How to Make the Perfect Cake

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Have you ever wondered how to make the perfect cake? Today I’m sharing some simple tips and tricks that will help you achieve success each and every time you bake a cake. The days of dry, tasteless, failed cake recipes will be no more if you follow each of the tips I have laid out for you.

Angled view of a cake covered in chocolate frosting on a marble cake stand.

Make the Perfect Cake

Always read the entire recipe before you begin. Make sure you have all the ingredients and tools needed to bake the cake.

Make sure the ingredients are room temperature. Ingredients that are room temperature are easier to combine. Butter must be softened in order to cream it with sugar. Cold milk will turn perfectly softened butter into a clumpy mess. And cold eggs are almost impossible to thoroughly mix into cake batter.

High angled view of vanilla cake slices with chocolate frosting on bamboo plates.

Cream the butter and sugar together for a full 5 minutes. When creaming the butter and sugar, aim for a light pale color and fluffy texture. If creamed properly, the butter and sugar will be almost double in volume. This process alone will ensure a moist, tender cake.

Measure the ingredients properly. If weight measurements are included in the recipe, be sure to use a scale (affiliate link) and weigh the ingredients correctly. If no weight measurements are given, always measure the dry ingredients by spooning them into a dry measuring cup and level it off with the back of a knife.

Overhead view of two slices of yellow cake with chocolate frosting on bamboo plates.

Sift or whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl before adding them to the wet ingredients. Doing this ensures the leavening agent is evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Take care not to over mix the batter. Over mixing causes the top of the cake to dome or crack and creates tunnels throughout the inside. Gently mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

Close up overhead view of a slice of vanilla cake with chocolate frosting.

Prepare the cake pans with nonstick spray and a piece of parchment paper cut to fit in the bottom of the pan.

Wrap the cake pans with a wet tea towel or use bake even strips (affiliate link) to make sure the cakes bake evenly across the top and do not rise higher in the middle.

Use an oven thermometer (affiliate link). Your oven calibration may be slightly off which can affect the way the cake turns out.

Three layer yellow cake with chocolate frosting on bamboo plates.

Take care not to overbake the cake. The cake is ready once a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few dry crumbs on it. If the toothpick comes out completely clean, the cake is overbaked.

Cool the cakes in the pan on wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Make sure the cake is completely cool before frosting.

I used my basic vanilla cake recipe for this post.

I have some delicious cake recipes that turn out perfect when utilizing these baking tips to make the perfect cake. Enjoy!

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46 Comments

  1. It will take awhile for me to master it like you did, but within time I will be more like you.
    Thanks to you I will become the best baker in my house.
    This is really helpful.

  2. Felicity Isserow says:

    Hi, I’ve replaced my Thermostat due to complaining my Pies Cakes in Pyrex Containers Fruit Cakes are WET in the Middle!
    Now my oven is not producing “perfect” cakes as I over bake and they dry! But your tip on getting my own Oven Thermometer is the next step! As the Technician thinks it’s me the bad Baker. Never had these problems before!

    1. An oven thermometer is a great way to see if your oven is reaching the set temperature. Good luck!

  3. You specify we should use an oven thermometer, but I can’t find any reference in this guide or the vanilla cake recipe to the temperature the oven should be set at. Please advise.

    Thanks!

    1. Oven temps won’t be included in this guide here because different cakes will bake at different temperatures. But, in step 1 of the vanilla cake recipe, it states to set the oven to 350°F.

  4. Theresa Caldwell says:

    If a recipe calls for water, I use milk, if it calls for shortening I use butter.once batter is in pan gently tap to remove bubbles. I’ve never had a cake fail. I’m lucky I guess, but I love to bake

  5. Thanks for the tips! I often find that my cake has collapsed/ failed to rise, even though I’ve followed a recipe properly. Do you have any ideas as to why this happens? (It isn’t my baking powder, I tried various ones 🙂

    1. You could be overmixing the batter or the oven temperature could be inaccurate.

  6. Manali Patel says:

    What would you suggest as a egg replacer to make eggless cakes with you recipes?

    1. I don’t specialize in eggless baking so I’m not comfortable giving advice on how to bake with egg replacers.

    2. Theresa Caldwell says:

      Apple sauce

  7. Did the basic cake recipe and my cake taste like cornbread!! I’ve tried others and turned out the same “cornbread”
    Help

    1. I hear this complaint a lot and can’t understand it at all. I’ve never experienced this myself. There are numerous threads online of people complaining their cakes always taste like cornbread. Some solutions are to make sure you are using cake flour since it’s a softer flour, look for aluminum-free baking powder, take extra care to not over mix the batter, and don’t over bake the cake since that can dry it out.

  8. Hi Jen,
    I made your cake and it was perfect!! Thank you so much for your advise and help. I never made a cake before and it turned out great. I would like to make the cake pink though for a Minnie Mouse themed birthday party. Can I add food coloring to the cake mixture to make it pink? And if so, at what point during the process would I add the food coloring and how much would you suggest adding? Would I use pink or red food coloring? Sorry for all the questions but I really am a nubie…

    1. Adding food coloring shouldn’t be a problem. Use gel food coloring and red works best for dying white batter pink. It’s hard to say how much to use, that really depends on how dark you want the color to be. Start with a couple of drops, mix it in, then add more as needed.

  9. Peggy Beach says:

    I need a receipt for this white cake

  10. Gabriella says:

    These are perfect tips for my sister! I love baking so I am rather good at it,but my sister tends to mess up everything she bakes! Some tips were even very helpful for me as well. Thank you very much!
    I cant wait to try out the vanilla cake!