53 Easy Cake Recipes for Last-Minute Entertaining

Start with a mix or make the whole thing from scratch—it takes just 15 minutes (or less!) of hands-on time to whip up each one of these deliciously easy cakes. The hardest part: waiting for dessert.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Poke Cake

When my family is planning a get-together, I can count on three or four people to ask if I’m bringing this dessert. If you don’t have a chocolate cake mix, use a white or yellow one and stir in 3 tablespoons baking cocoa. —Fay Moreland, Wichita Falls, Texas

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Peach Cobbler Dump Cake

This is one of the best peach dump cake recipes in the world. It's sweet, tender cake with a beautifully crisp cobbler topping. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side, and dessert's golden. —Keri Sparks, Little Elm, Texas
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Pineapple Sheet Cake

This sheet cake is perfect for serving to a crowd. It keeps so well that you can easily prepare it a day ahead and it will stay moist. I often bring it to church potlucks, and I have yet to take much of it home. —Kim Miller Spiek, Sarasota, Florida
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Black Forest Dump Cake

I make a black forest cake the easy way: Dump everything into a dish and let the magic happen. Give it a cherry topping by reserving two tablespoons of juice from the canned cherries and stir into whipped cream. —Meghan McDermott, Springfield, Missouri
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Coconut-Layered Pound Cake

If you love chocolate, almonds and coconut, this cake is for you. It comes together in a flash and tastes just like an Almond Joy candy bar! —Linda L. Nichols, Steubenville, Ohio
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Blueberry Angel Dessert

Make the most of angel food cake, pie filling and whipped topping by creating this light impressive dessert that doesn't keep you in the kitchen for hours. It's the perfect way to end a summer meal. —Carol Johnson, Tyler, Texas
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Pineapple Orange Cake

This is one of my favorite cakes. It’s moist and light yet so satisfying. I’ve been adapting it for years and now it’s almost guilt-free. —Pam Sjolund, Columbia, South Carolina
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Boston Cream Angel Cake

You can prepare this delectable dessert in no time. To change this cake to your family's liking, try different flavors of instant pudding or different ice cream toppings. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Moist Chocolate Cake

This moist chocolate cake recipe with coffee reminds me of my grandmother because it was one of her specialties. I bake it often for family parties, and it always brings back fond memories. The cake is light and airy with a delicious chocolate taste. This recipe is a keeper! —Patricia Kreitz, Richland, Pennsylvania
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Sour Cream Pound Cake

Because I'm our town's postmaster, I can bake only in my spare time. I especially enjoy making desserts such as this one. It tastes amazing as is, or tuck it under ice cream and chocolate syrup like a hot fudge sundae! —Karen Conrad, East Troy, Wisconsin
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One-Bowl Chocolate Cake

This cake mixes up quickly and bakes while we enjoy our dinner. My son, David, loves to help decorate it. —Coleen Martin, Brookfield, Wisconsin
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Fudgy Peanut Butter Cake

I clipped this easy peanut butter cake recipe from a newspaper years ago. The house smells fantastic while it's slow cooking. My husband and son enjoy the cake with ice cream and nuts on top. —Bonnie Evans, Norcross, Georgia
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Mamaw Emily's Strawberry Cake

My husband loved his mamaw's strawberry cake recipe. He thought no one could duplicate it. I made it, and it’s just as scrumptious as he remembers. —Jennifer Bruce, Manitou, Kentucky
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Pineapple Upside-Down Dump Cake

No matter the season, this dump cake recipe is wonderful! It works well with gluten-free and sugar-free cake mixes too. —Karin Gatewood, Dallas, Texas
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Potluck German Apple Cake

My mother made this German apple cake for my brothers and me when we were kids. It's an excellent choice for a Christmas potluck or actually any time of year. —Edie DeSpain, Logan, Utah
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Pear Bundt Cake

Next time you make cake from a mix, try my easy and delicious recipe. The pears and syrup add sweet flavor and prevent the cake from drying out. And since there's no oil added to the batter, this tender fall-perfect cake is surprisingly low in fat. —Veronica Ross, Columbia Heights, Minnesota
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Apple-Pumpkin Upside-Down Cake

We love the combination of classic fall fruits in this cake. I bake the apples on the bottom to keep them plump and moist, then flip the cake so they're on top. This is best served warm with vanilla ice cream, but we enjoy digging in any time of day. —Christina Yahraes, San Francisco, California
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Contest-Winning Moist Chocolate Cake

