How To Make A Homemade Cake From Scratch

The Cake Part – Yummy Cake Recipes Are A Must! Sharing tips on how to make homemade cake from scratch. This is part of Step One of – Essential Guide To Learn Cake Decorating. What are yummy cake recipes?  These are recipes that work well for you and that produce the yummy factor! There is seriously no point in decorating a beautiful cake when the cake itself is awful, dry or just okay… Choosing a recipe is easy, start by asking yourself…  What kind of cake do I love?

Making Cakes From Scratch

This is my take on cake…

  • it must have chocolate in it somewhere!
  • the cake crumb must be soft and moist
    Make Cakes From Scratch
  • the icing must be a nice balance of sweetness compared to the cake
  • the yummy factor must be there!  You just want more!
  • I like to eat cake that is at room temperature
  • layers are essential – three at the very least
  • I am not fond of bits in my cake – perhaps with the exception of chocolate chips or grated almonds
  • fillings like chocolate mousse or ganache are my favourite
  • the overall feel when biting into the cake, should be a light, creamy, chocolaty, squishy and be a melt in your mouth experience!

Your turn… write down what you think is the best kind of cake you would like to eat.

Now we just need to find that recipe…

Where can you find recipes that will work for you?  Often we get recipes from friends or family, they make a delicious cake and we ask for the recipe.  But, in my experience, they don’t always work.

So Here Is What You Need To Know About Cake Recipes

Making Cakes From Scratch
  • They don’t always work for you
  • If this stage is too overwhelming, skip it – buy a boxed cake that is guaranteed to work and just add an extra egg yolk.
  • For scratch cake recipes – use the correct ingredients and measurements given for making your cake recipe
  • Use the best brand ingredients you can get – flour makes a huge difference, more than the fat you use
  • Follow the recipe method exactly
  • A recipe needs to be tried at least three times to make it your go-to-recipe
Wedding cakes in Victoria Falls Zimbabwe flavours
Use the best ingredients available
  • Only tweak on the second or third time (why fix something, that you don’t yet know is broken… I know it’s tempting to add, substitute and fiddle with the quantities – don’t)
  • When changes are made to the recipe – note it down accurately (no vague – add more, put in extra liquid, or give an extra shake or half a handful of – when you come back to it, this is not going to be helpful.  Be specific – add half a teaspoon more baking powder. etc.
  • If you have a recipe that is working for you – but it’s not wow – tweak it (try adding an extra egg yolk, a tablespoon more sugar, more flavouring etc.)
  • What I did was look for recipes from professional cake decorators.  They have made a stack of cake and they know what works well…
  • Paid recipes or courses are worth getting, especially from online platforms that support them and allow you to ask them any questions related to the recipes or the results. This would give you confidence as you have help at hand if anything goes wrong.

What Makes Scratch Cake Recipes Different?

How to make scratch cakes

It’s usually the method used for putting the ingredients together or the actual mixing of the cake.

Some start with creaming the butter and sugar together, then the eggs get mixed in and then the dry ingredients.

Others start with the dry ingredients – you add the butter and mix it to a crumb mixture – and then the liquids are added.

Sometimes you have to melt the butter, beat the egg whites, or mix over a double boiler – there are so many ways to mix cake.

As you try new recipes, you will start preferring a certain method.

Tweaking Scratch Cake Recipes

I have a hot water and oil sponge recipe for my chocolate cakes – It was a recipe that I was given when I was young.  Over the years it’s not changed too much.  I experimented using different fats – margarine, butter, oil and coconut oil.

The cake itself always worked and I actually found that there was little difference to them taste-wise, but the oil seemed to make it lighter and it has a softer crumb. I am usually a butter girl!  But for this recipe – I use oil.

So, you get what I saying here.  You need to take that working recipe and explore within it.

How Can You Experiment Without It Costing An Arm And A Leg?

  • When you get orders, make the small changes
  • You know the cake recipe works – you just want to make it WOW!
  • Make sure you make a cupcake that you can ice and sample when it’s cool.
  • Don’t be tempted to eat it hot.  All hot cakes are yummy!
  • Then take meaningful notes about the changes you made.
  • Another option is to freeze the cupcake with a label – made with an extra egg yolk – in a bit, you will have a number of tweaked samples.  Defrost, ice and get help sampling them for the best.
Yummy cake recipes made from scratch

Once you are over the cake part and well along with your cake decorating.  Come back to this first stage and re-look at whether you are happy with your recipe still.

Or maybe it’s time to look for a new flavour to add to your go-to-recipes. By the way, this process is what you should do with your icings and filling recipes too!

In fact, when you stop looking – you will know that you are happy with your scratch cake recipe.  When you get to that point, please share it with me.  I love trying new recipes!

So, be sure to get the whole recipe thing sorted.  Knowing how to make cakes from scratch that work for you and that you can make your own – will set you apart from the other cake makers. Cake recipes that work well for you and have the yummy factor will become your most sort after cake!  And if you start getting serious about cake, you will be glad you took the time to find out what cake you actually like making.

If you would like to get more suggestions on getting into cake decorating, be sure to read my guide here.

16 thoughts on “How To Make A Homemade Cake From Scratch”

  1. Great information on how to make a homemade cake, the recipes are so natural that’s what makes me love cake, especially cake without sugar. My sister has a small cake shop I am looking forward to sharing this article with her because I can see some useful tips here that I am sure she does not use.   Being a cake lover, I decided to make a cake on my own and my best tips are included here, the only difference is that I do not add sugar.

    Worth reading.

    • Hello Kayd

      I have to confess, I have never made a cake without sugar.

      As a cake decorator I have had different requests, a sugarless cake has not been one of them – yet!

      I will check out your tips, thank you.

