When throwing any kind of party there is one sure way to make everyone stop and pay attention- serve cake! We have a basic cake recipe to share with you today. This cake can be your blank canvas and your imagination can be the special ingredient to create a dessert to match your party theme– no matter what. This starter cake only needs your clever adaptations to have your party guests running to get their slice. Add diced berries or jam between layers, color the frosting to match your decorations, add cake toppers or decorations to finish off your pièce de résistance. Follow along with the steps below for a cake you can have and eat with your friends!
This cake was made in the kitchen of @ally.bakes where she snapped these pics and added steps to help you along. Check out her Instagram and send her a ❤️ or two!
I’ve experimented with a lot of recipes online and this is one recipe that I use – with some additional ingredients I’ve put together.
Materials needed to make a basic cake:
- 1 cup of butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cup of sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons of almond extract
- 3 ½ cups of cake flour (regular flour can also work but I highly recommend using cake flour!)
- 4 teaspoons of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 6 large egg whites
- 1 ½ cup of milk (water will work as well)
Making the Cake Batter and Baking the Cake
- Mix the dry ingredients (cake flour, baking powder, and salt) together in a bowl. Whisk and set aside.
- Mix the butter and sugar together until it is creamy. I like to use my kitchen aid mixer because it is faster and much stronger. If you have access to an electric mixer, I’d say use it!
- Add in the almond extract and mix together with the butter and sugar until well blended.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the egg whites and milk.
- Slowly mix in the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients into the bowl with the butter, sugar, and almond extract mix. Beat the batter until you don’t see any lumps of dry ingredients.
There you have it, a simple but delicious cake batter! If you want to dye the cake batter, I suggest using gel food coloring. Remember, a little goes a long way!
Bonus Cake Baking Tip
I always use parchment paper and a little bit of butter or oil to line my baking pan. If you’re using a circular baking pan, it can be difficult to line the bottom of the pan. Well, I have a quick and easy way to do so!
- Cut out parchment paper that is large enough to cover your entire pan and maybe even a little more!
- Fold in half vertically so that the closed side is right in front of you and the open side is further away from you.
- Fold horizontally. The bottom right corner should be closed and the open corner should be at the very top left.
- Now take the top right corner and fold it down to the bottom left corner. Again, the closed part should be on the bottom right corner.
- Take the top corner and fold it down so that the top edge and the bottom edge are lined up. The closed part will be on the bottom right.
- Now, flip your baking pan over and place your folded parchment paper on top – remember the closed corner will be placed in the middle of the pan and the open part of the parchment paper will be hanging off the pan.
- Use a kitchen scissors and cut the open end of the parchment paper in line with the circle of the pan. So now you’ve trimmed the excess part off, and you should have a small piece of folded parchment paper.
Flip your baking pan over and open the parchment paper – now you have the perfect shape to line the bottom of your pan.
I then put butter or vegetable oil on the sides to make sure the cake doesn’t stick.
You are ready to bake your batter! With any baking pan, I usually only fill it about half to 2/3rds full. And then bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes depending on the pan size. Use a toothpick and run it through the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean, then your cake is ready to be taken out!
Making the Frosting
I’ve experimented with different types of frosting recipes online. This one is the easiest, quickest, and most delicious basic recipe that I’ve seen in multiple places! This frosting is light in taste and not too heavy.
Materials Needed to make basic cake frosting:
- 1 cup of unsalted butter
- 5 cups of powdered sugar (add more if you want the frosting thicker)
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 4 Tablespoons of whole milk
- Mix the butter and powdered sugar together until combined.
- Add in the vanilla extract and mix.
- Add in the milk and mix until the frosting is completely combined. Mix until you are able to get somewhat of a stiff peak when you lift the frosting.
That’s it! Simple, easy, and delicious!
Assembling the Cake
This is where everything comes together.
Materials needed to stack a cake:
- Baked cake
- Cake frosting
- Cake Scraper
- Icing Smoother
- Cake Turn Table (Not necessary, but very helpful!
- Large bubble tea straws or long wooden dowels
- Round cake board
After baking your cake and letting it cool down, you’ll want to level the top of the cake if it has a dome shape on top. This will help when stacking the cake so that it doesn’t turn out lopsided. You can also choose to trim the edges as well. Use a serrated bread knife to cut across the top of your cake. Make sure your knife and table are level before cutting. Take your time!
Now, place your cake board onto your turntable or on a flat surface. Now, put a small amount of cake icing onto the middle of the cake board to help the cake stick when stacking.
Place your leveled cake on top. Make sure to place it directly in the center of the cake board.
Next, use a large circular piping tip and pipe on the frosting. Now, you don’t have to pipe the frosting on, you can use a rubber spatula and just put it on top and spread with the cake scraper. I like to use the piping tips and pipe rings of circles onto the cake. That way I can smooth the top out and make sure that the icing is an even layer.
Use your cake scraper or spatula to smooth the frosting out and even. If you want to add fruits to each layer, go ahead and sprinkle some on! If you’re using larger fruits such as strawberries, make sure you cut it up into smaller pieces before doing so.
Continue to layer on your cake layers and frosting.
Do you oftentimes wonder how cake tops look so flat? After leveling your last cake layer, instead of placing it directly on top, flip it! The bottom should be on top now. This will ensure a crisp and completely leveled cake layer on top!
After stacking your cake layers, you can use bubble tea straws OR trimmed wooden dowels to stick into your cake for extra support.
Use the rest of your icing to make a thin crumb coat onto your cake. Simply use your spatula to place icing onto your cake and smooth out with an icing smoother. This does not have to be perfect. It is a thin layer of frosting that will hold your cake together and keep the crumbs inside so that it is easier to decorate. Refrigerate for a little bit.
Next, while your cake is in the fridge, prepare your final layer of icing. We dyed our frosting black! Use black gel food coloring and mix it in with the white frosting. Remember, a little goes a long way, so I suggest adding small amounts of food coloring until you get the desired color.
Take your cake out of the fridge and use your spatula to layer on the cake frosting. You can also use a Wilton #789 piping tip for this as well to put the icing onto the cake.
Use your icing smoother to smooth out the edges and top of the cake. This is where the turntable comes in handy. Slowly turn the cake and ice all sides or slowly move your cake on the table to smooth the sides. Make sure the icing smoother is straight up and down while you drag it alongside the side of the cake.
Remember, the goal is to smooth the icing, not to take off the icing, so be gentle and patient! You will have some icing that will come off onto your smoother, just put it aside in a separate bowl. And there you have it, a basic frosted layer cake!