Your Guide to a Beautiful (and Delicious!) Cake
Choose a Cake Flavor
Once you settle on one of these two no-fail options, it’s time to pull out your baking pans. Each recipe provides enough batter for two 8- or 9-inch rounds for a layer cake, one 9-by-13-inch sheet cake, or 24 cupcakes.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Cake
Get the recipe: Yellow Cake
Want to make a cake that looks as good as it tastes? It’s easy with Real Simple’s cake decorating techniques.
Pick the Frosting
Top It Off With a Topping
Cake toppings are a simple way to add texture and polish (and cover up a less-than-perfect frosting job). Scoop up a generous handful of bite-size delights (you can go classic or kooky) and press them gently into the sides of the cake or sprinkle them on top.
See our topping and cake pairing recommendations.
Want to see this technique in action? Watch a video to learn how to decorate the sides of a cake.
Creative Cake Ideas
Ready to get started? Try these recipes for tasty cake and cupcake combinations.
- Yellow Cake With Pastry Cream Filling and Chocolate Ganache Frosting
- Yellow Lemon Cake With Candied Lemons and Pistachios
- Yellow Cake With Vanilla Frosting and White Chocolate Chips
- Yellow Cake With Strawberry Filling and Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
- Chocolate Cake With Coffee Frosting and Crushed Cookies (shown)
- Chocolate Cake With Caramel Frosting and Gumdrop Roses
- Chocolate Cupcakes With Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting and M&M’s
- Chocolate Cupcakes With Vanilla Frosting and Sprinkles
- Chocolate Cupcakes With Chocolate Ganache Frosting and Mini Marshmallows
- Yellow Cupcakes With Vanilla Frosting and Nonpareils
- Yellow Cupcakes With Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting and Toasted Almonds
Easy Make-Ahead Cake Tips
Unfrosted cakes: Keep at room temperature, tightly wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 2 months. (Thaw before frosting.)
Frostings and fillings: Refrigerate frosting in an airtight container for up to 1 week. (Bring to room temperature before using.) Refrigerate a filling for up to 2 days. (Note: The Fresh Strawberry Filling is good for just 6 hours.)
Fully assembled cakes: Keep covered at room temperature for up to 2 days. If you don’t have a cake dome, stick a few toothpicks in the top of the cake and loosely tent with plastic wrap. (If the cake has a filling, refrigerate it; bring to room temperature before serving.) Cakes with strawberry filling are best served the same day.