One-Bowl Baking

Memorize This One-Bowl Cake Recipe (Then Make It Your Own)

February  8, 2016

Who doesn’t need an easy little cake to nibble with a cup of tea?

You can frost this one with chocolate or use it to make an easy layer cake, shortcake, or trifle... or splash with juice, syrup, or liqueurs and top with whipped cream and fruit. Or simply add flavorful seeds—poppy, toasted sesame, caraway, or anise—or grated citrus zest, almond extract, freshly grated nutmeg, saffron, and/or ground cardamom.

Experiment by adding matcha or by trading a small portion (start with 1/4 cup) of the all-purpose flour for an equal amount of another, more flavorful flour such as corn flour, oat flour, chestnut flour, or buckwheat flour.

Photo by Julia Gartland

Some guidelines for adding flavors:

  • Seeds: 1 teaspoon or less of aromatic seeds such as caraway, fennel, or anise, or as much as 3 to 4 tablespoons poppy seeds or toasted sesame seeds.

  • Citrus: Grate the zest of a medium orange or large lemon directly into the bowl to catch the spray of fragrant oil as well as zest; you can add 1 teaspoon orange flower water with the orange zest, or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract with the lemon zest.

  • Cardamom: Crushed seeds from 3 or 4 pods or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • Saffron: 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed and sprinkled over the cream a few minutes before using

How would you flavor this simple cake? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Patricia Geary
    Patricia Geary
  • Melissa
  • Hemz7781
  • Shelley Matheis
    Shelley Matheis
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).


Patricia G. February 13, 2016
My Mom made this for us kiddies in the 1950's called it a Lazy Daisy cake. She would make and bake in a flash, surprising us while watching I Love Lucy.....called it a Lazy Daisy cake. Happy memories, I had lot the recipe this is IT Me thinks.....
Melissa February 8, 2016
Do you have any advice for adding fresh fruit (like cranberries) to this recipe? I was thinking of making an orange cranberry version. Thanks!
Shelley M. February 12, 2016
I think dried cranberries might work better.
Hemz7781 February 8, 2016
Does this double easily?