Better Cakes

We’ll be making some cakes in the next few weeks, so I thought we’d visit about making cakes and frosting. 
Some simple rules of thumb that will make your cakes more successful:
  • Start with room temperature ingredients.  Take them out of the refrigerator a half hour ahead:  eggs, milk, cream and butter, sour cream, cream cheese and the like.    
  • Before adding the sugar, the fat should be beaten until it is the consistency of stiff mayonnaise.  If you add eggs to the fat-sugar mixture, they may look curdled, but that’s not a problem.
  • When you add your liquids and dry ingredients to your sugar, fat, egg mixture, alternate them, starting with about 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then ½ of the liquids, repeat and finish with the dry ingredients.  (Recipes don’t always tell you this, they just assume you know.)
  • If you are making a butter cake (as opposed to an angel food or sponge cake), after filling the pan, drop the pan from a height of 2 or 3 inches above the countertop to remove any large bubbles.
  • Be sure to preheat your oven at least 20-25 minutes to avoid big fluctuations in oven temperature.
  • Cool your layer cakes on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan.
  • If your cake doesn’t look perfect, try serving slices from the kitchen with whipped cream, fruit, hot fudge sauce or the like.  Some heavy cakes can be sliced and toasted and topped.
How much frosting do I need?
Top only
Top and sides
Top, sides and between layers
8” 2 layer

1 ½ cup
2 cups
9” 2 layer

2 cups
2 ½ cups
8” square
¾ cup
1 ½ cup

13 x 9”
2 cups
2 ½ cups

9 or 10” tube cake

4 cups

9 x 5 x 3” loaf
1 cup

12 cupcakes
1 cup

When is your cake done?
Check the recipe, and 5 minutes before the given time, insert a toothpick near the center and it should come out clean, it should feel springy on top but not leave a fingerprint, and the edges should start to pull away from the sides.


  1. Great tips! That cake looks dee-lish!

  2. Probably not the best idea for me to read this post before breakfast. Now I am ready to go ahead and make a cake for breakfast! These are great tips. I seem to have trouble coming up with a homemade cake consistency that I really like, mine always seem a little on the heartier side (not dry, just dense). Would love to have you link up at what i am eating Hope to see you over there!


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