If you’re looking for something simple to bake, opt for one of our traybake recipes. Think jammy coconut squares topped with strawberry jam and desiccated coconut, Mars bar slices made with melted Mars bars, or an apple crumble traybake, which transforms a British classic.
“Traybakes are brilliant for feeding as many people as you need to as they are literally a blank canvas and you can cut pieces as large or small as needed, brilliant if you are catering an event or party where you might end up with more mouths to feed than you expected,” says baking guru Caroline Hartley from The Happy Food Kitchen. “Perfect for school bake sales, traybakes can even be decorated in the tray, cut, and taken to the sale in the tray they were cooked in, meaning no extra washing up or worrying about finding cases. As recipes, they are often sturdy too, so easy to serve onto a napkin or paper plate without them falling apart.”
Caroline says that traybakes are great for making with kids, and for those who aren’t too confident in the kitchen. “Traybakes are brilliant for reluctant and inexperienced bakers as there is less to go wrong. There is no need to portion the batter or mixture and over a larger surface area, it is easy to level the top with the back of a spoon. Forget fiddly tin lining, prepping for a traybake couldn’t be easier as you can simply lay a sheet of baking paper over the tray, cut the end and push the sides down,” she says.
“And kids love making traybakes as there are so many no-bake options which means they can do everything themselves. Traybakes are great to freeze too. Often they have a lovely, even moist texture and respond well to being frozen either in the tray wrapped well in foil or sliced and boxed. I always make two so we have one to eat straight away and one ready in the freezer for lunchboxes and playdates. It also saves time and energy costs as you can fill your oven.”
Easy traybake recipes
1. Chocolate and coconut Bounty slice
Serves: 10 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 10 mins, plus 3 hours chilling
This no-bake traybake brings dark chocolate together with coconut cream, coconut biscuits, coconut chips, and four bars of Bounty to make one indulgent treat. A fridge cake that is rather grown up on the flavour front – you could also add some glacier cherries in the mix – it could also be more kiddy friendly if you were to swap the dark choc for milk. Whatever you choose, it’s simple and has a totally tropical taste. A great one for summer gatherings.
Get the recipe: Chocolate and coconut Bounty slice
2. Sticky marshmallow and chocolate tray bake
Serves: 16 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 45 mins
This delicious sticky marshmallow and chocolate tray bake have a gooey marshmallow texture and a rich chocolate flavour, and the kiddy favourite of Rice Krispies gives it all a good crunch. Simple to make, perfect for whipping up with the children, and would be a good choice for a school bake sale or a kid’s birthday party. They can help with the measuring, mixing, and of course the tasting too.
You could swap out the Rice Krispies for cornflakes or coco pops, to use whatever you have in the cupboard, and it’s a great way to use up those marshmallows you’ve got left over from that camping trip.
Get the recipe: Sticky marshmallow and chocolate tray bake
3. Chocolate and raspberry cake
Serves: 15 | Skill level: Medium | Total time: 1 hour
Like a lighter, simpler version of the iconic black forest gateaux, this is a great choice for a posh summer picnic or birthday gathering when raspberries are in season (though you can swap them out for a nut topping at other times of the year). It all feels jolly lux with the ganache topping, which pairs beautifully with the tangy fruit. It’ll go far as well – the richness means that a small square is a plenty to satisfy.
Get the recipe: Chocolate and raspberry cake
4. Cherry and pistachio bake
Serves: 15 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 55 mins
A nod to the joys of a Bakewell tart, but far less faff to make, the juicy cherries and the pistachios are a match made in heaven in this light sponge-based traybake. You could also substitute or add to the pistachios with unsalted cashews or macadamia nuts.
It makes the best afternoon tea snack with a cup of tea, or could easily be a dessert after Sunday lunch, served warm with a scoop of vanilla, pistachio, or even cherry ice cream.
Get the recipe: Cherry and pistachio bake
5. Chocolate biscuit cake
Serves: 16 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 10 mins
A classic fridge cake with crushed biscuits, choc, walnuts, and raisins, this is the choice if baking isn’t really your strong suit, as it’s pretty difficult to go wrong. It’s packed with stuff you’re highly likely to have tucked away in your cupboards, like digestives and golden syrup (which can be swapped for healthier honey should you wish). An excellent one for baking with young kids, having a stash in the fridge for whenever you fancy a little treat is a good idea.
Get the recipe: Chocolate biscuit cake
6. Jammy coconut squares
Serves: 18 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 1 hr 5 mins
There’s a rather unusual ingredient in here – and it’s the humble spud. Yup, you heard right, there’s mashed potato in this traybake and, while that might sound like sheer madness, it really isn’t – it makes the cake super moist and means anyone gluten-free can indulge. The bright red jammy topping sprinkled with desiccated coconut will appeal to kids, and it’s delicious served warm with custard for a hearty – and nostalgic-looking – pudding after dinner.
