I Taste-Tasted 7 Publix Cakes—and One Was Pitch-Perfect (2024)

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Every cook has a grocery store preference. Publix is often favored in the South for its quality food, fresh produce, and incredible bakery. Amid the fluffy croissants, tender muffins, and tempting cookies, there's a secret. The cake selection at Publix bakery is beyond compare. Not only are its bakery items delicious, but they can be customized for a fraction of the price of other bakeries. And while it's important to save money, the best part of Publix's cakes is the taste.

As a bride on a budget long ago, I saw a picture of a gorgeous wedding cake decorated with a cascade of flowers. Knowing I didn't have much money for a cake, I ordered my cake from Publix. I met with the bakery manager and ordered a multi-layer buttercream and vanilla confection that I planned to decorate with flowers. It was delivered intact and couldn't have been more beautiful or tasty if I'd spent thousands. My cake even landed on the cover of the local wedding magazine for its unique style. Cracking into the top of that cake a year later on our anniversary was a pleasure.

For this taste test, I purchased a few festive options from my local Publix and ranked them from my least favorite to the best. All of the cakes were delicious and beautiful, and I wasn't disappointed in any of them.

Publix bakery is a treasure. If you don't have one near you, I'm sorry.


I Taste-Tasted 7 Publix Cakes—and One Was Pitch-Perfect (1)

Nutrition (Per Serving):
Calories: 270
Fat: 14 g (Saturated Fat: 9 g, Trans Fat: 0 g)
Sodium: 140 mg
Carbs: 33 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 23 g)
Protein: 2 g

A creamy, spongy dessert topped with fresh berries, the Chantilly cake was popularized by a different grocery store: Whole Foods Market. But the version at Publix is a work of beauty in its own right. This cake cost $25.99.

The look: The cake was almost old-fashioned, with icing swirled by hand in long, thick swoops on the sides. There was a dedicated tunnel for the ton of fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries that decorated the top. It looked like spring.

The taste: This cake gets love online, and I see why. It's a lighter confection, full of berries between the layers, and a whipped Chantilly-mascarpone cream frosting decorates the top. The reason this cake is at the bottom is a personal preference. Almond flavoring isn't my favorite, though I love it in sugar cookies. This Chantilly cake has notes of vanilla as well as almond and jammy, fresh fruit-filled layers.

One word of caution is necessary. I set the Chantilly cake down hard, and the layers collapsed. It's a light, airy cake requiring more delicate handling and refrigeration.

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Midnight Fudge Fantasy

I Taste-Tasted 7 Publix Cakes—and One Was Pitch-Perfect (2)

Nutrition (Per Serving):
Calories: 270
Fat: 12 g (Saturated Fat: 4 g, Trans Fat: 0 g)
Sodium: 150 mg
Carbs: 41 g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 29 g)
Protein: 3 g

This rich cake is loaded with chocolate, from the dense cake layers to the chocolate curls and fudge on the top. It costs $25.99 and serves eight to 10 people.

The look: The dark chocolate cake certainly lived up to its name. Four layers of moist chocolate cake (or vanilla, if you choose) were sandwiched with chocolate fudge icing. The whole cake was covered in it and then heavily sprinkled with chocolate curls. To finish it off, Publix added fudge rosettes and buttercream roses.

The look: Rich and thick with chocolate, this dessert cured my chocolate craving. The cake was fudgy and dense, and the icing got a nice boost from the crunch of the chocolate curls.

Sundae Fundae

I Taste-Tasted 7 Publix Cakes—and One Was Pitch-Perfect (3)

Nutrition (Per Serving):
Calories: 440
Fat: 7 g (Saturated Fat: 1 g, Trans Fat: 0 g)
Sodium: 500 mg
Carbs: 72 g (Fiber: 10 g, Sugar: 18 g)
Protein: 245 g

The quintessential birthday cake, the Sundae Fundae looks like a bowl of ice cream drizzled with chocolate fudge. The 7-inch round cost $39.99.

The look: This cake was a celebration, with bright birthday sprinkles, ice cream cones filled with extra icing, and chocolate fudge drizzled down the sides of its creamy exterior. It called to mind a giant ice cream sundae without the melting mess.

The look: The icing was the traditional Publix buttercream, and I chose chocolate and vanilla cake layers to make it more of a party. It was tender and flavorful. You can fill the cake with more sprinkles, making this the most festive dessert I tried.

Sundae Fundae is a good birthday option with flavor to please everyone in a crowd. Of course, Publix does an excellent job of typical birthday cakes and more specialized creations.

Banana Pudding Cake

I Taste-Tasted 7 Publix Cakes—and One Was Pitch-Perfect (4)

Nutrition information unavailable

The whipped topping and banana custard in this cake are reminiscent of the favorite Southern dessert. It's also a great deal for a cake that serves 6-8 people at $25.99.

