6 Mouth-watering cake recipes

Reader's Digest Editors

These mouth-watering cakes are easy to make and a sure-fire crowd-pleaser. 

1. Iced carrot cake

A cake that tastes great and is good for you is handy to have in your repertoire.

frosted carrot cake

Ingredients:

  •  450 g (33 ⁄4  cups/1 lb) self-raising (self-rising) flour
  • 11 ⁄2  tablespoons ground mixed spice (allspice)
  • 11 ⁄2  teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 500 ml (2 cups/17 fl oz) buttermilk
  • 125 ml (1 ⁄2  cup/4 fl oz) vegetable oil
  • 330 g (11 ⁄2  cups/111 ⁄2  oz) white (granulated) sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla essence (extract)
  • Finely grated carrot to make about
  • 450 g (3 cups/1 lb); you will need
  • 8 or 9 medium carrots, peeled
  • 225 g (1 cup/8 oz) reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk, extra
  • 250 g (2 cups/9 oz) icing sugar, sifted

Method:

  1. Use a 25-cm (10-in) fluted ring tin. Coat lightly with non-stick cooking spray and dust with flour, tapping out any excess. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4).
  2. Sift the flour, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Whisk buttermilk, oil, sugar, eggs and 2 tsp essence in another bowl until frothy. Pour into flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Fold in the grated carrots.
  3. Pour batter into tin; smooth the top. Tap the tin lightly on a flat surface a few times to break up air bubbles. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes; turn onto a wire rack; flip top-side up; cool completely.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with remaining vanilla essence and extra buttermilk until softened. Gradually stir in the icing sugar just until icing is smooth. Place cake on a serving plate and coat with the icing, letting some run down the side. Refrigerate

Serves 12, preparation time 20 minutes, cooking time 50 minutes

 

 

2. Viennese sachertorte

Use the best-quality dark chocolate you can afford for this cake. Store the cake for a day, if possible, to allow the full depth of the flavour to develop.

Viennese Sachertorte

Ingredients:

  • 150 g (1 cup/51 ⁄2  oz) dark (semisweet) chocolate
  • 150 g (2 ⁄3  cup/51 ⁄2  oz) butter
  • 150 g (11 ⁄4  cups/51 ⁄2  oz) icing sugar
  • Few drops of vanilla essence (extract)
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 125 g (1 cup/41 ⁄2  oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 ⁄4  teaspoon baking powder
  • 3–4 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 200 g (11 ⁄3  cups/7 oz) dark (semisweet) chocolate

Method:

  1. Use a 23-cm (9-in) springform tin. Line base of tin with baking (parchment) paper. Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F, gas mark 2).
  2. Break up chocolate. Melt in a bowl placed over simmering water. Using an electric mixer, beat the chocolate, butter, icing sugar, vanilla essence and egg yolks in a medium bowl until well combined. Sift flour and baking powder; stir into the batter. Beat egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff and fold into batter with a metal spoon.
  3. Place batter in tin and smooth the top, building the mixture up a little higher towards the edge. Bake for 60–70 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand for 5 minutes. Remove the outer ring of the tin.
  4. Cover cake with baking paper. Weigh down with a small board and leave to cool completely. Turn onto wire rack and remove tin base.
  5. Sieve jam into pan, add a little water and heat gently. Spread evenly over cake and allow to set. Melt the chocolate in a bowl placed over simmering water and spread over the cake. To prevent cracking, lift the cake onto a serving platter before the chocolate hardens.

Serves 8, preparation time 30 minutes, cooking time 60–70 minutes

 

3. Middle Eastern orange cake

The combination of orange juice and ground almonds makes this cake very moist. Yogurt is a good accompaniment because its slight acidity offsets the richness of the cake.

Middle Eastern Orange Cake

Ingredients:

  • 5 large oranges
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 225 g (21 ⁄4  cups/8 oz) ground almonds
  • 285 g (11 ⁄4  cups/10 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Natural (plain) yogurt, to serve

Method:

  1. Use a 23-cm (9-in) springform tin. Place 2 oranges in a pan with water to cover. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Allow oranges to cool, cut them open and remove pips, membrane and peel. Roughly chop the flesh.
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4). Grease and flour the tin. Process chopped oranges, eggs, ground almonds, sugar and baking powder in a food processor.
  3. Pour batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 1 hour or until the centre is firm. Cool in the tin. Turn cake out onto a serving plate; it is very moist and needs to be handled carefully to prevent it breaking.
  4. Peel the remaining oranges with a small paring knife. Cut along both sides of each dividing membrane to separate the orange segments. Serve cake with orange segments and yogurt.

Serves 12, preparation time 21⁄2 hours, cooking time 1 hour.

 

4. Cappuccino chiffon cake

Very easy to make, this sweet treat is lower in fat than most.

