This is the book I reach for first whenever it's someone's birthday, so by now I've made at least half of the cakes in this book. So far none of the recipes have failed me, and most of them are really simple despite multiple components. This book makes gorgeous, multi-layer cakes accessible to the home baker. A few faves:
Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake (p. 46) - the "secret ingredient" (mayo) makes the cake incredibly moist, while the frosting is super fudgy and the white chocolate mousse filling is really unique.
Sour Cream Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze (p. 62) - this cake was ridiculously rich and absolutely divine. I took it to a party and it was devoured in about 10 minutes.
Peach Melba Cake with Raspberry Cream (p. 79) - Perfect for spring or summer. The recipe has you make peach and raspberry puree syrups to flavor the filling, so you can use the extra to do a fancy drizzle on the plates when serving.
Triple Lemon Chiffon Cake (p. 112) - light and fluffy lemon chiffon cake filled with lemon curd and frosted with homemade lemon whipped cream. Another great spring/summer option.
Almond Raspberry Cake (p. 122) - Sweet and simple. The cake has a really nice crumb and tastes like marzipan.
Gingerbread Beer Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting (p. 136) - this cake sounds really bizarre at first, containing beer, mustard, and a whole bunch of spices, but it actually works really well.