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Cake Making 101

Cake Making 101

Making cakes is easy with our cake baking tips. Learn how to frost layer cakes and how to freeze cake. Get tips on storing cakes and baking cakes.

Tips for Making Cakes

Choosing Pans

Pan Size
Use the size of pan called for in the recipe. To verify pan size, measure the length and width from inside edge to inside edge. If the pan’s too big, your cake will be flat and dry. If it’s too small, your cake will bulge or overflow out of the pan.

Metal, Nonstick and Glass Pans
Shiny metal pans are the first choice for baking cakes.  They reflect heat away from the cake for a tender, light brown crust.

If you use dark nonstick or glass baking pans, follow the manufacturer’s directions. You may need to reduce the baking temperature by 25F because these pans absorb heat, which causes cakes to bake and brown faster.

Baking Cakes

Bake cakes on the oven rack placed in the center of the oven, unless noted otherwise in a recipe.

Cakes are done when a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.

Cool cakes on a wire rack away from drafts.

Storing Cakes

At Room Temperature
Store cakes loosely covered at room temperature for up to 2 days. To loosely cover, place aluminum foil, plastic wrap or waxed paper over the cake without sealing the edges so air can circulate.

Cool unfrosted cakes completely before covering and storing to keep the top from getting sticky. Store cakes with a creamy frosting loosely covered with aluminum foil, plastic wrap or waxed paper or under a cake safe or a large inverted bowl.

Serve a cake with fluffy frosting the same day you make it. Put leftovers in a cake safe or inverted bowl with a knife slipped under the edge to let in air.

In the Refrigerator
Store cakes with whipped cream toppings, cream fillings or cream cheese frostings in the refrigerator.

Put cakes containing very moist ingredients such as chopped apples, applesauce, shredded carrots or zucchini, mashed bananas or pumpkin in the refrigerator during humid weather or in humid climates. If stored at room temperature, these cakes tend to mold quickly.

In the Freezer
To freeze cake, tightly cover and place in the freezer for up to 2 months. Loosen wrap on frozen unfrosted cakes and thaw at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours. Loosen wrap on frozen frosted cakes and thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Number of Servings by Cake Type

Cake Yields
Size and Kind Servings
8- or 9-inch one-layer round cake 8
8- or 9-inch two-layer round cake 12 - 16
8- or 9-inch square cake 9
13 x 9 x 2-inch rectangular cake 12 - 16
10 x 4-inch angel food or chiffon cake 12 - 16
12-cup bundt cake or pound cake 16 - 24

Removing Cake Layers From Pans
  1. Cool cake layers in pans on wire cooling racks for 10 minutes.
  2. Run a dinner knife around the side of each pan to loosen the cake.
  3. Cover a rack with a towel, then place it, towel side down, on top of cake layer; turn upside down as a unit. Remove pan.
  4. Place a rack, top side down, on bottom of cake layer.
  5. Turn over both racks so the layer is right side up.
  6. Remove towel.
  7. Let layers cool completely on racks.

Splitting Cake Layers

  1. Mark middle points on sides of cake layer with toothpicks.
  2. Using picks as a guide, cut through the layer with a long, thin sharp knife.

Thread trick: Split cake layer by pulling a piece of heavy sewing thread horizontally, back and forth, through the layer.

Layer Cake Frosting

  1. Place 4 strips of waxed paper around the edge of a cake plate. The waxed paper will protect the plate as you frost and can be removed later. 
  2. Brush away any loose crumbs from the cooled cake layer.
  3. Place the layer, rounded side down, on the plate.
  4. Spread about 1/3 cup creamy frosting or 1/2 cup fluffy frosting over the top of the first layer to within about 1/4 inch of the edge.
  5. Place second layer, rounded side up, on the first layer. The two flat sides of the layers should be together with frosting in between. 
  6. Coat the side of the cake with a very thin layer of frosting to seal in the crumbs. 
  7. Frost the side of the cake in swirls, making a rim about ¼-inch high above the top of the cake to prevent the top from appearing sloped. 
  8. Spread the remaining frosting on top, filling in the built-up rim.

