101 Traditional American Cakes (+ Recipes)

Traditional American Cakes are my absolute favorite desserts. My personal favorites include Angel Food Cake and Coconut Cake.

I also love the wonderfully moist traditional carrot cake, with its distinctive shredded vegetable texture. But my all-time number one is certainly the rich, New York Cheesecake.

Traditional American Cakes

Whether you’re looking for a patriotic dessert to serve at your Fourth of July barbecue or you want a traditional American cake recipe to try–this alphabetical list of all-American cakes is for you!

How many have you tried?

Related: 100 American Pies (Easy Recipes)

1. Angel Food Cake

I LOVE angel food cake. Angel food cake is a tall, tender, and timeless cake with a cloud-like crumb and ultra light flavor. It’s pristine white on the inside with a chewy light brown crumb around the exterior.

Angel food cake is a low fat cake recipe made mostly from egg whites, cake flour, and sugar.

A slice of heaven in every bite. This light and airy cake originated in America. The first detailed recipe of this sponge cake was published in the Boston Cooking School Cook Book in 1884.

2. American Trifle

The English call versions of this cake a Tipsy Cake, Tipsy Pudding, Tipsy Squire, and Tipsy Hedgehog.

When leftover cake just won’t cut it. This Red, White and Blue Trifle is perfect for Independence Day celebrations.

The difference is American trifle uses fresh cake instead of dried cake.

3. Amish Friendship Cake

Have your pound cake cake and your coffee cake, too. It has characteristics of both!

Amish Friendship Bread is a great bread for the holidays. You can give your friends a sample and the starter that made it! Then your friends can make their own and pass it along to their friends.

This is why the bread is called “friendship bread”.

4. Applesauce Cake

Sooo moist! Applesauce cake is a dessert cake prepared using apple sauce, flour, sugar, and various spices as primary ingredients.

It dates back to early colonial times in New England.

In the United States, June 6th is National Applesauce Cake Day.

5. Bundt Cake

You know it’s going to be good when it’s drizzled with icing.

Bundt pans were invented by Minnesota’s Nordic Ware company to recreate traditional kugelhopf—a dense, ring-shaped, German cake.

The main difference between Bundt cake and regular cake is its shape. A cake that is baked in a Bundt pan has a doughnut-like shape, meaning there is a large hole in the middle.

Related: 61 Traditionelle Deutsche Desserts (Liste)

6. Box Cake

In 1933, P. Duff and Sons, a Pittsburgh molasses company, patented the first cake mix after blending dehydrated molasses with dehydrated flour, sugar, eggs, and other ingredients. 

7. Buckle

An old-fashioned single-layer cake with berries or cut-up fruit in the batter, giving it a “buckled,” or indented, appearance.

The origins of buckle are a bit mysterious.

The dish has been in the United States for centuries, suggesting that it may have been developed by colonists.

8. Bananas Foster Cake

You’ll go bananas for this cake made from with vanilla ice cream, a butter sauce, brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum, and banana liqueur. Origin: New Orleans, Louisiana

9. Brown Derby Cake

It’s called a brown derby cake because the domed shape is supposed to resemble a derby hat.

Derby cake was invented in 1927 by a caterer named Harry Baker, in Los Angeles.

10. Butter Cake

Gooey, moist, and delicious. Butter is the ultimate ingredient that takes this cake over the top. 

The first gooey butter cake was made by a St. Louis by a baker trying to make regular cake. The amount of sugar and flour was accidentally reversed.

11. Bumpy Cake

A rich chocolate cake topped with piped lines of sweet frosting and covered in shiny fudge icing.

Originally created in the early 1900s in Detroit, this cake sports a poured fudge frosting over “bumps” of vanilla buttercream, creating the name by which Midwesterners have known and loved it for many years.

12. Blackout Cake

Sometimes called Brooklyn Blackout cake, its a chocolate cake filled with chocolate pudding and topped with chocolate cake crumbs.

