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14 impressive cakes that are easier to make than they look

Flour Power

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Julia Child once said that “A party without cake is just a meeting,” and she couldn’t have been more right (not that you need a special occasion to bake a cake). No matter your reason for baking — whether you want to impress a loved one or prove your baking skills to that annoying, know-it-all co-worker — homemade cakes never fail to impress. So put one of these beauties on the table and prepare to watch jaws drop. You’re welcome.

1. BEST CHOCOLATE RICE KRISPIE CRUNCH CAKE

Three distinct recipes — one for the cake, one for the crunchy layers and one for the frosting — makes prepping this monster surprisingly simple. While the cake bakes, work on the Rice Krispie crunch. Also, be sure to use a mixer for the frosting so you don’t need to put in so much elbow grease.

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2. STRAWBERRY-VANILLA CHECKERBOARD CAKE

No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. You actually can make this at home! All it takes is cutting out circular sections of the cakes, then combining alternate layers of the two flavours together. If this cake doesn’t get you a flurry of Instagram likes, we don’t know what will.

3. EXTREME LEMONADE LAYER CAKE

Frozen lemonade concentrate helps to channel a bit of summer’s sunshine into this sweet treat. Make sure your butter and eggs are at room temperature and the lemonade concentrate is thawed before you begin. Then, just follow the step-by-step instructions to a T.

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4. RED VELVET LAYER CAKE

Don’t worry, there’s no need to run out and buy a heart-shaped baking tin. The quick video belows shows you how to create it using two square and circle-shaped baking tins, and you can always keep it in the shape of a circle or square to make this recipe even easier. The result is a two-layered beauty covered with classic, homemade cream cheese frosting.

5. STRAWBERRY COCONUT CAKE

Although it might seem like there’s a lot going on in this recipe, all you’re making is two round cakes and a five-ingredient vanilla frosting. The jam and coconut are store-bought and the berries just need slicing.

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6. CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH CAKE

Take a shortcut and use store-bought cookie dough for the middle layer and chopped up chocolate chip cookies for the garnish. That just leaves you with the vanilla cake and frosting, which are easy to make.

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7. CARROT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

The hardest part of making carrot cake is grating the carrots — seriously — so get it done first. Then group the dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls before combining them together. And don’t worry, the three-ingredient frosting is child’s play.

8. THE ULTIMATE S’MORES LAYER CAKE

Dead giveaway this recipe is a winner? It has “ultimate” in the title. And it isn’t even hard to put together! The fudgy brownie and chocolate chip graham cracker layers are baked in eight-inch round tins, making the build a breeze as they’re sandwiched together with toasted marshmallow frosting.

S'mores Layer Cake

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9. ALMOND FOUR CAKE WITH ALMOND WHIPPED CREAM

Gluten-free folks, Gusto has you covered. You can work on your biceps, but I prefer to harness the power of a hand or stand mixer to get the whites fluffed up to twice the size. Same goes for whipping the cream. Honestly, the hardest part about making this cake will be remembering to let the cake cool completely before frosting it.

10. CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES WITH PINK VELVET FROSTING

This gluten-free recipe combines almond flour and cocoa with olive oil and honey to effortlessly produce a moist cake. Again, separate wet and dry ingredients before combining for the best results.

11. TIRAMISU CREPE CAKE

If turning on the oven stresses you out, this faux cake has your back. It’s no more challenging than making pancakes, an art you probably already have down pat. And the real star of the show is the mascarpone filling — made with espresso and brandy — which will earn you real creative cred.

12. VICTORIA SPONGE CAKE

As the first cake I learnt to make as a child, the classic Victoria sponge taught me that simplicity, in technique and presentation, is a beautiful thing. The two buttery and almond sponge cakes filled with strawberry jam and whipped cream are certainly delicious, but they’re also extremely easy to make.

13. ORANGE CRANBERRY SPICE CAKE

Don’t let the long ingredient list intimidate you. This is a simple cake recipe that’s perked up with a whole lot of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves). The pro finish comes in the form of a fuss-free glaze, which no one will guess is made with only three ingredients.

14. PEACH AND PECAN CAKE WITH BOURBON CARAMEL

This recipe had me at bourbon caramel. But you do need something to pour it over, which makes this fruit and nut cake the ideal partner. No hidden intricacies in the cake recipe, but you’ll have to exercise some caution (and patience) when working on the caramel — you may even just want to buy some from the store.

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