Tips for Baking Cakes


My Dear Minette

Minette by the pool

These Tips for Baking Cakes have the skills to make you the possible baking Queen of the neighbourhood. It will give you the confidence of a super chef.


As a child, my task was to bake a cake for the weekend and I could make the best coffee in the house. A fabulous combination.

Mum always said, no matter how it looks, with practice, it can only get better, and that is true. The more you do something the better you get at it, and I became a master baker of cakes.  Sad to say I have neglected to keep it up and now am just a normal baker who has failures too.

Tips for Baking the Best Cakes

    • Tip number one is how to bake flat cake layers for easy icing.

    • The second one is the foolproof mixing method.

    • Thirdly is how to make easy Icings

    • Lastly and how to keep a cake moist.

    • the easiest homemade Vanilla Cake recipe


Tips for Baking Cakes. Chocolate-cake-with-mixed-glazed-fruit

Tips for Baking Cakes

Baking Tips in General

Though there are many methods how to mix the cake, creaming the butter and sugar is a necessity. Whipping the eggs and sugar until pale and doubled in size are tricks to remember.

According to a master baker, there is but one foolproof method to mix any cake and it promises to be a success, it follows down below.


Before we jump in and start mixing, there are a few things to do to become a successful baker with a reputation, my dear.


Get all the ingredients, pans and utensils on the table, ready to use.

Prepare your tins in advance. Line it with parchment paper, butter the whole tin, in each corner too and dust with flour.


Tips for Baking Cakes

Baking Rules


When baking you have to be very exact with the measurements.

 Tips for Baking Cakes, Cake measuring spoons

Ingredients should be weighed and measured to precise measures.

This is important to keep the delicate chemical balance between the ingredients needed for successful baking.


Measure all the ingredients before you start in small containers, and arrange them in order of addition. Check the list against the recipe, and you will never forget something.


There may be different ways of mixing a cake, but the measurements can not be compromised.


Tips for Baking The Best Cake



  • Prepare your baking tins, line with parchment paper especially at the bottom, butter, dust it with flour and put aside before you start mixing.

  •  Preheat the oven before you start mixing.

  • Take ingredients out of the fridge the night before, it is good to have it at room temperature unless the recipe asks for ice-cold ingredients.

  •  Add your aluminium wet strip around the tin to bake flat even cake layers.


How to Bake Flat Cake Layers. 

From the ‘Preppy Kitchen’


A cake normally bakes in a dome shape and has a brown crust. It withdraws from the side, making the cake very dry.


The sides of the dough in the pan get more heat than the middle, bakes quicker and then set.

Tips for Baking Cakes, Baked cake with dome crusty top

It dries out and becomes crusty. The rest of the dough cooks slower and has to rise in the middle to get cooked, therefore the dome shape.


Wet strips around the sides it will make it cook equal and stay flat on top.


Tips for Baking Cakes

How to make your Strips


  • Measure the circumference of the baking tin with a kitchen towel, tear off and wet it in a glass of water.


  • Wring out but leave a little water still in it. Carefully lay flat on the table and fold lengthwise a little wider than the tin’s side, about 10 to 12 cm.


  • Tare off a length of aluminium foil to match the paper towel, and lay it on the table.


Put the wet strip at the bottom and start folding in a long strip covering the wet towel strip.

Tips for Baking Cakes, DIY Cake Baking Strip around tin

  • Now you have a long foil belt. After weighing the dough in each tin, you lock the foil belt around the tin, double fold the ends and fold it flat against the tin.


  • At the bottom fold it around the rim to keep it in place.


  • Place tins into the heated oven and bake for the required time.


  • The strips now keep the outside of the tin cool and it can bake equally to give you a flat top cake.


If you are careful you will be able two use the homemade strips a couple of times.


