Cake Magic!

Cookbook author Caroline Wright stopped by Good Day to show you how to be a professional baker to impress people with your cakes.

Cake Magic! Cake Mix

Makes 4 cups (enough for one 8 - or 9-inch Two-layer cake, one 13 x 9 -inch sheet cake, One 10 -inch Bundt cake, or 24 cupcakes)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt (see Note)

Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together well to combine. Whisk the mix again before measuring.

Note: It's important to use table salt in the cake mix; other types will eventually settle out of the mix.

Vanilla Cake

Makes one 8- or 9-inch two-layer cake (or one 10 –inch Bundt  cake, one 13 x 9-inch sheet cake, or 24 cupcakes) 

Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for greasing the pans
All-purpose flour, for dusting the pans
4 cups dry Cake Magic! Cake Mix (page 142), whisked well before measuring 
3/4 cup full-fat plain yogurt (preferably not Greek yogurt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, or 1 cup vegetable oil 
3/4 cup water 
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and side of the pan(s). Dust with flour to coat, then invert and tap out any excess. (If making cupcakes, use liners instead of greasing and coating the tins.)

Place the cake mix in a large bowl. Stir in the yogurt, butter, water, vanilla, and eggs until moistened and no lumps remain (be careful not to overmix). Divide the batter between the prepared pans.

Bake until the layers are domed and golden brown, and a few moist crumbs cling to a skewer inserted in the center of the cake, 35 to 40 minutes (40 to 50 minutes for a Bundt, 25 to 30 minutes for a 13 by 9-inch cake, and 20 to 25 minutes for cupcakes). (At this point, coat the layers with syrup and let them cool completely in the pans.)


Buttermilk Cake: Substitute buttermilk for the yogurt. 

Vanilla Cinnamon Cake: Whisk 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon into the cake mix before adding the remaining ingredients.  

Confetti Cake: Stir 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles into the batter just before pouring it into the pans.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake: Toss together 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple and 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Divide the fruit mixture between the prepared pans, along with any accumulated juices. Prepare the batter and pour it over the fruit. 

Vanilla - Olive Oil Cake: Substitute olive oil for the melted butter.

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake: Dust the pan(s) with white rice flour. Use Gluten-Free Cake Magic! Cake Mix for the cake mix.

Vegan Vanilla Cake: Grease the pan(s) with non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening and dust with flour. Whisk together the dry ingredients as directed. In a blender, combine 4 ounces firm tofu (crumbled and packed into 1/2 cup), 1 1/2 cups water, 1 teaspoon cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar, 1 cup vegetable oil (instead of the melted butter), and vanilla. Blend until smooth and the texture of heavy cream, 30 seconds to 1 minute. (Omit the yogurt, eggs, and 3/4 cup water.) Add the tofu mixture to the dry ingredients in Step 2 and proceed as directed.

Mixed Berry Syrup

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam
1 tablespoon seedless strawberry jam
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cherry liqueur or Kirsch (optional but recommended) 

Combine the sugar, water, jams, and salt in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then stir in the vanilla and liqueur, if using. Remove from the heat and set aside to steep, covered, for at least 20 minutes.

Strain the syrup. Use the syrup warm or at room temperature.

Mixed Berry Syrup will keep, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 1 week. Reheat it in a small saucepan over low heat before using. 


Blackberry Syrup: Substitute 2 tablespoons seedless  blackberry jam for the raspberry and  strawberry jams. Omit the cherry liqueur.

Blueberry Syrup: Substitute 2 tablespoons blueberry jam for the raspberry and strawberry jams. Omit the cherry liqueur.

Bourbon-Berry Syrup: Stir in 1 tablespoon bourbon with the vanilla and cherry liqueur. 

Cherry Syrup: Substitute 2 tablespoons cherry preserves for the raspberry and strawberry jams.  

Mango Syrup: Substitute ½ cup fresh or frozen chopped mango for the jams. Omit the cherry liqueur.

Peach Syrup: Substitute 2 tablespoons peach jam for the raspberry and strawberry jams. Omit the cherry liqueur. 

Pear Syrup: Substitute ½ cup sliced fresh pears for the jams. Omit the cherry liqueur.

Raspberry Syrup: Substitute 1 tablespoon raspberry preserves for the strawberry jam;  substitute 1 tablespoon Chambord for the cherry liqueur.

Strawberry Syrup: Substitute 1 tablespoon strawberry preserves for the raspberry jam. Omit the cherry liqueur.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 4 cups

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
4 cups (one 16-ounce box) confectioners' sugar 
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine the butter, cream cheese, salt, and 2 cups of the sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the remaining sugar and beat on medium speed until the frosting is pale and no longer grainy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat until the frosting is very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting will keep, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for 1 week. Before using, bring it back to room temperature and stir it vigorously or beat it again for best results.


Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting: Substitute 1 1/2 cups non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening for the butter. Substitute 1⁄3 cup tofu cream cheese, at room temperature, for the cream cheese.

Cream Cheese Glaze for Bundt Cakes: Combine  1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, a pinch of salt, and 2 cups confectioners’sugar in a medium-size saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and let boil, without stirring, 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add 1 ounce cubed room temperature cream cheese, and stir until combined.

Cream Cheese Frosting for Sheet Cakes: Use 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature; a pinch of salt; 2 cups confectioners' sugar; and 1 ounce cream cheese, at room temperature. Proceed as directed in the original recipe.