22 easy baking ideas

Baking from scratch doesn't have to be difficult.
Buttery citrus orange and lemon cake

Whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned baker – baking from scratch doesn’t have to be difficult. From scones to cakes, chocolate cookies and bread, we’ve got all the easy baking recipes you need.

When it comes to home cooking in Australia, there is no one more well-respected than The Australian Women’s Weekly. And apart from our classic lunch and family dinner recipes, we’re best known for our beautiful easy baked goods. From cakes and cupcakes, to pies and tarts, these delightful recipes are easy for bakers of all skill levels, from begginers to experts looking for something simple. Take a flick through and see what you’ll be baking for your loved ones this weekend.

Looking for classic baking or expert baking recipes instead?

Baking 101: Cake tins and baking pans

It might seem like common sense, but a lot of people get confused with the ins and outs of baking tins. We explain everything you need to know about sizes, shapes, materials and greasing techniques.

Which pan for which cake?

Mud cakes and gingerbread-type cakes, with a wet pourable mixture, bake best in a flat open pan. If these mixtures are baked in deep pans, they often rise and fall in the middle, or they take a long time to cook through.

Sponge cakes are best cooked in deep-sided pans as the high sides protect the delicate sponge mixture and prevent a crisp crust developing. Traditionally, sponge layer cakes are cooked in a pair of shallow sandwich pans, but we recommend the deeper pans for a better result.

Butter cakes are usually fairly forgiving and will happily bake in flat, deep or patty pans. The baking times will change, and sometimes the oven temperatures will need to be adjusted slightly, too.

Fruit cakes are really only fruit-packed butter cakes, and can be baked in just about any cake pan you choose – from really large to really small. Baking times and oven temperatures need to be adjusted. Also, the longer a rich fruit cake is baked the darker it becomes – small cakes remain quite (often disappointingly) pale.

Christmas cakes usually have quite a bit of height, so they’re best cooked in a deep square or round pan.

Biscuits cook best on flat oven trays or pans with shallow sides so that the heat skims over the top and ensures proper circulation and browning.

Slices cook best in slice pans or lamington pans. These are rectangular pans with sides about 2.5cm high.


Aluminium (without non-stick coating) gives the best results, but these are becoming increasingly difficult to find.

Stainless-steel or tin provides better results if the oven temperature is reduced by 10°C. These tins usually have straight sides and sharp corners. Tin will rust, so dry thoroughly (do this using the oven’s stored heat) after washing.

Non-stick pans are readily available now. Reduce the oven temperature by 10°C as the dark surface absorbs the heat and can cause the cake to burn. Even though the pans are non-stick, we recommend that you grease them lightly or spray them with a cooking-oil spray.

Silicon bakeware is becoming increasingly popular. Buy the best you can afford and it will last you a lifetime. It does not brown as well as metal but is wonderfully non-stick and flexible, so you can twist it to “pop” the cakes out. Depending on its shape, silicone bakeware may need to be supported on an oven tray once filled.

Essential cake pans

If you’re a beginner baker, you should start off your collection with:

• a pan for slices

• two loaf pans

• a deep 20cm-round pan

• at least two oven trays with short sides – no more than 1cm high.

After buying these pans, add to the collection as you need them. Buy the best quality pans you can, and look after them properly.


To grease a cake pan, use either a light, even coating of cooking-oil spray, or use a pastry brush to brush melted butter lightly and evenly over the base and sides of the pan.

To grease and flour a cake pan, grease with melted butter and allow it to set before sprinkling with a little flour. Tap the pan, upside-down, on the bench to remove any excess flour from the pan.

Lining a pan with baking paper makes it easier to remove the cake once baked, it also stops the cake from sticking to the pan and from burning during long baking times.

If you’re lining a pan with baking paper, grease the sides of the pan first – this holds the paper in place. In most cases, it is not necessary to grease the baking paper as well.

moist chocolate and coconut cake


Moist chocolate and coconut cake

Moist chocolate and coconut cake

This moist and flavourful cake is easy to make with a touch of coconut to perfectly balance the rich chocolate.

Buttery citrus orange and lemon cake


Citrus butter cake

Citrus lovers, this one’s for you. A spongey citrus cake with glace icing and candied orange and lemon slices.


Shortbread fingers

Irresistibly crumbly and buttery, shortbread has been a year-round favourite biscuit for centuries.

Honey Jumbles


Honey jumbles

Honey jumbles

These soft-baked gingerbread fingers are light and chewy spiced with honey and ginger, topped with a jumble of pink or white icing

white chocolate caramel slice


White chocolate caramel slice

White chocolate caramel slice

We’ve given the well-loved caramel slice a delicious twist using white chocolate and a choc-coconut base.


Easy bread recipes

Fall in love with the smell of fresh bread in your home with this collection of easy bread recipes.

The Australian Women's Weekly July 2007


Apricot upside-down cakes

Apricot upside-down cakes

These delightful mini cakes are wonderfully light, moist and are topped with beautiful juicy fresh apricot.



Hot cross bun scones

Hot cross bun scones

Combine the moist, crumbly texture of homemade scones with the fruity flavours and spices of hot cross buns.


Melt-and-mix strawberry yoghurt cake

Try this easy melt-and-mix strawberry yoghurt cake for your next afternoon tea.

chocolate fudge brownies


Brilliant brownie recipes

Who could ever resist the lure of a fudgy, chewy brownie?


Carrot cake with lemon cream cheese frosting

You’ll love this moist and easy carrot cake with a silky smooth cream cheese frosting



Raspberry crumble almond tart

This raspberry crumble tart recipe, made with raspberries and a simple crumble crust, is the perfect summer dessert.

Bread and butter pudding


Bread and butter pudding

A moist and tender bread and butter pudding freckled with golden sultanas. Tastes heavenly with a drizzle of runny cream.

dark chocolate mud cake


Dark chocolate mud cake

This dark chocolate mud cake makes a simple treat on its own but is also excellent layered with chocolate ganache or other frosting.

big chocolate cookie


The big chocolate cookie

Indulge your sweet tooth with these decadent chocolate cookies. We recommend serving them with a dollop of Nutella and a refreshing glass of milk – we all deserve a cheeky treat every now and again!


Scone recipes

The fresh baked scone with jam and cream is an Aussie favourite.

Whether you prefer a sweet scone or a savoury scone, there is something here for everyone.


Five-ingredient desserts

Looking for some quick, simple desserts that don’t use up all your supplies? These easy desserts with no more than five ingredients should do the trick!

Irish soda bread rolls


Irish soda bread rolls

This Irish Soda Bread is a quick bread that does not require any yeast. Instead, all of its leavening comes from baking soda and buttermilk.


Peanut caramel squares

Peanut caramel squares

The delightful caramel peanut topping on a buttery shortbread base makes for one unforgettable slice.



Apple crumble

Fill your house with the warm, comforting scent of apple crumble.


Simple butter cake

This classic butter cake, smothered in butter cream icing, will satisfy your sweet tooth. Best served with a cup of tea or coffee for a simple afternoon treat.

Cheat's Vanilla Slice


Cheat’s vanilla slice

We know nothing quite beats the real thing, but when the bakery is closed and you have a craving that just won’t quit, this cheat’s vanilla slice is a worthy recipe.

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