    Growing up, my favorite part about baking was licking the spatula, covered in cake batter. That still stands to this day, which is why this pudding cake is perfect for anyone who remains in this camp. This recipe calls for high-quality ricotta cheese, which should be smooth and creamy instead of grainy or lumpy. 

  • 11 of 15

    Coffee Cake

    Streusel Topped Coffee Cake
    Streusel Coffee Cake. Brian Macdonald/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Why buy the boxed versions when this homemade streusel coffee cake is so easy to make? The cake is mild in texture and flavor, so it’s all about the thick, buttery crumble that graces the top. You can stick to the tried and true recipe or tweak it to your tastes, like substituting the brown sugar with piloncillo, a Mexican sugar that’s both delicious and complex in flavor. 

  • 12 of 15

    Spice Cake

    Spice Cake
    Halfdark/Getty Images

    Spice cake is infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and other spices of the sort. It’s a warming dessert, perfect for enjoying in good company and perhaps if the occasion calls for it, drenched in this brandy sauce

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  • 13 of 15

    Fruit Cake

    Traditional British Fruit Cake

    The Spruce

    With its chewy bits of fruit and dash of brandy, this amber-hued fruit cake is a real treat. This recipe calls for soaking its fruits in black tea overnight, incorporating a rich, herbal flavor throughout the batter.

  • 14 of 15

    Mousse Cake

    Rigo Jansci
    Antidiskriminator/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

    Mousse cake is the sort of dessert you share over a candle-lit dinner and white tablecloth. That said, it’s also a scrumptious companion for a bottle of red wine and a night in. If this recipe inspires you, experiment with other variations, like this white chocolate mousse cake

  • 15 of 15

    Dump Cake

    Rhubarb Strawberry Dump Cake

    arfo / Getty Images

    Ooey-gooey and just a tad messy, dump cakes are a simple way to express your love for both fruit and cake! This strawberry rhubarb dump cake harkens back to long summer days and backyard cookouts. If you enjoy the tart, bright flavor rhubarb has to offer, try it in any one of these eleven recipes