25 Best Cake Flavors Ranked From Worst To Best – Mashed
There’s always a reason to eat cake: Whether it’s for a special occasion such as a birthday, anniversary, farewell party, or simply because of a dessert craving, cake is often the perfect indulgence. And, with so many different cake varieties available, there’s a cake for practically every mood and occasion.
Cake is like pizza or ice cream in that it has to be really bad in order for it to become inedible. So, while most cake is good cake, particular varieties of cake tend to suit specific occasions. While certain types of cake are not necessarily superior to others, some cakes are only meant to be consumed at certain times of the year. The kind of cake you like depends largely on personal preference.
That being said, the flavor profile of some cakes means that they are unlikely to ever attain gold standard in the world of cake flavors. If you’re ordering a cake or venturing out to your local bakery, it’s best to make an informed decision about your cake flavor of choice. There’s so much to learn about cake, from classic recipes to the best and most popular types of cake!
White cake is technically a regular vanilla cake: According to Bakerpedia, the only difference between the two is that only egg whites are used in white cake. A white cake recipe also incorporates vanilla extract, milk, and almond emulsion. Cake flour, rather than all-purpose flour, is used to make white cake.
A cake that calls for the omission of egg yolks is not ideal. Since egg yolks tend to add a moisturizing quality to cakes, white cakes tend to be dry unless baked by an experienced baker. The one benefit of white cake is that the texture is lighter and fluffier. It’s a more delicate cake that feels more festive and would suit some special occasions.
However, the bottom line is that there are many ways of tweaking a cake recipe, but leaving out the one ingredient that makes cake better (the yolks) is just not it. Something about white cake just doesn’t feel right.
However controversial this statement may be, it needs to be said: Chunks of fruit don’t belong in cake. Pies, crisps, crumbles, and cobblers all work well with fruit. There’s no shortage of fruit-worthy desserts. So when it comes to apple cake, it just feels unnecessary to throw chunks of apple into an already fluffy cake. There are several variations of apple cake, from German apple cake to French apple cake as well as an Irish apple cake.
According to The Baltimore Sun, a Jewish version of the apple cake is made with oil rather than butter and is often consumed at festivals such as Hannkah. Most types of apple cake do have a moist and delicious taste that feels quite festive. It’s a lovely flavor, and if it’s one that was part of your childhood, it may have special appeal. Either way, there’s no way to justify fruit inside a cake.
Since this dessert has a name like devil’s food cake, you might expect this cake to be extra decadent. If you do try this cake, though, you’ll be disappointed. The cake is delicious, but its name is a bit misleading.
In fact, devil’s food cake is just chocolate cake with a bit of edge. According to Allrecipes, devil’s food cake is made with extra baking soda to give it a fluffier texture than traditional chocolate cake. Belmar Bakery explains that while most chocolate cakes use melted chocolate, devil’s food cake calls for cocoa powder, which gives the cake a deeper color.
Extra fluffy chocolate cake is great, but the devil’s food cake really doesn’t need the special title that distinguishes it from the regular chocolate cake. This is an amped-up chocolate cake that does not deliver on its promise of a sinful, rich, luscious chocolate cake.
Fruit and cake simply do not pair well together, and strawberry cake is no exception. That being said, something about the image of bright pink icing slathered on an even brighter pink cake conjures up images of sickly sweet childhood birthday cakes. Strawberry cake might be delicious, but most renditions are way too artificially sweet to be considered anything better than average.
There’s something about Pepto-Bismol-colored food that just doesn’t sit right, especially because there are plenty of ways to incorporate strawberries into a dessert that do not taste so artificial. Strawberry shortcakes are a great example of how a strawberry dessert should be made. In most cases, strawberry shortcakes involve preparing the cake and the strawberries separately and combining them into one dessert.
Strawberry cake is more strange than delicious. A strawberry-based dessert that doesn’t look and taste quite so cartoonish might be a dessert that is actually worth tasting.
