10 Easy, Fancy One-Layer Cakes

published Apr 11, 2018
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A slice of yogurt cake topped with honey and strawberry slices
(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Two- or three-layer cakes are all well and good, but it’s hard to argue with the ease of a one-layer cake. While usually thought to be humble and homey, there’s no reason why they can’t qualify as fancy — especially when there are ingredients like mascarpone, dark chocolate, and even olive oil involved.

These 10 cakes are as fancy as they are easy, and are worthy of any celebration.

A bit of fresh thyme adds just a touch of savoriness to this cake that makes you want to go in for another slice. Pro tip: Leftovers are great for breakfast.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

This simple cake is a true celebration of lemon, with the juice and zest infusing both the cake and the glaze. Store-bought candied citrus can be used to decorate the top to make it extra special.

(Image credit: Quentin Bacon)

A flourless chocolate cake might be the most classic fancy one-layer cake. It’s fudgy, decadent, and most definitely deserving of vanilla ice cream.

(Image credit: Eric Wolfinger)

This is far from the raisin- and nut-studded carrot cake that gets most of the fanfare. Instead, this cake keeps it simple with nothing but grated carrots. Almond flour and plenty of egg yolks ensure it’s extra moist and tender, and a dollop of mascarpone cream adds elegance.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

This dense, milky cake is best served cold, straight from the fridge, to appreciate its pudding-like texture. If you don’t feel like making the whipped cream topping, feel free to skip it, as the cake will be just as good without it.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

You don’t have to be gluten-free to appreciate this extra-moist, extra-rustic cake, as it simply relies on polenta and almond flour. The secret to its stickiness is a sweet lemon syrup that’s poured over the cake while it’s still warm.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Honey’s sweet floral notes help balance out the intense savoriness of peanut butter and make the classic chocolate and peanut butter pairing just a tiny bit more special.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Don’t be turned off by the fact that there’s eggplant in this cake — vegetables like zucchini and carrots make great cakes, so why not eggplant? Here it’s cooked and turned into a sweet purée with honey, vanilla, and balsamic vinegar to result in a cake that will have everyone guessing the secret ingredient.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

With Ina’s name behind it, you know this cake is going to be the perfect balance of easy and fancy. The chocolate streusel topping makes it feel extra special, and it’s a cake that actually gets better with a night’s rest in the fridge.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Champagne in the batter and frosting already qualifies this cake as fancy, but it also happens to be extra easy since each component of the cake can be made a day ahead of time.