How to Make a Plain Cake

If you’ve never made a cake before or want a treat that’s not too fancy, try baking a plain cake. You don’t need much besides flour, sugar, eggs, and butter to make a simple cake that’s great on its own or topped with your favorite icing. Then, once you’re comfortable with baking, you can make substitutions or add flavors.

[Edit]Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups (218 g) of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 g) of salt
  • 3/4 cup (170 g) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) of granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • of buttermilk or whole milk

Makes a single cake

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Mixing the Batter

  1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Put 1 3/4 cups (218 g) of all-purpose flour into a mixing bowl and add 1 teaspoon (4 g) of baking powder along with 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) of baking soda and salt. Whisk for about 10 seconds so the dry ingredients combine.[1]
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  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a separate bowl for 4 to 5 minutes. Get out a large mixing bowl and put 3/4 cup (170 g) of room-temperature butter into it along with 1 1/2 cups (300 g) of granulated sugar. Turn on a stand or hand mixer to medium speed and beat the mixture until it becomes light and fluffy.[2]
    • It’s important to use room-temperature butter, which will combine smoothly with the sugar. This will make your cake light and fluffy instead of dense.
    • Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to incorporate all of the butter.
  3. Beat 2 eggs into the butter-sugar mixture at low speed, 1 egg at a time. Turn the mixer down to low and add 1 room-temperature egg. Keep mixing until the egg is incorporated and then add the other egg. Continue to beat the mixture until you don’t see any egg yolk or white.[3]
    • Beating in room-temperature eggs will trap air in the batter so your plain cake rises in the oven.
  4. Stir in the dry ingredients and buttermilk to make a smooth batter. Keep the mixer on low speed and stir in about 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Then, get out of buttermilk or whole milk and pour 1/2 of it into the bowl. Once the liquid is incorporated, add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Finish making the batter by stirring in the remaining buttermilk followed by the rest of the dry ingredients.[4]
    • Stop stirring as soon as the last of the dry ingredients are mixed in. If you mix the batter too much, your cake can turn out tough or dense.

[Edit]Baking the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to and line a pan. Spray a square pan, a loaf pan, or a round pan with baking spray and then cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan.[5]
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    • Try to use a metal cake pan since this conducts heat better than glass or ceramic.
    • If you’d like to make plain cupcakes, put muffin liners into 16 to 18 cavities of a muffin tin.
  2. Spread the batter in the pan. Scoop all of the plain cake batter into the prepared cake pan and use the back of a knife or offset spatula to spread the batter so it’s level. This will prevent the cake from doming as it bakes.[6]
    • If you’re baking plain cupcakes instead of a cake, try dividing the batter using a cookie scoop.
  3. Bake the plain cake for 45 to 60 minutes. Put the cake on the center rack of your preheated oven and bake it for 45 minutes. The cake should become a rich golden color and start to pull away from the edges once it’s baked. Since everyone’s oven is a little different, it may take your oven more time to bake the cake, so don’t worry if it needs up to 15 more minutes.[7]
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    • You can also insert a toothpick or skewer into the center of the cake to see if it’s done. The tester should come out clean and if it doesn’t, bake the cake for a few more minutes before you check it again.
    • If you’re making plain cupcakes, check them after 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the cake and cool it on a wire rack for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and wear oven mitts to take the cake out. Set the pan on a wire rack and leave the cake to cool completely before you take it out of the pan.[8]
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    • You don’t need to worry about the cake sticking to the pan since the parchment is on the bottom.
  5. Flip the cake out of the pan. Once the cake is completely cool, run a butter knife between the cake and the side of the pan. Set the pan on the counter and put an upside-down wire rack on top of the cake. Then, hold the wire rack and bottom of the pan so you can quickly flip the cake over onto the rack.[9]
    • You won’t need to wear oven mitts since the cake is cold at this point.
  6. Peel off the parchment and serve the plain cake. Slowly peel away the parchment paper liner and throw it away. Flip the cake over and slice it into pieces for serving. If you’d like to decorate the cake a little, consider dusting it with powdered sugar, frosting it with buttercream, or pouring a simple glaze over it.[10]
    • Put leftover cake into an airtight container and keep it at room temperature for up to 2 days. While you can refrigerate the cake for up to 7 days, this can make it dry out.

[Edit]Trying Variations

  1. Substitute some of the flour with cocoa to make a chocolate cake. To turn your plain cake into a rich, chocolate cake, swap 1/2 cup (65 g) of cocoa powder for 1/2 cup (65 g) of the all-purpose flour. You can also add 1 cup (175 g) of bittersweet chocolate chips to make a double-chocolate cake.[11] of white vinegar along with of red food coloring to the wet ingredients.}}
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  2. Stir in of an extract to add flavor. Adjust the flavor of your plain cake by stirring in a little flavoring extract when you add the eggs to the batter. Consider using vanilla, lemon, almond, coffee, coconut, or orange blossom extract to your batter.[12]
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    • If you’re making a citrus-flavored cake, try rubbing the zest from 1 lemon, 1 orange, or 1/2 of a grapefruit into the sugar for the cake before you cream it with the butter. This will release citrus oils into the sugar.
  3. Add spices to the dry ingredients for a warm spice cake. Whisk 1 teaspoon (2 g) of ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) of ground cardamom or allspice, and a pinch of ground black pepper to the dry ingredients of your plain cake. Once you’ve made the spiced batter and baked the cake, you might want to frost it with cream cheese buttercream.[13]
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    • For extra spice, stir 1 tablespoon (7 g) of grated ginger into butter and sugar mixture.
  4. Scatter toppings over the plain cake before you bake it. To give your cake a little extra color or crunch, add a handful of chopped or slivered nuts, such as almonds or pecans. You could also scatter colorful sprinkles for a festive birthday cake or a crumbly streusel to make a simple coffee cake.[14]
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    • For the crunchiest texture, use toasted nuts instead of raw nuts.
  5. Use an egg substitute if you’d like to make an eggless cake. If you don’t want to bake with eggs, use a vegan egg substitute or of milk, buttermilk, or sour cream instead of the 2 eggs. Keep in mind that your plain cake will be a little dryer than a cake made with the eggs.
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    • To make a completely vegan plain cake, you’ll also need to use a vegan butter product and substitute alternative milk, such as almond or oat milk, for the buttermilk.
  6. Make a gluten-free cake by adjusting the flour. Purchase a gluten-free baking flour that’s designed to use in place of all-purpose flour. You should be able to use substitute the same amount of gluten-free baking flour as the all-purpose flour called for in the recipe, so it’s easy to use!
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    • If you’d like to substitute gluten-free flour, such as almond or chickpea flour, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for baking with it. Keep in mind that the texture of your cake may be more crumbly than if you bake with all-purpose flour.

[Edit]Video

[Edit]Tips

  • If you don’t have a stand or hand mixer, you can mix the batter by hand with a wooden spoon.
  • Play around with adding a small handful of dried fruit, chocolate chips, or toasted nuts to the plain cake batter.

[Edit]Things You’ll Need

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Whisk
  • Mixing bowls
  • Spatula
  • Mixer
  • Baking spray
  • Wire rack
  • cake pan
  • Parchment paper

[Edit]Related wikiHows

[Edit]References

[Edit]Quick Summary