Get the recipe: Jammy coconut squares
7. Bourbon biscuit brownies
Serves: 15 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 1 hour
A classic American brownie with a quintessentially British twist, thanks to the addition of a classic biccie, the humble Bourbon. Crunchy but gooey, and a hit with little kids, big kids, and very big kids, it’s a great crowd pleaser at any gathering and is super simple to knock together. If a Bourbon isn’t your thing, you could swap out for another type of biscuit barrel fave – Custard Cream brownies anyone?
Get the recipe: Bourbon biscuit brownies
8. Lemon cheesecake slices
Serves: 12 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 1 hr 20 mins
A classic recipe from the 80s, but every bit as good in the 2020s, the citrusy lemon sponge and simple icing make this traybake extra refreshing and zesty. This is the best of two worlds, a cheesecake with a pie crust, and the unusual addition of marzipan in the mix. Couldn’t be more perfect for a mid-afternoon snack with a strong cup of tea or a frothy coffee.
Get the recipe: Lemon cheesecake slices
9. Chocolate and pecan flapjacks
Serves: 12 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 40 minutes
These flapjacks might not look like a classic tray bake recipe, but they start out like one. We've wrapped ours up in brown paper ready for lunch boxes, but if you prefer you can leave them in one large tray-bake-shape to cut up as and when you please. The pecan is the less than usual ingredient here, though you could use any combo of nuts, or leave them out altogether in favour of some chewy raisins.
Get the recipe: Chocolate and pecan flapjacks
10. Chocolate brownies
Serves: 24 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 30 mins
No need to mess with a classic. A proper good chocolate brownie needs to be gooey in the middle and there’s none of that dry dusty texture with this recipe, which tells you exactly when it’s time to take the brownies out of the oven to make them just right. The perfect tray bake recipe, made even more perfect when served still warm from the oven with a generous dollop of classic vanilla ice cream – you could pop some berries on the side for colour and a bit of goodness, too.
Get the recipe: Chocolate brownies
11. Millionaire’s shortbread recipe
Serves: 8 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 1 hr 5 mins
Millionaire's shortbread is so called because of the level of decadence compared to the regular, far less rich, and fancy variety. And it’s surely worthy of such a title, yet it’s pleasingly easy to make. At least our version is, and that’s all thanks to one simple, genius ingredient – instead of the complications of making your own caramel, we use dulce du Leche, the indulgent thick caramel spread from Argentina. This is a next-level treat, perfect for parties, or simply with a cup of tea and a sit-down.
Get the recipe: Millionaire's shortbread
12. Creme Egg brownies
Serves: 12 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 30
This indulgent brownie recipe uses Creme Eggs and is too marvelous to be restricted purely to Easter time. If you can't find Creme Eggs out of season then sub in your favourite treats – Smarties, Rolos, or sliced Mars Bars would all be heavenly at any time of the year, all ‘smushed’ up with the gooey brownies. It’s not a posh pudding, but it is a very fun one – perfect for a kid’s tea party. “Using larger decorations like mini Creme Eggs is a good way to map out your portions before cooking,” says Caroline Hartley.
Get the recipe: Creme egg brownies
13. Chocolate Chelsea buns
Serves: 12 | Skill level: Medium | Total time: 55 mins
A riff on the classic Chelsea buns, beloved of royalty in the 1800s, this recipe replaces the cinnamon and raisins with chocolate. Because why not? Filled with chocolate chips, the topping is every kid’s favourite choc spread, Nutella, spread over the dough before it is rolled and baked. One for more confident bakers, it’s a great choice for an indulgent brunch when you feel like treating yourself.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Chelsea buns
14. Very berry chocolate traybake
Serves: 9 | Skill level: Medium | Total time: 45 mins
White and dark chocolate chunks and raspberries are a perfect pairing in this marble cake, made with two different sponges. This traybake makes for a most excellent pudding served with whipped cream or custard while it’s still warm from the oven. Any leftovers will do nicely for an afternoon tea. It’s also a great one to make for a bake sale.
Get the recipe: Very berry chocolate tray bake
15. Chewy chocolate oat squares
Serves: 24 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 50 mins
These chewy chocolate oat squares are a fusion of two of the best bakes out there – chocolate cake and flapjacks. A great one to make with the kids as it’s nice and simple, it is nicely fancified with the melted white chocolate drizzled over. Top it all off with chocolate curls or chips and they'll keep for a few days in an airtight container, so you can be all organised and make them ahead for a birthday party or bake sale.