Spice cake can be a bit hit and miss: Depending on the shop and the baker, a spice cake can turn into a warmly spiced cake that is perfect for sitting around a cozy fire or a bland cake that doesn’t do much for the taste buds. The overall concept of spice cake is simply too broad.
According to Vondelmolen, spice cake dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who made cakes from cereals, honey, and dried fruit. The ancient Greeks and Romans also had versions of spice cake. Today, spice cake recipes tend to use a mixture of spices for flavor; these spices may include cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
There are several different variations of spice cake; seasonal varieties include creations such as pumpkin spice cake. Cinnamon spice cakes are also popular. Spice cakes are often consumed during Christmas, and holiday versions of this recipe often bring together spices and Christmas-inspired creations such as eggnog buttercream. Gingerbread, which is also consumed during the festive winter months, is similar to spice cake in terms of ingredients.
Black Forest cake might just be too much of a good thing: The cherries in this cake tend to overpower the whole flavor. According to Kitchen Project, this cake’s name refers to the Black Forest region of southwest Germany that is known for its Morello cherries. A Black Forest cake combines preserved morello cherries in syrup with cherry liqueur. The cake layers are made of moist chocolate cake with whipped cream between each layer. This cake is fairly easy to assemble.
You can make this cake alcoholic or non-alcoholic depending on your preference; however, since this cake is known for its signature taste, there isn’t much room for experimentation in terms of the other ingredients. This cake is a beloved German classic and has stood the test of time, but it’s just not quite as universal as some other simpler flavors. It might be risky to bring this cake to an event since the overpowering flavor of cherries might throw some people off.
Coconut cakes are probably one of the prettiest types of cakes out there. Layers of cake topped with fluffy icing and snow-white coconut flakes make for a striking sight in any bakery case. The frosting for this cake includes coconut milk and coconut extract. The batter also contains coconut milk along with shredded coconut and almond extract.
While this dessert is quite delicious, coconut as an ingredient tends to draw strong reactions. Lovers of coconut cannot wait to try a piece of coconut cake. And, for those who don’t love coconut, desserts that incorporate the ingredient aren’t even an option.
Fruit and coconut tend to go well together, so this version of coconut cake that combines it with a tropical fruit crumble might be quite delicious. Coconut is pretty great as a flavor, but even with the addition of fruit, it is unlikely to be on par with some of the other classic cake varieties.
Something about orange cake feels so classic and old-world: Perhaps this is because the orange cake recipe may have been invented by Benedectine monks, according to Penguin Australia. This classic cake is the perfect teatime snack. There are a few different ways to make an orange cake: You can use a whole orange (along with the skin) in the cake, which is a Sicilian-style technique, or you can simply mix fresh orange juice and zest into the batter to impart a delicious fruity flavor.
If you’re a particular fan of citrus cakes, other recipes, such as the Lemon Drizzle Cake, are also worth trying. While there are multiple different ways of making an orange cake, this cake simply isn’t interesting enough to be amazing. This flavor may be ideal for a garden tea party; however, it certainly isn’t festive or exciting enough to rank higher than some of the other, more standard types of cake.
Honey cake has a long history, along with several different recipe variations. This cake has royal roots. According to Russia Beyond, in early 19th century Russia, Empress Elizabeth had a strong hatred for any dish made with honey. A new baker joined the kitchen staff and created a cake with honey, which the empress loved. This Russian cake is called medovik and brings together thin sponge cakes in between layers of sour cream.
When Empress Elizabeth tasted this cake, she did not know it contained honey. The recipe may have been tweaked over time as the honey flavor in this cake is quite distinct and is precisely what makes this cake so delicious. Since medovik is quite an intricate dessert to make, it’s certainly a good idea to pick it up at a bakery or shop for a downright unique dessert experience. While honey cake is quite incredible, it can be a little bit too rich and sweet.
The names of foods can often be misleading. So, it might not be a surprise to learn that German Chocolate Cake is not German at all. According to NPR, this cake was named after a chocolatier called Sam German, who created a form of baking chocolate for the Baker’s Chocolate company: This chocolate was named German’s Chocolate after its maker. In 1957, a woman sent a cake recipe to a newspaper that featured German’s Chocolate, coconut, and pecan.
