There’s a time and place for towering layer cakes delicately swirled with clouds of frosting or whipped cream. But sometimes you need an easy dessert that requires nothing more than simple ingredients, a single pan, bowl, and spoon that can be made and enjoyed the same afternoon. When that moment arrives, these cakes are your solution.

Individual servings of vanilla buttermilk cake with white frosting on pink plates.
Ali Slagle
1 of 6

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

This vanilla buttermilk cake, made from pantry ingredients, was a huge hit with our testers. Easy enough that it’s kid- and novice baker-friendly, but it still makes an impressively moist and flavorful cake. Our testers slathered it with everything—icing, ice cream, fruit, lemon curd—and even loved it on its own. Trust us when we tell you this cake is simplicity at its best.

I made this vanilla buttermilk snacking cake yesterday and topped it with a chocolate buttercream frosting using Hersheys special dark cocoa powder. It was very moist. My husband and kids said it was the best cake they’ve ever had!

A slice of orange, olive oil, and poppyseed cake with sliced strawberries on the side on a white plate
Vedika Luthra
2 of 6

Orange, Olive Oil, and Poppyseed Cake

The combination of orange and olive oil gives this cake a Mediterranean vibe, perfect for spring (but really, any time of year). I like to pair this cake with macerated strawberries: the sweet, syrupy fruit adds a fresh contrast to the subtle flavors of the cake, a welcome and delicious addition.
Brown butter snickerdoodle cake cut into six pieces on a piece of parchment paper, with a serving knife nearby.
Rebecca Firth
3 of 6

Brown Butter Snickerdoodle Cake

I love the cinnamon spice coupled with the tang of the cream of tartar. I created that same tang in this snickerdoodle cake with the addition of sour cream and buttermilk.
Ina Garten's lemon cake, a pound cake, on a cutting board, drizzled with a lemon glaze
4 of 6

Ina Garten’s Lemon Cake

This lemon cake is similar to a classic, old-fashioned pound cake but not quite so dense. It's magnificently buttery and exponentially lemony thanks to a tart soak in a lemon and sugar syrup and a drizzle of lemony confectioners' sugar glaze.

The lemon cake came out perfect! Lemony and delicious. Followed directions exactly, no tweaks needed. Will make again. I love all of Ina’s recipes.

rose y.
A sliced apple tea cake on a wire rack, with one slice on a blue and white patterned plate with a fork on the side.
Squire Fox
5 of 6

Apple Tea Cake

This apple tea cake is made with layers of apples and cinnamon encased in sweet cake and topped with a tart lemon drizzle. We’re happily indulging at any time of the day.
A rectangular easy mixed berry snacking cake with one piece cut from it and blueberries on the side.
Jessie Sheehan
6 of 6

Easy Mixed Berry Snacking Cake

Snacking cakes are perfect for a weeknight dessert made on the fly. This one also calls for just one-bowl, which is also one of my favorite kinds of baked goods – meaning you assemble the whole shebang in a single bowl and thus save yourself from having to do a bunch of dirty dishes.


What are snacking cakes?

The term generally refers to a cake that is easy to make, often with only one bowl, is baked in a single layer, like a sheet cake, and can be served with or without adornment. They can be served any time of the day, often as a snack or a casual dessert.

What do you serve with Them?

These indulgent cakes are often best enjoyed with a cup of coffee, tea, or a tall glass of cold milk.

What’s the difference between a snack cake and a snacking cake?

These terms can be used interchangeably to describe a simple dessert, however, some people use the term ‘snack cake’ to refer exclusively to packaged handheld treats, such as Hostess Twinkies or Little Debbie snacks.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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