You don't have to spend a lot of time to serve an elegant and delicious dessert. Just mix up the batter in one bowl, bake and get ready for people to love this moist dark chocolate cake recipe. —Christa Hageman, Telford, Pennsylvania
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Chocolate Bavarian Torte

Whenever I take this eye-catching torte to a potluck, I get so many requests for the recipe. —Edith Holmstrom, Madison, Wisconsin
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Cherry Dream Cake

I serve this cherry cake for holidays because it's so festive and easy. No one will know your secret is adding a package of cherry gelatin to a boxed cake mix! —Margaret McNeil, Germantown, Tennessee
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Caramel-Fudge Chocolate Cake

To satisfy the chocolate lovers in our family, I added hot fudge topping and chocolate chips to a caramel-covered dessert that's quite popular in our area. The moist cake layer is a breeze to prepare using a boxed mix, and the rich toppings make it especially decadent. —Karen Stucky, Freeman, South Dakota
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Carrot Dump Cake

Because our family adores carrot cake, I experimented to find an easy way to make it so we could enjoy it all the time. This super moist dump cake version makes my family smile when it suddenly appears on the table. —Bonnie Hawkins, Elkhorn, Wisconsin
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Aunt Lou's Fresh Apple Cake

My Great-Aunt Lou made a luscious fresh apple cake recipe that became a family tradition. My mom makes it for our annual beach trip to the Outer Banks. —Cristy King, Scott Depot, West Virginia
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Down East Blueberry Buckle

This buckle won a contest at my daughter’s college. The prize was four lobsters, but the real reward was the smile on our daughter’s face. —Dianne van der Veen, Plymouth, Massachusetts
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Chocolate Pudding Cake

This rich, chocolate pudding cake is one of my favorites. I like to serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Whenever I take it to parties, everybody wants the recipe. —Paige Arnette, Lawrenceville, Georgia
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Buttermilk Pound Cake

Now that I've retired from teaching, I have more time to bake. This buttermilk pound cake is the one I make most often. It is a truly southern recipe, and one I think can't be topped—once people taste it, they won't go back to their other recipes with buttermilk. —Gracie Hanchey, De Ridder, Louisiana
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Sue's Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Our family absolutely loves zucchini, especially when we grow it ourselves. We’ve found many ways to use it, including this spiced cake that’s super moist and chocolaty good. —Sue Falk, Warren, Michigan
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Apple-Spice Angel Food Cake

I dressed up an angel food cake mix with some nuts, spice and applesauce to make an easy and light dessert. I serve it with a dollop of whipped topping mixed with a half cup of sour cream. —Joan Buehnerkemper, Teutopolis, Illinois
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Banana Chocolate Cake

This light-as-air chocolate cake has a yummy banana flavor. It’s scrumptious as is, but you can also dress it up with nuts or light frostings. —Tina Bellows, Racine, Wisconsin
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Edna's Ho Ho Cake

This treat serves up appealing flavor in big fluffy wedges of chocolate and cream. It's like a giant Ho Ho snack cake. —Edna Miller, Mount Hope, Ohio
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Coconut Poppy Seed Cake

This moist coconut cake is definitely one of my most-requested desserts. Use different cake mixes and pudding flavors for variety. —Gail Cayce, Wautoma, Wisconsin
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Cherry Pudding Cake

A cross between a cake and a cobbler, this cherry dessert is awesome. Add it to your list of trusty potluck recipes, because this one is sure to go fast. —Brenda Parker, Kalamazoo, Michigan
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Tropical Carrot Cake

I look forward to August because our family reunion means fun and great food, like this classic cake with the special flair it gets from pineapple. My great-aunt gave me this recipe, and I always make it for the reunion. —Victoria Casey, Enterprise, Oregon
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Apple Snickerdoodle Dump Cake

With an apple farm just down the road, I'm always looking for creative ways to use up those bushels. We love this cozy apple snickerdoodle dump cake with caramel drizzle and a scoop of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream. —Rachel Garcia, Honolulu, Hawaii
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Makeover Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Both of my boys loved this makeover version of a family favorite, and even my husband, who is a bit picky, wants a piece in his lunch tomorrow! —Mary Lou Moeller, Wooster, Ohio
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Spicy Applesauce Cake

This picnic-perfect cake travels and slices very well. With chocolate chips, walnuts and raisins, it's a real crowd pleaser. —Marian Platt, Sequim, Washington
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Almond Chocolate Cake

When our son and daughter were teenagers, our house was the hang-out for their whole group of friends. This rich chocolate almond cake was a regular on the menu. —Char Safley, Raleigh, North Carolina
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Molten Mocha Cake

