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The Art of Cake Baking and Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

For the last five years or so, I have been a full-fledged, card-carrying member of the Cupcakes-Are-Easier club. Obviously, the small size — perfect for portion control (unless, of course, you eat several of them instead of just one), perfect for little hands, etc, etc …

But you know what? After making a cake for the first time in close to a decade, I recant. Cupcakes are cute, for sure, but they are not easier. All those little tins to fill with liners and batter. It’s a lot of work. Seriously. But cakes? Cakes are pretty simple.

You start by baking the cake and letting it cool completely. This one was a chocolate one, from a boxed mix. Sometimes I bake from scratch, other times I don’t. In this case, since I was working on the frosting recipe for Tablespoon, the cake wasn’t my primary focus so using the boxed mix let me focus right where I needed to.

Then, you level the cakes. And yes, this is a must-do. Basically, leveling the cakes is nothing more than cutting off the bulge on top of the cake, so that both layers have a flat top. Save the remnants — they are perfect for making trifles. You can even freeze them for later use.

Next, you fill and frost the cake. You can use a pastry bag or go ultra simple with a plain ol’ storage bag with a corner cut off. I have a few pastry tips that I use, though I only use one for any given project, so fancy decorating? Not here. In any case, it takes all of 10 minutes to level, fill and frost a cake in a rush, if that. And there is something so inviting, so decadent about a layer cake.

Color me a convert. Forget cupcakes — I am all for the full-on cake.

How about you? Are you still mad for cupcakes, or are you ready for a return to the real-deal cakes?

What about the frosting? This is a super easy, perfectly sweetened cream cheese frosting. Use it on whatever cake you like – carrot, pumpkin, chocolate, whatever. I prefer it served chilled.

Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe


  • 2 8- oz. packages cream cheese, , softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, , softened to room temperature
  • 3 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Combine the cream cheese, butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase speed to medium and beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Use immediately on a fully cooled cake.


zoe p.

Wednesday 15th of September 2010

PS. New Haven's wonderful Cupcake Truck is opening an actual store!

zoe p.

Wednesday 15th of September 2010

I love cake baking but I tend to focus on the cake rather than the icing . . . so much so that, like Tonia, I generally just pour the batter into a bundt pan and go from there. Maybe serve (or eat) with fruit or whipped cream or jelly or a glaze . . .

I let other people make (and sell) me cupcakes.


Tuesday 14th of September 2010

I love cupcakes but I've made the switch back to cakes too. I think everyone is looking more towards comfort food & cakes offer more nostalgia. I'm especially loving Bundt cakes right now & have some great posts planned around them.


Tuesday 14th of September 2010

CAKES! I abandoned cupcakes a few years ago for the exact same reason as you. It's just way easier. And, I have to confess: I never ever ever level a cake. *hangs head in pastry shame*

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