Baking Cakes with your Bread Maker

A bread machine can help you make the perfect cake batter, and some recipes even allow you to finish the cake in the machine. 

red velvet cake sliced

 

Yes, you can bake a cake in your bread machine. In fact, many bread machines have a “Cake Setting” although be careful, sometimes it’s referred to as a “Batter Bread” setting. The batter setting is like the dough setting and will prepare your cake batter but you must pour it into a baking pan to finish it in the oven. Both of these settings will mix your batter and the dedicated “Cake setting” will bake your cake from start to finish in the bread machine.

Quite often, these recipes don’t call for bread flour but rather “cake flour” or a cake mix. Sometimes they will call for All-Purpose flour. Be careful that you read any recipe for cakes in a bread machine closely. If it says “cake flour” that’s exactly what you should use. You can usually buy it in a box and it states clearly on the box that it’s cake flour. The same goes for All-purpose flour. If you substitute a cake mix for cake flour you may be doubling ingredients that are both in the recipe list and already incorporated into the cake mix. Stay true to the recipe and if you’d rather keep it simple and use a cake mix, just find a recipe that calls for that ingredient.

Many cake recipes indicate the addition of fruit, nuts or other ingredients like chocolate chips or coconut. Depending on the type of cake and the recipe, you may have to add these at a certain point in the cycle. If your machine has an automatic fruit and nut hopper this should take care of itself if you choose the cake or batter bread setting. If you don’t have a hopper there will often be an audible beep telling you to add these ingredients if you want to. Here again, the recipe should indicate the setting and any special handling related to fruits, nuts and other added ingredients.

One thing to avoid is lifting or dropping the lid while your cake is baking in the machine. We often open the lid to check progress on a loaf of bread with no problems, but cakes are fussy and can fall if exposed to cooler temperatures or vibration at the wrong time.

When your cake is done, remove it from the bread pan and let it cool on a cooling rack and you can either serve it or top it with icing or other toppings like sprinkles, colored sugars or glazed fruit.

Most cakes that come out of a bread machine will have the tall, vertical shape that’s common with most bread pans. You can always cut it in half; use a recipe for a 1 pound loaf which will be shorter, or slice it into layers and only build the cake as tall as you want it. This sliced layering will also give you the option of spreading a filling between layers.

You always have the option of mixing your ingredients in the bread machine and pouring in a cake pan and finishing in the oven, but the mixing of most cake batters is simple enough to do in a bowl so we’re going to focus on cake recipes that go from start to finish in the bread machine.

One thing to keep in mind. Unlike most bread recipes that come out of our machines perfectly baked through and through, some cakes mysteriously need a little more time. The classic test is to insert a wooden skewer into the top of the cake and if it comes out wet or shows any unbaked batter, either let it rest in the bread machine for 10 minutes and retest -or set on a warm setting for 10 to 30 minutes and continue to test with the skewer until it comes out clean. This is standard practice for cakes both in the oven and in bread machines. If you don’t happen to have a wooden skewer handy, a dried piece of uncooked spaghetti works the same.

 

Cake Recipes for Bread Machines:

Red Velvet Cake Bread Machine Recipe:

Red Velevet Cake sliced in two red velvet cake filled with strawberries

Red Velvet cake is a dramatic looking cake usually topped with a white icing to serve as a contrast to the striking red color of the cake. This particular recipe uses a red velvet cake mix and is baked in the machine. Red velvet cakes are traditionally served with a butter cream or cream cheese frosting. We’ve included the cream cheese frosting for this recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 box Red Velvet cake mix
  • 1 cup water 250 ml
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1⁄3 cup vegetable oil – 75 ml

STRAWBERRY FILLING RECIPE

  • 1 cup of chopped strawberries mixed with ½ cup of sugar
  • Let rest for 20 minutes to glaze strawberries and then spread on the middle layer of the cake before frosting.

