Cakes that are no-fuss and fast to make, but absolutely deliver on the delicious when they come out of the oven? And, as a bonus, cut down on the washing up? Yes, we’ll have a piece of that, thank you!
“For years we all slaved away creaming butter and sugar and then we realised… you can actually create light airy cakes with just a bowl and a spoon. No tricky techniques or special equipment and a fraction of the cleaning up!” says Donna Hay, when SBS Food chats to her about the appeal of one-bowl bakes, such as her ultimate one-bowl chocolate cake from Fast, Fresh, Simple.
“Baking at its best is quite a science and you do need to be a bit OCD about the details. But… there are loads of simple batters that can be made in one bowl.”
She’s in good company in her appreciation of one-bowl cakes: We’ve sieved through our recipes and found our best brilliant one-bowl (or saucepan!) bakes, from Paul West’s yoghurt cake that’s “a cinch to throw together” to a chocolate chilli cake that was the result of a kitchen mistake.
Make a date with this Moroccan chocolate cake
Dates, nuts and chocolate come together in this meringue-like Moroccan chocolate cake. Serve with ice-cream, berries, chocolate sauce… or enjoy the crunchy-cakey chocolate creation just as it is!
Silvia’s saucepan cake
Yep, Silvia Colloca’s apricot and olive oil cake (torta all’olio e albicocche) uses no bowls at all – the batter for this lovely Italian dessert cake, which she describes as “super fluffy”, is made in a saucepan.
Donna Hay's all-in-one apple and blueberry cake
"I absolutely love this easy apple and blueberry cake. Firstly because it reminds me of my grandmother who taught me how to cook and secondly because the cake ingredients are all in one bowl of an electric mixer, whipped up really simply and topped with apples and blueberries. It's absolutely perfect," Hay says in Fast, Fresh, Simple, where she makes this easy fruit cake, lovely served with ice-cream or thick cream.
Condensed milk and corn? Oh yes!
Sweet Mexican corn cake (pastel de elote) pairs juicy fresh corn with condensed milk, for a moist, deliciously dense-yet-custardy cake. The juicier your corn kernels, the more custardy your cake will be – sometimes even forming a silky layer on the bottom.
Might remind you of your grandma
Charlotte Ree says baking - especially recipes such as her apple tea cake - reminds her of cooking with her grandmother. "My recipes are classic easy bakes. Think back to your childhood and the recipes that our grandparents used to make... a simple tea cake! Nanny used to be able to whip one up and have it fresh on the table within 40 minutes."
Chocolate all the way with Donna Hay
Donna Hay’s ultimate one-bowl chocolate cake is a decadent bake where the results are rich but the recipe is simple.
Cake to have with a cuppa
“This cake is a cinch to throw together and is my go-to cake if I need something to have with a cuppa,” says Paul West of this lovely moist yoghurt cake. He serves his with stewed strawberries, but you could just as easily serve it with fresh fruit and cream.
For when pears are plentiful
This ricotta, maple and pear cake includes a recipe for making your own ricotta. But you could also buy some fresh ricotta and whip up this lovely simple tea cake, so we feel it has earned its place on our one-bowl hero list.
Cake? Bread? Loaf? Let’s just call it delicious
“Unbelievably easy” cake by mistake
“This chocolate cake is unbelievably easy to make. It came about through a bungled attempt by one of my chefs to make a cake. Mumbled, distracted instructions produced an unorthodox technique which gave rise to a brilliantly simple cake recipe (mix it all together in one bowl and bake it!). I'm really glad I said, 'Bake it, let's see what happens,' to that particular error,” says Emma Grazette of this chocolate cake with chilli, salt and tequila.
Gabriel Gaté’s cherry and hazelnut cake
All the cakes above are lovely just as they are, sans icing, or with a dollop of cream or mascarpone. But if you can stretch to washing up just one extra tiny bowl or mug, here's another suggestion: Gateau aux cerises et aux noisettes sounds fancy and looks lovely, but it’s actually very easy to make. You can use fresh or jarred cherries, too, making it a good option all year round. The extra bowl is simply whatever you use to heat a couple of tablespoons of jam, to brush over the top of the cake once it comes out of the oven.
The base recipe for these easy muffins is so versatile - If you've got bananas in your fruit bowl you can add a cup of chopped banana, or add some chopped, fresh mango if it's summer and sprinkle them with coconut. The possibilities are endless.
Giving new meaning to the idiom 'a piece of cake', this molten masterpiece will withstand any excuse for not making cake.