Dear Thinette,

Have you ever had that helpless feeling, not experienced or confident enough to bake a cake? Never fear Granny is near!

I have found the perfect solution to share with you. The end result will give you the confidence of a super chef.

Thinette winkingThere are three tips for you today, darling Thinette.

    • Tip number one is how to bake flat cake layers.
    • Secondly, enhancing a premixed cake in a box, how to make it taste like a homemade cake.
    • Thirdly, easy Icings to make

Before We Start.

Before we jump in and start mixing, there are a few things to do to become the successful baker with a reputation, my dear.

Get all the ingredients, pans and utensils on the table, ready to use.

Baking Rules

When baking you have to be very exact with the measurements. Cake measuring spoons

Ingredients should be weighed and measured to the precise measures. It is important to keep the delicate chemical balance needed for successful baking.

Things To Do

  1. Take ingredients out the fridge the night before to have it at   room temperature if needed. It is good to have all at room   temperature unless the recipe asks for ice cold.
  2.  Prepare your baking tins, line with parchment paper, butter,   dust it with flour and put it aside before you start mixing.
  3.  Add your aluminium strip around the tin to bake flat even cake layers.
  4.  Preheat the oven just before mixing.
  5.  Follow the directions of the recipe exactly as it says.

How to Bake Flat Cake Layers. 

From the ‘Preppy Kitchen’

A cake always bakes in a dome shape, have a brown crust, and withdraw from the sides. It makes the cake very dry, and not moist and soft. It is because the sides of the dough in the pan gets more heat than the middle, bakes quicker and set.

It dries out and become crusty. The rest has to rise in the middle to get cooked, therefore the dome shape. When you put a wet strip around the sides it will make it cook equal and stay flat on top. Bakked cake with dome crusty top

How to make my own Strips.

  • Measure the circumference of the baking tin with kitchen towel, tear off and wet it in a glass of water.
  • Wring out but leave a little water still in it. Carefully lay flat on the table and fold lengthwise a little wider than the tin’s side, about 10 to 12 cm.
  • Tare off a length of aluminum foil to match the paper towel, and lay it on the table.
  • Put the wet strip at the bottom and start folding in a long strip covering the wet towel strip.DIY Cake Baking Strip - YouTube
  • Now you have a long foil belt. After weighing the dough in each tin, you lock the foil belt around the tin, double fold the ends and fold flat against the tin.
  • At the bottom fold it in around the rim to keep it in place.
  • Place tins into the heated oven and bake the required time.
  • The strips now keep the outside of the tin cool and it can bake equal to give you a flat top cake.

If you are careful you will be able two use the homemade stirps a couple of times.

My Amazing Boxed Homemade CakeChocolate cake with icing on a glass stand

There are a few replacements and changes to make. Zoosh it up to get the desired look and taste.

  • To get a richer taste you replace the amount of water with milk. You can also use the same amount of coffee, soda or fruit juice instead.
  • Instead of oil, use the same amount of melted butter for a homemade taste.
  • Use 5 eggs in place of the three they suggest.
  • Increase the vanilla to 2 teaspoons.
  • Add 1 dry instant pudding, choc, vanilla or butterscotch
  • Make the cake moist by adding 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise.
  • To customise the cake, you can add raisins or choc chips or nuts to taste.

Follow the instructions on the box.

If you want to have equal layers, weigh the dough when you pour into the pans.

After pouring the dough into the pans, slide your wet foilstrips around your pan, folding in at the bottom.

Bake in your pre-heated over according to the instructions on the box.

When done, tip the cakes out of the the pan on to a cooling rack.

Don’t let it stand in the hot pans.

Cool down completely before adding any icing. Have patience.

Icing the Cake Icing-sugar-piping-bag- decorating-tips-

You have already cheated a little by using a box cake, so never skimp on the icing. Use real butter, and half a teaspoon of milk if needed.

Basic Butter Icing.

1 cup softened Butter

3 cups sifted Icing Sugar


  1. Be careful not to add any liquids, it makes the icing runny and you won’t be able to fix it.
  2. Always sift Icing Sugar to get rid of all lumps, very important my love.
  3. Beat the soft butter with an electric whisk for 5 minutes on medium speed, until light and fluffy. It should double in size and change to a white creamy consistency.
  4. Add the Icing Sugar and 1 teaspoon of flavour, normally vanilla but you can add strawberry, banana, orange essence too.
  5. Only use milk if it is too thick, normally for piping on cupcakes, otherwise it is ready to ice the cake with.
  6. Spread a little apricot jam between the layers of the cake, it helps the icing to stick and gives the cake a tangy edge.Chocolate-cake-with-mixed-glazed-fruit
  7. Cover the cake and be creative with your finishing, use a fork or the tip of a knife to draw patterns or make wavy images.
  8. Cherries and glazed fruit are also always a winner on top. Smooth it out and add a ring of tinned fruit or a fresh flower in one corner.

Condensed Milk Icing

from the Cupcake Savvy’s Kitchen.

If you are stuck without Icing Sugar, and have a tin of condensed milk, all is still saved, my dear.

500 gr soft butter

1 tin of Condensed milk


  • Follow the same technique as above and beat for at least 5 minutes. The beating makes it light and fluffy with all the air you beat in.
  • Add the room temperature condensed milk and beat another 2 to 3 minutes.
  • If it seperates and curdle, keep on beating until it becomes smooth again.
  • Now you can add flavour,
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla if you want it plain or
  • 1/2 cup melted chocolate cooled, mixed in or
  • 3 teaspoons of hot water mixed with 2 teaspoonfuls of coffee, cooled down before use, or
  • 1/2 cup caramel condensed milk.
  • As a matter of fact you can use any thick jam to flavour too.
  • Whisk well and cover your cake.
  • If you live in a hot area and the icing gets too runny in the summer weather, just refrigerate a little while and carry on.
  • Remember then to keep the cake also in the fridge until you need it.

The Last Word.Cup-of-coffee-with-a-piece-of-chocolate-cake-

There you have it, my dear, the best weekend cake in the neighbourhood.

Enjoy with a cuppa tea and all the compliments!

Thanks to the box mix for your delicious creation.

Love you lots.

Granny Stella

Gran Stella