smoky caramel cake

Photo: Sarah Coates

Chocolate Cake That's Anything But Basic
The main request The Sugar Hit! blogger Sarah Coates gets from her readers is for what she calls showstopping cakes—big layer cakes, whether they're chocolate and dulce de leche, white chocolate and peppermint or any other brilliant flavor combo. The current number-one showstopper is a rich, chocolate layer cake made with buttermilk (so it's tender and moist), frosted with a Swiss meringue buttercream and drizzled with salted caramel. That alone is enough to thrill readers, but what takes this cake to another level is the smoky sea salt Coates (whose book, The Sugar Hit!, has even more showstoppers) uses to season the caramel, which, in turn, flavors the frosting.

Get the recipe: Smoky Salted Caramel-Chocolate Layer Cake
white rose cake

Photo: Thalia Ho

A Lovely Dessert with Not-So-Secret Admirers
One reader asked if she could marry it. Another said it was so beautiful she might cry. Thalia Ho, who writes the blog Butter and Brioche, created her crystallized white rose cake with Valentine's Day in mind, and it certainly inspired her readers to pour on the love. There's no question the dessert is worthy: It's a white cake scented with rose and vanilla; the frosting is a rose buttercream that Ho tints three different shades of pink to create an ombré effect; and, the finishing touch is a smattering of roses she brushes with egg whites and sprinkles with sugar. We're in love, too.

Get the recipe: Crystallized White Rose Cake
olive oil brownie cookie

Photo: Katie Wahlman

The Most Requested Cookie Ever
Katie Wahlman, of Butterlust, calls these "friend-making cookies," but that's really an understatement. They're the number-one favorite recipe among both her friends and her blog followers, combining that addictive, salty-sweet taste with a rich, moist texture. She says she once took a double batch to a party that her then-new boyfriend's friends were throwing. She wanted to make a good impression, and she sure did. The cookies were huge crowd-pleasers, and Wahlman says she's gotten mandates to bring them to "every. single. party. since."

Get the recipe: Olive Oil and Sea Salt Brownie Cookies
peanut butter jam cake

Photo: Lyndsay Sung

A Cake That Might Make You Weep with Joy
Lyndsay Sung, who writes the blog Coco Cake Land, happily makes herself a new birthday cake each year, then shares the recipe with her readers. They went bonkers for last year's: a chocolate, peanut butter and jam creation, with peanut butter frosting, raspberry jam filling, a layer of Swiss-meringue raspberry buttercream and Sung's current favorite cake look: drippy chocolate sliding down the sides ("like happy chocolate tears," she writes).

Get the recipe: Drip, Drip Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Jam Cake
macadamia nut pie

Photo: Heather Christo

A Drool-Worthy Chocolate Pie
When Heather Christo posted a chocolate pie recipe on her eponymous blog right before Christmas, she had a feeling it would be a hit. The crust is made from coconut and macadamia nuts, there's a thick layer of coconut ganache (with shredded coconut in it), then caramel, another layer of plain ganache and, finally, some toasted coconut and chopped macadamia nuts on top. It's not difficult to make, and it happens to be gluten-, dairy-, egg- and soy-free. Her gut feeling turned out to be right. Among the comments: "I think I just drooled a little."

Get the recipe: Coconut-Macadamia Nut-Caramel Chocolate Pie

Photo: Ella Woodward

Brownies That Inspire
A deep, dark chocolate brownie can do much more than put a smile on someone's face, as Ella Woodward learned when she posted this recipe on her blog, Deliciously Ella. Making the fudgy treats—which she enlivens with orange zest and covers with a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth almond-butter icing—moved some readers to write to Woodward, telling her that simply preparing these brownies got them to move outside their comfort zones and get more creative in the kitchen (a sweet moment for any blogger!).

Get the recipe: Raw Chocolate-Orange Brownies

Photo: Nikki Dinki

Apple Pie with a Wow Factor
As soon as blogger Nikki Dinki put her recipe for tarte tatin—which she calls apple pie with a "gooier, chewier and more flavorful crust"—on her site, she got immediate requests (er, demands) from three different friends to make it for them the next time they got together. When you serve this dessert, she says, "people go, 'Wow!,' and you look like a culinary mastermind." She's got us convinced.

Get the recipe: Caramel-Apple Tarte Tatin

Photo: Nik Sharma

A Reminder That Change Can Be Great
Nik Sharma, of A Brown Table, knows how lovable carrot cakes are: They're simple and rustic "yet absolutely delicious." He couldn't help tinkering with tradition, though, and when he flavored the classic with chai, he knew he'd struck gold. The warm spices—he used cardamom, ginger and cinnamon—are a perfect complement to the sweet carrot. One more switch: Nik skipped the vanilla flavor in the cream cheese frosting in favor of pistachio. His readers loved it and it's one of his most popular recipes to date.

Get the recipe: Masala-Chai Carrot Cake