5 of our best Southern cake recipes for your next birthday — or for no occasion at all

Mackensy Lunsford
Southern Kitchen

What's a Southern table without dessert? Half naked, that's what. Here are some of our readers' favorite cake recipes. They're a perfect crowning touch to any special meal but perfectly suited to nights when there's nothing to celebrate at all. 

'Best Banana Cake'

We accidentally got rid of this cake recipe in our transition to our new website. Readers let us know immediately. Here it is in all its glory. 

This banana cake is easy to make and frost

Some banana cake can be cloying but in this version, buttermilk and lemon juice add a little tang and also contribute to the moist texture. 

Get the recipe.

Pineapple upside-down cake

The original recipe used canned pineapple, but our recipe testers suggested using fresh instead. If you follow the instructions carefully, you'll end up with a flavorful cake with a light, tender crumb.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

We used White Lily brand for the self-rising flour. You can replace the self-rising flour with cake flour in a pinch.

Get the recipe.

Classic Red Velvet cake

Maybe it’s the eye-popping red color, but something about Red Velvet cake generates excitement. This is a traditional recipe, complete with cream cheese frosting. 

Anne Byrn's Red Velvet Cake

You can forgo the food coloring and let the natural chemical reaction of the acidic and basic ingredients determine the color of the cake, but it might not be as red as you'd like. Get the recipe.

Anne Byrn’s Devil’s Food cake

Chocolate cake can be deeply personal. This one is a Southern Kitchen favorite.

Anne Byrne's Devil's Food Cake

It's deeply chocolatey, dark and dense, according to cookbook author Anne Byrn. It's also well worth the effort which, frankly, isn't too much considering the result. You should be able to make this gorgeous cake in just a couple of hours.

Get the recipe.

Classic Southern caramel cake

This ultra-classic Southern layer cake is, honestly, a bit complicated. But with patience and practice, you can pull off a stunner of a dessert.

Classic Southern Caramel Cake

Read the recipe carefully and follow all of the directions regarding time and temperatures. Your life will be made much easier with a reliable candy or instant-read thermometer, as well as a stand mixer. Get the recipe here

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Mackensy Lunsford covers food policy, restaurants, agriculture and other food-related topics for the USA TODAY Network's South Region. She's the editor of Southern Kitchen and correspondent for The American South. Sign up for my newsletter here.

Reach me: mlunsford@southernkitchen.com