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While baking cakes is usually easier than cooking, sometimes things can get quite tricky. This is why you need to know the basics of cake baking.
It doesn’t matter if you are new to baking or have been baking for years, this guide will help you.
How to Make a Cake: A Step-by-Step Guide
Making any cake is not rocket science. However, it is always good to follow the basic rules. By following these 12 easy steps, you will be able to create a beautiful and tasty cake every time. This guide will teach you how to make a cake.
Before you get started, you will need to decide on the cake recipe you would like. You can get a cake recipe here and then click on the Recipe tab. Now that you have your recipe, follow the steps below for a delicious moist made from scratch cake.
Step 1: Get Your Kitchen Aid Mixer Ready or Your Mixer of Choice
Get your mixer plugged in, your bowl set on your mixer, and your edge beater (flat paddle if you have a Kitchen Aid) ready to attach to your mixer. Doing this will save you some much-needed time.
Step 2: Prepare Your Baking Pans
This is a very important step to do before you pour the batter into the cake pans. Because you do not want your cake layers to stick. I love to use Pam Baking Spray or Bakers Joy Spray. These sprays already have the oil and flour mixed together making greasing and flouring your pans a breeze. One step and you’re done.
You can use two 9-inch pans, two 8-inch pans, or a 13x9x2 inch pan. The choice is yours. The recipe may specify which size pan to use as well. I use non-stick pans, but still, use the spray for assurance my cake layers will not stick and slide out of the pans with ease.
Step 3: Gather Your Ingredients
Now that you have all of the ingredients for your recipe, allow them to reach room temperature. This usually only takes about 15-20 minutes. Doing this will allow for butter to mix up easier (you just want the butter to be soft) and allow the eggs to yield a higher cake volume. For food safety reasons, be sure not to leave the eggs out longer than about 20 minutes.
Step 4: Pre-Heat the Oven
Pre-heat your oven while mixing up your cake. For most cakes it is 350 degrees F. But there again, go by what the recipe says. You don’t want to put your cake into a cold oven and it has to sit there while the oven heats up. This can cause your cake to be dry and not as moist and can decrease the thickness of the layers. (want rise up as pretty).
Step 5: Follow the Recipe Step by Step
Make sure you follow the recipe exactly in order. Don’t try to skip ahead with steps to get it mixed up faster. If you do, you are going to be messing up big time! For example, if you are adding your eggs and the recipe wants you to add them one at a time and mix well before you add another one, you add them one at a time.
Step 6: Mixing the Dry Ingredients
Mix together the dry ingredients first, ie: flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, whatever the recipe calls for. You can mix these together in your mixing bowl using a wire whisk.
Step 7: Cream Together Sugar and Butter or Sugar and Shortening
Now you will want cream together either the sugar and butter or sugar and shortening depending on what your recipe calls for. Make sure that your butter is at room temperature. This will take about 15-20 minutes. You just want the butter soft enough to mix up smooth with the sugar. Beat on medium to high speed for about 30 seconds to get a smooth creamy texture. This is the secret to light and fluffy cakes.
Step 8: Let’s Add the Eggs
Typically you add the eggs one at a time mixing well before adding another one. Doing this causes the cake to maintain its structure better. And again go by the recipe. Not all recipes require the eggs to be added one at a time.
Step 9: Combining Dry and Wet Ingredients
When it comes to dry and wet ingredients, typically you alternate between the two. You will add a little of the dry mixture followed by the wet (milk, juice) and mix. You alternate like this until they both are added and incorporated into the batter. Make sure you start with the flour and end with the flour. Mix well, but do not over mix.
Step 10: Pour Batter into Prepared Cake Pans
Pour the cake batter evenly into prepared cake pans using a silicone spatula and bake at temperature according to the recipe. Most of the time it is 30-40 minutes. Start out with the lowest time first, you can always increase the time if needed. You can check doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it toothpick comes out clean, they are done. If there is any wetness on the toothpick, cook in increments of 5 minutes until done. This will keep you from overcooking the cake and drying it out.
Step 11: Cool the Cake Layers Before Frosting
Place cakes on a cooling rack(s) for 5 minutes, and then turn out on cake rack(s) to finish cooling. (About 60 minutes). To loosen the cakes from the side of the pan you bump the cake pan on the sides or run a knife around the edges. If you have a non-stick pan use a plastic knife so you won’t damage the pans.
Always frost or ice a cool cake! You don’t want your frosting to melt and run off of the cake!
Step 12: Frost a Cool Cake
Now comes the fun part! Make frosting or icing of your choice and frost the cake. Start by placing the top layer face down on your cake plate where the smoother side is facing up. Then you can place the cake plate on a rotating cake stand for easy frosting and decorating. Next, you want to put about 1/2 cup of the frosting on the first layer, then place the second layer with a smooth layer down (you are putting the smooth bottoms together).
Next, you want to put a thin layer of frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Don’t worry about how this looks right now. This is called a “crumb coat.” Then place the cake in your fridge or freezer for about 20-30 minutes. This will seal the crumbs in so they want get all in the frosting as you finish frosting the cake.
After the 30 minutes is up, finish frosting the cake. Start with a generous amount on top of the cake working down the sides all around the cake using an offset spatula. You can use circular motions to make a lovely design as you are going around the cake.
If you like you can add sprinkles to the top of your cake for decoration or whatever you like. You can also just leave it like it is with the beautiful swirls.
Follow this guide and you will not go wrong on making a cake. What are you waiting for? Get baking!🎂