In a perfect world, I always have a dessert at the ready, whether it’s frozen cookie dough or a snacking cake to power me through the week. But in reality, most desserts take more time than I have on a typical weekday, when even making dinner at home can sometimes feel like a major effort. Enter these 13 recipes, which take less than an hour — prep and bake time included.

Quick and Easy Fudge Brownies Photography and food styling by Liz Neily
Skip the mess of melting chocolate for brownies and opt for cocoa and chocolate chips instead. 

1) Quick and Easy Fudge Brownies 

It's right there in the name: These simple brownies are mixed in just one bowl and come together in a flash. Just dump, stir, and bake; in just over 30 minutes, you have a pan of warm, fudgy brownies to feed your dinner guests (and plenty for the next morning). 

Get the recipe: Quick and Easy Fudge Brownies 

Shop the recipe: Callebaut Semisweet Chocolate Chips and Espresso Powder 

Tequila-Lime Snack Cake Kristin Teig
This cake is tangy, tart, and endlessly snackable. 

2) Tequila-Lime Snack Cake 

This citrusy, slightly boozy cake is a fun way to keep the party going past cocktail hour. Masa harina imparts its subtle notes of sweet corn, which pairs beautifully with lime zest. Topped off with a tequila-lime juice glaze, it’s sophisticated in taste yet simple (only two bowls needed!) to execute.

Get the recipe: Tequila-Lime Snack Cake 

Shop the recipe: Masa Harina 

King Arthur's Original Cake Pan Cake Photography by Kristin Teig; food styling by Liz Neily
Meet your go-to chocolate cake recipe

3) King Arthur’s Original Cake Pan Cake 

No eggs or butter in the fridge? Good news, you won’t need any for this cake! Baking for a friend who eats gluten-free? No problem, just use our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour. Short on time? Well, it takes five minutes to mix the ingredients and 30 minutes to bake! Yes, you can have it all.

Get the recipe: King Arthur’s Original Cake Pan Cake 

Shop the recipe: Triple Cocoa Blend 

Vanilla Rice Pudding Photography by Mark Weinberg; Food Styling by Erin Jeanne McDowell
The topping options for rice pudding are endless: cinnamon, shaved chocolate, chopped nuts ...

4) Vanilla Rice Pudding 

Don’t overlook this humble stovetop dessert. Made with a handful of basic ingredients (rice, cream, sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt) and cooked in a saucepan on your stovetop, this silky rice pudding provides a quick fix when a dessert craving hits. Make it extra special by using flavorful vanilla bean paste. 

Get the recipe: Vanilla Rice Pudding 

Shop the recipe: Vanilla Bean Paste

Basque-Style Cheesecake Rick Holbrook
A five-ingredient showstopper.

5) Basque-Style Cheesecake (Tarta de Queso)

It’s hard to believe just five ingredients can result in such an impressive dessert. From its blistered, caramelized exterior to a soft and creamy interior, this cheesecake is truly unlike any you’ve had before. It has all the elements of a special occasion bake without the time commitment.  

Get the recipe: Basque-Style Cheesecake (Tarta de Queso) 

Shop the recipe: Springform Pan

Everyday Olive Oil Cake Photography by Rick Holbrook; Food Styling by Kaitlin Wayne
A cake that doesn't require a stand mixer? Count us in. 

6) Everyday Olive Oil Cake 

There’s hardly an occasion when you wouldn’t want a slice of plush, moist olive oil cake. Keep it classic, scenting the cake with orange zest and juice, or customize the base recipe. Add chopped chocolate or toasted nuts for a bit of texture, amp up the flavor with a smidge of almond extract or Fiori di Sicilia, or swap out a bit of the all-purpose flour for cornmeal or whole wheat flour.

Get the recipe: Everyday Olive Oil Cake 

Shop the recipe: All-Purpose Flour and Round Cake Pan 

Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Cake Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne
Cinnamon sugar paired with chocolate chips is an instant crowd pleaser.

7) Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Cake  

Cinnamon sugar brings nostalgic flavor to this ready-in-no-time snacking cake. Pockets of chocolate chips and tangy sour cream swirled into the batter give this cake a flavor boost with little fuss.

Get the recipe: Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Cake 

Shop the recipe: Callebaut Semisweet Chocolate Chips and Vietnamese Cinnamon 

A simple, single layer lemon cake that's frosted and topped with candied lemon slices Photography by Rick Holbrook; Food Styling by Kaitlin Wayne
There are more pantry-friendly cake recipes out there than you'd think. (Like this one!)

8) Easy Vegan Lemon Cake

For big lemon flavor that packs a puckery punch, this cake calls for three types of lemon. But it doesn’t call for eggs and butter, because whether you’re vegan or simply low on groceries, you still deserve a tender, delicious cake to serve for dessert.

Get the recipe: Easy Vegan Lemon Cake 

Shop the recipe: Lemon Emulsion and Lemon Juice Powder

Easy Chocolate Pudding Photography and food styling by Liz Neily
A crown of whipped cream is always welcome. 

9) Easy Chocolate Pudding  

Classic chocolate pudding never goes out of style. This rich, velvety pudding takes all of 20 minutes to make. Scoop it into coupes or the fancy glassware you reserve for guests for a luxurious yet fuss-free dessert. 

Get the recipe: Easy Chocolate Pudding  

Shop the recipe: Triple Cocoa Blend 

Pecan Pie Bars
Your favorite pie just became so much easier to make. 

10) Pecan Pie Bars 

All the nutty, caramelly goodness of pecan pie, but without the time-consuming pie crust! Instead, the base of these bar cookies is a simple, press-in brown sugar shortbread crust that comes together in a flash. 

Get the recipe: Pecan Pie Bars 

Shop the recipe: 9" x 13" Pan 

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne
All the gooey goodness of a chocolate chip cookie, designed to share

11) Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie  

Sure, you could whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies and no one would complain. But for even less effort, you could serve this giant, skillet-baked version for a true after-dinner winner. (No scooping or chilling required!) You may not even need a knife to slice it — just go straight in with a spoon and scoops of ice cream at the ready. 

Get the recipe: Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie  

Shop the recipe: Callebaut Semisweet Chocolate Chips and Vanilla Extract 

Frosted chocolate doughnut, bite taken out Photography by Mark Weinberg; Food Styling by Erin Jeanne McDowell
These rich, indulgent doughnuts take the cake. 

12) Chocolate Fudge Cake Doughnuts 

Doughnuts in half an hour? Yes, it’s possible! Baking rather than frying speeds up the process, but you still get a delightfully fudgy and decadent dessert. 

Get the recipe: Chocolate Fudge Cake Doughnuts 

Shop the recipe: Standard Doughnut Pan

Self-Rising Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Photography by Danielle Sykes; Food Styling by Kaitlin Wayne
The tropical sweetness of pineapple pairs perfectly with tender cake

13) Self-Rising Pineapple Upside-Down Cake 

Everything about this recipe centers around delicious convenience. It calls for canned pineapple rings (no slicing required!), uses self-rising flour, and doesn’t even require a mixing bowl — just a single saucepan and a cake pan!  

Get the recipe: Self-Rising Pineapple Upside-Down Cake 

Shop the recipe: Round Cake Pan 

Looking for more easy recipes? Here are our 18 easiest recipes, which only call for a few ingredients and no special equipment.  

Cover photo (Everyday Olive Oil Cake) by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne. 

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Everyday Olive Oil Cake
Everyday Olive Oil Cake
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 Reviews
50 mins
one 8" cake
Filed Under: Recipes
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The Author

About Tatiana Bautista

Tatiana Bautista is a writer, editor, and avid home baker and cook. She grew up on Long Island, New York, where her family helped instill a lifelong love of food through homestyle Toisanese dishes and weekly outings for dim sum. From a young age, she’s had an interest in baking thanks to her aunt, w...
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