The recipe was so popular that it led to a 73% increase in the sales of German’s Chocolate in that year alone. This cake contains delicious layers of chocolate cake and coconut pecan frosting. The combination of chocolate, nut, and coconut gives this cake its unique flavor. That being said, these ingredients combine to create a strong, very specific type of taste that may or may not appeal to everyone.
If you can’t decide between marble and vanilla, then you might want to opt for marble cake. According to food blogger Tori Avey, this German cake is a swirled delight. This cake recipe was brought to the U.S. by German immigrants who emigrated over seeking a new life. Early recipes instructed bakers to use marble molasses in the cake, but chocolate came to replace the molasses in most recipes over time.
This cake entails marbling chocolate and vanilla to create swirls, although the marbling technique can be used for other ingredients in this cake. If you’re interested in trying a marble cake, you could make a marble pound cake, a traditional marble cake, or even pick up a boxed version at your local supermarket.
The nice thing about marble cake is that it doesn’t taste overwhelmingly like chocolate or vanilla: The two combine to create an entirely new flavor. This cake can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.
Lemon and poppyseed don’t seem like a particularly exciting or complimentary flavor pairing; however, more experienced cake lovers know that this type of cake is quite delicious. Whether it is present in muffin or cake form, lemon poppyseed is a classic springtime flavor that’s just begging to be eaten alongside a cup of coffee or tea!
According to Spiceography, the use of poppy seeds began when Alexander the Great conquered Egypt and poppy seeds were brought to Greece. Over time, the Ancient Romans began using them in desserts. The seed gained popularity across Europe as well. Poppy seeds are used for cooking as well as for their healing properties.
The perfect lemon poppyseed cake is buttery, rich, moist, and lemony. It toes the line between sweet and sour because it has an amazing balance of citrus, sugar, and poppy seeds. Poppyseed is an underrated cake variety though it is more of a summer flavor.
Angel food cake really doesn’t get the credit it deserves, perhaps because it can be a bit finicky. This may not be the best cake for beginners, but cake connoisseurs will probably enjoy this type of dessert. This cake requires 12 egg whites in addition to some sugar, salt, flour, warm water, citrus extract, and cream of tartar: This may not be your traditional cake recipe, but then again, the angel food cake does not have your traditional cake texture.
A slice of angel food cake, topped with fresh berries and homemade whipped cream, is an otherworldly experience. Since it doesn’t contain butter or egg yolks, this cake is perfect for summertime snacking. It’s certainly not a cake that is suitable for eating year-round, but it is a delicious dish nonetheless. This cake can also be served with powdered sugar and lemon curd for an extra summery, citrusy treat!
If you dig into some coffee cake for breakfast, you’ll know that it really seals the deal. When you see the fluffy coffee cake with streusel on top, you know that it will be a good day. That’s because coffee cake is the antithesis of overly sweet cakes. It’s perfect alongside a cup of tea, or as its name suggests, coffee.
According to The Palmier, coffee cake likely originated in Northern or Eastern Europe. These early versions actually contained coffee, as opposed to coffee cakes today, which contain eggs and sour cream. The sour cream helps give this cake its signature moistness and airy texture. This fluffy cake is topped with streusel that is made with subtle, warm cinnamon notes.
While it could (or maybe should) be a more versatile item, coffee cake isn’t normally the type of cake to be served during special occasions. Instead, this spongy, grown-up cake is perfect for everyday consumption, and for enjoying along with your favorite beverage.
Molten chocolate lava cake is a tasty mash-up of tantalizing textures. This delicious dessert consists of a moist chocolate cake that surrounds a gooey, runny chocolate center. As Chocolate Noise reports, the origins of this cake are disputed: Chocolatier Jacques Torres takes credit for creating this dish, but according to renowned baker Jean-Georges Vongerichten, he discovered this dish by accidentally taking a cake out of the oven a tad too early.