You won’t have to think too hard about pudding this in your mouth.

13. Cake Pops

Are cake pops cute what?

Cake styled as a lollipop with cake crumbs formed into small spheres before being given a coating of icing and attached to lollipop sticks.

14. Carrot Cake

Carrot cake and cream cheese frosting go together like peanut butter and jelly.

The earliest receipt for modern Carrot Cake was published in New York in 1939.

Many food historians believe carrot cake originated from European carrot puddings in the Middle Ages.

15. Chocolate Cake

Eat your heart out!

A popular Philadelphia cookbook author, Eliza Leslie, published the earliest chocolate cake recipe in 1847 in The Lady’s Receipt Book.

The American history of chocolate cake goes back to 1764, when Dr. James Baker discovered how to make chocolate by grinding cocoa beans between two massive circular millstones.

16. Cupcakes

Whip up cupcakes and you’ll be the talk of the party.

These small cakes serve one person, and are typically topped with frosting, sprinkles, and other decorations.

Amelia Simmons invented the cupcake. She also published the first American cookbook in 1796.

17. Coffee Cake

It’s epic anytime coffee’s involved.

American coffee cakes may have originated from the concept of kaffeeklatsch brought by German immigrants.

Coffee may refer to a sponge cake flavored with coffee or, in the United States, a sweet cake intended to be eaten with coffee or tea.

Related: 44 Traditional German Christmas Dessert Recipes

18. Coca-Cola Cake

An instant upgrade. A wonderfully rich and chocolatey southern cake with Coca-Cola in both the cake and icing.

19. Coconut Cake

Coconut lovers, meet your next favorite cake.

A popular dessert in the South. Its coated with white frosting and covered in coconut flakes.

20. Cider Cake

Cider cakes were among the first truly American cakes.

In the late 18th century, Americans began to substitute inexpensive locally-made hard cider in place of costly imported European brandy and wine for the liquid in their newfangled chemically-leavened butter cakes.

21. Doberge Cake

Sweet, rich, and decadent. A layered dessert originating in New Orleans, Louisiana, adapted by local baker Beulah Ledner from the Hungarian Dobos torte.

22. Dutch Baby Pancake

A large American popover. A Dutch baby is similar to a large Yorkshire pudding.

Compared to a typical pancake, a Dutch baby is always baked in the oven, rather than being fried on both sides on the stove top, it is generally thicker than most pancakes.

23. Death By Chocolate Cake

Chocolate always belongs.

A chocolate cake with 2 layers of fudgy chocolate cake, lots of mini chocolate chips, a creamy chocolate frosting and a chocolate ganache.

Chef Marcel Desaulniers, then owner of the Trellis Restaurant in Virginia, created one of the best-known chocolate masterpieces.

24. Dirt Cake

An American cake made from sandwich cookies (like Oreos), vanilla pudding, and other ingredients to create a dessert that looks like soil.

It is made by combining crushed Oreo cookies on top of vanilla or chocolate pudding, and adding gummy candy worms on top.

25. Derby Cake

The higher the cake, the closer to heaven.

It’s called a brown derby cake because the domed shape is supposed to resemble a derby hat.

Derby cake was invented in 1927 by a caterer named Harry Baker, in Los Angeles.

26. Dump Cake

A super easy dessert that’s a cross between a cake and a cobbler.

It gets its name because all the ingredients are literally dumped into a 9×13 baking dish.

27. Depression Cake

The best way to pinch your pennies.

This cake made during the Great Depression includes little or no milk, sugar, butter, or eggs, because the ingredients were expensive or hard to obtain.

Inflation who?

28. Devil’s Food Cake

A moist, rich chocolate layer cake. It is considered a counterpart to the white or yellow angel food cake.

It originated in the southern United States. The first printed recipe appeared in 1902, in Mrs. Rorer’s New Cook Book.

29. Do Nothing Cake

This cake is easy, and takes no time to throw together.  

