The Basic Cake Ingredients List for Baking a Cake

24. February 2022

The cake ingredients list to store your cupboard, fridge, and freezer. If you’re new to baking or you’re setting up your first kitchen, you’ll be glad to know you can narrow the list to just eight essentials ingredients to bake a cake, cookies, muffins, pies, and pancakes. This goes for the basic cake without icing or frosting. The following list contains eight categories, such as flour, sugar, salt, leavening, etc. These are the essential ingredients for baking a cake. Each category is then divided into basic needs. But as you gain more baking experience, you’ll start to refine what’s essential for you.

You can find more impressions and videos of cakes on my Instagram account!

1. Flour


Wheat flour or all-purpose flour one of the most important pantry essentials. Wheat flour or all-purpose flour is perfect for cakes, cookies, pancakes, muffins and much more because it has a mild flavor. It’s light and fluffy texture comes from being milled to remove all of the wheat germ and bran.

Some ingredients of a cake may contain specialty flours. For best results, use the kind of flour specified in the recipe until you get a feel for how you can use it and how it behaves.

Whole wheat flour retains the wheat germ and is often used to partially replace all-purpose flour in a recipe to make it healthier.
Bread flour contains more protein, thus more gluten, and is perfect for baking chewy yeast breads.
Alternative non-wheat flours are milled from other grains, nuts, and seeds which I’m using in many of my healthy recipes of my ebook.
Cornstarch is finely ground corn flour used for thickening puddings, pastry creams, and pie fillings. 

How to Store Flours

Storing cake basing ingredients is important! Store flour in an airtight, moisture-proof container on a cool, dark shelf or even in the fridge. Whole wheat flour and whole grain flours spoil faster than wheat flour or all-purpose flour because they contain more of the wheat grain components. Store these in the fridge or freezer to extend the shelf life.

2. Sugar

Granulated sugar is regular sugar made from the juice of sugarcane or beets and is further refined to look white. If you’re wondering what are the ingredients for cake? Sugar is another must-have on you cake ingredients list because it is used in every single recipe.

Powdered sugar or confectioners’ sugar is regular sugar which is ground into ultra-fine particles and combined with starch so it doesn’t clump in its package. It’s very suitable in frostings and icings as it dissolves in butter and stabilizes whipped cream and cream cheese frostings as in my carrot cake recipe. Or use it as a quick dusting of cakes which makes everything a little prettier.


3. Salt

Salt or table salt should always be on your baking ingredients list! The secret about salt is that is enhances the sweetness of the cake or dish, therefore never skip a pinch for your baked goods. It dissolves easily and isn’t overpowering; shelf life is about 5 years.

4. Leavening Agents

Baking powder is a mix of baking soda, cream of tartar (an acid), and sometimes contains cornstarch too. When baking powder is the only leavener in your recipe, you don’t need to add an additional acidic ingredient as for baking soda, because baking powder already contains an acid. Important to know about baking powder that it expires! Don’t use anything over 6 months old, from the day you buy it. What are the main ingredients of a cake? Definitely baking powder!

Yeast is a biological leavener which needs more time to show its effect than chemical leaveners such as baking powder, because it takes time for yeast cells to naturally metabolize and create carbon dioxide. I always have active dry yeast or instant yeast at hand, fresh yeast should be used within a couple of days. For people who work a lot with yeast it should definitely go on the cake ingredients list.

Baking soda needs to react with an acid to create carbon dioxide, which gives rise to baked goods. There many recipes also contain buttermilk, natural cocoa powder, lemon juice, cream of tartar, yogurt, vinegar etc. to make it react. Similar to baking powder storage, keep small quantities and keep it fresh.


5. Eggs

An important item in my basic cake ingredients list for baking a cake. They help bind ingredients together and to obtain a nice cake. Large size eggs, as often the standard in baking recipes and it makes a huge difference what kind of egg size you’re using. Store eggs in the fridge. In my healthy and vegan recipes of my ebook I’m using DIY egg substitutes.

6. Fats

Vegetable oil has a neutral flavor and doesn’t overpower baked goods and I love the very moist finished consistency it creates in cakes. It is an inexpensive ingredient and absolutely necessary in my Lotus Biscoff cake recipe.

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Butter or unsalted butter the default choice on how to bake a cake. If you’re not using it regularly, you can easily freeze butter until you need it. I’m using butter in cake batters, pastry dough, cookie dough, as well as in frostings and icings. I’m always using butter for my cake ingredients list instead of margarine for that rich texture and flavor that makes baked goods irresistible.


7. Dairy products

Milk is good to always have at hand not found in all cake recipes. What ingredients are in a cake to make it moist? Often milk, but oil can also be used for a moist texture. Whole milk gives a richer flavor than low-fat milk, but you can use your milk of choice. The rule of thumb is that more fat results in more flavor and more moisture.

Cream cheese is a favorite on my cake ingredients list to make whipped cream cheese frosting. Better to use full-fat cream cheese to obtain a thick consistency and keep frostings from being runny.

8. Spices

Vanilla can be added as pure vanilla extract, vanilla flavor or vanilla sugar. It adds richness, extra flavor and a spicy aroma to your sweet recipes. You can make your own vanilla sugar super easy too!

Cinnamon is the spice I could add to every sweet recipe! Use ground cinnamon and combine it with ground cloves, ginger and nutmeg for the perfect pumpkin spice mix for my pumpkin pie recipe or other fall and winter recipes such as gingerbread or my apple cinnamon cake recipe

I hope that this cake basic ingredients list helps you to get started for easy baking recipes and taught you how to make home cakes and what are basic cake ingredients. Happy Baking!

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