Whether it’s a sponge cake, butter cake, chocolate cake, etc., each of these baked desserts has its own unique ingredients and methods. Here, you can learn the various types of cakes so that you will know what you have baked.

There are various types of cakes and there are a lot of ways on how to separate them into different categories. However, professional bakers classify cakes based on their ingredients and mixing techniques. On the other hand, home bakers would like to classify them based on flavoring such as fruit cakes, chocolate cakes, etc. This is very helpful when you want to decide what to eat but may not be valuable when you want to know what the best way is to make a cake.

Depending on how you prepare the batter, you will discover that the final texture and color vary. The following are some of the basic types of cakes.

Pound Cake

Pound cake is quite similar to a butter cake. Its name is related to how it is measured based on proportion. For instance, a pound of sugar, a pound of flour, a pound of butter, or a pound of eggs. There are a few pound cake recipes that require you to separate the egg whites. These egg whites will be whipped and folded into a batter so they can be used to leaven the cake. While in some recipes, baking powder and baking soda are being used for leavening, mixing it well into the butter-cake fold.

Most often, these cakes have a light flavor and are commonly served plain while others have toppings of water icing or glaze. You can bake a pound cake in a loaf or Bundt pan. The pound cake has different variations including fruit crumb cakes, sour cream cakes, coffee cakes, and many more.

Butter Cake

Butter cake recipes usually start by mixing butter and sugar. The next step is to add eggs to the batter. This is followed by flour and often with a liquid such as milk to provide texture and structure. It is also important to add baking soda or baking powder to ensure that your cake will rise in the oven.

Within the butter cake group, there are various types of cake batter including marble, yellow, white, or chocolate. For yellow and white cakes, the coloring will likely depend on the eggs that are used. Whether it’s whole eggs, egg whites for white cakes, or egg yolks for yellow cakes.

Sponge Cake

Typically, sponge cakes do not contain baking powder or baking soda, however, they include lots of egg whites or whipped eggs. There are various types of sponge cakes, and they have different names wherever you are.

Biscuit Cake

This is another type of sponge cake that includes both egg yolks and egg whites. However, the yolks and whites are separately whipped. Then, they are folded back together. As a result, you will have a light batter that is much drier, however, it can hold its shape much better after blending. Because of this, they are usually used in making ladyfingers or other pipe-shaped desserts.

Just like angel food cakes, you can also bake biscuit cakes in tube pans. The result would be an extremely chewy sponge cake that was famous during the early 20th century but later on became unpopular. Nevertheless, it is still popular but in a different variety as the classic Passover sponge cake. In this recipe, instead of using flour, potato starch and matzoh cake meal are being used.

Genoise Cake

The sponge cake in France and Italy is known as genoise. Genoise cakes use whole eggs which are beaten along with sugar. It is beaten continuously until it becomes thick and ribbony. This is followed by flour and oftentimes butter is mixed with the batter. After the batter is thoroughly mixed, it will be baked in the oven. You can have a wonderful result if you bake it in a round cake pan. However, you can also choose to roll them up into a roulade or bake them in a jelly-roll pan.

Although genoise does not have an aggressive flavor on its own, it is commonly used for making rolled or layered cakes whenever you need a lighter texture. To add moisture and flavor to genoise cake layers, flavoring syrup can be added. Sometimes they are cut into thin horizontal layers. Rich fillings such as buttercream will be applied to each layer. This type of layered cake is also known as the European style and is commonly found in the coffeehouses of Europe. The American-style butter layer cakes are quite different since they have lesser, thicker layers.

Chiffon Cake

Chiffon cake was invented by an American salesman. Later on, he sold his recipe to General Mills, which popularized the recipe by selling its ingredients. A classic chiffon cake can be considered as a combination of a sponge cake and an oil cake. It includes vegetable oil and baking powder. While the egg yolks and egg whites are separated. The egg whites are beaten until they reach soft peaks, then it is folded into the batter. As a result, the cake has a tender crumb. It has a lighter texture that is similar to a sponge cake as well as a rich flavor just like an oil cake. You could either bake your chiffon cake in a tube pan just like when baking angel food cakes or layered them with frostings and fillings.

Angel Food Cake

Angel food cakes do not include egg yolks but only egg whites. The egg whites are whipped together with the sugar until they become firm. Then, the flour is gradually folded in to create an airy, super white, and delicate cake that can be matched perfectly with fruits. You might notice that most angel food cakes are chewy and spongy. This is because there is a high content of sugar, and it does not include any egg yolks.

Angel food cakes should be baked in ungreased two-piece tube pans. In order to cool down angel food cakes, they should be inverted. If angel food cakes are cooled right-side-up in the pan, then there is a tendency that it could collapse. It is also not advisable that you should remove them from the pan while the cake is still warm. This cake is fat-free since it does not include any butter.

Baked Flourless Cake

This category also includes flourless chocolate cakes and baked cheesecakes. It is advisable to bake it in a springform pan so it can be easily removed. However, you could also use round layer cake pans in making these cakes. Most often, the pan is placed inside a larger pan filled with water. This is done so as to insulate the cake from the strong heat of the oven, resulting in a silky texture. In this procedure, the cake is baked in a water bath.

Carrot Cake

The leavening procedure used in carrot cake is the same as that of the butter cake. But rather than using butter, this cake uses canola oil, vegetable oil, and other types of neutral oil. Because of this, you can keep carrot cakes a little bit longer than butter cakes. However, it could come out a bit greasy. The process of carrot cake is similar to butter cake. However, with carrot cake, you will start the process by whipping eggs and sugar, then adding some oil, rather than beating sugar and butter.

Unbaked Flourless Cake

Generally, this type of cake is molded in a springform pan or in a dessert ring. It will be chilled then afterward it will be unmolded. Mousse cakes and unbaked cheesecakes are some examples of unbaked flourless cakes. After placing a crust or a baked layer at the bottom, the mousse will be added. You can also choose to put various layers such as biscuit or genoise and you can alternate this with the mousse.

Red Velvet Cake

Essentially, a red velvet cake is just a butter cake. But rather than using butter, oil is used. Additionally, to obtain that distinct red velvet flavor, cocoa is mixed with the cake batter. Originally, this unique flavor is the result of combining buttermilk and raw cocoa which is commonly available during the time when red velvet was first introduced. Nowadays, food coloring is used instead of raw cocoa.

Sometimes this cake is also known as the $200 cake. This is likely due to the fact that the red velvet cake was first introduced by a chef at the Waldorf-Astoria during the 1920s. A guest who truly loved the cake wrote a note to the chef, requesting its recipe. Hence, this is the reason for its other name. Regardless of what name you use, it is a delicious cake.

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake

Just like the humble chocolate cake, a gluten-free vanilla cake uses simple ingredients including butter, flour, baking soda, eggs, baking powder, salt, sugar, and vanilla. In order to have the best tasting vanilla cake, it is important that you have to sift all the dry ingredients. Also, you need to beat the sugar and butter thoroughly before adding any other ingredients. It would be great to use a stand mixer, however, a handheld mixer also works well as long as you have the patience to stand while beating the mixture for at least 3 minutes.

Wave the Grain offers gluten-free bread, cakes, pastries, meals, etc. For more information about our products, you can call us at (303) 721-7547 or send us an email at kristin@wavethegrain.com.