It gets its name because it originated in the 1940’s, recipes were usually made from scratch and were hard to make. 

Don’t stress about getting dessert perfect!

30. Elvis Presley Cake

A moist pineapple and pecan cake that Elvis’ grandmother used to make.

The story goes that he requested it every time he visited her.

31. Election Day Cake

Turn the clock back to colonial America, when elections were a national holiday and celebrated with cake while the votes were being counted, which went on for weeks.

32. Entenmann’s Pound Cake

The perfect pound cake?

If you like shoveling pillowy, buttery, moist cake into your face, you’re going to love this cake.

Entenmann’s is an American company that manufactures baked goods.

33. Eli’s Cheesecake

Entenmann’s is an American company that produces baked goods throughout the United States to supermarkets and other retailers.

So addictive.

34. Funnel Cake

Funnel cake is a lovely light batter fried until golden brown, most often topped with powdered sugar.

They are associated with the Pennsylvania Dutch, German immigrants who came to Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th centuries.

35. Fruit Cake

Traditional American fruitcake is rich in fruit and nuts.

Mail-order fruitcakes in America began in 1913.

Fruit cake has been around since ancient Roman times, where it was made of a mix of pine nuts, barley mash, pomegranate seeds, raisins, and honeyed wine.

36. Friendship Cake

Similar to the Amish friendship bread, the starter is passed from person to person and continues to grow as it contains yeast and lactic acid bacteria.

One starter can, in theory, last indefinitely.

37. Funfetti Cake

Funfetti brings the party. This cake has rainbow colored sprinkles baked into the batter. It is called confetti cake because the rainbow sprinkles melt into dots of bright color that resemble confetti. Typically the batter is either white or yellow.

The cake was created when the Pillsbury Company introduced a new type of cake called “Funfetti” cake, a blend of “fun” and “confetti”.

38. Flourless Chocolate Cake

Given the absence of flour, this cake is less cakey and more fudgy in texture, with a bit of airiness from the egg whites that are whipped and then folded into the batter.

39. Funny Cake

A Pennsylvania Dutch dessert which is a combination of pie and cake that is made by baking a cake surrounded by pie crust, marbled throughout with chocolate streaks

40. Geode Cake

This cake is designed to look like quartz or a crystallized rock structure. They are typically crafted with rock candy and can be made in different sizes and colors.

Created by Intricate Icings Cake Design in Denver.

41. German Chocolate Cake

German chocolate cake is an American innovation. Unlike Black Forest cake which is the most popular chocolate cake from Germany.

You can never have enough chocolate!

42. Hawaiian Wedding Cake

Keep on hoping we’ll eat cake by the ocean.

Hawaiian Wedding Cake is a basic cake mix cake with three layers on top: a crushed pineapple layer that seeps into the cake, a creamy pudding

43. Happy Cake

The Happy Cake is made from pineapple, macadamia nuts, and coconut. The happy cake debuted in Hawaii in 1967 and is Hawaii’s version of a fruit cake.

44. Herman Cake

A ‘friendship cake’. Similar to the Amish friendship bread, the starter is passed from person to person and continues to grow as it contains yeast and lactic acid bacteria.

One starter can, in theory, last indefinitely.

45. Hot Milk Cake

A butter sponge cake from American cuisine. It can be made as a sheet cake or a layer cake, or baked in a tube pan.

The hot milk and butter give the cake a distinctive fine-grained texture, similar to pound cake.

46. Hummingbird Cake

A traditional banana-pineapple spice cake popular dessert in the southern United States since the 1970s.

It originated in Jamaica.

47. Icebox Cakes

An icebox cake or chocolate ripple cake or log is a dessert typically made with cream, fruits, nuts, and wafers and set in the refrigerator.

Icebox cake was first introduced to the United States in the 1930s, as companies were promoting the icebox as a kitchen appliance.

48. Ice Cream Cake

The dessert is very popular at birthday parties and similar celebrations in North America, although some believe that it originated in England.

