13 Essential Cake Making Advice for Newbies

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Cooking is an art form, but baking is a science. Maria Elizabeth’s

When it comes to making a cake for a special occasion, most individuals will go to their local grocery store’s baking section and get a box of cake mix along with a handful of easy ingredients to mix in.

There is nothing wrong with preparing a cake from a boxed mix, and you can even enhance packaged cake mixes to make them appear and taste more handmade. If you like baking, you may want to try making a cake from scratch instead.

Making a cake from scratch is not difficult, but there are a few things you should know before you begin if you want to prevent baking mishaps.

Even if you’ve been baking from scratch for a while, you can have a problem that you can’t seem to solve every time you create a cake.

With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of 13 Must-Know Cake Making Advice for Beginners. I believe that even non-beginners will benefit from some of these suggestions!

13 Tips for Baking a Cake

TIP #1: Let All the Ingredients Come to Room Temperature

  • Batter will mix best when all of the ingredients are at room temperature.
  • Melted butter and softened butter are not the same. Cold butter will not mix well in a cake mix and melted butter can have its own problems. Softened butter means that the butter is not melted, but it is soft enough to mix in with the other ingredients easily.
  • When it comes to eggs, you don’t want to leave them out for too long before using them, but letting them adjust to room temperature before mixing will help them blend with the other ingredients well.

TIP #2: Don’t Skip Steps in the Recipe

  • Each step has its purpose and is in the recipe for a reason – make sure to follow all of them.
  • Read the recipe before you start so that you don’t find yourself missing key ingredients or required steps in the process.

TIP #3: Gather Your Ingredients and Prep Your Kitchen

  • Take a look at the recipe and bring your ingredients out to your counter before you start. This will help you assure you have everything you need, as well as allow your ingredients to reach room temperature.
  • Having your ingredients, cake pans, bowls, and everything else you need sitting out in front of you will make the whole process much more efficient as well.

Is anything missing? I have a number of suggestions for substituting crucial ingredients, equipment, and bakeware.

TIP #4: Move Your Oven Rack to the Center Position

  • The center rack will provide the most even heat distribution for your cake.

TIP #5: Preheat the Oven

  • A lot of people question whether or not they really need to preheat the oven before putting food in.
  • If you don’t preheat, your cake will be baking at a lower temperature for the entire time your oven is heating up. This will change the results of how your cake turns out.

TIP #6: Use the Right Pan

  • The pan may be the second most important part of successfully baking a cake, after the batter itself. With a wide variety of pans available it can be difficult to choose the right one (here are my suggestions).
  • High-quality nonstick bakeware can help your cake turn out so much better than you have ever gotten from a cheaper alternative. Higher quality, nonstick or silicone pans not only mean easier release but also more even baking for your cakes (check out our post comparing the best bakeware sets you should consider).

TIP #7: Non-Stick Your Non-Stick Surface

Even if you use a nonstick pan, your cake may still cling in a few places. Use these tactics to ensure that your cake comes out entire and clean.

Traditional butter and dusting
  • Grease the bottom and sides of your pan with either softened butter or non-stick cooking spray. A pastry brush can be helpful in getting an even coating of butter in your pan.
  • Dust the buttered pan.
  • Traditionally flour is dusted on top of the buttered pan.
  • Alternatively, to prevent tasting flour on the bottom of the cake layer, dust the buttered pan with a bit of your dry cake mix ingredients.
Line with parchment paper
  • With parchment paper rolled out on your counter, trace the bottom of your cake pan, then cut inside of that line to create a parchment paper liner that will fit perfectly into the bottom of your cake pan.
  • You will still need to butter and dust the sides of the pan, but the bottom will release perfectly and you can simply peel the parchment paper from the bottom.
Non-stick baking mats
  • For a more long term solution to parchment paper, you can buy specially designed silicone mats.
  • These mats never need greasing and can also provide a prep area for other baking tasks such as cookies, pie crusts, and more.

If you missed this step, here are my recommendations for getting a stuck cake out of a pan.

TIP #8: Scoop Dry Ingredients

It is critical to remember to use a spoon to scoop the dry ingredients out of the bag and into the measuring cup rather than the measuring cup to scoop out your contents.

  • This helps to make sure you get exactly the right amount of each ingredient for your recipe rather than compacting your dry ingredients, which can cause you to get much more than you actually need.
  • You can use the flat side of a butter knife to scrape the excess back into the container.

When it comes to flour, it is critical to utilize a sifter rather than just putting it into the mixture. A sifter distributes flour uniformly throughout the batter and minimizes clumping.

TIP #9: Fill Cake Pans Only 2/3 Full

  • We have probably all made this mistake the first time we baked a cake. If it’s your first time, trust me, don’t fill the cake batter to the top of the pan!
  • Filling the cake pan to about 2/3 full will allow room for the batter to expand and rise, without overflowing. If you’re left with extra batter, don’t worry! There are all sorts of unique ways to repurpose leftover batter.

TIP #10: Separate and Rotate Your Pans in the Oven

Put your pans in the oven as near to the middle as possible.

