21 Gorgeous Layer Cake Recipes for Every Occasion

carrot cake with white chocolate frosting
Photo: Ngoc Minh Ngo

Some occasions just call for a layer cake. If you're looking for an impressive recipe that yields a delicious cake, you're in luck. We're sharing our favorite layer cake recipes that will take you through every season and holiday of the year.

Layer cakes are fan favorites because they're so versatile: Two layers or five? The same frosting to fill the cake and to decorate it, or different fillings between each layer? Our collection of layer cake recipes ranges from light-as-air chiffon cake simply filled with fresh strawberries and cream, no decoration needed, to birthday-worthy cakes with chocolate frosting just waiting for the candles.

We've got classic layer cake recipes, for all-time favorites like carrot cake, hummingbird cake, and devil's food cake plus layer cakes with spring flavors and spring looks, ice-cream cakes that scream summer (and are our favorite no-bake take on the layer cake), and plenty of holiday-ready celebration cakes.

01 of 21

Chocolate-and-Vanilla Pudding Cake

chocolate-and-vanilla pudding cake
Lennart Weibull

Chocolate buttermilk cake layers are oh so tender and delectable, especially when they encase a decadent milk chocolate pudding center and are enrobed in a luscious white chocolate frosting.

02 of 21

Chocolate-Raspberry Cake

Chocolate-Raspberry Cake
Con Poulos

What could be more delicious than a dark chocolate layer cake filled and topped with fresh raspberries? One that has light, moist layers baked with a splash of the raspberry liqueur Chambord and is layered with not just the berries but also with a sweet raspberry filling, What really seals the deal though is the chocolate-cream cheese frosting.

03 of 21

Citrus Mousse Cake with Buttercream Frosting

citrus mousse cake with buttercream frosting
Ngoc Minh Ngo

This gorgeous, springtime cake is worthy of being placed on a pedestal (but surely you'd rather eat it). Lemon and lime are combined to create a bright mousse filling, but feel free to swap in orange or grapefruit juice if you prefer.

04 of 21

Apple Layer Cake with Cream-Cheese Frosting

three layer apple cake on cake stand
Mike Krautter

Packed with fall flavor, this delicately spiced three-layer cake is filled and frosted with an irresistible cream cheese frosting. It's sure to go fast.

05 of 21

Simple Layer Cake with Vanilla Frosting

Simple Layer Cake with Vanilla Frosting
Johnny Miller

Fluffy and moist with a sweet vanilla flavor, this is an absolutely delightful, simple cake. It's a dreamlike base that you can decorate with any toppings that you please to create a special occasion dessert.

06 of 21

7-Layer Ice Cream Cake

7-Layer Ice Cream Cake
Johnny Miller

We're declaring this the ultimate summer dessert. Homemade or store-bought pound cake holds up layer upon layer of raspberry sorbet, vanilla ice cream, and chopped chocolate wafer cookies. The best part is you can customize it with any flavors that you fancy.

07 of 21

Maple-Walnut Cake with Brown-Sugar Frosting


Looking for a departure from pie in the fall? This nutty cake should do the trick. Toasting the walnuts before chopping and mixing them into the batter brings out their flavor (plus, they'll make your whole kitchen smell wonderful).

08 of 21

Salted-Caramel Six-Layer Chocolate Cake

Salted-Caramel Six-Layer Chocolate Cake
Johnny Miller

If the look of this widely indulgent cake isn't enough to lure you in to make it, then how about this—a combination of Dutch processed cocoa and semisweet chocolate. They work double duty to maximize the chocolate flavor in this over-the-top confection.

09 of 21

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Strawberry-Meringue Buttercream

vanilla sponge cake with strawberry-meringue buttercream
Ngoc Minh Ngo

When strawberries are in season, stock up on 3 whole pounds for this showstopping, three-layer tall sponge cake.

10 of 21

Three-Tier Candied-Pecan Cake with Brown-Butter Pears

Johnny Miller

Resist the urge to snack on the homemade sweet and spicy candied pecans—they're for the cake batter (though no one will notice if a few are missing, right?). The icing on the cake (literally) is a bourbon whipped cream, which has plenty of holiday spirit.

11 of 21

Vegan Chocolate Cake

mandy vegan chocolate cake
Bryan Gardner

No one will miss the butter or eggs in this rich rendition of a classic chocolate layer cake. Dairy-free soy creamer takes the place of heavy cream for the silky ganache topping and mocha icing filling.

12 of 21

Carrot Cake with White-Chocolate Frosting

carrot cake with white-chocolate frosting
Ngoc Minh Ngo

We think this the prettiest carrot cake ever—and you don't need to be a professional baker to create the ruffles of frosting—our rich, thick buttercream recipe and a proper pastry tip will guide you as you create the cake decoration of your dreams.

13 of 21

Pumpkin Layer Cake with Spiced Frosting

Pumpkin Layer Cake with Spiced Frosting

As soon as the leaves begin to turn, pumpkin spice is everywhere. This warm autumnal cake with lots of authentic pumpkin flavor is worth baking.

14 of 21

Tropical-Fruit Crepe Cake

Tropical-Fruit Crêpe Cake
Johnny Miller

A very different and altogether spectacular take on the layer cake with 40, yes count them, 40 layers. It's so impressive but doesn't call for any fancy supplies or decorating skills. The secret is that the crepes and the coconut filling for this pina colada-inspired cake can be made in advance, up to three days ahead. Then you can assemble the cake day of.

15 of 21

Coconut-Sugar Hummingbird Cake

coconut sugar hummingbird cake
Jonathan Lovekin

This fruity, moist cake has plenty of texture thanks to fresh bananas, pineapple, and pecans. Hummingbird cakes are a staple in the South and now we know why (they're really, really good).

16 of 21

Banana Cake with Cream-Cheese Frosting

banana cake sliced on a table with a pink table cloth
Bryan Gardner

We love how something as simple as bananas can be turned into such a spectacular cake. The inclusion of dark chocolate makes it that much more heavenly.

17 of 21

Yule-Log Layer Cake

Marcus Nilsson

Try this festive layered cake as a creative alternative to the traditional bûche de Noël (no jelly roll pan needed!). Both the cake and frosting include a warm, flavorful combination of roasted chestnuts and golden rum. And those raspberry mushrooms are the cutest finishing touch.

18 of 21

Pistachio Layer Cake

Lennart Weibull

Delightful for Easter or another springtime soirée, this elegant vanilla layer cake is filled with pistachio pastry cream and frosted with a pale green buttercream.

19 of 21

Cloud Cake

Marcus Nilsson

This cake is just as light and airy as it is totally unique. Delicate meringue layers take the place of traditional cake; nestled between them is a sweet vanilla cream studded with chopped homemade caramel.

20 of 21

Chiffon Cake with Strawberries and Cream

chiffon cake
Marcus Nilsson

Light as a cloud and a little bit romantic too, this is a sliceable version of a classic berries and cream combination. In between pillowy layers of cake is a very light whipped cream and fresh strawberry slices. Sweet but not too sweet, it's simply perfect.

21 of 21

The Ultimate Devil's Food Cake

Yuki Sugiura

Devil's food cake is always a crowd-pleaser due to its bewitching appearance, moist cake crumble, and luscious swoops of buttercream. Make it year-round, but especially for Halloween.

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