Get the recipe: Chewy chocolate oat squares
16. Orange and raspberry bites
Serves: 16 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 50 mins
If you’re watching the calories this summer but craving the sugar, these Slimming World orange, and raspberry bites will hit your sweet spot. Made with sweetener, low cal cooking spray, and extra low-fat cream cheese, which keeps the fat content right down, this traybake is Infused with a citrus orange flavour, topped with a light frosting, and decorated with fresh raspberries. And while it might be less naughty, it’s no less nice.
Get the recipe: Orange and raspberry bites
17. Paul Hollywood’s Welsh gingerbread
Serves: 10 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 45 mins
The supreme baking master shares his favourite recipe for Welsh gingerbread – which, curiously, doesn’t traditionally feature actual ginger, but it tastes as though it does because of the black treacle it contains. Paul adds ground ginger in the mix here though, and his big tip is to buy your own candied peel to chop because it’s more flavoursome than the ready-prepped stuff. And when Paul speaks, we listen. Maybe it’ll even get us a Hollywood handshake.
Get the recipe: Paul Hollywood's Welsh gingerbread
18. Lemon curd cubes
Serves: 15 | Skill level: Medium | Total time: 55 mins
One for those who know their way around a piping bag, this lemon tray bake features a zesty lemon sponge and is topped with lemon curd icing which is so easy to make using just two ingredients. What takes a little more skill is the feathered design on top, but it’s worth the effort – perfect for a bake sale contribution or to take over to family and friends’ houses to show off your baking talents.
Get the recipe: Lemon curd cubes
19. Chocolate, toffee, and peanut squares
Serves: 24 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 30 mins
A twist on Millionaire’s shortbread, TV chef Rachel Allen's chocolate, toffee, and peanut squares are like a posh Snickers bar. Using dulce du Leche and salted peanuts to effectively make the salted caramel. The shortbread is easily whizzed together in a food processor and it all looks far more tricky to make than it actually is. Once you’ve baked the shortbread and left it to cool, just melt the choc, assemble the layers and leave in the fridge to set. Because of the nuts, this one is best for a family gathering rather than a school bake sale or party.
Get the recipe: Rachel Allen's chocolate, toffee and peanut squares
20. Strawberry and macadamia blondies
Serves: 10 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 45 mins
For the uninitiated, blondies are brownies, just made with white choc instead of milk or dark. This super simple recipe is lighter and creamier and less rich than a regular brownie. It features macadamia nuts for a bit of bite and raspberries for colour and flavour. Delicious to share with friends over a frothy coffee.
Get the recipe: Strawberry and macadamia blondies
21. Mars Bar tray bake slice
Serves: 6 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 40 mins
A super sweet treat that the kids will go crazy for, it’s a more exciting twist on a classic Rice Krispies cake with the addition of the king of chocolate bars, set in a traybake and coated with melted white chocolate. It takes just five ingredients and is super easy to make with the kids, and is perfect for a picnic or a children’s birthday party (though we’re sure all the adults will be getting stuck in too).
Get the recipe: Mars bar slice
22. Low-calorie Weetabix chocolate brownies
Serves: 12 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 25 mins
We’ve long used cornflakes or rice crispies in our bakes, but Weetabix is a new one. One of the few actual low-sugar cereal, it reduces the calories of these brownies down nicely, if you’re trying to cut down. Using a mere 4 ingredients including cherry yogurt (going low-fat Muller Light is the best choice if you are keeping an eye on your calories and fat grams), it’s super simple and will satisfy that mid-afternoon sweet craving without all the cals and fat.
Get the recipe: Low-calorie Weetabix chocolate brownies
23. Chocolate and apricot brownies
Serves: 24 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 35 mins
Not-so-naughty and nice, these choc and apricot brownies are low in saturated fat and cals, thanks to ditching butter and chocolate powder for their low-fat counterparts. The dried apricots bring flavour and a lovely chewy texture. Dust with icing sugar to finish off the look and serve solo, or with a dollop of reduced-fat creme fraiche or yogurt.
Get the recipe: Chocolate and apricot brownies
24. Espresso walnut traybake
Serves: 15 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 45 mins
One for the grown-ups, this coffee-infused traybake version of a classic cake is perfect for when you have friends over for, well, coffee. It’s moist, it’s rich (so you only need a little and can save some for another day – and don’t forget you can even freeze any un-iced cake for an altogether different occasion. Also, a great one to take along as a delightful offering on a visit to relatives. Simply must be served with a proper decent coffee (so step away from the Nescafe, guys).
Get the recipe: Espresso and walnut tray bake
25. Treacle flapjacks
Serves: 12-14 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 1 hr 5 mins
“Flapjack is your friend if you want to meal plan the week ahead with healthy snacks. Such an easy way of bulk cooking and it means there is always a filling but nourishing treat ready – perfect also for breakfast on the go. Flapjacks are cheap to make but expensive to buy so you will save pennies too,” says Caroline Hartley.