  • If you are using more than one pan, don’t let the pans touch each other or touch the oven walls.
  • If you can’t fit more than one pan on a shelf, stagger the pans one shelf apart from each other so that the heat reaches each pan as evenly as possible.

Throughout the baking phase, rotate your pans.

  • This helps to ensure even baking.
  • Wait until around two thirds of the way through the baking process, when your cake has set, before rotating the pans.
  • Any time you open the oven door, pay attention to how long the door is open. The temperature will be lower while the door is open, so add that time back on to your total baking time.

TIP #11: Do the Toothpick Test

  • The toothpick test is how you know if your cake is done.
  • All you need to do is stick a clean toothpick into the middle of your cake when you think it might be ready. When you pull the toothpick back out, you want it to come out clean. If it is clean, the cake is done cooking. If it comes out with batter stuck to it, it’s not ready to come out of the oven yet.

TIP #12: Let It Cool

  • Leave your finished cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven.
  • After the 5 to 10 minutes are up, turn the pan upside down to release the cake onto the cooling rack upside down.
    • Cooling the cake upside down actually flattens the top and makes it easier to stack, frost, and decorate.

TIP #13: Apply a Crumb Coat

It is critical that your cake has completely cooled before icing it.

When your cake has completely cooled, you may add a crumb coat.

  • If you’ve ever frosted a cake and the frosting pulled up cake crumbs into the frosting, you’ve basically made a crumb coat, you probably just didn’t know that there’s a next step! The key is to just use a thin layer of frosting on this first coat so you have room to add a better looking layer of frosting on top later.
  • A crumb coat acts to seal in any crumbs. It is also known as “dirty icing”.
  • By creating this crumb coat or dirty icing, you actually prevent those same chunks of cake crumbs from ending up in the final layer of frosting or icing that others will see.
  • Once you’ve applied your crumb coat, place the cake into the fridge or freezer to chill the frosting.
  • When your crumb coat has fully set, you can go ahead and apply your final layer of frosting to cover up the crumb coat.

Follow these easy cake-making instructions and you’ll be creating magnificent cakes like the professionals in no time!

While preparing your cake, don’t forget to include the icing components. Discover how to create frosting without using any special ingredients.

If you’re ready to take your baking to the next level, check out our list of baking techniques for beginners!


What are the 7 rules for baking perfect cake?

The seven golden laws of cake making
Always grease and line the pan with parchment paper.
Let the oven to thoroughly heat up first.
Unless otherwise stated, bake in the center of the oven…
Bake in the pan size indicated….
Do not attempt to double the recipe.
Make use of fresh foods.
There will be no replacements.
Your cake is very thick.
Additional details…•June 9, 2021

What are the 10 tips in making successful cake?

Follow the Recipe to Learn How to Make the Perfect Cake. Isn’t this self-evident? … Temperature in the Room.
Appropriate Measurement…. Cake Flour….
Don’t over-mix, and don’t under-mix.
Make use of Parchment Paper Rounds.
Don’t Turn on the Oven… Do the Bounce-Back Test.
Additional information…•Aug 21, 2019

How to bake a cake step by step for beginners?

Cake Baking Instructions
Step 1: Preheat the baking pans.
Step 2: Let the ingredients to come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Step 4: Combine the dry ingredients.
Step 5: Mix the butter and sugar together.
Step 6: Add the eggs one at a time.
Step 7: Alternate between adding dry and wet ingredients.
Step 8: Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake.
Additional details…•September 26, 2022

What should a beginner bake first?

And if you’re a beginning baker, here are 18 very simple baking recipes you should attempt.
Traditional Banana Bread.
Cookies with Sea Salt and Chocolate Chunks.
Muffins with blueberries and streusel topping.
Cookies made with almond flour.
Banana Bread Bars with No Flour.
Homemade Multiseed Crackers.
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies with No Flour.
Cookie Monster Bars.
Additional details…•April 2, 2020

What are the four faults in cake making?

The flour was too soft.
The cake was placed in the oven before it had completely set.
The following are the most typical causes:
There is too much baking powder.
Excessive sugar consumption (this will be apparent if the cake also has a crisp, sugary crust)
Excessive Fat

What is the golden rule in baking?

Always begin with the lowest baking time advised (a slightly moist cake is always better than an overdone one). Do not open your oven until the minimum time has passed. It alters the temperature and movement of the air and has the potential to collapse the whole cake.

What are the 5 skills in baking a cake?

Organisation. Baking is a balancing act… Pay attention to detail. When it comes to baking, precision is essential…. Coordination. If you don’t naturally have good hand-eye coordination, you may improve it with practice.
Patience… Ingenuity.
Aug 30, 2017

What is the secret of successful baking?

You must have the necessary ingredients to be a good baker. These must be mixed in the correct sequence. Next they must bake at the proper temperature. If you change any of them, you can end up with difficult bread, a crumbled cake, or runny cookies.

What is the formula for making a cake?

The ratio of 1:1:1:1

The four essential components of a cake are flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. You can bake a flawless pound cake by using equal quantities (in weight) of each of these components (fun fact: pound cake got its name because it is composed of one pound of each of these ingredients).

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