15 Summer Cakes

Fifteen of our favorite cake recipes, drawing on in-season produce and classic summer favorites

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.

Strawberry Lemon Layer Cake

Strawberry Lemon Layer Cake
At New York's Milk Bar, Christina Tosi makes this towering cake every spring, when sweet and tiny tristar strawberries are in season. This is by no means an everyday cake, but it's worth the work that you'll put in, and worthy of a special occasion. Get the recipe for Strawberry Lemon Layer Cake »Matt Taylor-Gross

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
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 »Helen Rosner

Classic Carrot Cake

Classic Carrot 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 »Todd Coleman

Strawberry Cake

Strawberry 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. Get the recipe for Strawberry Cake »Farideh Sadeghin

Lemon Layer Cake

Lemon Layer Cake
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. Get the recipe for Lemon Layer Cake »Todd Coleman

Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird Cake
This hummingbird cake honors the legacy of the Southern cook Edna Lewis. Get the recipe for Hummingbird Cake »Matt Taylor-Gross

Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake

Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake
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 »Christina Holmes

Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake
Fresh coconut and its sweet water are the keys to this cake, passed down from pastry chef Ben Mims' grandmother, Jane Newson. Get the recipe for Coconut Cake »Todd Coleman

Olive Oil Quatre Quarts with Chopped Fruit

Olive Oil Quatre Quarts with Chopped Fruit
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. Get the recipe for Olive Oil Quatre Quarts with Chopped Fruit »Todd Coleman

Black Forest Cherry Torte

Black Forest Cherry Torte
This German dessert got it right by combining two of our favorite ingredients-chocolate and cherries! Get the recipe for Black Forest Cherry Torte »Brooke Slezak

Caramel Cake

Caramel Cake
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. Get the recipe for Caramel Cake »Todd Coleman

Blackberry and Apple Cake

Blackberry and Apple Cake
Loaded with ripe fruit, this moist cake is a cross between two classic English desserts, sponge cake and summer pudding. Get the recipe for Blackberry and Apple Cake »James Oseland

Danish Dream Cake (Drømmekage)

Danish Dream Cake (Drømmekage)
This delightfully basic white sponge cake, encrusted with a coconut and brown sugar topping, is a dream to make and eat. Get the recipe for Danish Dream Cake (Drømmekage) »Matt Taylor-Gross

Yellow Cake with Fudge Icing

Yellow Cake with Fudge Icing
The key to making this cake's rich icing is to stir it vigorously once it has cooled to the proper temperature. Get the recipe for Yellow Cake with Fudge Icing »Todd Coleman

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
A North Fork Valley favorite in zucchini season, this moist chocolate cake gets its moistness from buttermilk. Get the recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake »Farideh Sadeghin