The Ultimate All-Purpose-Do-Anything-With-It Cake Recipe

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When it comes to making desserts the first question that pops in my head is: “Is the prep time 20 min or less?”, because… usually, I only have about 20 min to prep.

As a result, I often use the following recipe which is my go-to for no-fail ‘cake type’ desserts, like Bundt cakes, loaf cakes, birthday cakes, muffins and cupcakes.

The original recipe is from an old cookbook dating back to the 1960’s, which has long been misplaced. However, the recipe has evolved over the years. Numerous changes to the main ingredients and amounts, have turned this recipe into a family favorite.

It’s ONE basic recipe for a spongy, moist dessert, with countless variations.

  • Prep time: 15 min
  • Baking time: 1 hour
  • Yields: 2 loaf cakes or 1 Bundt cake or two 9″ round cakes or one 13″x9″ cake or two 8″ square cakes or 24-26 muffins or cupcakes


1 1/4 cups Crisco® vegetable oil

1 1/2 cup sugar

5 eggs (yes, 5, this is not a typo)

1/2 milk

1 tsp vanilla

3 cups flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 350°F

Spray baking pan with nonstick cooking spray

In a bowl, mix oil and sugar

Add eggs, milk and vanilla

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl

Slowly add the dry ingredients into the egg mixture

Mix until creamy

At this point you can throw in your choice of add-ins (see ‘Variations’ section below)

Place the batter into the baking pans

Bake for 1 hour

Let cool



This is my favorite part. You can add anything you want to the basic batter… and make your own creations!

Here are some of my favorites:

Classic Marble Cake

Place 1/3 of the plain batter aside

Add 1/4 cup cocoa to it

and an additional 3 tbsp of milk

Mix well.

Place plain batter in the pan.

Add chocolate batter on top of plain batter.

Then swirl the chocolate batter into the plain batter using a knife.

Veggie & Nut Cake

1/3 cup carrots

1/3 cup zucchini

1/3 cup walnuts

Tropical Cake

1/2 cup crushed pineapple

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1 mashed banana

Cranberry Orange Cake

1 cup cranberries

1 tsp orange zest

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp fresh lemon zest

2 tsp poppy seeds

Turn any of the above combinations into other types of desserts, like Bundt cakes, cupcakes, muffins, etc.

Experiment with different add-ins too! The possibilities are endless 🙂

Blueberry Muffins

Add 2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries to the basic mix

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Add 1 cup of chocolate chips to the basic batter

Freeze & Store For Later

Once cooled, place your baked creations in large freezer bags and freeze them to enjoy throughout the season. Thaw them overnight and enjoy the next day.

(Mug from Hawkins Pottery, PEI)

Happy spring baking!

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