There's nothing like the taste of a cake you made in your own kitchen. Baking a cake is as simple as measuring ingredients, mixing them in the right order, and remembering to take the cake out of the oven before it burns. Read on to learn how to bake three basic cakes: chocolate cake, apple cake, and vanilla pound cake. Scroll to the bottom for tips on how to follow a cake recipe.
Gather your ingredients.
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk or sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (177 °C).
- Grease your cake pan. You can use a round standard cake pan, a square baking dish, a loaf pan, a bundt cake pan, or whatever you have on hand. Make sure to grease it well with butter or cooking spray so the cake won't stick to the pan when it's baked.
Mix the wet ingredients in a large bowl. Place the butter, eggs, vanilla extract, sugar, and buttermilk in a bowl. Use a whisk or a hand mixer to blend the ingredients well.
- The "wet ingredients" in cake recipes are generally those that have moisture. Sugar is often listed as a wet ingredient, too, even though it isn't actually wet.
*The wet ingredients are usually mixed first in a large bowl. The dry ingredients are mixed separately and added later.
- It's important to follow instructions regarding the texture of the butter in cake recipes. If you use melted butter where softened butter is called for, the cake could come out ruined. In this case the recipe calls for room temperature butter. You can plan ahead by setting the butter out while you get the rest of the ingredients ready, so it has time to come to room temperature.
- Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Place the flour, salt, cocoa powder, and baking powder in a small bowl. Stir them together until they are well incorporated.
- Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Beat the mixture on low until the batter comes together and no white bits of flour remain.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan. Use a spoon or spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl so every bit of batter makes it into the pan.
- Put the pan in the oven and bake the cake for 30 minutes. Check the cake's progress every so often to make sure it doesn't burn. The cake is ready when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, rather than coated with batter.
- Take the cake from the oven and let it cool. Set it on the counter and let it cool for about 5 minutes before handling it.
- Invert the cake onto a plate. Use whatever plate you're planning on using to serve the cake.
- Let the cake cool completely before frosting. If you try to add frosting to the cake while it's still warm, the frosting will melt and run off the sides. Make some chocolate buttercream frosting or plain buttercream frosting, or any other kind of frosting.