Cappuccino Chiffon Cake

Ingredients:

  •  280 g (21 ⁄4  cups/10 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 345 g (11 ⁄2  cups/12 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs, plus 4 large egg whites
  • 125 ml (1 ⁄2  cup/4 fl oz) walnut oil
  • 185 ml (3 ⁄4  cup/6 fl oz) brewed espresso coffee (at room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence (extract)
  • 1 ⁄2  teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar

Method:

  1. Use a 25-cm (10-in) ring tin. Do not grease the tin. Preheat oven to 160°C (315°F, gas mark 2–3). Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Separate the whole eggs. Whisk walnut oil, egg yolks, espresso coffee, cocoa powder and vanilla together in large bowl until smooth. Fold flour mixture into egg mixture until well combined.
  2. Beat 6 egg whites in a medium bowl until frothy. Beat in cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
  3. Place batter in the tin and bake for about 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  4. Leave the cake in the tin and invert onto a wire rack to cool. (Cooling this cake the right way up will cause it to sink.) Run a knife around the side and turn the cake onto a serving plate. Dust with the icing sugar.

Top tip: Walnut oil is a valuable source of heart-friendly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as well as the antioxidant vitamin E. It may help lower the risk of heart disease by increasing HDL or the "good" cholesterol. Use extra-light olive oil instead, if preferred.

Serves 16, preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time 45 minutes

 

5. Upside-down pear cake

Everyone will love this ginger-flavoured, flipped-over, fruit-topped cake.

Upside-down Pear Cake

Ingredients:

  •  2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 firm, ripe pears
  • 155 g (11 ⁄4  cups/51 ⁄2  oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 ⁄4  teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ⁄4  teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 60 ml (1 ⁄4  cup/2 fl oz) extra-light olive oil
  • 165 g (3 ⁄4  cup/53 ⁄4  oz) white (granulated) sugar
  • 11 ⁄2  teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg white
  • 185 ml (3 ⁄4  cup/6 fl oz) buttermilk

Method:

  1. Use a 23-cm (9-in) round nonstick cake tin. Coat base with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle brown sugar over it; shake tin to coat evenly. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4).
  2. Peel, core and halve the pears. Slice crosswise into 5 mm (1⁄4 in) slices. Spread slices in tin, making sure the base is completely covered.
  3. Sift flour, ginger, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda on a plate. Using an electric mixer, beat the olive oil, white sugar and lime zest in a mixing bowl. Beat in the whole egg and the egg white until the mixture is thick.
  4. Using a rubber spatula or large metal spoon, alternately fold the flour mixture and buttermilk into the egg mixture, starting and ending with flour mixture, until just blended.
  5. Pour batter over the pears and smooth the top, making sure pears are completely covered. Bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and leave in the tin for 10 minutes to cool. Invert onto a plate and allow to cool a little longer before slicing.

Serves 10, preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time 35 minutes

 

6. Iced chocolate ring cake

Chocolate cake is always popular. This interesting version is enriched with a sweet prune purée and topped with creamy icing. Serve it as a morning snack or for dessert. It’s perfect with some fresh berries on the side.

Frosted Chocolate Ring Cake

Ingredients:

  • 140 g (2⁄3 cup/5 oz) pitted, ready-to-eat prunes
  • 150 ml (1⁄2 cup/5 fl oz) boiling water
  • 60 g (1⁄4 cup/2 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 140 g (3⁄4 cup/5 oz) light brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla essence (extract)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 100 g (3⁄4 cup/31⁄2 oz) self-raising (self-rising) flour
  • 100 g (3⁄4 cup/31⁄2 oz) self-raising wholemeal (self-rising wholewheat) flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 250 g (1 cup/9 oz) ricotta cheese
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla essence (extract)
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar, or to taste, sifted

Method:

  1. Use a 20-cm (8-in) deep ring tin. Grease the tin. Place prunes in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Cover and leave to soak for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4).
  2. Beat butter until soft and pale. Gradually beat in sugar. Purée prunes with the soaking liquid in a blender until smooth, then add to the butter and sugar mixture with vanilla essence and beat until well mixed. Gradually beat in the eggs.
  3. Sift the white flour, wholemeal flour, baking powder and cocoa powder over the mixture, tipping in any bran left in the sieve. Fold in dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. The mixture should be of a soft dropping consistency; add a little water if necessary. Spoon the mixture into the ring tin and level the top.
  4. Bake for about 25 minutes or until well risen, slightly cracked on top and firm to the touch. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the inside to loosen the cake. Turn it out onto a wire rack to cool. This cake can be kept in an airtight container for 3 days before the topping is added.
  5. Sieve ricotta into a bowl. Add vanilla essence and icing sugar; beat until smooth.
  6. Place cake on a serving plate and spoon the ricotta icing evenly over the top. Using a knife, swirl the icing slightly, taking it a short way down the side of the cake. Place a little cocoa powder in a small sieve and dust it over the icing. Serve as soon as possible.

Serves 10, preparation time 25 minutes plus 30 minutes soaking cooking time 25 minutes