Kitchen Lab: The Universal Cake Recipe

I LOVE going to the bakery and immersing myself with lovely aromas that fill the air. I especially enjoy looking at the cakes because they are usually SO beautifully decorated and yummy to eat, of course.

If you like to bake, here's a universal cake recipe that I like to use. You can also level up your cake baking game - be sure to check out the table below for ideas on how you can make your cake even more interesting or better suit your needs.



3/4 cup        Butter, soft at room temperature 
1 1/4 cup      Sugar
3                   Whole Eggs, beaten
1 cup            Milk
1 tsp             Vanilla Essence
1/4 tsp          Salt
3 tsp             Baking Powder
2 1/2 cup      Cake Flour

1 large           Baking Pan (any shape, approx. 12 inch)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F or 177°C.
  2. In a large bowl, add butter and sugar. Beat well until texture is light and fluffy.
  3. Then add beaten eggs and vanilla essence. Mix well.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
  5. Gently fold in flour, bit by bit. Alternate with adding milk. If batter starts to feel dense, add 1 to 3 more tablespoons of milk as needed.
  6. Grease and flour the baking pan. Pour batter into the baking pan and bake in the oven for 40-45 min. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the centre of the cake and see if it comes out clean.

Change It Up:

If you want to make the cake: You can:
Cup cakes
  • Pour batter into a Cupcake Pan
  • Decrease baking time to 20 min
  • Decrease flour to 1 1/2 cups
  • Add 1 cup of cocoa powder
  • Use coconut milk instead of cow milk
  • Add 1/4 cup desiccated coconut to batter
Choose an option:
  • Add 1 tbsp grated orange or lemon peel to batter
  • Add 1 tbsp grated ginger root to batter
  • Substitute eggs with 6 egg whites and 1 tsp cream of tartar. Whip in a separate bowl until peaks form, then gently fold in the batter.
  • Divide batter into smaller portions in separate bowls
  • Add food colouring to batter in each bowl with a different colour in each bowl
  • Pour batter into baking pan, bit by bit, by alternating among all the different colour batter, resulting in a rainbow marbling effect
After baking, 
  • Add whipped cream, icing, or Nutella (hazelnut cocoa spread)
Then choose any topping below:
  • Add sprinkles or coloured sugar
  • Add nuts, sunflower seeds or poppy seeds
  • Add desiccated coconut
  • Add chocolate chips, nibs or shavings
  • Add mini marshmallows
  • Add berries or cut fruit slices 
  • LESS SWEET: Decrease sugar to 3/4 cup
  • LESS FAT: Use margarine instead of butter. Use skim-milk.
  • MORE FIBRE: Decrease flour to 2 cups and add 3/4 cup flat rolled oats, 1 tbsp chia seeds or flax seeds
  • Don't make it Fancy


It was super fun designing and screen printing this molecule Baking A Cake Tea Towel. Because baking is chemistry, am I right? This tea towel shows the molecules that represent all the ingredients needed to bake a vanilla cake. The aqua colour is simply gorgeous!

Are you a sweet tooth? Do you like cakes? What's your favourite flavour of cake?

I hope you have a chance to try out the cake recipe I shared above. I'm curious to know how it turns out. Did you use any of the options in the Change It Up Table? Let me know in the comments below.

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