When we talk of summer desserts it’s easy to learn hard on the
virtues of pie, cobblers, crisps, and their brethren—those dishes that overflow with fruit and stain shirts with both plumbs and aplomb. But summertime cakes are a beautiful thing, baked on the weekend and enjoyed for breakfast or snack or dessert throughout the days that follow. These, too, are an excellent foil for the season’s ripest produce and freshest flavors. And they get along handsomely with ice cream, too.
So bake a cake this weekend, be it stuffed with plums or lined with a bright lemony filling, and leave the pie for another day.
This vanilla cake is anything but basic—the tang of buttermilk adds interest, while brown sugar bumps the earthy vanilla notes. Christina Tosi uses it as the base for her towering, masterful Strawberry Lemon Layer Cake. Get the recipe for
This recipe comes from the chief of the Arcata Fire Department in Humboldt County, California, and is considered an all-time favorite among the firemen.
Get the recipe for Pineapple Upside-Down Cake »
This version of the cake is a potluck and bake sale favorite; the addition of crushed pineapple helps to keep it sweet and moist.
Get the recipe for Classic Carrot Cake »
Strawberry cake topped with strawberry cream cheese frosting is a favorite soul food dessert; this delicious version comes from Bertha’s Kitchen in North Charleston.
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Lemon infuses this layered masterpiece in three ways: zested into the batter, in a tart syrup that get drizzled over the cakes, and in a thick lemon curd frosting.
This hummingbird cake honors the legacy of the Southern cook Edna Lewis.
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Pastry chef Anna Posey of Chicago’s Publican blackens rhubarb in a wood-fired oven for the cheesecake’s compote topping. A standard oven will also do the trick.
Get the recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake »
Fresh coconut and its sweet water are the keys to this cake, passed down from pastry chef Ben Mims’ grandmother, Jane Newson.
This variation on a classic French pound cake, in which ingredient quantities are determined by relative weight, uses olive oil instead of butter for a light, fresh flavor. The recipe was developed by SAVEUR contributor Nancy Harmon Jenkins, who recommends using a Polder Kitchen Scale for accurate measure.
This German dessert got it right by combining two of our favorite ingredients-chocolate and cherries!
The recipe for this butter cake draped in caramel fudge icing is based on a cake originally made by Louise Hodges, a home cook from Carmack, Mississippi.
Loaded with ripe fruit, this moist cake is a cross between two classic English desserts, sponge cake and summer pudding.
This delightfully basic white sponge cake, encrusted with a coconut and brown sugar topping, is a dream to make and eat.
The key to making this cake’s rich icing is to stir it vigorously once it has cooled to the proper temperature.
A North Fork Valley favorite in zucchini season, this moist chocolate cake gets its moistness from buttermilk.