31 Fancy Cake Recipes That Will Steal the Show

cake with many layers with chocolate filling and chocolate ganache
Photo: Trusted Brands

There are cakes, and there are fancy cakes. Some occasions call for the latter — like birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, graduations, or really any time you want to treat yourself to a bakery-quality cake at home. And if you're looking to stretch yourself beyond your go-to cakes, these recipes will help you develop new baking skills and techniques. From rich chocolate cakes perfect for date night to rainbow-colored birthday cakes and multi-layered cakes filled with custard and draped in a decadent ganache, any of these fancy cake recipes will make a statement at your next celebration.

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Dark Chocolate Cake I

A three layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting sits on a cake stand. Two slices of chocolate cake sit on plates below.
Meredith Food Studios

This dark chocolate cake with a cream cheese, cocoa, and cinnamon frosting will quickly replace your current favorite chocolate cake recipe. Take it from reviewer ZZZORBA who says, "I am a pastry chef, and this is the only chocolate cake that I will make from now on. I separated the eggs and whipped the whites separately with some of the sugar, then folded it all together to make it extra airy."

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Pistachio Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream

Beautiful layered pistachio cake on a wooden cake stand with a slice out and plated.
Meredith Food Studios

For a lighter, moist cake that's not overly sweet, this pistachio layer cake with cream cheese buttercream icing is an excellent choice. Plus, the layers can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to a month in advance according to John Somerall from the Allrecipes Test Kitchen. "The presentation with the swirled top and pistachio-coated sides make it a real showpiece," says John.

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White Almond Wedding Cake

White Almond Wedding Cake
jnalcantar

Sour cream is often used in baking to yield a more moist, slightly more flavorful result, and it does just that in this leveled-up cake mix cake: "A secret ingredient of sour cream makes this cake so moist, dense, and delicious! I use this recipe for my kids' birthdays, but it's a favorite for wedding cakes, too!" says recipe creator CUPYCAKESMURF.

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Prinsesstarta (Swedish Princess Cake)

A classic dome shaped Swedish princess cake wrapped in pale green marzipan, dusted with powdered sugar, and decorated with raspberries. A slice out reveals all the beautiful layers
Meredith Food Studios

This popular Swedish cake is a guaranteed showstopper, and a great way to practice your baking skills. It's made up of layers of white sponge cake with a raspberry jam and pastry cream filling, all of which are draped in a green, almondy marzipan.

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Vanilla Chai Cheesecake

Slice of cheesecake with caramel drizzle. The remaining cheesecake is in the background.

Vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom give this cheesecake it's chai-inspired flavor, and the gingersnap and amaretti cookie crust puts it over the top. For an elegant presentation, drizzle the cheesecake in jarred caramel sauce.

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Banana Layer Cake

Close-up on slice of banana cake with caramel frosting

If you're a fan of banana bread, you have to make this moist banana cake with a rich caramel frosting. Reviewer SHAWNAK says, "It looks quite professional and tastes even better the next day."

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Eclair Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Eclair Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Laney Jane

You don't need to be a master pastry chef (or even master eclairs), to make this impressive-looking eclair cake: "This dessert sounds fancy but it is so easy to make and it's a definite crowd-pleaser!"

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Champagne Funfetti Ice Cream Cake

multi-layered funfetti ice cream decorated with cotton candy flaircake with
Ashley Baron Rodriguez

From-scratch Champagne confetti cake is layered with ice cream, topped with whipped cream, and drizzled in caramel to create a dessert that's fitting for any celebration. Serve with leftover Champagne, of course.

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Smith Island Cake

cake with many layers with chocolate filling and chocolate ganache
Trusted Brands

This nine-layer vanilla cake has a light chocolate ganache filling and icing, making it one worth saving for special occasions. "Using aluminum pans really speeds up the assembly and cooking process," suggests Pam Lolley from the Allrecipes Test Kitchen.

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Southern Red Velvet Cake

Slice of red velvet cake with the remaining cake on a stand in the background.

Unlike most red velvet cakes, which use cream cheese frosting, this Southern-style cake uses a light, butter icing instead: "The frosting absolutely makes this cake!" raves reviewer amydoll.

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Banana Cheesecake with Banana Cream Pie Topping

Banana Cheesecake with Banana Cream Pie Topping
Photo by Angela Sackett. Angela Sackett

Two all-time favorite desserts merge to make one epic combination. The Oreo® crust adds a touch of chocolate. "I used chocolate-filled Oreos for the crust and sprinkled choc shavings on top to give it some color," says reviewer Kim Koyamatsu.

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Rainbow Pinata Cake

Rainbow Pinata Cake
Sally's Baking Addiction

Prepare for the "oohs" and "aahs" when you cut into this rainbow layer cake that is overflowing with assorted candies and sprinkles. "This was an absolute hit at my daughter's birthday party," says reviewer BRADLEY LATOUR. "Was a lot easier to make than I thought it would be."

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Doberge Cake

slice of layered cake with chocolate ganache on white plate with pearls
mauigirl

"Based on the Hungarian Dobos torte (pronounced Do-bash), this cake was developed in New Orleans and is now a staple throughout Louisiana," says recipe creator metread. This is definitely a special occasion dessert — layers of white cake and custard filling are covered in a chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache.

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Dobos Torte

a slice of multi-layered cake with chocolate frosting, with a caramel-topped triangle as the top layer
LynnInHK

As the predecessor to the Doberge cake (see the previous slide), this traditional Hungarian dessert is named for its creator, Hungarian pastry chef Josef Dobos. Chocolate buttercream is sandwiched between layers of sponge cake and topped with a caramel glaze.

