Seven types of cake and how to tell them apart

Cakes are almost everyone’s favourite dessert and you can almost always identify one by just a glance. You can tell it’s a cake even if it’s just a slice, a full piece straight from the mould, or even when it’s in a cup to contain its consistency. 

However, can you tell exactly what kind of cake it is even upon close inspection? There are many types of cake but the following seven are the most common while other kinds are just subtypes or a new kind inspired by an existing type. Here is a list and the unique properties of each:

Sponge cake

The most common type of cake is the sponge cake available in almost any bakeries. It’s easy to make and the consistency is hard enough to be shaped into various carvings. Sponge is the most popular type for custom cake sculptures or cheap birthday desserts. 

Butter cake

Unlike sponge cakes, butter cakes are a lot more moist and fluffy. Making them too big can cause them to break so Dripples serve them in small servings like snacks. They are more popular with just butter as the main ingredient but they can also be paired with chocolate or fruits to form a flavourful piece of pastry. 

Chiffon cake

Chiffon cakes are a cross between sponge and butter cake as it uses butter as the main ingredient. The difference is that it’s baker beats the dough a lot more rigorously to make the consistency a lot more loose than the sponge cake. As a result, it’s a lot more absorbent so icing can’t be added but it’s great for a light snack. 


Instead of looking or feeling like bread, cheesecakes are almost entirely made of thick baked cream cheese. It will have a crust to hold its consistency more like a pie than a cake and also filled with usually salty fillings. Cheesecake still uses flour but sometimes it’s replaced by cornstarch. 

Flourless cake

Flourless cakes are a type of pastry that aren’t actually cooked traditionally like cakes. They are just considered to belong in that category as it is usually formed that way. They are similar to cheesecake but the consistency is a lot more unstable so they are typically served flat on plates and with extra thick consistency. 

Mousse cake

Mousse cakes have a consistency that is a lot more loose than cheesecake as it uses thickened cream. Although it’s softer, it can be bigger and neatly shaped into a round cake. Despite its name, it can be more categorised as a large serving of chocolate. 

Meringue cake 

While most cakes are defined by the body, meringue cakes are more identified by the icing wrapped around it. Meringue is a solution made from egg whites used to be either fillings between layers or coatings around a sponge cake. For  more moste cakes, they can also serve as a way to mould them into larger desserts.

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