Oh crumbs! Baking disasters be gone – the ultimate recipe guide is here

Get your bake on with brilliant cakes, from the effortless to the impressive

Whether you’re a novice or a pro, baking is a task that tests the most skilled of chefs. Luckily, it’s a science (yes, luckily!), and with the right recipes and a few handy hints you’ll have mastered it in no time.

Let’s start with the basics

At the very beginning we have the sponge. Chocolate sponge, to be precise. Simple steps, quality ingredients (we like using spinneysFOOD Self-Raising Flour), and a little time will have you building the foundation for something spectacular. And by spectacular we mean a layered chocolate cake with dark chocolate icing, complete with colourful sprinkles.

Looking for something a little more bite-size?

You can’t go wrong with cupcakes. 18 brilliantly easy, cute-as-can-be cupcakes with white chocolate icing. We used the same sponge recipe as before, which means you get a two-for-one deal – half the amount to remember, double the pleasure.

Ready to test yourself?

Up the ante for a special occasion – this recipe for marbled chocolate cake is bound to raise a few appreciative eyebrows, especially when its checkerboard interior is revealed.

Quick hint: When you’re marbling the icing, the glaze should still be fluid. Lightly run the tip of a skewer through the melted chocolate, running over the surface (rather than into the cake itself).

It’s time for out-of-this-world indulgence

If you thought ombré was just another hair trend think again – getting it right in the kitchen is a delicate affair, but one that’s well worth it. Decorated icing that blends colour into colour, this is the bake that’ll steal the show. Triple chocolate ombré cake, triple the wow-factor.

Expert tip: To keep a cake stand clean, cut 2 squares of baking paper just larger than the cake. Overlap on a stand then top with the first sponge. Once the cake is decorated, remove the paper by pulling both sides at the same time.

Chocolate cake not your thing? Not a problem.

Back to the beginning:

Squeeze, whisk, beat, stir, spoon, bake – sometimes the best things in life are the simplest, and with only 15 minutes prep time, whipping up this basic lemon drizzle loaf is easy as pie (and just as tasty!).

Kitchen secret: For max juice from your lemons, roll them on a surface, pressing down with your palm before halving and squeezing.

Oh, you want to impress, you say?

‘Same recipe, extra layers’, we reply! And these extra layers are filled with perfectly piped lemon curd icing (of course). Slice, pipe, place, repeat – et voilà, you have a three-tiered lemon curd loaf.

Essential advice: If you’re going to bake and ice the loaf on the same day, leave it to cool first then firm up in the fridge for half an hour before you begin to decorate.

But what if you truly want to knock some socks off?

Meet the dessert that’ll whisk guests off their feet – lemon meringue loaf. Add this beaut to your menu to set the bar seriously high for the next party hosts (they’ll be coming to you for baking advice soon!).

Insider info: A Swiss meringue is smoother, silkier and fluffier than a French meringue, making it a great choice for spreading over bakes.

Now that you’ve got a few showstoppers under your belt, make sure you’re brushed up on the basics – click here for the essentials: tips, techniques and handy hacks every baker needs to know.