 

red velvet cake reassembled red velvet cake frosted
DIRECTIONS:

  • Measure the cake ingredients into baking pan in the order specified in the recipe or the order specified by your manufacturer.
  • Insert pan into the machine and select Cake Cycle or Batter Bread cycle; 1 pound loaf and light crust.
  • Halfway through the mixing, use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the baking pan and the kneading paddle.
  • When the signal sounds indicating the baking cycle is complete, test for doneness with the wooden skewer. If it’s ready, remove the baking pan from the bread machine. If not, keep it in the bread machine or place on the Warm Cycle for 10 to 30 minutes or on the Bake Only Cycle if you have it on your machine until baked.

red velvet cake sliced

 

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup cream cheese, softened (8 ounces/225 grams)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, or Mascarpone cheese, at room temperature (65 to 67°F) (1 stick/4 ounces/115 grams)
  • 1 lb confectioners’ sugar, sifted (4 cups/455 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. To make the cream cheese frosting: In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla.
  2. Trim the cake and either slice into layers or simply trim into the shape you like and frost. If you want to add the filling simply spread it on the bottom layer and top with the other layer and frost.

 

Pound Cake Recipe:

Nicely sweet with a crumbly texture. This is a classic dessert bread and is great with coffee or tea.

1 pund cake loaf - small 4 - pound cake sliced - small

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 Cup milk
  • 2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 Cup butter, melted
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

Add the cake ingredients to the bread pan in the order indicated in the recipe or the order specified by your manufacturer. Select the cake setting. Select 1 pound loaf and light crust setting.

5 - pound cake sliced - small 8 - pound cake loaf - small

 

Cake Bread Recipe:

This is an interesting hybrid combining both cake and bread ingredients. It makes a great dessert with butter or jam and jellies or you can eat it plain. It’s also great for breakfast with coffee or at tea time.

1 - cake bread loaf - small 5 - cake bread sliced - small

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/4 cup of water 110°F./43°C.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter (room temperature)
  • 2 1/2 cup of bread flour
  • 1 cup yellow cake mix
  • 1 tsp Rapid Rise yeast

DIRECTIONS:

Add the ingredients to the bread pan in the order indicated in the recipe unless your manufacturer indicates otherwise. Set it for the White Bread cycle, not the cake cycle. This is closer to bread than cake from an ingredient standpoint. Also set for 1.5 loaf and medium crust. You don’t have to worry about the wooden skewer with this recipe, but if you’re nervous go ahead and give it a poke. When done let it rest on a cooling rack and then slice and serve.

3 - cake bread loaf - small 7 - cake bread sliced - small

 

Chocolate Chocolate Cake Recipe:

This recipes features layers of chocolate through ad through. I great cake for any celebration.

chocolate cake bread 1 - small chocolate cake bread 3 - small

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 3 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 3 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 7 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips

DIRECTIONS:

Add ingredients according to your bread machines recommendations. If you have an add feature on your bread machine, put the chocolate chips in when your machine indicates. I recommend a ‘light’ crust setting, to avoid the cake being too dry. Serve warm with fresh berries (strawberries or raspberries are a great addition), or with a small scoop of ice cream.

chocolate cake bread 2 - medium

Steve Nubie

Steve Nubie has been writing professionally for 38 years. He is a Chef and has traveled across Asia and Europe studying language, culture and cuisine. He instructs culinary classes in the Culinary School at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and has written extensively on cuisine, cooking, diet and nutrition. He is a published author of 10 books including a cookbook and continues to write on subjects related to culinary trends.

Latest posts by Steve Nubie (see all)

21 Comments
  1. Reply
    Alice June 27, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    How about an actual bake time for cakes since I don’t have a cake selection?

    • Reply
      Admin September 25, 2018 at 2:05 pm

      Hi Alice,

      Cakes are usually baked at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes to 60 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out dry. If the batter is still wet, continuing baking for an additional 10 minutes until the test yields a dry result.

