Cake Recipes: How to Bake with Fresh, Seasonal Ingredients

A collection of recipes for cakes that use fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Spring and summer bring an abundance of produce from the garden, orchard and farmers' markets: fruits, berries, vegetables, and nuts but also eggs and other dairy products.

At times you might feel overwhelmed with the glut of fresh food all at once. There's so much to do, and after awhile you might get tired of berries or peaches or whatever is in season.

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One of my husband's favorite uses for the abundance of eggs we have in the spring and summer is angel food cake. I don't make it nearly as often as he'd like, mostly because I HATE cleaning the pan. If you grease the pan, the cake batter can't grab the sides of the pan and climb to the heights expected of angel food. You can't soak the pan after baking because it's a two-piece pan that allows water to escape. You have to use a two-piece pan or you'll never get the cake out in one piece. And on it goes, my litany of excuses.

I admit, it's a great use of eggs though. And after you make an angel food cake and have a dozen or so egg yolks left over, you make noodles. Right?

So I started thinking of other cakes that use up some of our excess. Other than angel food, I like making cakes occasionally. They're relatively easy to whip up, and they are a nice change of pace for using up some of our seasonal abundance. Homemade cakes are also free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives because they're made from scratch with natural ingredients.

Be sure to leave a comment at the end of this post and tell me which of these made-from-scratch cake recipes you plan to make using seasonal and good-for-you ingredients.

Just FYI, I don't hate bundt cake pans quite as much as I hate angel food cake pans. At least they'll hold water so I can soak them if needed!

Cakes with apples

A collection of cakes that use fresh, seasonal ingredients from expected to the unexpected.

Our apple trees are loaded again this year. Hubby and I aren't fans of applesauce so I struggle to find ways to use and preserve all those apples. Lisa at The Self-Sufficient HomeAcre turned her wild apples into applesauce, then used the applesauce to make this delicious homemade applesauce cake with maple cream cheese frosting.

Spiced Apple Cake from Piwakawaka Valley, used with permission.

This Spiced Apple Cake from Piwakawaka Valley in New Zealand can be made gluten free or not; Dana gives substitutions for both the regular flour and the oats that are used in the original recipe. Dana baked this cake in her woodstove but there are oven-baked directions as well.

Cakes with berries

A collection of cakes that use fresh, seasonal ingredients from expected berries and peaches to the unexpected.

Michelle at SoulyRested forages blueberries every summer on her New England homestead. This recipe from her grandmom is just one of the ways she uses them. The melt-in-your-mouth blueberry cake is baked in cast iron.

Sally writes that she wanted a strawberry-flavored cake with strawberry-flavored frosting without using any artificial flavors. She finally came up with the best method to achieving the perfect strawberry cake - not just strawberry frosting, but strawberry flavor in the cake batter itself. Watch her make this cake on video at Sally's Baking Addiction.

Cakes with beets (yes, really)

A collection of cakes that use fresh, seasonal ingredients from expected to the unexpected.

Beets lend natural color to this chocolate beetroot cake from Adamant Kitchen. This is actually a red velvet cake without artificial food coloring. I think you'll enjoy the interesting history in this post as well as the recipe.

Cakes with grapes

Grape Coffee Cake with Crumble Topping l Breakfast Recipe l Homestead

Grapes in a cake? Cake for breakfast? Well, why not. Any color grapes will work in this grape coffee cake with crumble topping that makes a special breakfast from Homestead Lady.

Cakes with peaches

A collection of cakes that use fresh, seasonal ingredients from expected to the unexpected.

Richi at Three Friends and a Fork recommends Alabama's Chilton County peaches for this Peachy Keen Glazed Pound Cake. This cake uses plenty of butter and eggs and, of course, peaches. Sometimes I wish I had a dairy cow so we could have as much butter and cream as we could ever want.

Cakes with flowers

Spring Flower Natural Confetti Cake Recipe l Homestead

This natural confetti cake from Homestead Lady uses foraged flowers (and maybe some from your garden too).  Even though the flowers aren't as bright and colorful as a box of "confetti cake mix" fraught with artificial colors, this natural cake is still pretty enough for a tea party or a summer picnic.

Cakes with zucchini (and carrots if you have them)

Carrot zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting from The Self-Sufficient HomeAcre. Photo used with permission.

You'll enjoy Lisa's story about how this carrot zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting came to be, and why it has zucchini in it.

Cakes with rhubarb

Full Rhubarb Upside Down Cake; photo used with permission.

