Here are 5 must-have cakes for all occasions this year

At Bon Appétit, we are convinced that you can never have too many cake recipes. And we have plenty of great ones, like chocolate cake with brown butter frosting and raspberry cake with whipped cream filling. But this year, we wanted even more. So we gave food writer Shilpa Uskokovic, BA’s resident baking encyclopedia, a situational cake challenge. And of course, she found the solution. In fact, five solutions: five cakes for everything this year has in store for you.

Your cousin’s birthday is coming up and you forget to give him a present, but what could be more impressive than a confetti cake with chocolate icing? It’s true: nothing. One of your guests can’t eat dairy or gluten? Do not worry; there’s a moist tahini cake for that. Looking for a jaw-dropping pastry to impress your new in-laws? We have a peanut butter and jelly dome cake with your name on it. Refer to this list as a sweetie, with go-to recipes and tips to know. —Nina Moskowitz

A cake for your next dinner
Tahini Hot Fudge Skillet Cake


Planning a dinner party can sometimes feel like a headache, as you put together a menu that satisfies everyone’s tastes and dietary restrictions. Your search for the perfect recipe can end here. This gluten-free and dairy-free brownie-like cake, topped with a spiced hazelnut tahini hot fudge, is so rich and decadent that you and your guests won’t miss a thing. Accompany it with a dairy-free ice cream of your choice.

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A cake for every birthday
Confetti Cake with Chocolate Frosting

If there’s only one cake you learn to make, let it be this one. The yellow cake swaddled in chocolate frosting is perhaps the defining signifier of birthdays and for good reason: it strikes the right balance between chocolate and vanilla and is soft and colorful on the inside, rich and festive on the outside. ‘outside. This version is smooth as a cloud thanks to reverse creaming and cake flour, and the shockingly simple frosting tastes like luxury chocolate cream.

First introduced to home cooks by the Betty Crocker brand and immortalized in the seminal book by baking genius Rose Levy Beranbaum, The bible of cakes, reverse creaming is a clever method of mixing the dry ingredients with shortening (similar to pie crust or cookies) before adding the liquid ingredients to make a batter. In doing so, the fat becomes a kind of raincoat, wrapping itself around each particle of flour. This layer of fat prevents the flour from absorbing too much liquid and forming strong gluten bonds (because liquid + flour = gluten). Then the batter is mixed with a liquid like milk or sour cream to create a structure (you need gluten to hold the cake together). The result is a moist, delicate cake that comes together in half the time of the conventional mixing method.

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A cake for The great British pastry fair Fan
Victoria sponge cake

If you too have fantasized about cooking in a tent while being politely encouraged by cheeky judges, welcome to the pastry fair fan club. Satisfy your cravings with a slice of this British classic, a marvel filled with jam and covered in cream. Our recipe leans on a certain international diplomacy, borrowing very American elements such as a warm milk sponge for lofty layers and a little instant vanilla pudding powder for a custard filling that stays decidedly puffy for A few days.

Hot milk cake occupies the coveted Venn diagram intersection of pound cake (tender, buttery) and sponge cake (light, airy). Here’s how it works: When whole eggs and sugar are whipped into a foam without being heated first, they form a voluminous but somewhat flimsy foam (like a bubble bath). Adding scalding hot milk (with a temperature of around 180°) begins to cook the eggs very gently, strengthening their proteins so that the foam remains stable without collapsing.

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A cake for the Baker project
PB&J Dome Cake

The dome cake is the It girl of cakes; she’s completely unique and impeccably styled, and she’s probably popped up on your social feed. Ever wondered how to make one? It’s by no means a piece of cake, but if you like a crafty project (this one involves stacking layers of cakes of different sizes) and you’re obsessed with the details, follow it. It’s smothered with a whipped peanut butter filling and finished with a strawberry cream; we promise it’s worth the elbow grease.

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A cake to feed a crowd
Carrot Cake Sheet with Cream Cheese Whip

Making carrot cake is fun and fun until you break a sweat and shred a knuckle grating all those carrots. Taking inspiration from the Brazilian cenoura bolo, this sheet cake instead mixes the vegetable directly into the batter, resulting in a sunset orange treat that’s softly spongy from the mash and remarkably easy to make. . Chunks of chewy dried pineapple and candied ginger replace the raisins while the cream cheese frosting is light and airy, a mousse-like delicacy. Baked in a 13 x 9-inch pan, this cake is just waiting to be transported for a spring picnic in the park.

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Please use the flour we call for in the recipe

Boring but true: the recipes in this story work best with bleached all-purpose and cake flours. Let’s explain why.

Cake flour: With its low protein content (5% to 8%) and extra-fine particle size, Cake Flour bakes into the most delicate, tallest, and crumbled cake. It can absorb more liquid and sugar than all-purpose flour, resulting in velvety cakes that keep for much longer. High ratio cakes (with a high percentage of sugar to flour) like confetti cake or fragile cakes like chiffon really benefit from only using cake flour. The common all-purpose flour substitute cut with cornstarch does not have the chemical structure to work as well as real cake flour. Just buy the box. You’re worth it.

Bleached flour: Some flours tout the fact that they are unbleached as a pride. While there are some benefits, bleached flour also has some selling points. Bleaching or chlorinating flour (no, that’s not the same as the bottle under your sink) changes its starch granules and pH, so fat and sugar disperse more efficiently and evenly . Lowering the pH prevents cakes from browning too much too quickly. And cakes made with bleached flour usually rise higher than those made with unbleached flour.

Originally appeared on Bon Appétit