Unforgettably Delicious Cakes

These scrumptious cakes are loaded with rich ingredients like cream cheese, chocolate ganache, and caramel cream.
Mary Allen Perry / Photography Tina Cornett / Styling Buffy Hargett

Impress your guests with these show-stopping cake recipes, whether you're baking for grand occasions or simple anniversaries of the heart. Of course, there's no reason to tell company how easy these spectacular cakes are to make.

Each versatile batter can be prepared in 20 minutes or less. The delicious frostings and fillings are just as quick, but when time is an issue, you can always bake and freeze the layers to assemble on another day.

Cook's Notes

  • Large or small, homemade pound cake always makes a great gift. Instead of using a tube pan, divide the cake batter among seven grease and floured (53?4- x 31?4-inch) disposable aluminum foil pans. Bake at 325° for 40 to 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • To easily release cakes, be sure to grease and flour the pans. Use a pastry brush to generously coat the bottom and sides of each pan with a solid vegetable shortening such as Crisco. (Margarines with a high liquid-to-fat ratio can cause the cakes to stick to the pans.) Lightly sprinkle with flour, tilting and tapping the pans so the flour completely covers the greased surfaces; invert the pans, and gently tap out any excess flour.
  • Add a snowy white glaze to Cream Cheese Pound Cake. Stir together 1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar, 5 Tbsp. milk, and 2 tsp. vanilla extract until smooth; spoon evenly over top of cake. We used just enough milk to moisten the powdered sugar for a thick glaze that won't drip all the way down the sides of the cake. Stir in an additional Tbsp. or two of milk if you'd like a thinner glaze.
  • We like to use Lemon Filling in lots of different ways. For a quick teatime treat, serve it over cream cheese with a basket of vanilla wafers and gingersnaps. Spoon into small tart shells, spread on warm biscuits and scones, or dress up a pan of gingerbread.
  • You can make Lemon Filling up to two days ahead; simply cover and refrigerate. Don't stir after refrigerating; just spoon onto cake layers, and spread. Once chilled and set, fillings made with cornstarch will break down and liquefy if stirred.
  • Chocolate Ganache is a rich frosting made with melted chocolate and whipping cream. The mixture, which thickens as it cools, should be warm enough to pour yet thick enough to spread and coat the cake. Pour the Chocolate Ganache onto the center of the cake; spread quickly, using a spatula to push the frosting down the sides of the cake.
  • Chocolate Ganache can also be used as a filling for cakes, cookies, and tarts. After chilling for several hours, it becomes firm enough to shape into truffles.
  • Coarsely chopped chocolate-covered peppermint patties add a simple but striking garnish to Chocolate-Mint Cake. For quick, clean cuts, partially freeze the candy before chopping.
  • Never fearing too much of a good thing, we love to create variations of our favorite recipes. When we tasted this twist on Pecan Pie Cake, we decided it was too wonderful not to share.
     

 

"Unforgettably Delicious" is from the December 2006 issue of Southern Living.