Its popularity caught on during the 19th century, when ice cream was considered a luxurious item reserved only for the well-off.

49. Jumpin’ Jimmy Coffee Cake

The batter is made with coffee and the glaze is made with espresso powder. You get a double shot of caffeine and chocolate in every bit.

50. Jailhouse Cake

Aka Oat cake is an easy cake spiced with cinnamon and a caramel coconut topping.

51. Jell-O Mold Bundt Cake

Jell-O is blended with chunks of fruit, then set in a bundt pan or mold of your choice.

Bundt pans were invented by Minnesota’s Nordic Ware company to recreate traditional kugelhopf—a dense, ring-shaped, German cake.

52. Kentucky Butter Cake

An insanely moist pound cake with a sweet, buttery sauce that soaks through the cake.

53. Keto Cheesecake

A dessert that’ll actually satisfy your sugar craving, without the sugar! Finally, a dessert that won’t destroy your diet.

54. King Cake

A cake associated in many countries with Epiphany. Its form and ingredients are variable.

55. Kolache

The kolache entered the American repertory in the mid-1800s, soon after immigrants from Central Europe settled in the hills and prairies of central and southcentral Texas. The region was once home to more than 200 Czech-dominant communities.

56. Lava Cake


Also known as molten chocolate cake, or chocolate moelleux it’s a popular dessert that combines the elements of a chocolate cake and a soufflé.

The Chocolate Lava Cake is known to have invented in 1987 in New York.

Its name derives from the dessert’s liquid chocolate center.

57. Lane Cake

Also known as prize cake or Alabama Lane cake, is a bourbon-laced baked cake traditional in the American South.

58. Layer Cake

A layer cake or sandwich cake is a cake consisting of multiple stacked sheets of cake, held together by frosting, jam, or other filling.

Layer cakes as we know them first appeared around the latter half of the 1800’s in the United States.

Historically, layer cakes originated in Europe in the mid-19th century.

59. Lady Baltimore Cake

An American white layer cake with fluffy frosting and a fruit and nut filling. The cake is believed to have been created in the Southern United States in the early 20th century.

60. Lemon Chiffon Cake

Life gave you lemons? Soft and light with incredible lemon flavor! I topped it with a sweet lemon buttercream frosting to make the perfect Spring dessert!

Chiffon cake was invented by an insurance agent, Harry Baker, in Los Angeles.

61. Maple Spice Cake

A maple spice cake is an New Hampshire variation that adds maple syrup or flavoring.

An incredibly moist, flavored with a mixture of spices, with a texture that almost melts in your mouth! It’s quick and easy to make.

62. Marble Cake

A cake with a streaked or mottled appearance achieved by very lightly blending light and dark batter. It can be a mixture of vanilla and chocolate cake.

Marble cake made its way to America with German immigrants before the Civil War. Originally the cakes were marbled with molasses and spices.

63. Mint Julep Cake

A delicious, moist chocolate bourbon cake with a mint swiss buttercream and chocolate ganache drip.

64. Mahogany Cake

America’s first chocolate cake and depended more on the science of baking for its color than a little bottle of dye. It’s a throwback boiled milk frosting.

65. Mayonnaise Cake

Mayonnaise Cake has to be one of the most decadent, delicious and easy ever! Simply combine mayonnaise into your cake batter, pour into a pan and bake.

66. Microwave Mug Cake

This chocolaty fudgy treat is truly decadent and great for nights when I need a yummy dessert that is ready in less than 10 minutes!

American engineer Percy Spencer is generally credited with inventing the modern microwave oven after World War II from radar technology.

67. Moravian Sugar Cake

A sweet coffee cake that is often made in areas around Moravian Church settlements, particularly in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

68. Molasses Crumb Cake


Also known as Shoo-fly cake. This is a quick and easy version of a Pennsylvania Dutch classic.

69. Mudslide Cake

Mississippi mudslide cake. Pie got nothing on this.

