It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have strong feelings about a homemade cake recipe. We all have our favorites. For some, it might be a rich, and sweet cake. Others prefer their cake a little airier—think angel food cake—with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh berries. While some folks won’t touch anything but a homemade birthday cake, there are a few of us who love a good old-fashioned grocery store cake. But no matter your preferences, it’s good to know the facts when it comes to different kinds of cake.
There are two main types of cake: butter (also known as a “shortened” cake) and foam. And then within each category there are many varieties. The primary difference between the two cakes is the fat content. Shortened cakes have either butter, oil, or shortening in them. (A classic yellow cake is a perfect example.) Foam cakes have little to no fat and typically involve whipped eggs (either white, yolks, or both), which make them lighter and airier. Think a rolled type sponge cake, like a Buche de Noel, which you might see during the holidays.
Keep scrolling for a crash course on some of our favorite types of cakes.
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Yellow Butter Cake
Many a kid’s birthday party is celebrated with a sheet-cake version of this dessert that’s topped with billows of chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkles. Yellow butter cakes often involve creaming the butter and sugar together (in modern times, this is done with an electric mixer) then adding the dry and wet ingredients, but there are also “dump” versions where all of the ingredients are thrown into a bowl and simply mixed together.
Named because it’s made with a pound of each of the main ingredients (flour, butter, and sugar), this cake doesn’t rise much while baking, and the texture is very dense. Our version boasts matcha and cocoa powder, but classic recipes have nothing but vanilla extract to flavor it. Bake up one of these beauties in a loaf or Bundt pan.
Recipe: Chocolate Matcha Pound Cake
Red Velvet Cake
This is a true favorite, especially in the south. Made with either butter or oil, red velvet cake’s color classically comes from the reaction of buttermilk and cocoa powder. Modern versions often achieve this hue by using red food coloring, or in the case of the raspberry velvet cake, shown here, pink.
Recipe: Raspberry Pink Velvet Cake
Leavened with baking soda and baking powder, this shortened cake uses oil as its main fat rather than butter. The addition of grated carrots makes the cake extra moist. Carrot cake is also flavored with warm spices and frosted with a rich cream cheese frosting. Pecans or walnuts are optional!
Recipe: Carrot Cake
This is a foam-style cake that has no artificial leaveners (baking powder or baking soda). It gets its volume solely from whipped eggs —either whole eggs or simply whites. This cake takes well to being soaked in a flavored syrup (try soaking with a lemon syrup and serve with a dollop of lemon curd), layered with whipped cream and smashed berries, or if baked up thin, rolled in the Christmas classic, Buche de Noel.
Recipe: Sponge Cake
Genoise is what a sponge cake is called in Italy or France. In this cake, egg yolks, whites and sugar are beaten together until mousse-like. Next, flour, and either oil or butter, are folded in. This type of sponge cake is more moist and tender than its sponge cake cousin.
Chiffon cake is a cross between a sponge and oil cake. The addition of oil gives it a richness similar to a shortened cake, and whipped egg whites and baking powder make it light and airy.
Recipe: Chiffon Cake
The lightest of the light, angel food cake is made with only whipped egg whites for leavening and has no added fat. Baked in a special angel food cake pan, it’s often cooled upside down (in the pan) to help maintain the airy texture. The loads of sugar in an angel food cake give it a chewy and sponge-like texture.
Recipe: Angel Food Cake
This category includes both baked (think cheese cake or flourless chocolate) or unbaked (like mousse or unbaked cheesecakes) varieties. Typically very rich because of the high fat content, these cakes may or may not have a bottom crumb crust.
Upside Down Cake
The classic version of this butter style cake is traditionally made with pineapple, but can be made with many varieties of fruits, including plums, peaches, blueberries, or pears. The toppings are spread on the bottom of the pan, often with butter and sugar, and then topped with cake batter. After cooking, the cake is turned out so that the fruit is facing up.
Recipe: Upside Down Cake
Devil’s Food Cake
This cake is made “devilish” by the addition of chocolate in the form of cocoa powder. Extra baking soda causes the crumb to have more air bubbles, giving it a light and airy texture. This rich cake is frosted with either chocolate frosting or buttercream.
The classic southern oil cake is flavored with banana, pineapple, pecans, lots of warm spices, and topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting. Created in Jamaica and originally called “Doctor Bird Cake,: this confection made its way Stateside sometime in the 1960s.
Recipe: Hummingbird Cake
The history of this type of cake is a bit muddled. One thing we do know, however, is that its thin layers of coffee-soaked almond cake are sandwiched between an espresso-flavored buttercream, a bittersweet chocolate ganache, and topped off with a second rich chocolate ganache. Light but rich, this pastry is a real showstopper.
Lady Baltimore Cake
Fluffy white cake is layered with a fruit and nut filling and topped with a pillowy meringue type frosting. The origin of the cake is somewhat in dispute, but it’s believed to have been created in the southern part of the United States.
Universally loathed and joked about, this holiday staple is full of dried or candied fruit, nuts, and spices. Once cooked, the cake is wrapped and soaked in a spirit like brandy or rum. (Despite the jokes, we think it’s very delicious.)
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Source: Thanks https://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/g29890694/cake-types/