Success Tips for Baking Cakes

  • Turn the oven on 10 to 15 minutes before you plan to use it so it can heat to the baking temperature.
  • Ask your local utility company to check your oven control for accuracy. Or judge for yourself. Here are some tips:
    • If your cakes are already golden brown at the minimum bake time in a recipe, your oven may run high.
    • If your cakes are not done at the maximum bake time, your oven may run low.
    • Purchase an inexpensive oven thermometer to check the accuracy of your oven temperature.
    • Measure liquid by placing a standard liquid-ingredient measuring cup on your counter. Pour the liquid into the cup and check the measurement at eye level.
    • Beat the batter for the time specified by the cake recipe, using low or medium speed on an electric mixer. If mixing by hand, beat at the rate of 150 strokes per minute.Do not overbeat. Overbeating breaks down the cake structure and causes low volume and shrinkage as the cake cools.
    • Follow the test for doneness indicated in the recipe.


    Try it Out in a Recipe

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    Chocolate Almond Cake with White Chocolate Mousse
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    Chocolate-Peppermint Poke Cake
    Chocolate-Peppermint Poke Cake
    Make a cake that's easy to take and share. Pockets of creamy pudding and melt-in-your-mouth peppermi...
    Write A Comment
    1 - 10 of 29 Comments Previous  1 2 3  Next 
    RosaM65 said: Posted: 8/7/2014 7:02 AM
    How many cups does the batter make? And if I wanted to make a bigger cake 10" x 15" how much batter do I use in the pan and how long do I bake it for? tink.pink65@yahoo.com
    grandma2014 said: Posted: 6/26/2014 9:58 AM
    I want to make a strawberry angel food cake with your angel food cake mix. How much flavoring or strawberry syrup would I need to put in.
    iver said: Posted: 5/18/2014 10:56 AM
    I mistakenly bought your white cake mix w/pudding. I have a recipe that calls for mix with no pudding. I'm working on a recipe that calls for frozen fruit, cake mix and sprite. Will the pudding mix have a major effect on this recipe?
    Canamex5 said: Posted: 2/13/2014 12:03 PM
    I live in Mexico, and don't read Spanish. The English instruction for all of the Betty Crocker products are in Spanish. The English instructions are covered over, and impossible to remove. I cannot find translation from Spanish for instructions for your cake mixes in English. Is this asking too much? I've just baked a chocolate cake, and hope that it turns out edible enough for my neighbors get-together!
    MamawsJ said: Posted: 11/25/2013 6:24 PM
    I see a lot of unanswered questions: totiefruitie: what I do to make my layers even, fill the cake pans evenly with mix and then tap the pan to help mix spread evenly. If the center rises like a little mountain, use a serated edge knife and remove the mound by laying the knife across the top of the cake pan and then cutting the excess cake off. Also to reduce the chance of this happening, use a special pan wrap that is available at local cake decorating stores such as Michael's. This keeps your cakes from baking unevenly. Fill each layer evenly when stacking also using the same amount of filling each time.. Hope this helps.
    tootiefrutie said: Posted: 11/19/2013 12:19 PM
    Betty I have a question when you have a three layer cake how to you stack it so the layers match. Thank you Evelyn @ esims406@comcast.net
    Sweet Cheeks said: Posted: 10/21/2013 12:40 PM
    Using Butter Pecan cake mix your creative baking ideas added apricot preserves is there anything else a can use?
    piglady117 said: Posted: 9/20/2013 1:21 PM
    I like to use 2 different cake mixes (such as chocolate and lemon) and bake in a 9" x 13" pan. I make the lighter cake first then pour into the pan with one end higher than the other. Then I make the darker cake and I gradually lower the pan as pour the batter into the pan. This gives people a chance to have one or the other flavor or a combination of both. The problem is... I'm not sure how long I should bake it, so I have to keep checking to see if the cake is done. For some reason, I always forget to write down how long between each check, so have never figured it out. Can you help me out? Thank you.
    connmom64 said: Posted: 8/7/2013 6:55 PM
    Can i bake angel food cake in regular pan?
    Karen_at_Betty_Crocker said: Posted: 3/18/2013 3:13 PM
    amyTKD You may be ok with the directions but you may also want to consult Colorado State University which has some great guidelines for high altitude baking. Cakes are especially sensitive to altitudes.
    1 - 10 of 29 Comments Previous  1 2 3  Next