I have a budding baker at home, and while she aspires to make the Nerdy Nummies level cakes, her creations are often more like an episode of Nailed It: uneven layers, wonky frosting, and sprinkles everywhere. While my daughter is a little too young to bake cakes on her own, I have a handful of cake recipes that I think will be perfect for getting her started in a few years.
These 10 cakes are easy enough for first-time bakers, but they're also a good reminder for all home bakers that sometimes a simple cake can be just as satisfying as a multi-layered creation.
Sheet cakes are one of the easiest ways to bake a simple cake for a crowd. Master this one-bowl vanilla recipe and you can turn it into about a dozen other cakes.
That one-bowl cake above? It is totally transformed by simply taking it from a sheet cake to a Bundt cake. I love a Bundt cake because it looks extra fancy with minimal effort — the pan does most of the work.
Texas sheet cake is one of my favorite beginner cakes because it comes together quickly. You don't have to cool the cake before frosting, and the frosting is boiled (not creamed) so you don't have to stress about buttercream. Plus, this cake is incredibly tender and moist.
There are a few things to love about upside-down cake — namely, the bottom turns into the top and makes the cake look like you've spent hours decorating when you spent mere minutes. The cake is easy to whip up and hard to overmix. Plus, the topping uses canned pineapple so you can bake it any time of year.
Coffee cake has the air of classic coolness, creating the opportunity to impress your friends over a standard cup of coffee with an incredible cake. This one sounds complicated (marbled, nutty crumb) but I pinky promise that even a budding baker can make it!
Flourless chocolate cake is a recipe that every baker should have in their back pocket. It's ideal for impromptu dinner parties and potlucks alike. It requires minimal ingredients and promises fudgy cake with a crackled top.
A gluten-free cake that is moist, tender, and sticky? Sign me up for two slices. Gluten-free baking cake be finicky, so it is best to start with a recipe that is already gluten-free instead of trying to update an old recipe. This one is super flavorful and super easy to bake.
Here's the secret of drizzle cakes: Their drizzle topping moistens the cake and holds that moisture in place, so it is nearly impossible to make a dry cake. I love this one for the lemon's ability to balance the sometimes-cloying sweetness of the powdered sugar glaze.
You can't get through a whole list of beginner cakes without talking about the loaf cake. A cousin of pound cake, loaf cakes fall between a cake and a quick bread, presenting beautiful slices of cake that can be eaten plain or with a swipe of jelly. I love this olive oil cake for its easy, adorned top.
Admittedly this cake isn't as simple as some of the others, but the resulting cake is basically a chocolate-meets-peanut butter dream boat. In fact, I'm baking this one for a friend's birthday this weekend.