  2. Reply
    Maryam November 4, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Hi dear. Can you please write the sponge cake recipe for us PLEASE?

  3. Reply
    Rene October 14, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    I just purchased a Wolfgang puck bread machine. Can I use Swan cake flour to make cakes instead of flour, salt, etc in the recipes ? Thanks

    • Reply
      Admin November 12, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      Absolutely!

  4. Reply
    Martha August 8, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Hi Steve,
    For approximately how long do I need to bake the cake, please? (I do realise that different makes of bread maker have differences — ours is a Panasonic SD-ZB2515.)
    Thanks very much.

    • Reply
      Steve Nubie August 11, 2017 at 7:20 am

      Hi Martha,

      The key to making any cake in a bread machine is to ensure it has a “cake setting.” Without that setting you can still use the bread machine to make the batter using using the pizza dough or pasta dough cycle or use the bread dough setting but remove the batter before the dough setting tries to cause the batter to rise. Cake breads or “batter” breads don’t have yeast in the recipe. They usually have baking powder and/or baking soda so the cake will rise in the oven. The typical oven setting is 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes but you need to insert a knife or wooden skewer into the center of the bread to make sure it’s done. If it comes out wet add another 10 minutes. In the article and the recipes a lot of these tips are covered along with solutions to both using the bread machine for the full baking cycle or baking and finishing in the oven. Hope this helps.

  5. Reply
    Sansserif July 14, 2017 at 5:21 am

    Hi there,
    For pound cake recipe, can we have 1/4 cup stevia instead of 1 cup sugar? And a dash of honey, two tbsp of vanilla extract ?

    Ran out of stevia extract halfway

    • Reply
      Steve Nubie July 15, 2017 at 6:46 pm

      Hi,

      You’re in luck. Because this is a cake-bread or batter-bread recipe you don’t need sugar to feed the yeast. Batter-breads rise towards the end of the baking cycle because they depend on baking powder and/or baking soda, Any sweeteners are for flavor rather than a fuel for yeast. You may need to adjust your amount of Stevia or honey as you continue to experiment, but this should be a good starting point.

  6. Reply
    THom May 14, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Hey Steve, just got a cuisinart convection bread maker yesterday. made 3 loafs (loaves?) of bread already. Now using your pound cake recipe as is. chose quick bread/cake #7 setting. No beeps to warn of impending bake setting (to remove the paddle) so took out at beg. of bake setting. batter tastes good. will let you know how it works…or rather how it bakes! Thanks for recipe. TH

  7. Reply
    Helena April 12, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    My bread machine is an older one, so it doesn’t have any cake setting, so which cycle can I use?

    • Reply
      Admin April 14, 2017 at 11:59 am

      Hi Helena,

      If the machine has a pizza dough setting that could mix the batter but the cake would have to be finished in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. Otherwise there’s really no solution.

  8. Reply
    Michelle April 7, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    What could I use instead of the applesauce?

    • Reply
      Admin April 14, 2017 at 7:45 am

      Hi Michelle,

      Any fruit sauce would work from blueberry sauce to strawberry sauce. Personally I’d make a sauce made from pears.

  9. Reply
    Ellen February 5, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    The red velvet looks yummy but can you please add your recipe for the strawberry filling included in pics? Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      Admin February 6, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      Hi Ellen!
      Sure: 1 cup of chopped strawberries mixed with ½ cup of sugar.
      Let rest for 20 minutes to glaze strawberries and then spread on the middle layer of the cake before frosting.

      Also added it to the article. 🙂

      • Reply
        Ellen February 6, 2017 at 6:24 pm

        Thank you so much!

  10. Reply
    Len Dash March 9, 2016 at 12:38 am

    What settings should I use on the bread machine?

    • Reply
      Admin March 9, 2016 at 6:35 pm

      Do you have ‘cake setting’ or something similar on your bread machine?

    Leave a reply

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