There’s nothing like the taste of a cake you made in your own kitchen. Baking a cake is as simple as measuring ingredients, mixing them in the right order, and remembering to take the cake out of the oven before it burns. Read on to learn how to bake three basic cakes: chocolate cake, apple cake, and vanilla pound cake. Scroll to the bottom for tips on how to follow a cake recipe.

Gather your ingredients.
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk or sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease your cake pan. You can use a round standard cake pan, a square baking dish, a loaf pan, a bundt cake pan, or whatever you have on hand. Make sure to grease it well with butter or cooking spray so the cake won’t stick to the pan when it’s baked.

Mix the wet ingredients in a large bowl. Place the butter, eggs, vanilla extract, sugar, and buttermilk in a bowl. Use a whisk or a hand mixer to blend the ingredients well.

Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Place the flour, salt, cocoa powder, and baking powder in a small bowl. Stir them together until they are well incorporated. [1]

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Beat the mixture on low until the batter comes together.

Pour the batter into the cake pan. Use a spoon or spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl so every bit of batter makes it into the pan.

Put the pan in the oven and bake the cake for 30 minutes. Check the cake’s progress every so often to make sure it doesn’t burn. The cake is ready when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, rather than coated with batter.

Take the cake from the oven and let it cool. Set it on the counter and let it cool for about 5 minutes before handling it.

Invert the cake onto a plate.

Let the cake cool completely before frosting.