The result was a complete accident that has turned into a delectable cake that is enjoyed by several people today. One of the best aspects of this cake is that it can be made flourless for those who follow a gluten-free diet. This cake is also quite simple to throw together. Despite its fancy appearance, making it only requires 20 minutes and some basic items that you probably already have on hand, such as dark chocolate, eggs, and granulated sugar.
People who like sheet cakes will probably also enjoy ice cream cakes. Sheet cakes contain white sugar, flour, eggs, and heavy whipping cream and are popularly eaten at birthday celebrations. A classic ice cream cake recipe combines a layer of fluffy cake topped with vanilla ice cream followed by another layer, and some deliciously creamy and rich frosting on top.
Some renditions of ice cream cake (such as Carvel’s range of cakes) primarily contain ice cream, and while these are delicious, a true ice cream cake contains actual layers of sponge. That being said, you really can’t go wrong with ice cream-based desserts. Whether it’s a baked Alaska or any recipe rendition that combines ice cream with pretzels and other ingredients, the result is sure to be delicious. Ice cream really allows you to get creative and ice cream cake is one of the best cake flavors ever!
Fruit and cake don’t always pair well together, but the pineapple upside down cake leaves little room for debate. This is a cake that gets better with shortcuts: Store-bought boxed cake mix and canned pineapples work really well for this recipe. You can always go the more homemade route and make a cake from scratch and cut a fresh pineapple, but why would you, when the easier version is so good?
According to Quaint Cooking, this cake was likely invented sometime in the 1920s. The first recipe for pineapple upside down cake was printed in 1924, and since then, it has become a real hit. This cake was initially made in cast-iron skillets. Putting the fruit on the bottom of this cake gives it a nice color and some caramelization, which goes wonderfully well with the fluffy sponge. This recipe can also be used with other fruits such as pears, peaches, plums, and apples.
While pound cake has a wonderful flavor, texture-wise, this cake is in a league of its own. This simple, vanilla-tinged cake has a lusciously dense texture. Pound cake is delicious on its own, but it can also be served spruced up with chopped fresh fruit, a citrus glaze, marble swirl, and more. It can also be topped with coconut flakes or cocoa powder.
According to What’s Cooking America, pound cake was created in Britain sometime in the 1700s. This cake derives its name from the original recipe that requires one pound each of ingredients such as butter, eggs, flour, and sugar. This makes the recipe super easy to remember, and it hasn’t changed much today. While some pound cake recipes require a touch of baking powder, no leavening agents are needed to fluff up the cake. This allows the cake to stay moist and dense, like a buttery brick!
Not convinced that cheesecake is one of the best types of cake ever? How else can you explain a restaurant dedicated to the dessert (The Cheesecake Factory) that offers over 34 types of cheesecake? Cheesecake is almost too delicious to comprehend: Cream cheese, sugar, flour, and a few extras on top of a crust shouldn’t be that delicious. But somehow, it is. This dessert is the perfect balance of creamy, sweet, and rich, and it works all year long! The best part of cheesecake is that it isn’t confined to a certain season or time of year.
Cheesecake can also be served as a blank canvas that can be topped or incorporated with additions. You can add in a chocolate marble effect or grate in some lemon zest. You can add caramel throughout and on top, or really any flavor you’re craving. It always works because cheesecake is the perfect base! People who don’t enjoy cheesecake surely do exist, but this is one dessert that sure is difficult to dislike!
Carrot cake is a tried and true classic. The chunks of carrot in this cake add a discernable bite, giving this carrot cake a fantastic texture. Thw walnuts also add a satisfying crunch. According to Bakerpedia, the cake likely originated in England during World War II. This cake also skyrocketed in popularity during the 1980s. Carrot cake is topped with a thick layer of cream cheese icing to bring some sweetness to this otherwise tame spice-based cake. Buttermilk powder can be added to the frosting to enhance the taste and provide it with a slight acidity.
This cake can also be topped with marzipan carrots. The vanilla and cinnamon give carrot cake a delightful yet comforting flavor. Some carrot cake recipes also include ginger, nutmeg, pecans as well as cocoa powder. This cake fits all occasions, from afternoon teas to birthday celebrations to anniversaries, and everything in between.