The look: The cake was attractive—its skillfully iced exterior covered with a ring of Nilla wafers on the bottom. The top had a swirl of banana custard surrounded by circles of dried bananas and iced topping.

The taste: One of the newer cakes at Publix, this could have gone either way for me. Banana Pudding is one of my favorite desserts, and I couldn't imagine how that translated into a cake. Thankfully, Publix made a great one here, capturing that Nilla cookie flavor combined with creamy pudding and bananas. It tasted like the much-loved dessert—the cake reminiscent of one giant, soft cookie. The only downside was the dried bananas. I expect banana pudding to be one big, soft mush, and getting a dried banana provides an unwelcome crunch. It's to be understood, however, as you can't garnish a cake with fresh bananas as they brown quickly.

Chocolate Crisp

I Taste-Tasted 7 Publix Cakes—and One Was Pitch-Perfect (5)

Nutrition information unavailable

An explosion of chocolate, this cake is covered with sprinkles, candies and cookies. The stripes on the icing make it look even more custom. A 7" round serves 8-10 and is just $39.99.

The look: If we were judging on appearance alone, this cake would get high marks. It's a cacophony of chocolate with a striped, drizzled, and gilded exterior. It's topped with buttercream rosettes, rolled white and dark chocolate, and chocolate-covered sandwich cookies. Crunchy sprinkles ring the bottom. I opted to fill the cake with more sprinkles, which provided a fun surprise. When you cut into the cake, the middle was all sprinkles cascading out when I pulled a slice.

The taste: The sprinkles were more pleasant than I expected. Eating the cake was almost like having a crispy chocolate bar with just the right mouthfeel and crunch. Even though I chose to add extra sprinkles, there weren't too many.

The chocolate layer had the perfect amount of cocoa flavor. The chocolate-covered cookies and rolls on top just added to the decadence. It was well-balanced and satisfying.

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Strawberry & Peach Sensation

I Taste-Tasted 7 Publix Cakes—and One Was Pitch-Perfect (6)

Nutrition (Per Serving):
Calories: 250
Fat: 11 g (Saturated Fat: 6 g, Trans Fat: 0 g)
Sodium: 150 mg
Carbs: 35 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 27 g)
Protein: 3 g

Vanilla cake is encased in Bavarian cream and topped with lots of fruit for this elegant addition to your party. If you're serving six to eight people, they can enjoy all it for just $25.99.

The look: If you enjoy fruit, you'll love this cake from Publix. It's gorgeous, studded with kiwi, peaches, red grapes, and strawberries, and it's dusted with almond slices over bright white icing.

The taste: This cake had so much fresh fruit that it was a fruit-lover's dream. In addition to the generous portions of fruit topping, there was chopped-up fruit in the whipped cream icing. The cake itself tastes a bit like a trifle without the sherry, satisfyingly sweet without being too much.

Carrot Cake

I Taste-Tasted 7 Publix Cakes—and One Was Pitch-Perfect (7)

Nutrition (Per Serving):
Calories: 410
Fat: 24 g (Saturated Fat: 7 g, Trans Fat: 0 g)
Sodium: 300 mg
Carbs: 43 g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 33 g)
Protein: 3 g

You just can't beat the spice, carrots and nuts of this favorite. The cream cheese icing is just a bonus. This cake was a mini-size, serving 4-5 for $14.99. The full size serves eight and costs $25.99.

The look: This Publix classic carrot cake was decorated with a bright orange and green buttercream carrot piped on top of cream cheese icing, surrounded by a ring of fat, toasted pecans. Mine had ribbons of icing on the sides, and the texture made it look homemade.

The taste: Many people consider Publix carrot cake to be the best. Every year, I make homemade carrot cake for Easter. I'd put this version against mine, indicating how delicious I consider it. Publix's version has a rich, smooth cream cheese icing between four tender layers of cinnamon and spiced cake. If you have a nut allergy, this cake is not for you, but I loved the sprinkling of pecans through the batter and toasted whole pieces on the top.

This cake was the clear winner, scoring high points in taste, texture, appearance, and the challenge of perfecting a classic recipe.

The Publix bakery allows you to conveniently order online, with cakes ready in 24 hours for pickup. You can customize most of them with a few guided choices when you order, but the bakers seemed happy to create whatever combinations you can dream up. They're budget-friendly and beautiful, and you know what to expect from the high-quality website pictures.

If you're celebrating in the South, you can't go wrong with a cake from Publix bakery.

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I Taste-Tasted 7 Publix Cakes—and One Was Pitch-Perfect (2024)
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