A twist on a classic, this recipe replaces golden syrup with a denser, heavier black treacle, bringing a whole new depth of sticky sweet flavour to the humble flapjack. You could add raisins, choc chips, or dried fruit in the mix, too, and they’re perfect for kid’s lunch boxes – and grown-up ones too, to be fair. An easy one to bake with the kids, too, that won’t take up too much time or make too much mess. Which is always a winner.
Get the recipe: Treacle flapjack fingers
26. Berry swirl cheesecake bites
Serves: 28 | Skill level: Medium | Total time: 45 mins
This baked cheesecake has a warming extra ginger-y biscuit base (thanks to the stem ginger in the mix with ginger biscuits), topped with cream cheese and creme fraiche cheesecake topping. Studded with mixed berries and infused with lemon zest, it’s a wonderful dessert for when you have friends over, especially in the summer – maybe after a BBQ on a hot day.
Get the recipe: Berry swirl cheesecake bites
27. Chocolate and almond slices
Serves: 12 | Skill level: Medium | Total time: 55 minutes
A nutty version of a traditional chocolate cake, this is one for the grown-ups with the rich dark choc icing (though you could swap out some of the dark for lighter milk chocolate). It’s airy, it’s moist, and the chocolate ganache is super simple and made from just chocolate, butter and golden syrup. You could decorate the top with sliced almonds too, if you like, to posh it up a little.
Get the recipe: Chocolate and almond slices
28. Boozy cherry Bakewell magic cake
Serves: 8 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 1 hr
This delicious cherry Bakewell magic cake is a quirky tray bake for the adults because it really is quite alcohol-fueled – using cherries soaked in kirsch (which sounds like a niche ingredient but is available in Tesco or Waitrose) as well as that brandy, whisky, or cognac (note one, not all three, ok?!) you’ve got lurking at the back of the drinks cupboard. And why is it magic? Well, because just one cake batter will create three layers. Don’t ask us why – because, well, that’s magic for you.
Get the recipe: Boozy cherry Bakewell magic cake
29. Annabel Karmel’s chocolate orange brownies
Serves: 10 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 55 mins
Kid’s food guru Annabel Karmel's tray bake brings those great friends chocolate and orange together to make a mouth-watering cake that can easily be made with the smalls in your life. The sponge is also studded with white chocolate chips (what’s not to love there?) and is a great choice for a kid’s party or a bake sale because it will be a definite crowd-pleaser.
Get the recipe: Chocolate orange brownies
30. Sticky plum upside-down tray bake
Serves: 18 | Skill level: Medium | Total time: 1 hr
“Hosting a dinner party? Make a pudding-style sticky plum upside-down traybake and you can just portion it up at the last minute. The plums act as decoration and you will only have a single tray to wash up,” says Caroline Hartley. You might well know it better as a pineapple cake, but this retro dessert works beautifully with plums too.
Topped with pomegranate seeds and pistachios, you could almost say this cake was healthy… Best served warm from the oven with vanilla ice cream or homemade custard (oh ok, you can cheat with shop-bought if it’s easier, the plums add a sticky sweet texture, and tartness of flavour to the sponge.
Get the recipe: Sticky plum upside down tray bake
31. Maltesers brownies
Serves: 15 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 1 hr 10 mins
As marvellous as chocolate brownies taste just as they are, they can surely only be improved with the addition of Maltesers (in fact, what isn’t improved by the addition of Maltesers?). Where else this recipe is unique is the swirl of cream cheese and malt extract swirl in the mix. It’s best to lightly crush the Maltesers with a rolling pin in a bag first, to ensure even distribution.
And, of course, other chocolate bars are available if you’d like to use Smarties, M&Ms, Crunchie bars, even chopped-up Snickers, or Double Deckers. The possibilities are endless, right?
Get the recipe: Maltesers chocolate brownie
32. Marzipan and orange traybake
Serves: 16 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 50 mins
The soft white marzipan and orange zest pair wonderfully together to make this sponge extra moist and flavoursome. Drizzle with icing sugar infused with orange juice and sprinkle with chopped pistachio nuts, it’s a delight sliced up for a summer picnic, for afternoon tea, or at any time of the year.
Get the recipe: Marzipan and orange traybake
33. Apple flapjacks
Serves: 12 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 1 hr
A classic flapjack with the addition of fresh, grated apple, brings a slightly tart flavour to cut through the sweetness. You could always try this bake with pear instead (or as well). Super easy to make with kids and ideal to pop in their lunchboxes, as well as perfect with a morning or afternoon coffee. They could even be served warm with ice cream as a dessert.
Get the recipe: Apple flapjacks