pound cake on blue and white checkered cloth

Ultimate list of bake from scratch cakes

I was afraid of baking for years. 

I think early on I had a few failed attempts at baking from scratch that I just threw up my hands and figured this was just one of those things I’m never going to learn.

It took a Sunday morning desire for muffins during COVID that made me give this whole baking thing a try again. I’ve had success with chocolate chip muffins, cookies and some amazing red velvet cupcakes. I think I’ve finally hit my baking stride and am branching out into cakes (which Mrs. ClipDish is extremely happy about.)

I’m working my way through each of the recipes below which should give me a good foundation to start coming up with my own cake recipes.

I’m not quite ready to qualify for the next season of The Great British Baking Show but I have a lot more confidence in my baking abilities then I did a year ago.

Remember, you can clip and save all of these recipes in the recipe organizer app ClipDish.

What tools do I need?

Ok, you’re making the switch from boxed cakes to cakes from scratch. You’re going to need some equipment. Don’t worry about buying all of this at one time. If you’re not baking pies right now you can skip the pie plate. Build up your collection over time.

There’s a couple of ways to save money here. You can look to see if there is a restaurant supply store in your area. Second, check Facebook Marketplace or consignment shops. We bought a pyrex pie plate for less than $5.00 at a Goodwill store. If you absolutely need new, skip the brands being sold by your favorite celebrity chef, they are overpriced.

  • Food scale – make sure it has a tare function and can measure in grams
  • Wire whisks – I would get a couple of sizes. Small whisks are great for quickly combing dry ingredients in smaller bowls.
  • Offset spatula – used for spreading frosting on cake
  • Rubber spatulas
  • Mixing bowls in various sizes
  • Smaller bowls for prepping ingredients
  • Rolling pin
  • Portion scoops of various sizes
  • Bench scraper
  • Stand mixer if you can afford it. Otherwise, a hand mixer. But there are some recipes you will just not be able to try.

Then, depending on what your baking you’ll need one or more of the following

  • Heavy sheet pans
  • Wire cooling racks that fit inside your sheet pans (at least 2)
  • Pyrex pie plate
  • 13″ x 9″ cake pan
  • 8″ x 8″ square cake pan
  • 8″ or 9″ round cake pan
  • Loaf pan
  • Bundt cake pan – if you’re making pound cake you may want this 
  • Cupcake pan – for muffins too!
  • Springform pan – you really need this if your making torts or cheesecake
  • Tart pan
  • Silpat silicone baking mats – you can use these instead of parchment paper

Ok, so now that you have the hardware, let’s start baking some cakes. We’ll start with an essential – the sponge cake.

Sponge cake

Sponge cake is going to be the base for a lot of the cakes you bake so it’s good to start with this one. Learn how to make a simple yellow sponge cake and you can jump off into all different directions. 

Tres Leches cake

There is a Mexican restaurant near me that serves Tres Leches cake on the menu. Tres Leches is a type of sponge cake that is soaked in three different types of milk. It’s possible that this cake can trace its origins back to other “soaked cakes” like the British trifle or Italian tiramisu. 

The secret ingredient in this recipe is Kahlúa which adds adds some great coffee taste to the cake.

Adams Extract red velvet cake recipe card
Source: Vintage Recipe Project

Red Velvet cake

Red Velvet cake became popular in the United States during the Great Depression. The Adams Extract company began to mass produce flavor extracts and red food coloring. In a stroke of genius they offered posters with tear-off recipe cards including one for red velvet cake.

I helped my daughter make these cupcakes for her cooking class. The word around the house was “this was the best cupcake I’ve ever had!” Seriously, if you like red velvet cake you have to bake these. 


Chocolate cake

Mmmm chocolate. I really love chocolate in all forms. Nothing is more delicious than a huge slice of chocolate cake you made from scratch and a tall glass of milk. The recipe below is a sponge cake derived chocolate cake. I highly suggest substituting some coffee for the water in this recipe.

Basic chocolate layer cake

Flourless chocolate cake

If you want chocolate cakes that are really fudgy you need to bake a flourless chocolate cake. Here are two delicious varieties.

Pound cake

The pound cake is an old cake. The original recipe hails from England and dates back to the 1700s. It’s called a pound cake because the original recipes called for one pound of flour, sugar, butter and eggs. 

It was published in the first American Cookbook – American Cookery in 1796 as

One pound sugar, one pound butter, one pound flour, one pound or ten eggs, rose water one gill, spices to your taste; watch it well, it will bake in a slow oven in 15 minutes.

If you want to make that classic recipe, a gill is 4 ounces.

Over time the recipe has evolved to include other ingredients, below are some of my favorite pound cake recipes.

Angel food cake

While technically angel food cake is a type of sponge cake what makes it unique is that it doesn’t use butter. 

Did angel food cake originate with African slaves?

There is a lot of misinformation around the origins of angel food cake. If you search the internet you’ll often find a quote along the line of sources say angel food cake originated with African American slaves. However, I looked high and low and could find no direct attribution to these sources. For now, I’d say this theory is debunked.

Misinformation or not, it’s a delicious cake that according to food historian Patricia Bixler Reber first originated in the 2nd edition of Isabella Stewart’s The Home Messenger Book of Tested Recipes in 1878.

Butter cake

One of the classic cakes in American baking. The butter cake is a derivative of the pound cake. The main difference?Baking powder or baking soda are introduced to make the cake lighter and fluffier.

Carrot cake

I wasn’t a fan of carrot cake as a kid. I think I just couldn’t get past the raisins. In this recipe you can skip the raisins which makes my kid brain happy.

Coffee cake

Coffee cakes evolved from 17th century Vienna where Europeans decided that eating cake while drinking coffee was a good idea. I think any excuse to eat cake in the morning is a win in my book.

Check out some of these amazing coffee cake variations. If you’re looking for some amazing coffee to go along with your coffee cake check out the specialty coffee roaster Backyard Beans. Their Punch in the Face roast is one of my favorite coffee roasts. 

Your turn…

What are you waiting for? Throw these delicious cake recipes into ClipDish and start baking. If you have any great baking recipes let us know in the comments. 


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