Rhubarb is a hardy perennial that will withstand the stomping of little boys' feet and keep growing. How do I know? My daughter has a plant or two in a spot that used to be a garden but is now her children's play yard. In spite of those little boys' abuse the plant comes back every spring.

This rhubarb upside down cake is how Ashley enjoys rhubarb at Adamant Kitchen.

Rhubarb Cake - The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

Lisa makes rhubarb cake and tops it with rhubarb sauce as well. She gives the recipes for both in her post, plus some additional uses for the rhubarb sauce.

Cakes with citrus fruit

Moist citrus cake infused with white rum glaze from Homemade Zagat, used with permission.

While you might not have citrus fruit on your homestead unless you live in Florida or California or some other warm-wintered place, this Citrus Rum Cake from Renz at Homemade Zagat looks scrumptious. (The only rum is in the glaze.)

Cakes with pumpkin and pecans

Katharine at Home's Cool uses pumpkin and pecans in her Pumpkin Upside-Down Cake. You can substitute pineapple and maraschino cherries for the pecans if you'd prefer a more traditional upside-down cake.


Honey is a homestead product too, if you're fortunate enough to have a hive or two. Use some of that sweet goodness to make this chocolate honey cake from Homestead Lady and celebrate Winnie-the-Pooh Day (or any day).

Homestead cakes: a collection of recipes that use fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Fresh Milk and Eggs

Julie at The Farm Wife is lucky enough to have a Jersey cow (and I'm a bit jealous). She uses the abundance of milk to make butter, yogurt, cream and so much more. Her post has a link to a strawberry shortcake recipe that she tops with fresh homemade whipped cream. Yum!

Farm fresh eggs make the best cakes - and I've been told that duck eggs are even better in baked goods than chicken eggs. Angel food cake is a great way to use up a dozen eggs at a time (or almost a dozen, depending on the recipe you use. I use this light and fluffy angel food cake recipe from Allrecipes).

If you're still frantically trying to use up fresh eggs in the spring and summer, here are a few more suggestions: How to Use All Those Homestead Eggs and Six Ways to Preserve a Surplus of Eggs.

All of these luscious cake recipes contain good-for-you ingredients and no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. You can feel good about occasionally serving cake again.

This post and the images below contain affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here


A collection of cakes that use fresh, seasonal ingredients.

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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  1. What a lovely collection! Makes me want to start a bakery! Thanks!

    1. I know! They all sound so good and are so pretty too.

  2. I love this! I can make all of these using things I've grown. Now I need that noodle recipe!

    1. LOL, Michelle. The noodle recipe will be coming soon. :-)

  3. I can't wait to try some of these! Thanks for including my peach cake.

    1. I'm sure you'll love them all, Lori.

  4. Oh my goodness, Kathi. What a fantabulous selection of creating cakes with bountiful fruits =) P.s. Visiting via April's Hearth and Soul Party.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! Don't they all look fantastic?

  5. Everything looks so yummy!

    1. Thank you, Cristina - I agree!

  6. I love Angel Food Cake too - I need to make one again soon! Thank you so much for sharing this lovely collection of cakes with us at Hearth and Soul, Kathi.

    1. Well, April, eggs are plentiful and cheap in the spring, so go for it and enjoy!

  7. You tempt me! I'm trying to eat healthy right now, but each and every one of those look so delicious. The berries and apples make them all good for you, right? :) Thanks for sharing on the Waste Less Wednesday Blog Hop.

    1. You're right - the "good stuff" makes them good for you. ;-)

  8. These all look and sound great, but especially that strawberry chamomile cake! I make one similar to the spiced apple cake and it is SO GOOD!

    1. Thank you for the recommendation on the spiced apple cake! I'm really looking forward to making the strawberry chamomile cake, it sounds delicious.

  9. These all sound wonderful - I love baking cakes so might make one later now you have given me some new ideas! Possibly some sort of pumpkin cake as I Have a few in store that need cooking soon #WasteLessWednesday

    1. I hope you'll give one a try. How nice to still have a couple of pumpkins in storage.

  10. You know how I feel about local and seasonal ingredients, Kathy! I'm so glad you shared this post with us at Hearth and Soul once again - it's very timely! I'm featuring it at this week's Hearth and Soul Link Party. Hope to see you there!

  11. Hi Kathi,

    These cake recipes look oh so delicious! The beet cake gave me an idea for a "dye-free" red velvet cake recipe! Very intriguing. I also wanna try that zucchini and carrot cake recipe. It's like a "natural version" fun-fetti cake, haha! :)

    Thanks for linking up with us on the Homestead Blog Hop!


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