The Perfect Cake
6 Showstopping Cakes That Will Dress Up Any Occasion
You don’t need a holiday to make a cake from scratch, but you do need these recipes.
America's Test Kitchen

The undeniable and universal appeal of cakes, along with the happy memories they evoke, makes them the perfect all-occasion dessert. We’re proponents of cakes at any meal, be it a cupcake after a weeknight meal or a showstopping layer cake for a birthday. We don’t believe you need a holiday to make a cake from scratch (but If you do, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day are right around the corner), so here are five cake recipes from our cookbook The Perfect Cake that will dress up any occasion.

Dozens More Cake Recipes

The Definitive Guide to Cakes for Every Occasion The Perfect Cake

Gathering together years of baking knowledge in our first-ever cake book, this comprehensive collection features recipes for any cake you can imagine—from better-than-the-rest yellow cake layers for birthday parties to fanciful creations and elegant holiday desserts.

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

The pairing of savory salt and sweet caramel is a hard one to resist. We wanted to create a cupcake that highlighted this combo, one that would be dressed up enough for any celebration. [GET THE RECIPE]

Party Cake Pops

There’s no denying the novel appeal of cake pops; after all, everyone loves food on a stick, and if it’s dessert, even better. Most recipes call for starting with cake made from a store-bought mix, breaking it into crumbs, combining it with canned frosting, and forming the mixture into balls. We knew we could do better. [GET THE RECIPE]

Blackberry-Mascarpone Lemon Cake

In search of a showstopping cake with a unique combination of flavors, we fell in love with this blackberry-mascarpone lemon cake. It is strikingly beautiful, impressively tall, and features layers of contrasting flavors and textures: tart lemon, sweet blackberries, and a silky rich mascarpone whipped cream. Together, these elements make for a cake that’s both light and decadent. [GET THE RECIPE]

Cornmeal Cake with Apricot-Bay Compote

This delicate, fragrant cornmeal cake features a fruit compote with a unique flavor profile, and it’s a welcome finish to an elegant summer dinner or a treat on the brunch table. [GET THE RECIPE]

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream Torte

We’ve taken to making our own ice cream cakes since store-bought versions are typically boring assemblages of bland, icy ingredients and too-sweet frosting. This ice cream cake—an ice cream torte, really—is inspired, truly elegant, and sure to win raves. [GET THE RECIPE]

Tahini-Banana Snack Cake

Dense, moist, banana bread is great. But tender, fluffy banana snack cake is something else again. And while we were working on transformations, we wanted to give our cake an interesting new flavor profile. Banana and peanut butter is a classic combo, but for this cake we decided to get nutty flavor from sesame tahini[GET THE RECIPE]