How to Bake a Cake From Scratch: A Guide

My mother was famous for her cakes. She always made either Angel Food cakes or chocolate layer cakes for our birthdays – our choice.

I always chose the chocolate layer cake with chocolate fudge frosting.

She made birthday cakes and wedding cakes for anyone and everyone in our small town. The only cake from her extensive recipe box that I ever made was Devil’s Food – with the chocolate fudge frosting, of course. I haven’t made that since I was in college.

She always made it with boiled frosting – which I loved but haven’t a clue how to make.

I managed most of my adult life honing my reputation as someone who did not bake cakes / desserts.

Then we moved here…. We started having dinner parties….. I started baking cakes….. From scratch, of course as I have never seen anything resembling a cake mix here. (Most French buy their desserts at the patisserie.)

My most requested cake and link is at the bottom.

Read on for some tips on baking a cake:

There’s nothing quite like a sweet treat to pick you up when you’re feeling down. What makes that treat even sweeter? Making it yourself!

Baking is a great hobby that anyone can pick up, and a great place to start is learning how to bake a cake from scratch. Whether you’re looking to make it a habit or just trying to bake a birthday cake for a loved one, we’ve got you covered. Here are our favorite tips to make your first cake-baking experience a success.

How to Bake a Cake from Scratch: Choose a Recipe

One of the most important parts of a successful cake-baking experience is choosing the right recipe.

If you’re excited about baking a cake, chances are that you’ll be attracted to some pretty fancy recipes. But remember that you’ll have a better chance of success if you learn to walk before you run!

Try starting with a simple yellow cake recipe, or even a box mix. Then, work your way up to more complicated recipes like angel food cake.

Layer Cake

Check Your Cake-Baking Equipment

It’s easy enough to remember to stock your fridge with all the ingredients your recipe requires. But what the recipe might not list is some of the equipment you’ll need!

There’s nothing worse than getting half-way through a recipe only to realize that you’re out of parchment paper, so make sure to read your recipe all the way through to ensure you have the proper equipment to get the job done.

Prepare your Ingredients

Once you choose a recipe, you’ll be tempted to get started right away. But before jumping into the fold, take the time to prepare your ingredients.

This process will vary depending on the recipe, but one example of preparing your ingredients is softening butter prior to starting the baking process. You may also need to separate your egg yolks and whites or let certain doughs chill overnight.

Ultimately, reading the recipe all the way through before starting is the best thing you can do to help yourself prepare your ingredients.

Baking a Cake from Scratch: It’s the Little Things

There are a lot of oddly detailed steps in cake-baking recipes that may seem a little unnecessary at first.

For example, do you really have to mix all the dry ingredients together before adding them to the wet ingredients? Can it really hurt to skip buttering the pan? Does it really matter if you use baking soda instead of baking powder?

The answer to all of these questions is YES! The steps of a recipe are there for a reason, so try to follow them letter for letter for the best results. (And, when in doubt, there’s nothing wrong with reaching out to some professionals to make sure you get the best cake possible.)

Let Them Eat Cake

No matter what your level of experience is, you can learn how to bake a cake from scratch! Whether you share it with neighbors, give it to a friend, or eat it yourself, there’s no such thing as too much cake in this world.

Are you looking for more tips to follow in the kitchen? Check out our other blog posts!

Orange Cake

This Orange Cake with Orange Glaze is the one my friends rave about, ask me to make and ask for the recipe. It’s mon mari‘s favorite. My favorite is the Lemon Ricotta Cake – but I love all things lemon.

Happy Baking!

Chocolate Cake

Comments 6

  1. I’ve only used a boxed cake mix a couple times. I usually make mine from scratch. Boiled frosting is fairly easy and really just a matter of butter or shortening. And I use the all purpose flour, not cake flour. I rarely bake cakes so keeping cake flour around seems…I dunno. Easier to use an all purpose one.

    • It seems like my mother used Karo syrup but I don’t remember more. I make pumpkin and cranberry breads at Christmas – that’s about it unless we’re entertaining and we’re not doing that at the moment. A 2 pound bag of sugar usually lasts me at least a year.

  2. Mum always made all our cakes from scratch too. Except Angel Food. She used a box for that, until my dad was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Then she revised “Whacky Cake” (one-pan cake) by omitting the cocoa powder and using sifted white rice flour instead of all-purpose. It made the best cake – especially when served with whipped cream and strawberries!!

    Your Orange Cake with Orange Glaze does sound wonderful. But, but, but… I want your mom’s chocolate layer cake with too much chocolate fudge frosting!

    (We never had cake flour either, except by mistake once. Mum always sifted the flour for cakes before measuring it.)

    • My mother always sifted the flour…. I always forget. You can bake with rice flour? I had no idea. I’ve never seen it here but, maybe, at the ‘bio’ store.
      I want my mom’s chocolate layer cake with fudge frosting….

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