Tips for Baking a Cake

Best Mixing Method

This information is from ‘Algemene Wenke, Huishoudelik’

Everybody who bakes a lot will have their method of mixing that is working for them.  Here is another way of doing it, and this master baker says it is the only way. Give it a try and see how it works for you.


The Process.


  • Baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, baking soda, or any raising agent, always, always go in last. At the very end just before you pour it into a baking tin. Use a little tea strainer to add it and fold it in very gently.

  • All the mixing is done gently.


  • Separate the eggs, and keep the whites in a separate bowl.


  • Whisk the egg yolks, sugar vanilla and salt to a white creamy fluffy consistency.


  • If there is butter or oil in the recipe, now is the time to add it and whisk tit o be creamy, it will become double in size.


  • Sift only the flour and add to this creamy mixture, little by little, not all at once. Fold it in, never whisk.


  • For a chocolate cake, always mix cacao powder with a little water and add it to the egg mix with the flour.


  • Whisk the egg whites stiff but not dry, and fold them in, two heaped tablespoons at a time.


  • When all the whites are almost folded in sift the baking powder and other raising agents over the mix.


  • Fold in very softly and slowly.


  • Pour into the prepared baking tin, do not shake or bump the baking tin.


  • Put it ever so gently into the preheated oven and bake.


This advice is from a well-experienced baker who has baked many many cakes using this method and it will be worth trying.


Icing the Cake Tips for Baking Cakes. Icing-sugar-piping-bag- decorating-tips-

You have already created a little by using a box cake, so never skimp on the icing. Use real butter, and half a teaspoon of milk if needed.


Basic Butter Icing.

1 cup softened Butter

3 cups sifted Icing Sugar



  • Be careful not to add any liquids like vanilla, it makes the icing runny and you won’t be able to fix it, compromise with the amount of butter or add more icing sugar.


  • Always sift Icing Sugar to get rid of all lumps, very important my love.


  • Beat the soft butter with an electric whisk for 5 minutes on medium speed, until light and fluffy. It should double in size and change to a white creamy consistency.


  • Add the Icing Sugar and 1 teaspoon of flavour, normally vanilla but you can add strawberry, banana, or orange essence too.


  • Only use milk if it is too thick, normally for piping on cupcakes, otherwise, it is ready to ice the cake with.


  • Spread a little apricot jam before the icing between the layers of the cake, it helps the icing to stick and gives the cake a tangy edge.

  • Cover the cake and be creative with your finishing, use a fork or the tip of a knife to draw patterns or make wavy images.


  • Cherries and glazed fruit are also always a winner on top. Smooth it out and add a ring of tinned fruit or a fresh flower in one corner.


Condensed Milk Icing


If you are stuck without Icing Sugar and have a tin of condensed milk, all is still saved, my dear.


You Can Use

500 gr soft butter or margarine or Wooden spoon lard.

1 tin of Condensed milk

1 teaspoon Vanilla



  • Follow the same technique as above and beat the butter for at least 5 minutes. The beating makes it light and fluffy with all the air you beat in.


  • Add the room temperature condensed milk and beat another 2 to 3 minutes.


  • If it separates and curdles, keep on beating until it becomes smooth again.


  • Now you can add flavour.


  • 1 teaspoon vanilla if you want it plain or


  • 1/2 cup melted chocolate cooled, mixed in or


  • 3 teaspoons of hot water mixed with 2 teaspoonfuls of coffee, cooled down before use, or


  • 1/2 cup caramel condensed milk.


  • You can use any thick jam to flavour too.


  • Whisk well and cover your cake.


  • If you live in a hot area and the icing gets too runny in the summer weather, just refrigerate a little while and carry on or add a little more icing sugar.


  • Remember then to keep the cake also in the fridge until you need it.


Always be careful when adding liquid to icing, do it teaspoon by teaspoon. It gets runny very quick and you never recover it again.


How to Keep the Cake Moist


1.  Never test the cake with a toothpick or skewer to see if it is done. By that time it will be overbaked already. Tap with your finger lightly on the middle of the cake 5 min before the time is up.


