Try these easy picnic cakes... simple to make and great to make ahead for your picnic.

Cakes are almost "a must" at a picnic and you will be thrilled to throw your easy picnic cake together, pop it in the oven... then enjoy the delicious wafts of baking cake coming from the kitchen while you prepare other food and gather things for your picnic.

You can run to the shop to buy a cake, but there is something very satisfying about making your own and proudly taking it to your picnic!

Easy Cakes ... find recipes below

  • Chocolate cake... made with black beans and dates
  • A very special sponge cake... from my Mum
  • Butterfly cakes... a bit of fun!
  • An easy banana cake... an old family favorite that my family has often made
  • Little cakes, or muffins, made with banana cake mixture
  • Simple basic butter Icing for cakes
  • Cream Cheese Topping
  • ... More to come!

 So let's start with this chocolate cake...

without flour or sugar, it's an easy picnic cake made with the sweetness of dates...

It is a cake with dates!

Make a lovely moist chocolate cake... for 10-12 people.

You will need to...

  •   Begin by heating oven to 180C ( 160 fan forced)
  •   Grease a deep 20cm round spring form cake tin. Line base with grease proof paper.

Gather your ingredients for this easy picnic cake ...

  •  1x400g tin black beans... drained and rinsed well 
  • 15 soft fresh dates, pitted and roughly chopped... use lovely moist dates, not the hard dry variety! If you do have dry dates, just soak them in boiling water, drain to use in this easy picnic cake.
  • 1tabspn Vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tabspns strong black coffee
  • 150g coconut oil
  • 60gm cocoa powder… ¾ cup
  • ½ teaspoon carb. soda
  • 1 teaspn baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • Approximately 150 g fresh fruit… plums or, pears, apricots or, strawberries and blueberries or, pitted cherries, raspberries, bananas... your choice!


  • Beat... beans, dates, vanilla, 3 eggs and coconut oil all together in a food processor, until finely chopped and smooth.
  • Add remaining ingredients and beat together. This easy picnic cake will look quite moist at this stage.
  • Pour into spring form cake tin lined with grease proof paper.
  • Place your chosen fresh fruit on top of the cake and push gently into the mixture. Plums, sliced, were used for this easy picnic cake. Our trees were laden with fruit and I just "had" to use them... and they were delicious... but you can use your favorite fruit.
  • ... So, use approximately 150 g fresh fruit… plums or, pears, apricots, peaches or, strawberries and blueberries, pitted cherries or, raspberries, bananas, apples... your choice!
  • Pop into the oven... 180C ( 160 fan forced) and cook for about 30min, or more if still very moist. Sometimes, depending on the fruit, it can be 10min or more, even longer!
  • It will be very moist.
  • The finished easy picnic cake looks cracked on the top when cooked, but this is the cooked plums, soft and delicious!
  • Let cake stand in tin for 10 min, at least, after removing from oven and before turning out onto cooling rack.

To decorate this easy picnic cake...

  • You can use your favorite fresh fruit. I have used mine here... mixed berries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries... just scatter across the top of the cake.
  • Then scatter clean edible flowers amongst the fruit. Please make sure they are edible clean flowers, not sprayed with poisons!
  • I took these to the picnic on a little plate, with a small amount of water to keep them fresh...  and covered them in biodegradable plastic film. Could be in a reusable plastic container too.
  • The berries and flowers and strawberry leaves, were put on the easy picnic cake at the picnic... it only takes a couple of seconds to do this.
  • Give a light sprinkle/sift of icing sugar if you wish... it does look good and adds a little sweetness.

A good dollop of thickened cream... or yogurt... is excellent to serve separately with this easy picnic cake!

TOP TIPS... other suggestions on how to use this mixture for an easy picnic cake.

  • This recipe is also brilliant in a log tin... easier to cut at the picnic and can still look as stunning.
  • It can also be divided into a 10-12 muffin tin well buttered, for individual little cakes. They will take less time to cook... 15 to 20 min. Decorate too!
  • This cake can be used as a base for a trifle too. We made individual trifles to take to a last minute picnic for two... delish!

If you need to check which cake would be best to go with your lunch ideas...

Looking through these suggestions will help you plan what to take to your picnic.

Now, a treat for you, another easy picnic cake... the very best, easy sponge cake recipe!

This is the sponge cake recipe used by my Mother, Nance.

Nance used this easy sponge cake recipe for many, many picnics in the bush.
It wasn't a proper picnic if we didn't have a sponge, or lovely fruit cake, made by my Mum.
Boil the billy for tea (as shown on the "My Story " page) and... bring out the sponge cake!

This easy sponge cake recipe was also very popular for trading tables...
to raise money for our school and many other charities.
In fact, the cakes were often sold before hitting the trading table!

Nance was famous for her light, moist, delicious sponge cakes.... the best ever!

Note... The sponge shown here is a small one, using half the mixture only...
and the remaining sponge cake mixture was used to make butterfly cakes... below.

A layer of fig jam, use your favorite, then a thick layer of cream... and this sponge sat on a huge fig leaf.

Sponge Cake recipe...
this will make two sponges to sandwich together... or for you to make butterfly cakes.

 For easy picnic cake you will need...