When I first made my decadent slow-cooker chocolate cake, my husband's and daughter's expressions said it all. Now it's one of my daughter's favorites. Later, I gave one of these cakes to our next-door neighbors. Turns out their teenage son, who'd answered the door, ate the whole thing without telling anyone else about it! —Aimee Fortney, Fairview, Tennessee
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Pina Colada Tube Cake

We named this a “pina colada” cake because it has coconut, pineapple and rum. It’s a soothing finish at the end of a big spread. —Debra Keil, Owasso, Oklahoma
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Coke Cake

I get a great response every time I serve this cake, and it seems like I'm forever sharing the recipe! Folks are always curious about the ingredients, and when I tell them the cake has cola in it, they are really surprised. The unusual combination of ingredients makes it moist and delicious. —Anna Baker, Blaine, Washington
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Cranberry Sauce Cake

This tender cake is so easy to make because it mixes in one bowl. Slice it at the table so everyone can see how beautiful it is. Make one for your dinner and another for a friend. —Marge Clark, West Lebanon, Indiana
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Easy Pistachio Tube Cake

Mixes make this light cake easy, and a fluted tube pan gets it holiday party-ready. Go for the pistachios on top—the extra crunch is worth it. —Dina Crowell, Fredericksburg, Virginia
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Glazed Lemon Chiffon Cake

This fluffy cake is a real treat drizzled with the sweet-tart lemon glaze. —Rebecca Baird, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Blueberry-Lemon Upside-Down Cake

I was young when I married, so I watched my mother-in-law to learn baking. This cake with fresh blueberries is one of her beauties. —Bonnie Roberts, Newaygo, Michigan
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Sugarplum Cake

Family and friends are surprised to hear this simple cake gets it moist flavor from a jar of baby food. It's a nice, light dessert. —Denita DeValcourt, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee
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Chocolate Espresso Lava Cake

When a chocolate craving hits, I whip up this cake my aunt inspired. It’s gooey and saucy but not crazy sweet. It’s also potluck-perfect. —Lisa Renshaw, Kansas City, Missouri
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Pumpkin Bundt Cake

This pumpkin bundt cake recipe is perfect for fall. As it bakes, the aroma fills the house with a spicy scent. —Virginia Loew, Leesburg, Florida
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Chocolate-Covered-Cherry Dump Cake

My mother-in-law loves chocolate-covered cherries, and I used to make this chocolate cherry dump cake every year for her birthday. Now we've moved away, but I make this for my kids on her birthday and they still feel near her. —Angela Lively, Conroe, Texas
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Lemon Pound Cake

Citrus trees grow abundantly in California, and I'm always looking for new recipes which use the fruit from the orange and lemon trees in my yard. This lemon pound cake is one of my favorites! My mother passed this recipe down to me. —Richard Killeaney, Spring Valley, California
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Elvis' Pudding Cake

I love the flavors of peanut butter and banana together, and this slow-cooker pudding cake is just like eating an Elvis sandwich, only sweeter! Banana chips add a surprisingly crunchy texture; find them near the dried fruit in your grocery store. —Lisa Renshaw, Kansas City, Missouri
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Lemon Berry Dump Cake

This sweet-tart cake recipe is so much fun to make with my grandkids. They love just "dumping it all in" and watching it magically become a pretty, delicious dessert. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada
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Mini Rum Cakes

My mother and I tried many different types of rum cake to find the best one, and finally hit on this cake that doesn't dry out and imparts the most flavor. For a really moist cake, brush rum over the individual sponge cakes before topping them with the filling. —Dona M. Hoffman, Addison, Illinois
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Fudge-Filled Vanilla Cake

For my husband’s birthday cake, I used white chocolate pudding mix as part of the cake’s topping. Guests rated this fluffy cake excellent. —Linnea Ledgister, Wausau, Wisconsin

Ellie Martin Cliffe
Ellie has spent almost 20 years writing and editing food and lifestyle content for several well-known publishers. As Taste of Home's content director, she leads the team of editors sharing tasty recipes, cooking tips and entertaining ideas. Since joining Taste of Home 13 years ago, she has held roles in digital and print, editing cookbooks, curating special interest publications, running magazines, starring in cooking and cleaning videos, working with the Community Cooks and even handing out cookies and cocoa at local holiday events. Gluten- and dairy-free since 2017, she’s a staff go-to on allergy-friendly foods that actually taste good. If she's not in her plant-filled office, find Ellie in her family’s urban veggie garden, in the kitchen trying new GF/DF recipes or at a local hockey rink, cheering on her spouse or third grader.