Cake Recipes Every Southerner Should Master
Every Southerner’s life is marked by cakes. From baptism to funeral, and all of the birthdays, graduations, and weddings in between, Southerners can craft a timeline of their lives by the cakes they’ve eaten, baked, and loved. Those cakes are recipes that have been woven into our traditions thanks to…well, the fact that they’re just darn good. Whether with pecan-studded tops, coconut-packed layers, or decadent chocolate frosting, these cakes are the ones to master for every Southern occasion. (Feeling ambitious? Try the 18-layer masterpiece first.)
Recipe: Caramel Cake
The sugary indulgence of a perfect caramel cake is the birthday treat of choice for many Southerners, and it’s a cake you don’t purchase from anywhere lightly—it’s tricky to find a consistently great one. The layers must be moist, but the icing is the ultimate key. You need to constantly stir it, pay attention, and don’t over-cook!
The Ultimate Carrot Cake
Recipe: The Ultimate Carrot Cake
A classic carrot cake is a hit at any Southern party, and you’ll love this super moist recipe with brown sugar-cream cheese frosting that’s just so good you'll want to use it on every cake.
Recipe: Hummingbird Cake
A slice of this heavenly Hummingbird cake is about as classic as it gets, and if you can get the signature texture and taste just right every time, you’re a bonafide Southern baker!
Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
Recipe: Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
If you want simple, old-fashioned, and delicious, this chocolate-mayo sheet cake is as good as it gets. Southerners know Duke’s mayonnaise is as useful in desserts as it is on a sandwich. This ultra-moist cake proves it.
Lemon Curd Pound Cake
Recipe: Lemon Curd Pound Cake
A decadently dense pound cake is a Southern staple for any baker. While there are too many award-worthy pound cakes to list, this lemon pound cake stands out with its perfect mix of buttery cake, tangy lemon, and to-die-for lemon curd glaze.
Red Velvet Layer Cake
Recipe: Red Velvet Layer Cake
This tall, rich cake is a party favorite for any occasion. The ultra-thick layers and mouthwatering cream cheese frosting make this red velvet cake a masterpiece of epic proportions.
Little Layer Chocolate Cake
Recipe: Little Layer Chocolate Cake
This incredible and height-defying chocolate cake is anything but little—but the 18 layers used in the recipe are thin and perfectly baked. Known best below the Gnat Line, this moist, layered chocolate cake's height is based on which birthday you're celebrating. Trust us, this cake is worth the extra effort to master!
The Lane Cake
Recipe: The Lane Cake
A cake that’s as steeped in Southern history and tradition as The Lane Cake deserves to be mastered by those looking to pay homage to the wonderfully talented Southern bakers before them. Over 100 years ago, this cake won the county fair competition in Columbus, Georgia, and was later featured in the literary classic, To Kill A Mockingbird. The fruit-filled, bourbon-spiked, meringue-topped cake is a delicious must-try. Our latest twist? Dried peaches (finely diced and ridiculously delicious) stand in for raisins, and the traditional meringue frosting gets a spirited makeover with a triple shot of peach schnapps.
Recipe: Rum Cake
This festive, rum-soaked dessert is a major hit at Southern holiday parties. The rum-to-cake ratio is important to master, and it tastes even better after a day or so when the flavors have really melded together.
Italian Cream Cake
Recipe: Italian Cream Cake
The nut-studded cream cheese frosting that tops this Italian Cream Cake is really why we love it so much, especially paired with the ultra-tender coconut-packed layers. This cake makes a great birthday treat or family dessert at any Southern get-together!
Caramel Apple Cake
Recipe: Caramel Apple Cake
We think this beautiful cake should be in every Southerner’s fall-baking repertoire. Topped with sautéed apple slices and amazing Apple Brandy-Caramel Sauce, this single-layer cake is unique and special. This is one of the prettiest cakes you can make for the fall—and it requires only 20 minutes of hands-on prep time.
Triple-Decker Strawberry Cake
Recipe: Triple-Decker Strawberry Cake
This delicious three-layer cake gets its lovely fruity flavor from fresh chopped strawberries and strawberry gelatin. The pretty pink hues throughout this cake make it a lovely addition to any Southern holiday (especially in the spring), and the strawberry buttercream is tasty enough to eat right out of the mixing bowl!
The Coconut Chiffon Cake
Recipe: The Coconut Chiffon Cake
Coconut cake has reigned supreme atop many Southern dining tables throughout history, and this masterpiece of a coconut cake features coconut-packed layers, whipped white chocolate buttercream, and a rich coconut-mascarpone filling. This is the ultimate coconut cake that we won’t be giving up anytime soon.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Recipe: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
This dessert is always a winner with the Southern crowd. Butter, brown sugar, and pineapple cook together at the bottom of the skillet to make a deliciously gooey topping for this cake.
Mrs. Billett's White Cake
Recipe: Mrs. Billett's White Cake
One of our longtime favorite, most popular white Christmas cakes, Mrs. Billet’s White Cake is a no-brainer. Think of this instant classic as the little black dress of white cakes. It's appropriate for every occasion on its own and versatile enough to show-case any of festive fillings and frostings.
Mama's German Chocolate Cake
Recipe: Mama's German Chocolate Cake
We love that this German chocolate cake gives a little something more than a traditional chocolate cake with its rich frosting that’s gloriously chunky with pecans and flaked coconut. Mama would be proud.
Key Lime Icebox Cake
Recipe: Key Lime Icebox Cake
An old-school icebox cake is a Southern treat, especially in the summertime. This cake is so pretty, no one will have any idea it was no-bake. A tip from our kitchen: Add the lime juice once you've fully cooked the custard to let the cornstarch thicken the mixture properly.