70. New York Cheesecake

The larger, richer and more indulgent cousin of the traditional cheesecake.

71. New England Spider Cake

Cornmeal, sweet syrup, and heavy cream are the building blocks of this simple dessert. Cleverly named for the leggy cast iron skillet that was used to set on top of open fires, it’s a cream-soaked sweet cornbread sensation.

72. Oreo Cake

A decadent cake is chock full of creamy, crunchy chopped Oreos, and the whole thing is crowned with a rich chocolate ganache!

73. Pancakes

Light and fluffy pancakes are an American classic. They are sometimes called hotcakes, griddlecakes, or flapjacks. You can even make a pancake cake.

American pancakes typically add baking powder, or whipped egg white, or both.

74. Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Canned pineapples originated in 1901 at Dole, the Hawaiian Pineapple Company.

In 1925, Dole sponsored a contest calling for pineapple recipes. It is said that 2,500 of the 60,000 submissions were recipes for pineapple upside-down cake. 

75. Prize Cake

Also known as lane cake or Alabama lane cake, is a bourbon-laced baked cake traditional in the American South. 

76. Pecan Log Roll Cake

Pecan log rolls are fluffy, cherry-laced nougat wrapped in fresh caramel and pecans.

While it’s not exactly known who created the very first pecan log roll, many would argue that it was Stuckey’s, a roadside convenience store chain found on highways throughout the United States.

77. Plum Cake

Plum cake in the United States originated with the English settlers.

The term “plum cake” and “fruit cake” have become interchangeable.

78. PieCaken

The PieCaken has layers of pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and spice cake all held together with cinnamon buttercream and topped with apple pie filling.

The dessert was developed in 2015 for a hotel restaurant in Manhattan.

79. Potluck Cake

Potluck sheet cake is an easy dessert to feed a crowd.

Potlucks, are believed to have originated in the 1860s, when Lutheran and Scandinavian settlers in the Minnesota prairies would gather to exchange different seeds and crops.

80. Poor Man’s Cake

Also known as war cake. Its an easy to make, simple raisin spice cake using common ingredients to create a moist and delicious version of this timeless classic.

81. Quartz Cake

Also known as a geode cake, this cake is designed to look like a crystallized rock structure. They are typically crafted with rock candy and can be made in different sizes and colors.

The cake was created by Rachael Teufel of Intricate Icings Cake Design in Denver. 

82. Red Velvet Cake

The official cake of Southern hospitality.

This delectable, scarlet-hued cake is a classic for a reason. Layers of smooth cream cheese icing and rich red velvet cake will impress even the pickiest of guests.

The legend goes that a chef at the Waldorf Astoria created the recipe for red velvet cake and it became a popular dessert at the hotel.

83. Sour Cream Pound Cake

Sour cream pound cake is a popular American variation of the British pound cake.

It involves the substitution of sour cream for some of the butter, which also is intended to produce a moister cake with a tangy flavor. 

84. Sponge Cake

American sponge cake calls for cake flour – unlike the European version that uses self-rising flour.

The American sponge cake also does not require butter and it has more eggs in it.

The yolks and whites are separately beaten–resulting in a spongier and finely-textured cake.

85. Strawberry Shortcake

American strawberry shortcake is a delicious dessert, full of strawberries and cream – a treat for special occasions and among the most beloved and enduring of American foods.

Among food historians, the history of strawberry shortcake dessert begins around 1847 in the United States. 

The first strawberry shortcake recipe appeared in an English cookbook as early as 1588.

89. Smith Island Cake

Resembling the Prinzregententorte, with 8 to 15 thin layers alternating with cooked chocolate frosting.

The origins of this cake are unknown. Residents of Smith Island (Maryland) say Welsh and English settlers brought the dish to the island in the late 1600s.

88. Stack Cake


Also called apple stack cake, are stacked cakes layered with filling. Traditionally the cakes are made in a cast iron skillet, but they can be baked as well. 

