4 Deliciously Unexpected Cake Recipes That'll Win You Over

Peanut butter and jelly, cinnamon and sugar, strawberries and chocolate – these are classic flavor pairings we all know taste amazing together. Sometimes though, completely surprising ingredients make outstanding combinations – French fries dipped in a chocolate shake, anyone? (Trust me… It’s the bomb.)

If you’re craving a unique cake, Michelle Lopez shares pages of recipes on her blog, Hummingbird High. While you can certainly find the more ordinary options, such as chocolate sheet cake or marble pound cake, most of her goodies are a blend of unexpected flavors.

We are not talking crazy, exotic ingredients. These are fruits, spices, and other foods you either have in your fridge or pantry right now, or can pick up at your neighborhood market on your way home. They are simply items most of us have never considered matching up. This sampling of the dozens of cake recipes on the blog will give you a better idea:

Chocolate and Earl Grey London Fog Layer Cake

With so many delectable flavors in this cake, it is difficult to choose a favorite combination, but they all work beautifully together.

First, there is the cake itself. The chocolate is enhanced with notes of vanilla, almond, and good, strong coffee. The buttercream frosting is next, beginning with a standard base of sugar, butter, egg whites and vanilla but then ramped up with loose leaf Earl Grey tea.

Although the butter and tea mixture are strained, some bits of tea leaves remain to impart a pretty appearance and delightful flavor. When you consider that Earl Grey is black tea infused with oil from bergamot orange zest, the combination makes delicious sense as chocolate and citrus are a pleasant pairing (think those orange-flavored chocolates sold during the holidays).

You can take it a step further by drizzling caramel sauce over the frosted cake. And when it comes to cake, you should always take it a step further.

Orange Thyme Upside Down Cake

If you’re like me, when you think of using thyme, you think of roasting a chicken. Surprisingly, the subtle aroma and floral, woodsy flavor of the herb goes quite well with citrus. It brings out the bright essence of the fruit.

What is also deliciously unexpected about this treat is the use of oranges. This dessert is made with thin orange slices baked right in. Not only is it gorgeous to behold, it also tastes amazing.

Although the recipe calls for an assortment of blood oranges and navel oranges, Michelle notes that the blood oranges are often bitter, which is wonderful if you appreciate a sweet and sour combo. If your preference leans toward something sweeter, you can swap the blood oranges for clementines or another sugary citrus fruit. Simply cut a bit of the sugar from the topping to balance the sweetness.

Toasted Sesame and Sweetened Condensed Milk Bundt Cake

My mom always made Bundt cakes, especially for potlucks and guests. She had a variety of Bundt pans in all sorts of designs, from the standard tubular type to intricate wreaths, flowers, and geometric patterns. I loved the appearance of these cakes and assumed that was why she made them. When discussing this with her as an adult, I learned that she actually made them because they were easier. No layers to frost or decorative icing required. She’s not wrong!

This Bundt cake is definitely lovely to look at, but the flavor combination will really capture your attention. You might think sesame seeds are best reserved for savory ethnic dishes or hamburger buns, but the delicate, nutty taste and slight crunch of toasted sesame seeds can in fact be the ideal addition to a light and sweet cake such as this one.

Combine the seeds (and a bit of toasted sesame oil) with the sweet, mild, slightly nostalgic flavor of sweetened condensed milk, and you have a cake that is surprisingly yummy. Oh, and did I mention the chocolate glaze? Because there’s chocolate glaze, too. Scrumptious.

Pomegranate Citrus Meringue Cake

If the orange upside down cake piqued your interest, I’ll bet you’ll drool over this confection as well.

The moist vanilla cake lets the frostings and fillings play a starring role. The inclusion of pomegranate juice adds a subtly tart flavor and gorgeously pink hue to the buttercream frosting. Sweet, creamy, tangy lemon curd spread between the layers will awaken your taste buds. Finally, crisp bits of meringue add a wonderful texture and sweet taste to the mix.

As Michelle suggests, you will want to make and eat this cake on the same day so you can enjoy the crunchy crumbles of meringue nestled between the delicious layers of cake and curd.

Next time you want to bake a cake, be a little brave, step outside of your comfort zone and try a unique combination of flavors. You never know, it might just become your new favorite.

What are some of your favorite surprising flavor combinations? Share with us!

Tags : recipes   desserts   cakes   

Maya Slavin
Omg. Every single one looks amazing.
Elodie Nilsson
They all look so amazing