Funfetti cake was highly popular in the 1990s, particularly as a birthday party treat. This cake contains rainbow sprinkles that enhance the texture, color, and overall exciting vibes of this fun-filled dessert. This cake is highly photogenic and festive: The bright white or yellow sponge dotted with rainbow sprinkles are bound to bring a smile to the faces of kids and adults alike.
Since this stunner of a cake is such a simple flavor, it’s a guaranteed hit for most special occasions. Additionally, since vanilla is such a popular flavor, this cake is beloved by pretty much everyone. While children love the bright colors and delicious taste of this cake, this dessert can also be dressed up with cream cheese icing or another flavor that elevates the taste. Additionally, almost any cake can become a Funfetti cake: Simply add rainbow sprinkles to the batter and join the fun! Funfetti cake truly is a joyous cake for joyous occasions.
Lemon cake is a great way to make a gloomy day a little brighter. This cake has a sunny coloring and a lemony flavor profile that screams summertime. And yet, lemon cake has managed to surpass seasonality restrictions and is enjoyed year-round. Each bite of this moist, zingy lemon cake provides an instant pick-me-up and is a solidly classic flavor.
Lemon cake is just a basic cake made with white sugar instead of brown sugar to keep the texture light. It also uses both lemon juice and zest to give the cake its signature pop of lemon. When done right, lemon cake is just sweet enough and possesses the unmistakable freshness of lemon zest and a soft, buttery texture.
This type of cake ranks high for its universality. Whether you like your cake fruity or relatively simple with icing topped sponge, you’ll probably fall head over heels for lemon cake.
Red velvet cake is essentially just a plain buttermilk cake with some cocoa powder and red food coloring. But this flavor has become iconic due to various brands releasing red velvet versions of their products, such as Oreos and Pop Tarts, as well as ice cream. At its core, a red velvet cake is a simple dessert that relies on a classic combination of chocolate and vanilla.
Red velvet cake is not as rich as chocolate cake, but it has more oomph than vanilla cake. And the red coloring gives this cake a vibrant and festive look that makes it a party-ready cake. According to Sunflour Baking Company, the history of velvet can be traced back to the 1800s.
Red velvet cake is hard to beat, especially when paired with its signature topping of cream cheese icing. It’s rich and just sweet enough. When made well, red velvet cake is also irresistibly fluffy. There really is no better way to satisfy the craving for something sweet.
Vanilla is a highly popular flavor, and vanilla cake is quite beloved too. It’s delicious and versatile, and though it is a classic, it can be difficult to make vanilla cake exciting. It’s a great starting point for those who are just getting into baking, as it is a simple cake that can form the base for more complex creations. Vanilla cake can be jazzed up with fruit or various different kinds of icing. Some possible toppings for vanilla cake include edible flowers, chocolates, buttercream frosting, marshmallows, marzipan, desiccated coconut, nuts, and sprinkles.
According to Vanilla Queen, vanilla has a long history as a highly desired plant. In the early 1500s, vanilla was exported from Mexico on ships bound for Spain. Since then, it has been used as a popular flavor in various parts of the world. Vanilla is a flavoring that has truly stood the test of time.
Of all the cake flavors out there, nothing is quite as decadent, luxurious, and rich as chocolate cake. There’s no such thing as too much chocolate: Chocolate cake can be decorated with icing, chocolate sprinkles, and chocolate swirls. According to South Florida Reporter, chocolate cake rose to popularity in the late 1800s. The first cookbook that contained a chocolate cake recipe was released in 1847.
Chocolate cake is beloved in various forms across many different parts of the world. Various renditions of chocolate cake include German chocolate cake, chocotorta, amandine, bolo de brigadeiro, and kladdkaka, among others. Each variation has its own special components that truly stun the senses.
The longevity of chocolate cake recipes and the variety present within the chocolate cake umbrella are a testament to the popularity and deliciousness of this dessert. Chocolate cake may not be as versatile as vanilla cake, but it’s definitely more delicious.