This is a subtle cake: the coffee tempers the sweetness, and the buttery sweetness keeps it all mellow. Even if you don't make cakes, this one is a cinch. Don't be alarmed if the two sponge layers look thin when you unmold them. They are meant to be, because the cake gains a lot of height with its frosting. This cake is all about old-fashioned, homespun charm, so don't worry about how messy it looks: however the frosting goes on is fine. (Photo: Craig Lee for NYT)
Carrot cake with walnuts and a scrumptious vanilla cream cheese icing, a family-favourite dessert not only for Easter, but also all year round. It is beautifully moist, with a dense texture and a magnificent blend of spices that works very well with the sweetness of the cream cheese icing.