One-bowl cakes for a zero-effort homemade treat

If last week’s announcement of new lockdowns made you binge-eat that pint of Chunky Monkey ice cream that was sitting in your freezer, don’t feel guilty. I did the same.

Right now, comfort foods are all the rage on social media. However, if you’re like me, you don’t get a thrill out of the idea of spending all day making one perfect loaf of bread. Yes, me and DoorDash are besties. These days, I’m feeling too meh to do more than just read through most recipes and daydream about what they taste like. Which makes me feel even more unmotivated.

Well, here’s the solution. One-bowl cakes! Simple, fast, economical, and with minimal clean-up. You’ll feel like you accomplished something with your day while having the reward of eating food you made with your own hands. The perfect homemade dessert to go with your take-out delivery meal.

Here are two to start with.


Classic Chocolate Cake

This recipe is really great if you have a craving for chocolate cake late at night when you’re binge-watching Netflix. Chances are you already have everything you need to make it in your pantry. If you’re speedy, it only takes 4 minutes of mixing time before you’re ready to bake it. Save on calories by dusting with icing sugar or drizzling with melted chocolate. You can make your favorite frosting if you’re feeling especially ambitious. Or just buy it! Works for me.



1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg (room temperature)
Powdered sugar, frosting or melted chocolate



Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour a 9x1½-inch round or 8x8x2-inch baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed just until combined. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg and beat 2 minutes more. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. To serve, sprinkle with powdered sugar, or spread with frosting, or drizzle with melted dark and white chocolate if you want to be fancy, and transfer to a serving plate. Makes 8 servings. Or one serving. I won’t judge.


Champagne Shimmer Cake

Feeling extra lazy? Do you have a box of white cake mix in your cupboard? Not sure how to make it less boring? Add booze! This recipe replaces the water in the cake mix with champagne (or sparkling wine) which you probably have both of in good supply. The cake turns out light, fresh and very pretty with the garnish of fresh strawberries on top. All ready for a summer picnic in your backyard. Post a picture to your social media account to really impress your followers and pretend your life is exciting right now. Resist the urge to drink the rest of the bottle by yourself.



1 box of white cake mix
Champagne or sparkling wine
Vanilla frosting
Red food colouring
Sliced or whole fresh strawberries



Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour two 8x1½-inch round cake pans. Even easier, turn the batter into a dozen cupcakes using a 12-cup cupcake pan and use fancy paper cups. Set aside.

Prepare cake mix according to package directions, except replace the water with an equal amount of champagne. You can add a few drops of food colouring here if you want the cake to be pink like the frosing. Pour batter into prepared pans, spreading evenly. Bake according to package directions.
Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on racks.

Meanwhile, tint frosting with food colouring to make a light pink. Place one cake layer, bottom side up, on a serving plate. Spread with about ½ cup of the tinted frosting. Place remaining cake layer, rounded side up, on top. Frost top and side of cake with remaining frosting. Garnish with strawberries. You can also add blueberries and mint leaves for contrast. Makes 8 servings.

— DG