      And I also appreciate you sharing my post with your sister.  I hope her cake shop is going well.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your tips on cakes without sugar.

  2. mmm I’m with you on having a cake chocolaty, moist and butter instead of oil! However, I do enjoy coming across some cherries or other fruit in cake, it’s always a nice touch but doesn’t always go with chocolate.  I have baked a lot of cakes in my life, but I have yet to attempt to make one by scratch.  This post is definitely tempting me to try – I’m just worried it may turn out badly lol  What is your all-time favorite recipe?  I would LOVE to try it since I know it’s going to be yummy and chocolaty 🙂

    • Hi Nicki

      Glad we are on the same page there with all that chocolatyness…

      You should experiment.  Try doing so with your boxed cake mixes first.  Then do a scratch recipe.

      Perhaps I will do a download here for my chocolate cake recipe.  Let me work on that and I will let you know when you can get it.

      Have an awesome day!

  3. Thanks! All this talk about cake made me want to get into my kitchen and start baking.

    I agree with your take on cake, especially that feeling when you bite into a cake. Precious! However, a boxed cake is not for me…and it will never be. They do turn out to be fluffy and all, but I hate that most brands include way too much sugar in the cake mix.

    Thanks again. I’ll be checking out my next cake recipe soon. Of course, it must, must have chocolate in it somewhere.

    • Hello Princila

      Yes!  I had the same problem.  After writing the blog post, I was wanting a piece of cake too.

      Box cakes do have lots of sugar and let’s face it, so do many scratch cakes.  I have a recipe that gets 3 cups of white sugar in it!  And that is just the cake – the icing still goes on top.

      However, unlike boxed cakes, scratch cakes can be modified and make according to taste.

      Cake is a treat though.  If we are only making it a few times a year then why not go all the way with the sugar rush!

      Hope you find a great chocolaty recipe.

  4. Tracy, thank you for such an awesome website!  For some reason, every time I try to make a cake from scratch, it tastes odd for some reason or another.  When I make a mix, my kids know its a mix because it tastes too good for me to have made it.  You have some great tips that I know will make a difference.  I think just mixing the wet together and the dry together first will make a big difference.  I appreciate your tips, and I think my kids will too!  Clay

    • Hi Clay,

      So glad you took the time to read and comment on my post.

      Ahh that is so nice, dad making cakes for the kids!  Who cares what kind of cake it is – that’s a lovely memory for them to reflect on later in life.

      Totally agree, mixing the wet ingredients altogether first and the same with the dry, helps to ensure everything is well mixed together.

      Happy baking, you should get them to help – kids that help make cakes, think that the cake is the best that they have tasted!

  5. Great advice! Thanks.

    I totally agree with your list for the favorite cake! Chocolate, chocolate ganache, crumbly and moist Yes, please! 

    And, yes, it must be at room temperature. Refrigerating the cake takes away from the full favor. 

    This is why I just eat the whole thing so that I never get into the dilemma if I should refrigerate it or not lol

    I also prefer using oil instead of butter. At least most of the time. There are some recipes that just love butter, but for sponges, it’s vegetable oil for me.

    Happy baking

    • Hi Alenka,

      That’s totally awesome!  I did laugh at the “I just eat the whole thing so that I never get into a dilemma if I should refrigerate it or not!”

      It’s a bit like that with my family.  The whole cake is a single serving cut into three!  Well, it almost should be, as there is seldom much left, it’s a fight to keep any for later or share with anyone else.  Hence I don’t bake much for them.  My husband has taken to inviting folk over for cake so he can get some! lol!

  6. You make baking a cake from scratch, seem like no effort at all! I use to bake quite a bit but now I use box mixes, really can taste the difference between the two and I really do prefer to bake from scratch. I have also tried using oil instead of butter and found that the cake is a lot more moist, and lasts longer. thank you for the article it sure makes me wonder why I use the box mixture in the first place. 

    • Hi Carmen,

      Once you do a scratch recipe a couple of times, I promise, it does become easy.

      Sounds like you have been tweaking within your recipe.  Box cakes can also be tweaked, remember they are guaranteed to work, so there is little you can do to break it.  Try adding milk, or coconut milk instead of water, and adding things to the batter.  You will be surprised by how different they can taste. Happy experimenting…

  7. My wife again will comment on this post!

    I´m fascinated with this blog, the tips are wonderful and I love making cakes, this helps me a lot to improve certain details that I didn´t consider before, in general, I look for cakes especially that are fresh and not dry, as for the decoration, if it has too much fondue, tends to be too sweet and tends to stick too fast when you eat it. The Swiss meringue is always a good choice, it is not so sweet and it is creamy. Personally I am a lover of chocolate, so always the cake has to have some chocolate. As for the mixtures of more ingredients added to the mix of the cake, it is something that must be thought very well before to do it. 

    I will continue reading your posts. I love it.


    • Hi there Emmanuel’s Wife

      Great we are friends!  We both love cake and chocolate…

      Yes, Swiss buttercream is a lovely icing. I am always surprised at how many actually don’t like fondant icing.  Perhaps it’s because they haven’t tried the more expensive brands?  But, at least it seals in all the goodness inside like the crust of the bread.

      So glad you enjoyed the read and see you around.


  8. I’ve never made a cake from scratch, but my best friend has done that before thanks to recipes he found in old cookbooks. Your article is a great guide on how to make a homemade cake from scratch. Taking a working recipe and exploring within it is a great idea! What’s been the best cake you’ve ever made from scratch? 

    • Hi Brian

      Glad that your friend has had success with scratch cakes. It is interesting, some of the recipes in old cookbooks are sound guides – as they are simple and functional.

      My best cake to date is my chocolate mousse cake – for me that is.  My most popular cake is the full fruitcake as it is the usual choice in Zimbabwe for wedding cakes.

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