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Chocolate Unicorn Cake

slice of chocolate cake decorated as a unicorn
kim

Don't be fooled by the adorable unicorn, this recipe uses a from-scratch, dark chocolate cake with homemade vanilla frosting, meaning it tastes as good as it looks. Reviewer Lisa describes the cake as, "Deep chocolate flavor not too sweet and perfectly moist."

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Triple Chocolate Roll Cake

chocolate roulade with chocolate and and white filling with whipped topping
Kim

"A chocolate cake is wrapped around alternating stripes of white chocolate whipped cream and a whipped dark chocolate mousse for not only great flavor, but a striking presentation as well," says recipe creator Kim. "Make sure to really chill your fillings before whipping--overnight would be best--or they won't fluff up properly. This takes some time and patience to make--so plan ahead when making this cake!"

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Rainbow Citrus Cake

a slice of three-layer cake with a lime layer, lemon layer, and orange layer, frosted with buttercream and garnished with an orange candy slice
Frances C

A rainbow of citrus flavors — orange, lemon, and lime — alternate with a lemon custard filling and are topped off with an orange cream frosting. "It is definitely fun and pretty, and you can clearly taste the distinct flavor of each of the lime, lemon, and orange layers, each as delicious as the next," says reviewer naples34102.

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Cannoli Cheesecake

Cannoli Cheesecake
Cannoli Cheesecake. Allrecipes

This Italian-inspired cheesecake takes from its namesake with ingredients like ricotta cheese, mascarpone, and chocolate chips. To keep the top of the cheesecake from cracking, try turning off the oven when the cheesecake is done and leaving the door cracked for about an hour, as John Somerall from the Allrecipes Test Kitchen suggests.

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Easy Six-Layer Rainbow Cake

layered rainbow cake with white icing
AllrecipesPhoto

This bright and cheery rainbow layer cake has a mascarpone frosting that helps to hold the cake together and preserve it for next-day enjoyment.

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Apple Frangipane Cake

An apple frangipane cake sliced and topped with toasted almonds
Meredith Food Studios

"This is a dense, moist, and very flavorful apple frangipane cake that is very almond-forward in a yummy way," says Pam Lolley from the Allrecipes Test Kitchen. "The apples complement it nicely and I loved the crunch of the toasted almonds on top."

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Strawberry Lemonade Cake

Strawberry Lemonade Cake slice on a white plate with strawberry and lemon garnishes on top
Kim

A favorite summertime beverage is transformed into a frosted layer cake. Some reviewers suggest adding a little red food coloring to the strawberry reduction for a stronger presentation.

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Caramel Cake

triple layer caramel cake on a white cake plate with a wedge on a dessert plate
Kim

Sometimes fancy means new and innovative, and sometimes it means classic and elegant. This decadent caramel cake with caramel icing can definitely be described as the latter.

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Walnut-Cream Roll

Walnut-Cream Roll topped with walnuts on a plate with sliced strawberry
Kim

This mildly sweet and nutty cake roll is filled with chopped walnuts for added texture and flavor. Here's a tip: Toast the walnuts first for a more robust flavor.

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Mexican Tres Leches Cake (Pastel de 3 Leches)

slice of Mexican Tres Leches Cake (Pastel de 3 Leches) and sliced cake
Magda

"Pastel de 3 leches literally means 'cake made with three milks' in Spanish, and this classic Mexican cake is soaked in just that," says recipe creator mega. "Super moist and delicious, this cake is easy to make and will be the talk of your next party!"

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White Wine Pound Cake

white wine pound cake with strawberries
lutzflcat

While you might not typically include pound cake in a collection of fancy recipes, this is not your typical pound cake recipe. This cake starts with yellow cake mix, but the addition of white wine to both the batter and the glaze takes it up a notch.

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Extreme Chocolate Cake

multi-layer Extreme Chocolate Cake with chocolate curls and shards on a white platter
Jessica

Over 2,600 home cooks have given this chocolate cake a 5-star rating. Try swapping freshly brewed coffee for boiling water to give a mild espresso flavor, as reviewer Patti Nelson Grønborg suggests.

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White Tres Leches Cake

tres leche cake with swirled white frosting
arielle diliberto

Traditional tres leches cakes are soaked with milk (three kinds: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream). This version uses the same ingredients to create a mousse-like mixture, resulting in a cake that holds up better to frosting and other decorations.

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Tiramisu Layer Cake

Tiramisu Layer Cake

Don't tell anybody, but the secret to this cake version of a favorite Italian dessert is actually boxed cake mix. "Fancy taste without all the work," says recipe creator bettina.

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Opera

slice of layered cake with chocolate ganache
aki s

This is one cake to make when you're looking to stretch yourself in the kitchen: "I first tried this at baking school, and I became addicted to it...it is a layered dessert of a thin cake with ground almonds, filled with ganache and coffee buttercream, and topped with more ganache. It's a lot of steps, but well worth the effort," says recipe creator Giselle. The best part is, you can make the individual components in advance and assemble them later.

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Genoese Sponge

sponge cake with pink mouse and jello topping
abapplez

Compared to its sponge cake counterpart, genoise sponge cake is a little more crumbly and less springy. A traditional sponge cake has just three ingredients: flour, sugar, and eggs; but the genoise sponge cake gets its denser texture from the addition of butter.

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Russian Honey Cake

Russian Honey Cake on a wooden cake stand
Chef John

"The tiny amount of bitterness we get from the burnt honey really is the secret here, and the slightly tangy whipped cream frosting provides a bit of acidity and lovely light texture; and unlike other frostings, it's not too sweet," says Chef John of this towering layer cake.

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