There are many different varieties of cakes that fall into several different categories. This is based upon the baking process and the techniques that are implemented in making them, the pans used and the ingredients that are contained within them. The broad scope of different cake varieties can be broken down into five main categories.
These cakes are the most traditional cakes and emanate from the oldest known recipes. They do have a striking similarity to other baked goods, like yeast breads. Some very common yeast cakes that you may already know about include delectable pastries such as babka, stolen and nutella.
While the name of these types of cakes alludes to cake, they are not really cake; they are actually custard, or custard pies. Cheesecakes are made using cheese fillings, most often cream cheeses. However, other cheeses such as ricotta or mascarpone can also be used when making them. They do not contain any yeast or flour in their ingredients, but sometimes the crust may have flour or yeast in it. The ancestry of cheesecakes has been traced back all the way to the days of the Greek empire—where honey cheese cakes were a delicacy.
Many culinary historians denote that sponge cakes are the first cakes to be created that did not use yeast in them. Rather, by using potable ingredients such as eggs – most often beaten eggs or egg whites – they are able to produce a baked mass that is similar to cakes that have leavening. Modern day sponge cakes sometimes will incorporate instant leavening or even baking soda to ensure that the cake rises as desired when baked. Aside from the classic sponge cake, other cakes are made from sponge cake, such as jelly rolls or Swiss rolls.
These types of cakes are very popular and tend to be hearty and rich, too. Some common butter cakes that you may already know about include cakes such as devil’s food cake or pound cake. They are called butter cakes because their recipes call for a mixture of fresh butter and eggs. Sometimes instant leavening is used, such as baking soda or powdered instant yeast, to help the cake rise and add more texture and moisture to it.
Originally introduced in the early 1940s to store shelves across the United States, box mixed cakes have come leaps and bounds since their initial heyday. Nowadays, one can easily find an abundance of premixed cake batters that only require nominal ingredients be added in order to produce a nearly perfect cake. Most often they only require water, butter (and or vegetable oil) and eggs to be added. Food scientists have nearly perfected the method of making a cake via a boxed mix, and nearly any variety can be found in the box on most grocery store shelves during the modern day.