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6 of the best... easy-but-impressive classics every home baker should master

Carrot cake, a raspberry bakewell tart – and a foolproof lemon drizzle loaf.

Image: Shutterstock/Frances van der Merwe

A CLASSIC BAKE is hard to beat, and taking a little time to bake something from scratch can be so rewarding.

Homemade cakes can also make a thoughtful gift for a friend, even if it only took an hour to make (shhh, nobody needs to know!). Baking should be fun, and it’s something the whole family can enjoy doing together, so I’ve rounded up some of my favourite bakes that are guaranteed to impress, but that don’t take too much effort in the kitchen. 

It’s useful to keep some essential ingredients in the cupboard, like baking powder, caster sugar and flour, for when you need to bake something in a hurry, as these form the base of many classic bakes.Other items like measuring cups and a good electronic weighing scale are also important when it comes to a fuss-free baking process.

Whether it’s for a last-minute sweet treat, a birthday, or afternoon tea with friends, these classic bakes require no complicated tricks and will be delicious just as they are. From moreish carrot cake to a zesty lemon loaf, try one of these classic creations below.

1. Lemon and Drizzle Raspberry Loaf, from Chef Shane Smith

I love the addition of raspberries in this classic zesty lemon loaf cake. This is simply frosted with a crisp sugary topping, which is the perfect contrast to the citrus-flavoured sponge. While this is quite a simple looking bake, it could be decorated with some candied lemon slices or lemon peel for something extra impressive.

2. Madeira Cake, from Charlotte Pike

A well-baked Madeira cake is one of the most satisfying and nostalgic cakes. A little lemon zest is used in this recipe to cut through some of the buttery richness. You could also add a teaspoon of poppy seeds if you want to add some texture. Serve this cake with fresh berries and cream or vanilla ice cream. 

shutterstock_55174915 Source: Shutterstock/Douglas Freer

3. Carrot Cake, from Life on Hushabye Farm

A great carrot cake recipe like this one is hard to beat, especially when it’s topped with that luscious, cream cheese icing. This cake can be made in a loaf tin, or divided between two round tins if you’re baking for something a bit more special. This recipe isn’t too sweet and it’s one that will be made over and over again! 

4. Classic Victoria Sponge, from I Love Cooking

This recipe gives lots of tips for achieving a perfectly baked sponge, which can be used to form the basis of many cakes. Filled with cream, jam and fresh strawberries, Victoria sponge is probably one of the most famous sponge cakes, and makes the perfect tea time treat for kids or adults alike – it’s an all-round winner!

5. Raspberry Bakewell Tart, from A Spoonful of Sugar

A traditional bakewell tart is a great recipe to have on hand if you want something sweet and easy to make. This one can be made even speedier if you use shop bought shortcrust pastry for the base. The best thing about a bakewell is that you can use any fruit you like- this recipe uses raspberries, but blackberries, pears or blueberries would be equally delicious.

6. Chunky Apple Cake, from Tiny Dutch Kitchen

Apples are in season at the moment, and this is a delicious way to use them up – an autumnal cake that’s filled with chunks of apple that give it a great texture. A touch of cinnamon adds a nice bit of spice to the light sponge. Serve this warm with hot custard for a wonderfully satisfying treat. 

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