Rainbow Cake

Photo: © Georgia Glynn Smith

A Sweet with a Serious Wow Factor
Though this dessert looks like a plain white, frosted cake, slicing into it reveals seven Roygbiv-colored layers that will undoubtedly elicit oohs and aahs. The recipe, from Edd Kimber's Say It with Cake, may take a bit more time to prepare than others, but we guarantee you'll be licking the confetti-colored crumbs off the plate.

Get the recipe: Rainbow Cake
Golden Vanilla Birthday Cake

Photo: Penny De Los Santos

A Reminder That Simplicity Is Divine
Sometimes even a cake that seems uncomplicated has an ingredient list a mile long and directions that make you want to pull your hair out. Not this classic from Jennifer Perillo's Homemade with Love. To make her light and airy layer cake, you add the wet and dry ingredients together all at once, and beat the batter on high speed (two things many pros warn against). Trust Perillo, and you'll be rewarded with a moist, buttery—and can't-go-wrong—meal finale.

Get the recipe: Golden Vanilla Birthday Cake
Angel M&M's Cake

Photo: © Con Poulos

The Most Heavenly Angel Food Cake Ever
Arranging colorful M&M's on top of any cake is one of the fastest ways to instantly transform it into a celebration-worthy dessert. Place those candy-coated chocolates atop fluffy angel food cake that's layered with a mascarpone-cheese-raspberry-jam filling and covered in cream cheese frosting, and you've got one downright amazing birthday treat.

Get the recipe: Angel M&M's Cake
Strawberry Lemonade Cake

Photo: © Heather Christo and Jim Henkins

The Perfect Pink Confection for a Summer Afternoon
Strawberry buttercream frosting and freshly sliced strawberries sandwiched between two layers of tart lemon cake make for a dessert that tastes remarkably similar to a glass of pink lemonade—and that's just a liiiittle more indulgent. The recipe, from Heather Christo's Generous Table, includes fresh lemon zest, fresh lemon juice and a cup of buttermilk (the acid in the dairy helps tenderize the gluten in the batter, so the cake has a softer texture).

Get the recipe: Strawberry Lemonade Cake
Red Wine Velvet Cake

Photo: Gentl & Hyers

The Red Velvet Cake with a Secret
Rather than let an open bottle of red wine languish on the refrigerator shelf, blogger Deb Perelman, author of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, uses it in place of the usual food coloring in a red velvet cake. The result—a rich, fudgy marriage of chocolate and wine—will leave you hopeful for more leftover Pinot Noir in the near future.

Get the recipe: Red Wine Velvet Cake
Carrot Cake with Ginger Mascarpone Frosting

Photo: William Abranowicz

Carrot Cake, the Easy Way
God bless Ina Garten: Her version of the sweet and spiced favorite calls for frosting between the layers of the cake but not around the sides, eliminating a step that, for many of us, results in something that looks like a seventh-grade home-ec project. Throw some diced candied ginger on top, and you'll be sure to impress.

Get the recipe: Carrot Cake with Ginger Mascarpone Frosting

Next: 5 upgrades to create the best chocolate chip cookie ever