Our Most Beautiful and Delicious Cake and Cupcake Recipes for Mother's Day

strawberry swirl Bundt cake
Photo: Marcus Nilsson

Whether you want to whip up a frosted layer cake, an easy sheet cakes, or a batch of delightful cupcakes, these tasty recipes are guaranteed to delight every mom.

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vanilla sponge cake with strawberry-meringue buttercream
Ngoc Minh Ngo

If you're looking to spoil the mom, grandmother, aunt, wife, or special person in your life this Mother's Day, look no further than this collection of cake and cupcake recipes. There's something here for every personality and every taste, with one underlying theme: Each and every one of these confections is a fit for a queen.

Some are bursting with that spring feeling, incorporating in-season rhubarb or strawberries, such as the Vanilla Sponge Cake with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream that's pictured here. Others have a floral theme, such as sunflower cupcakes where piped buttercream forms the petals and chocolate-covered sunflower seeds create the centers.

Bright, fresh citrus is on splendid display in these recipes, too. Lemon lovers will find loads of options, from a lemon-meringue sheet cake with a dramatic presentation to a lemon crunch cake, in which a tender, lemony butter cake is topped with a crisp, crunchy, crackling shell. There's also a fantastic lemon snack cake that has a cream cheese frosting enhanced with ground freeze-dried raspberries, which gives it a beautiful rosy tint that any mom would love. There's also an orange-and-poppy-seed sheet cake that brims with citrus flavor, as well as lime-scented margarita cupcakes are basically the dessert equivalent of the classic cocktail.

Richer offerings pop up as well, such as a fun spin on carrot cake that incorporates elements of a traditional Southern hummingbird cake and a crepe cake (think: big stack of homemade crepes layered with two different whipped-cream fillings—white chocolate-raspberry and dark chocolate-hazelnut). Mom won't be able to say no to a slice of that!

Along with a bouquet of Mom's favorite flower and a heartfelt card, any of these sweet treats are sure to put a smile on her face.

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Orange-and-Poppy-Seed Sheet Cake

orange-and-poppy-seed sheet cake recipe
Con Poulos

Full of citrus flavor, this cake includes orange zest, sour cream, poppy seeds, and vanilla paste in the batter and orange juice in the heavenly (but easy to make) icing. For slicing, anything goes: small or large planks, slices on the bias, and even triangles. Plus, it's perfect for a picnic because it's a breeze to transport and, depending on how you cut it, can be eaten without utensils.

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Vanilla Heart-Shaped Cake with Raspberry-and-Custard-Filling

raspberry-and-custard-filled vanilla heart cake
Johnny Miller

Show Mom your love by baking her this magnificent heart-shaped layer cake that's filled with vanilla pastry cream and fresh raspberries (you can also use strawberries if that's what she prefers). It's topped with more whipped cream, more berries, and plenty of coconut.

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Hummingbird Carrot Cake

Hummingbird Carrot Cake Recipe
Chris Simpson

This fun spin on carrot cake incorporates elements of a traditional Southern hummingbird cake, which typically combines banana, pineapple, and spices. Here, puréed pineapple brings a delightful sweetness to the batter, which is nicely offset by cream cheese frosting.

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Cherry-Cheesecake Celebration Bombe

cherry-cheesecake celebration bombe atop cake stand
Con Poulos

If your Mom likes cheesecake and you like a project, then this spectacular make-ahead bombe is a must for Mother's Day. This cake of cakes has four components; a no-bake cheesecake batter, a blend of freeze-dried cherries and cookie crumbs, ice cream spiked with cherry syrup, and a tender sponge cake.

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Raspberry and Chocolate-Hazelnut Crepe Cake

raspberry and chocolate hazelnut crepe cake
Ryan Liebe

A stack of homemade crepes layered with two different whipped-cream fillings—white chocolate-raspberry and dark chocolate-hazelnut—create a stunner of a dessert. No oven, no problem.

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Strawberry-Swirl Bundt Cake

strawberry-swirl bundt cake recipe
Marcus Nilsson

Instead of a strawberry shortcake, try this creative Bundt. To make it, you'll first tint a portion of the batter pink with ground freeze-dried strawberries; once it's poured into the pan alongside the non-tinted batter, you swoosh a knife through to create a swirl. Cue the oohs and aahs.

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Confetti Cake with Vanilla Frosting

confetti cake with vanilla frosting
Ngoc Minh Ngo

This festive sheet cake features delicious homemade sprinkles (which are less complicated to make than you'd think!) atop an old-fashioned cooked milk frosting, which offers the perfect balance of not-too-sweet creaminess.

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Pull-Apart Vanilla-Wafer Cupcake Cake with Berries

wafter berries cupcake cake

Here's a clever dessert that looks like a sheet cake on top, but is actually a gaggle of vanilla-coconut cupcakes topped with fresh berries and fluffy whipped-cream frosting. It's easy to make and even easier to serve—no slicing required.

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Pistachio-Rhubarb Yogurt Cake

Christopher Testani

Emblazoned with thick pieces of rhubarb—which is in peak season in early spring—this next-level dessert is guaranteed to please. Roasting the rhubarb with sugar before baking mellows it, and adding ground pistachios to the batter brings a sweet nuttiness.

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Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

These lovely cupcakes start with a light and fluffy sour cream batter; once baked and cooled, you fill each with a few spoonfuls of filling made from chopped strawberries and strawberry jam. The finishing touch: whipped cream and a slice of strawberry.

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Lemon-Meringue Sheet Cake

lemon-meringue sheet cake recipe
Con Poulos

This burnished beauty gets its flavor from fresh lemon zest and its stature from not-too-sweet meringue. Dollop tons on top for a dramatic presentation, and if you don't have a kitchen torch, brown the peaks with a quick blast under the broiler.

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Lemon Crunch Cake

Lemon Crunch Cake
Will Anderson

Here's another lemon cake worthy of a special day: It's a tender, lemony butter cake topped with a crisp, crunchy, crackling shell, so every bite offers a delicious contrast.

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Margarita Cupcakes


A creamy surprise (okay, we'll tell you: it's wonderfully tart lime curd) awaits inside these lime-scented cupcakes. Topped with cream cheese frosting, flaky sea salt, and lime zest, these are truly the dessert equivalent of the classic cocktail.

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Pastel Layer Cake

Pastel Layer Cake

Five pastel layers form this colorful creation. You can use food coloring to create whatever shades you like. We chose a pinks, but blues, greens, or any color Mom loves would be equally pretty.

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Sunflower Cupcakes

Sunflower cupcakes
Raymond Hom

There are no special skills required to create these blooming beauties. Piped buttercream forms the petals, while chocolate-covered sunflower seeds create the centers.

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Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Multicolored Frosting


It's all about the presentation with these rainbow cupcakes. Their diminutive size means you'll wind up with plenty of options to play with color and patterns.

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Lemon Snack Cake with Raspberry-Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Cake with Raspberry-Cream Cheese Frosting
Chris Simpson

This single-layer confection is perfect for any time of day and stars lemon juice and zest, which brighten the batter, and ground freeze-dried raspberries that give classic cream-cheese frosting a natural rosy tint.

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