  • 4-5 eggs (depending on their size)
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 cup self raising flour
  • Top the cup up with cornflour... 1/4 cup
  • A little extra butter and cornflour for greasing and lining tins
  • Pinch salt


  • Grease 2 x 8" sponge cake tins with warmed butter.
  • Sprinkle with cornflour and tap over the tin and tip off excess flour.
  • In a large cake mixing bowl, to aerate and make your sponge light... Sift flour together, three times... Nance said this was very important for a light sponge! 
  • Heat butter and milk together, put aside.
  • Separate eggs.
  • Beat whites with a pinch of salt until soft but firm.
  • Add sugar and beat until it dissolves... not too stiff.
  • Add egg yolks and beat until light creamy yellow.
  • Sift flour... already sifted 3 times... into beaten eggs... fold together.
  • Then fold in cooled milk and melted butter...  don't over mix, just fold together until just mixed.
  • Pour half mixture into each sponge tin.
  • Cook at 350-375c for 20 min.

To make a chocolate or coffee sponge...

Add 1 heaped tablespoon cocoa, or level tablespoon coffee.

Simple basic butter Icing for easy picnic cake

  • 1 cup sifted icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • Approx 1 dessertspoon boiling water, or hot milk

Optional extras...

  • 1 teaspoon of coffee powder
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • the center of a juicy passion-fruit. Strain if you don't like the seeds.

To make...

  • Sift icing sugar into a small bowl, add butter.
  • Gently and slowly add the hot liquid onto the butter, while you mix with a knife... being careful not to add too much!
  • Less is best... and add more water if needed, for easy spreading.

If you do add too much liquid, just top with a little more icing sugar... teaspoon at a time... or less.

When sponges are flavored with chocolate, or coffee... then make a butter icing with a touch of cocoa, or coffee, this is excellent... This is often the best way to decorate when going out on a hot day for a picnic.

Nance often used Passion-fruit in her icing... and we loved it!

How to make butterfly cakes...
Made from the mixture used in the easy sponge cake recipe.

If you are taking children to the picnic, or perhaps someone has a birthday...
or you just want to have a bit of fun... this is what to make!

There are different butterfly cake ideas... they can be put into patty pans, can be big, or smallish like these.

You will need to...

  • Make the sponge cake mixture above.
  • Grease and flour patty tins ready to fill with sponge mixture.
  • Set oven to 350-375C and bake for 12-15 minutes.
  • They will be cooked when golden brown .... and you can gently push your fingers onto top of cakes and cakes spring back when your fingers are taken away... Just as you did for the sponge.
  • Turn easy these picnic cakes out onto cooling racks.

To Assemble...

  • Use half of small cakes for wings. Cut into half.
  • Top one whole small cake with jam and dollop of cream.
  • Place the thick side of cakes cut in halves, together... to form wings.
  • Sprinkle with icing sugar... Icing sugar through a little strainer works well.

The Best Banana Cake recipe... an easy picnic cake… I’ve found it! Hooray!

As you can see from this recipe, this is one of our very old favorites... an easy picnic cake recipe!

We have moved house and some recipes (my old favorites, of course) went AWOL, so it is so exciting to find these old favorites… recipes my kids and I have made many times! As you can see the original copy for Lib's Banana Cake has been extremely well used! Thankfully I had written a new copy some time ago. It came originally from a friend many years ago and is really very easy to make.

It is an almost fool proof recipe, but recently I did make a big mistake which I will share with you. It’s hard to believe that after all these years of making it that I could make such a mistake.

This cake has been baked for many picnics!

Banana cake mixture can be made into little cakes as well.

These little banana cakes were a special birthday treat for my sister LuLu.

The cakes, topped with a blueberry, were tucked in between the pretty sprigs of flowers, for a bit of fun!

To make this very easy picnic Banana Cake…

You will need…

  • 120gm (4oz) butter
  • 180gm (6oz) sugar
  • 4 bananas… old soft bananas!
  • 2 egg
  • 250gm (8oz) self raising flour
  • 15 soft dates... or prunes, our favorite!
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 4 tabs cold water

To Put together....

  • Melt butter
  • In blender, or food processor... add butter, sugar, egg and soft bananas and dates... beat well.
  • Pour into a bowl and sift flour on top of the beaten mixture.
  • Stir all together.
  • Last of all, add Baking Powder… dissolved in water... stir well.
  • Bake for 30min in Moderate oven 175C (350F)
  • To test that it is cooked, push a skewer in and if it has uncooked mixture on it, leave for a few more minutes until it comes out clean.

A rectangular log tin works well for a cake going to a picnic.
Top with cream cheese topping

Slices of banana cake

This makes it easy to cut slices to be shared around.

Cream Cheese Topping...

This topping is great for carrot cake and muffins too... any easy picnic cake really!

  • 5 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • Up to 12 tablespoons icing sugar... less if you wish
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Essence

        Whizz altogether in a food processor and use a spatula or knife to cover top of cake... when it is cold.

        It will melt if cake is still hot!

        Leave as it is ... or sprinkle nuts, or grated chocolate, over or through mixture. Maybe sprinkles over   for children.

Old bananas for cake


The mistake I made recently was to use fresh hard bananas. I was in a hurry and couldn’t find old bananas, so thought fresh bananas would be fine… BIG Mistake!

You need to use old soft bananas for this cake. Usually, I freeze the bananas which have ripened too much to eat while fresh. When I have enough in the freezer, that’s when I make a cake.

The cake I made was quite dry and hard… OK to eat but nothing like the moist delicious cake I usually make. Really it was banana bread and needed butter... then it was yum!

It was good to make the mistake before showing you this old favorite!

Like the chocolate cake above it is also a good recipe to make in a log cake tin, or in a muffin pan... a good easy picnic cake.

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