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

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

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One-Bowl Vanilla Cake

by Alice Medrich

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.

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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

One-Bowl Vanilla Cake


Alice Medrich


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Makes one 8-inch cake

  • 1 1/4

    cups (160 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/4

    teaspoons baking powder

  • 3

    large eggs, at room temperature

  • 3/4

    cup plus 2 tablespoons (175 grams) sugar

  • 2

    teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1/4

    teaspoon salt

  • 3

    tablespoons butter, melted and warm

  • 1/3

    cup heavy cream, lukewarm

  • Optional flavorings (see headnote)

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

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Tags:
cake, vanilla cake, butter cake, birthday cake, easy cake