87. Swiss Rolls

In the U.S., commercial versions of Swiss rolls are widely known under brand names like Ho Hos, Yodels, and Swiss Cake Rolls.

A Swiss roll, jelly roll, roll cake, cream roll, roulade or Swiss log is a type of rolled sponge cake filled with whipped cream, jam, or icing.

90. Tandy Cake

Tandy Cake is well-known packaged snack from Tastykake baking company in Philadelphia.

This vintage cake combines chocolate and peanut butter.

91. Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake is an amazing chocolate cake recipe made in a jelly roll pan and covered in warm chocolate frosting. It the easiest chocolate cake to make, and perfect for a party or potluck.

92. Three Kings Cake

A cake associated in many countries with Epiphany. Its form and ingredients are variable, but in most cases a fève such as a figurine, often said to represent the Christ Child, is hidden inside.

French settlers brought it to colonial America.

93. Tipsy Cake

Also known as Tipsy Parson and Tipsy Squire in America.

Tipsy cake originated in the mid-18th century. It came to the American colonies via the British, who settled in the coastal south. The name refers to the amount of alcohol used in the dessert.

The English call versions of this cake a Tipsy Hedgehog or pudding.

94. Tomato Soup Spice Cake

A classic cake spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, as well as the secret ingredient of Campbell’s Condensed Tomato soup.

The recipe was created by the Campbell’s Soup Company in the 1920’s.

95. Volcano Cake

Molten chocolate cake is a popular dessert that combines the elements of a chocolate cake and a soufflé. Its name derives from the dessert’s liquid chocolate center, and it is also known as chocolate moelleux, chocolate lava cake, or simply lava cake.

Two chefs claim to have invented it. Jean-Georges Vongerichten at the Drake Hotel in New York City. And Michel Bras, debuted his chocolate coulant (French for “runny”) at his restaurant in Laguiole, France six years earlier.

96. Washington Cake

Mary Simpson, also known as Mary Washington, claimed to be one of George Washington’s slaves who he freed upon leaving New York City for Philadelphia.

Wanting everyone to remember her former master’s birthday (February 22, 1732), she celebrated by preparing Washington cake.

It was eaten along with a glass of punch or coffee.

97. “Worms and Dirt” Poke Box Cake

A moist chocolate cake filled with frosting loaded with Oreos and layered with more Oreo crumbs! It’s even got gummy worms.

98. Watergate Cake

Watergate Cake brings together pistachio, coconut, and pudding in a delicious layer cake! And a light whipped frosting and pecans.

99. White Chocolate Cake

The consensus is that Nestle started the production of white chocolate commercially in 1936.

The chocolate limit does not exist!

White chocolate is incorporated into the cake layers, the frosting, and the drip for a stunning monochrome effect.

100. War Cake

It is unique in that unlike most pastries and desserts, no eggs, butter or milk are used to make the cake batter.

War Cake seems to have originated during World War I due to rationing of certain foods.

101. Wowie Cake

Also called crazy cake, Joe cake, WWII cake, and wacky cake is a spongy, cocoa-based cake.

It is unique in that unlike most pastries and desserts, no eggs, butter or milk are used to make the cake batter.

Traditional American Cake FAQs

Why are American cakes so sweet?

American cakes are typically far sweeter than cakes from other countries. Adding more sugar (combined with eggs and/or butter) to a cake recipe, creates a fluffier cake, which Americans enjoy. Cakes in Europe that use less sugar are denser. Cake and dessert recipes from “the South” are often even sweeter than recipes from other parts of the U.S.

What is the history of traditional American cakes?

American cakes have evolved over time, starting from simple and rustic cakes made with locally available ingredients in colonial era to more ornate and diverse cakes in the 19th century, thanks to the availability of new ingredients like baking powder and chocolate.

What are some traditional American cake recipes?

Some traditional American cake recipes include classic yellow cake and red velvet cake.

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Traditional American Cakes

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