Cake Recipes for Beginners That'll Make You Look Like a Pro

Grandbaby Cakes_Sour Cream Pound Cake
Photo: Marisa Siriano

Cakes can be intimidating with their dramatic swoops of frosting and multiple layers, not to mention those with a laundry list of ingredients. However, cakes don't have to be complicated, especially for the novice baker. Despite the deluge of beautiful, towering, Marie-Antoinette-worthy creations, there are just as many recipes that don't require advanced knowledge and skill. Think one-pan dump cakes, Crock Pot cakes (yes, you can mix and bake your cake in one dish with no oven), the classic sheet cake (be sure to try the Wacky Cake), and the beloved pound cake. These cakes are notable for their simple ingredient lists and, at times, the assistance of a cake mix. Hey, there's no shame in a doctored-up Betty Crocker. If you're ready to try your hand, grab your best apron and open your pantry! We bet you already have most of the ingredients for these 18 easy cake recipes for beginners that will still wow the company.

01 of 17

Lemon-Lime Poke Cake

Lemon-Lime Poke Cake
Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Lemon-Lime Poke Cake

Bursting with bright citrus notes, this Lemon-Lime Poke Cake is an easy summer dessert, made with the assistance of cake mix. As for the topping, you can absolutely grab your favorite whipped cream spread at the grocery store.

02 of 17

Pineapple Cherry Dump Cake

Pineapple Cherry Dump Cake
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Pineapple Cherry Dump Cake

As the name implies, all you have to do is dump your cherry-pie filling and canned pineapple into a dish with the rest of the ingredients, and you're set. No chopping and one pan — that's the beauty of this dump cake.

03 of 17

Jocelyn Delk Adams' Pound Cake

Grandbaby Cakes_Sour Cream Pound Cake
Marisa Siriano

Recipe: Jocelyn Delk Adams' Pound Cake

Grandbaby Cakes founder Jocelyn Delk Adams shares her simple pound cake recipe. The ingredients are few, but the result is rich.

04 of 17

Applesauce Cake

Applesauce Cake
Micah Leal

Recipe: Applesauce Cake

This loaf cake is soft, fluffy, and will take you 20 minutes to throw together. No need to worry about frosting; opt for a dusting of powdered sugar to elevate this humble dessert.

05 of 17

Wacky Cake

Wacky Cake
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Wacky Cake

The only thing wacky about this cake (besides leaving out milk and eggs) is how easy it is. You won't even need a mixer; everything can be done by hand and mixed in the baking pan.

06 of 17

Chocolate Bundt Cake

Chocolate Bundt Cake
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Recipe: Chocolate Bundt Cake

Double-chocolate brownie mix and chocolate fudge cake mix serve as your base for this decadent Bundt cake. With the addition of some extra chocolate and a little sugar, this cake is out of the oven in no time.

07 of 17

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Recipe: Cranberry Upside Down Cake

With the assistance of some pound cake mix, you'll create a buttery base for this Cranberry Upside Down Cake. The real winning secret? You do it all in the slow cooker.

08 of 17

Apricot Almond Coffee Cake

Apricot-Almond Coffee Cake
Southern Living

Recipe: Apricot Almond Coffee Cake

This Apricot Almond Coffee Cake is a breeze thanks to a three-ingredient vanilla glaze, apricot preserves, and pound cake mix. You probably have the remaining ingredients in your fridge and pantry.

09 of 17

Chocolate-Cinnamon Latte Cake

Chocolate-Cinnamon Latte Cake
Jennifer Davick; Food Styling: Vanessa Rocchio; Prop Styling: Missie Crawford

Recipe: Chocolate-Cinnamon Latte Cake

A gorgeous batter that utilizes white cake mix creates an irresistibly fudgy result. The kick of cinnamon is tapered by the slathering of some whipped cream or coffee ice cream. Both would also be a fine idea.

10 of 17

Honey Bun Cake

Honey Bun Cake
Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Rishon Hanners, Prop Stylist Heather Chadduck

Recipe: Honey Bun Cake

The Bundt pan makes this Honey Bun Cake feel fancy with its regal ridges, but all you need is some yellow cake mix and a handful of pantry staples to see you on your way.

11 of 17

Apple Pie Cake

Apple Pie Cake
Photography: Caitlin Bensel, Food Styling: Rishon Hanners

Recipe: Apple Pie Cake

This cake is apple pie without the hassle of the crust. Packed with tart Granny Smith apples and a generous handful of pecans, this cake comes together before you can say, "easy as pie," thanks to the addition of white cake mix.

12 of 17

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Ana Kelly Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke

Recipe: Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Incredibly dense and compact and perfect with a side of whipped cream, this Cream Cheese Pound Cake has only seven ingredients, and you probably have all of them in your pantry right now.

13 of 17

Coconut Pound Cake

Coconut Pound Cake
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Coconut Pound Cake

A cream cheese pound cake gets dressed up with the addition of shredded coconut and pecans for crunch. Splash in a half cup of bourbon and you've got a tropical cake with all the textures.

14 of 17

Buttermilk Pound Cake

Buttermilk Pound Cake
Southern Living

Recipe: Buttermilk Pound Cake

Cream cheese pound cake, traditional pound cake, and now buttermilk pound cake. Why should you bother? Because you don't want to miss out on the buttermilk custard sauce, which comes together just as easy as the cake does.

15 of 17

Old-Fashioned Pound Cake

Old Fashioned Pound Cake
Southern Living

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Pound Cake

We can't leave out an old-fashioned pound cake. This one has heavy cream and evaporated milk in addition to butter and shortening, guaranteeing a rich, moist crumb.

16 of 17

Lemon-Vanilla Pound Cake with Lavender Glaze

Lemon-Vanilla Pound Cake with Lavender Glaze
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Lemon-Vanilla Pound Cake with Lavender Glaze

This cake is summer in a Bundt pan, made decadent with a container of sour cream. The lavender glaze will dance with the citrus notes of the cake for floral fun on your tastebuds.

17 of 17

Classic Chocolate Pound Cake

Classic Chocolate Pound Cake
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck; Food Styling: Erin Merhar

Recipe: Classic Chocolate Pound Cake

The only thing better than a beloved pound cake is the addition of chocolate. This one's the real deal, with two baking bars requested for the recipe. Buttermilk and a generous amount of butter and sugar ensure a dense crumb, and you'll finish off with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

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