Wilton Tips: How to Bake a Great Cake

Here are some fabulous tips shared in the Wilton Method of Cake Decorating – Decorating Basics Class which I had the privilege in taking last month at the Wilton headquarters.

How to Bake a Great Cake

Baking a great cake that is ideal for decorating is laying the foundation to a beautiful cake. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you bake a cake.

Choose the Right Pan

It is crucial to use a quality pan. Anodized aluminum pans bake evenly and won’t warp/rust. I personally love my Wilton UltraGold pans. Note that a pan with a light finish will produce a lighter color crust.

Prepare Cake Pans

Grease with shortening or cooking spray and flour before adding batter or use such products as Bake Easy! Non-Stick Spray or Cake Release from Wilton. A pasty brush is recommended for brushing on Cake Release or shortening. There should be no silver spots showing after you grease and flour. To achieve even cakes without a crown try Bake-Even Cake Strips. You can pin multiple together for larger pans. I didn’t even know these existed an d plan to buy them on my next trip to Michael’s.

Mixing the Batter

Pre-heat your oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Be sure to scrape sides and bottom of bowl and measuring all your ingredients, using exact measurements before you begin. Remember that baking is a chemical process and properly leveling all ingredients is important. Be sure to spoon flour into measuring cup instead of scooping with the measuring cup or the measurement won’t be exact.

If you use a cake mix, keep in mind that one box equals 4 1/2 to 5 cups of batter. That will fill the following round cake pans:

  • Two 6 inch or 8 inch
  • One 10 inch

Duncan Hines was the recommended brand by my Wilton instructor.

Filling Cake Pans

Fill greased pans half full and bake immediately as close to the center of the oven as possible. Allow a minimum of 1 inch of space between pans.

Baking and Testing for Doneness

Do not open the door within the first 20 minutes of baking or as stated by our instructor Anne, wait until you can smell it! Test for doneness while they are still in the oven by inserting a toothpick in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean it is done. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack/cooling grid.

Removing Cakes

Place waxed or parchment paper over the cake to avoid breaking the crust or leaving lines on your cake. Sandwich the cake between two cooling grids and remove top grid and cake pan. Cool completely on remaining grid.

Shop the  Wilton Online Store or Amazon for these helpful products and more to help you create the perfect cake!

Next week I’ll cover the importance of icing consistency for cake decorating so make sure you are a subscriber. You don’t want to miss out!

If taking a Wilton decorating course FREE for yourself and a friend along with supplies sounds exciting (and it should!), be sure to stop by Baby Loving Mama to enter to win this amazing giveaway worth over $300!

Disclosure: This post is not influenced by any monetary compensation. Wilton invited me to learn The Wilton Method of Cake Decorating at their headquarters which was all expenses paid. All opinions shared are my own and yours may differ.

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  1. Cat Davis says

    I really need to buy a pastry brush for adding the shortening to pans. I’ve gotten so use to just rubbing it on with my fingers I may not know how to handle myself if I actually get through the cake making process with clean hands.

    • says

      I always used the trick my mom taught me. Take a plastic sandwich baggie and put your hand into it. Use it to spread the shortening and just throw it away (or turn inside out to reuse later). Never used a pastry brush before and I’m not sure if it might help distribute the shortening in a better way? I’m going to try it next time though!

  2. LC THOMPOSN says

    i need help in making cake batter. every time i make cake from scratch it come out dry. I used the wilton receipes and cakecentral 3D moist and i’m told by people great cake but dry what am i doing wrong?

    • says

      Usually dryness occurs from over-baking or not the right amount of flour. Try checking your cake earlier and be sure you are scooping your flour in with a spoon and leveling off. Also be sure not to over-beat your cake batter.

      Another option would be to try another cake recipe. I’ve heard for many people sour cream makes their cakes very moist. This one in particular I found has fabulous reviews (see on the right) 247 people rated it and it has 5 out of 5 stars.


      Good luck and please let us know if any of these help!

  3. says

    It’s nice and that cake sounds really tasty! I like to know that how can you think about this kind of new and interesting ideas. I like to know that is there any good cake pans in market at some low value ? Because i want to buy new cake pans for my home. Thanks for sharing this information.

  4. says

    I should have read this post before my daughter’s 3rd bday. I didn’t spray the pan and used a cheaper pan. Oh it was a mess!! I am bookmarking this for when I make my husband’s bday cake. Thanks EM!

    • says

      Oh no!

      Yes, it really does pay to have a nicer pan. They bake more evenly don’t get stuck as long as you grease and flour.

      So sorry that happened to you but I’m glad you won’t have that same misfortune for your husband. The last thing you need with the stress of a birthday is cake trouble. :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by Annie. It has been much too long since I’ve talked to you!

  5. says

    I have found the Cake Release is the best stuff ever. I never have a cake stuck to my pan when I use it. The last 3 cakes I’ve baked I ran out of that stuff and I lost some of the skin of my cakes :(

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