If it is still soft but not wobbly, it is probably cooked. Take it out of the oven and let it stand on the shelf for a few minutes. You will have to test this one more than once before you will find the sweet cooked spot.


2.  When you bake a cake a day or more before you need it, don’t put it in the fridge. Always freeze the cake. The frozen cake develops little ice particles. When you defrost it, it adds to the moisture of the cake and will not be dry.


3. Before icing the cake, moisture it with a plain sugar syrup,  Boil equal parts of sugar and water, cool off and keep in the fridge.  Brush a little over the top of each layer and let it soak in a little.  Add the icing and the cake will be nice and moist.


4.  When you have served a few pieces of the cake there will be an open gap. Tear off some cling film and line the open gap in the cake in a V from close to the sides of the gap.


5. Cover the rest of the cake with cling film too and secure it close to the cake at the bottom. No need to tuck it in underneath before storing it. This way it will stay moist until the next serving.


6.  Mom used to put an apple cut in half or a potato cut in half with the cake in the tin to keep it moist.



The Easiest Vanilla Homemade Cake

To start your home baking experience my dear here is the easiest cake recipe ever.  Add all in one bowl and mix with a whisk or an electric mixer for 4 min. Keep this recipe on your fridge door.



3 cups of self-raising cake flour

4 eggs

1 1/4  cups sugar

3 tsp baking powder

3 heaped tbsp butter

 1 cup milk [ add more water if the dough  is too stiff }

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla


Mix all together in a bowl and whisk for 4 minutes.

[if the dough is too stiff add another half a cup or quarter of a cup of water]


Pour into prepared baking tins or bread loaf tins.


Bake at 200*C for 30 min.,  or less. Test it to see if it is cooked through.

Cool on a cooling rack.

Courtesy of ‘Baken Brou’ Facebook.



Tips for Baking Cakes

The Bonus tip

My Amazing Homemade Box Cake


Tips for Baking Cakes, Chocolate cake with icing on a glass stand

There are a few replacements and changes to make, my dear. Zoosh it up to get the desired look and taste.


  • To get a richer taste you replace the amount of water with milk. To vary the cake, use the same amount of coffee, soda or fruit juice to taste.


  • Instead of oil, use the same amount of melted butter for a homemade taste.


  • Use 5 eggs in place of the three they suggest. Remember to separate and add the whisked egg whites in the last.


  • Increase the vanilla to 2 teaspoons.


  • Add 1 dry instant pudding, choc, vanilla or butterscotch to the dry mix.


  • To make the cake moist add 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise to the mix.


  • Customizing the cake, even more, you can add raisins, choc chips, nuts or dates to taste.


Follow the instructions on the box, or use the foolproof method where you can.


If you want to have equal layers, weigh the dough when pouring it into the pans.


After pouring the dough into the pans, slide your wet foil strips around your pan, folding it at the bottom and folding over at the side to secure it.


Bake in your preheated oven according to the instructions on the box.


When done, take the layers out of the baking tins, place them on a cooling rack and remove the parchment paper.


Cool down completely before adding the icing of your choice.


The Last Word

 Tips for Baking Cakes. Cup-of-coffee-with-a-piece-of-chocolate-cake-


There you have it, my dear Minette, the tastiest weekend cake in the neighbourhood.


Until next time, enjoy with a cuppa tea!

Granny Stella


Empower to Walk Tall with Pride and Confidence

2 Comments on “Tips for Baking Cakes”

  1. Woah…I salivated when going through your post.
    You provided straightforward ways to prepare a great cake. So many great tips. I simply which this post could be read by more housewives out there.

    Keep on with the great work.

    1. Hi Meudje, Thank you for the visit to my letters!
      Now you have the weapon to bake the best cake in the family, just apply to any recipe you can find, and wha-la there you have it.
      I appreciate you comment!
      All the best to your success.

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