The 20 best easy cake recipes | Cake

I have a secret confession to make. I have (whisper it) yet to bake a cake. But now I have no excuse. Presenting 20 sublime, simple recipes to make you and me into a Prue or Paul. We have the buttercream of the cake-baking world: Jeremy Lee, Yotam Ottolenghi, Benjamina Ebuehi. There’s Meera Sodha’s salted miso brownies, Nigella Lawson’s birthday custard sponge, Anna Jones’s cardamom and carrot cake. There are cupcakes, sheet bakes, strawberry and cream cakes. And they are all, honestly, easy. I might have to buy an apron. It’s nearly time for tea. Ready. Steady. Bake!

These citrussy little bakes are perfect for any special occasion.

Kate’s rye chocolate cupcakes with orange frosting.
Kate’s rye chocolate cupcakes with orange frosting. Photograph: Kate Whitaker

Zesty and wonderfully simple to create – try serving it as a pud with rhubarb and custard.

Yoghurt, almond and honey cake Jeremy Lee OFM Easy Baking Supplement Photography and prop styling: Kate Whitaker Food styling: Jules Mercer
Yoghurt, almond and honey cake. Photograph: Kate Whitaker

Syrup-sweet and golden little cakes, with citrus overtones, to cheer any afternoon tea break.

Orange and poppy seed cakes.
Orange and poppy seed cakes. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

A fresh and summery bake, inspired by the aromatic flavours of Indian sweets.

Mango mithai cake.
Mango mithai cake. Photograph: Kate Whitaker

This simplest of traybakes, packing a coconut punch, really delivers on the comfort-food front.

Coconut sheet cake.
Coconut sheet cake. Photograph: Edd Kimber

The ricotta gives this hassle-free bake a moist, creamy depth, complemented by mood-lifting lemon.

Ricotta and lemon ring cake.
Ricotta and lemon ring cake. Photograph: Kate Whitaker

A fudgy, sweet and salty showstopper to add the wow factor to any party table.

Tahini cake with lemon and white chocolate.
Tahini cake with lemon and white chocolate. Photograph: Patricia Niven

A versatile recipe that makes a moist teatime loaf but works equally well as a mini cake.

Simple banana cake.
Simple banana cake. Photograph: Kate Whitaker

A cake full of the flavours of a summer afternoon tea, rounded off by a rich, almondy kick.

Strawberries and cream cake.
Strawberries and cream cake. Photograph: Kate Whitaker

Little crowdpleasers, easily adapted to suit all diets, these are super-moist and packed with goodness.

Cardamom and carrot cakes with maple icing.
Cardamom and carrot cakes with maple icing. Photograph: TBC – Molly?

Richly infused with the author’s childhood memories, this simple and fruity pound cake is an everyday treat.

Speedy apple cake.
Speedy apple cake. Photograph: Anja Dunk

A caffeine-rich loaf, simply embellished with icing and a scattering of walnuts – just add a cup of tea.

Espresso loaf cake with burnt butter and coffee icing.
Espresso loaf cake with burnt butter and coffee icing. Photograph: Kate Whitaker

No need to stress over decorating this bake – let a bundt tin do the work. Just add a dollop of boozy cream before eating.

Almond cinnamon cake with Irish cream.
Almond cinnamon cake with Irish cream. Photograph: Kate Whitaker/The Observer

The decorating is as easy as the baking in this custard-flavoured celebration cake.

Birthday custard sponge.
Birthday custard sponge. Photograph: James Merrell

This cake, packing a punch with ground hazelnuts, works warm or cool – and it’s best eaten within a day.

Hazelnut, peach and raspberry cake.
Hazelnut, peach and raspberry cake. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

The miso gives this dense, fudgy and chocolately traybake classic its extra oomph.

Salted miso brownies.
Salted miso brownies. Photograph: David Loftus

A blast from the past for those who remember the 70s – and a fruity, spongey treat for newcomers to the bake.

Retro-fantastic pineapple upside-down cake.
Retro-fantastic pineapple upside-down cake. Photograph: David Loftus

Another retro traybake, its jam liberally dusted with coconut and served from the tin, makes an ideal ending to a picnic.

Jam sheet cake for outside.
Jam sheet cake for outside. Photograph: Kate Whitaker

Chocolate cake is always a great pick-me-up – and one with stout as a main ingredient is even better.

Stout and chocolate cake with toasted oats.
Stout and chocolate cake with toasted oats. Photograph: Sam Folan

Warm and welcoming, this sticky, spicy treat works will cheer any cold walker after a long stretch outside.

Rich dark ginger cake.
Rich dark ginger cake. Photograph: Kate Whitaker

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