These Easy Cakes and Quick Breads Are Perfect for Snacking

pumkin orange bread
Photo: Marcus Nilsson

Our recipes for banana bread, zucchini bread, snacking cakes, and other single layer cakes are sure to become your favorites. We love adding them to lunchboxes or enjoying them whenever a sweet craving hits.

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Spiced Snacking Cake
Lennart Weibull

Our easy cake and quick bread recipes are ideal for tucking into a lunchbox, to enjoy as an afternoon snack, or to serve as simple dessert, and they're the perfect way to ensure you always have homemade treats on hand. Sure, we all love baking, but we don't always have time for the types of projects that fill the kitchen sink with dishes and require frosting and piping. The treats we turn to on the regular are simple recipes that turn out beautifully with minimal effort. Case in point? The Spiced Snacking Cake that you see right here. It's easy to prepare and absolutely mouthwatering.

When it comes to quick breads, the loaf pan is a must-have kitchen tool. These easy sweet loaf breads rise thanks to baking soda and baking powder rather than yeast; that means they come together quickly because you don't need to wait for the dough to rise. Simply mix the batter, spread into the pan, and bake. Try our Test Kitchen's Favorite Banana-Chocolate Chip Bread or our Glazed Lemon Pound Cake. Another tasty option? Our decadent Chocolate Zucchini Bread. If you don't already have a loaf pan at home, this recipe is worth the trip to the store.

Easy cakes, on the other hand, vary in shape and form, but the key to their simplicity is baking single-layer cakes instead of towering confections. Some require little more than a dusting of confectioners' sugar for a beautiful finish, such as our classic Plum Cake recipe, while others have frosting, as is the case with our pretty Lemon Snack Cake with Raspberry-Cream Cheese Frosting. Perhaps our easiest single layer cake of all is Busy-Day Dump Cake, which is mixed right in the baking pan.

Whether you're craving something fruity, nutty, chocolatey, or just a tasty sweet treat, these recipes cover the spectrum. Read on for our quick and easy cake and sweet bread recipes.

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Test Kitchen's Favorite Banana-Chocolate Chip Bread

banana chocolate chip bread
Marcus Nilsson

Everyone needs a great banana-bread recipe in their recipe box, and this is it. For a loaf bursting with flavor, our food editors recommend you freeze overripe bananas whenever you have any (they'll last up to six months in the freezer). When you're ready to bake, simply thaw and mash them for this recipe—you'll find this process creates an extra flavorful syrupy purée.

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Citrus Cornmeal Cake With Wine-Roasted Strawberries

citrus cornmeal cake
The Ingalls

Olive oil serves as the fat in this recipe rather than the usual butter, and you'll find that this rich ingredient that also adds fruity notes to the final dish. While this dessert is perfect with in-season berries, if fresh strawberries are not available, you can easily use thawed frozen berries instead.

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Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

Lemon zest in the batter and lemon juice in the glaze make this pound cake delightfully tangy. Dust the loaf pan with sugar to give the cake's exterior a pleasing crunch.

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Red-Grape Cake with Whipped Crème Fraîche

Red-Grape Cake with Whipped Creme Fraiche
Johnny Miller

Easy as can be, this cake highlights one of the quintessential fruits of fall: grapes. Red grapes look so pretty in the cake, but truly any color will work so long as they are seedless and the skins are edible for easy eating.

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Fast Raspberry Scones

Raspberry Scone

These raspberry-studded individual sweet breads can be prepared quickly and bake up in 15 minutes. They're best enjoyed cooled right out of the oven, when the exterior is a little crisp while the inside is tender and cakey.

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Pumpkin-Spice-Latte Cake

Pumpkin-Spice-Latte Cake
Lennart Weibull

Pumpkin spice mix and pumpkin purée give this easy cake plenty of fall flavor while espresso ups the ante, making this delicious cake taste a whole lot like the popular drink. The easy whipped cream topping adds a sweet and swoopy flourish. It's topped with a dusting of more espresso for visual appeal.

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Coconut-Lime Berry Cake

Con Poulos

Coconut and buttermilk make this snack cake moist and tender. Use any combination of fresh or frozen berries you like—such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries—inside. It will feed a crowd during a family party or hungry kids as an after-school snack for several days.

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Lemon Snack Cake with Raspberry-Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Cake with Raspberry-Cream Cheese Frosting
Chris Simpson

Snacking cakes were invented just for that. This is a cake that you can slice into any time of the day. The single layer bright, lemony cake is topped with a raspberry red-hued cream cheese frosting that's naturally dyed with freeze-dried raspberries. Fresh raspberries are the only decoration you need, and they lend a sweet and tart note to the finished dish.

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Apple-Cider Doughnut Cake

apple cider donut cake
Jonathan Lovekin

A super fall treat, this apple-cider doughnut cake is easy to prepare, but the Bundt cake takes a bit longer to bake than the rest of the recipes in this collection. The wait is definitely worth it, though, as this giant treat seems to make endless servings.

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Chocolate Zucchini Bread

There's a double dose of chocolate—cocoa powder and chopped bittersweet chocolate—in this easy sweet bread. And with this chocolate-zucchini bread recipe in your arsenal, "too much zucchini" will never be a problem again.

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Pressure Cooker Raspberry Upside-Down Cake

raspberry upside down cake
Marcus Nilsson

Bake without turning on the oven? Yes, it's possible if you own a pressure cooker. The super moist cake is almost pudding like in the style of British desserts, and the raspberries can be swapped for mangoes, strawberries, or pineapple, making this a versatile recipe to add to your repertoire.

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Busy-Day Dump Cake

busy day chocolate cake
Johnny Miller

Since the ingredients are mixed together in the baking pan, making this cake is as easy as can be. Enjoy the finished treat with a dusting of confectioners' sugar or whip up a batch of Simple Buttercream.

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Pumpkin-Orange Bread

Fill your kitchen with the wonderful aroma of the holidays by making this incredibly moist and delicious pumpkin bread; it's spiced with allspice and nutmeg then topped with nutty pepitas for a beautiful finish and nice crunch.

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Coconut-Pineapple Loaf Cake


Toasted coconut and canned pineapple chunks lend subtle tropical flavor to this easy dessert. Sour cream keeps the buttery cake moist while a sprinkle of toasted coconut on top adds a delightful crunch.

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Apple-Pie Cake

apple pie cake
Sonia Bozzo

A delicious cross between apple pie and fruit crisp, this easy dessert calls for just six ingredients. The cinnamon-and-brown-sugar streusel serves as both the crust and the crunchy topping.

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Carrot Tea Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

tea cake with frosting

This spice-kissed carrot cake is baked in a snack-friendly loaf form. Stir 1/2 cup of raisins or chopped toasted nuts into the batter if you like a little extra texture.

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Plum Cake


Lemon zest complements the sweet-tart flavor of fresh plums in this eye-catching yet easy cake. A sprinkling of confectioners' sugar is all the embellishment it needs, but it would be delicious dolloped with tangy crème fraîche or a rich spoonful of whipped cream.

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