Last Minute Cakes

I decided to write this post credit to bulletballerina, as she asked me on my previous post (Easy Vanilla Buttercream): “what on earth is a “last minute cake” and how do i make one?”

Thank you so much for asking that question, as it prompted me to write this. I appreciate it a lot:) Last minute cakes are really simple, and I hope this post explains them a bit more. So let’s get to last-minute-cake baking!


  • One box of Betty Crocker cake mix, or a brand of your preference


Using the ingredients on the back of the box, follow the steps to make the cake batter. Most times when it directs you to use a hand mixer, I just use a fork or a spoon. It turns out the same way; just make sure there aren’t any unmixed or dry clumps in your batter!

Line/spray a cake pan. I will link a post to tips about lining baking tins in the comments.

Evenly distribute the batter.

Bake at the directed temperature.

After the baking time is up, insert a knife or a toothpick into the center of the cake. If there is wet batter on it, put the cake back into the oven until it is completely baked. The cake should also spring back a little bit when you push your hand gently on the center. Once the cake is baked through, set it aside (still in the pan) to cool on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes. Then set in the fridge to chill for another 10 minutes.

Use a serrated knife to cut around the inside edge of the cake pan. Place your hand on the top of the cake, and quickly (but carefully) flip your cake upside down. If necessary, peel of the parchment paper. Flip the cake right side up, and place on your work area. Make sure you are supporting the cake the whole time so it does not fall apart!

For cakes with multiple layers/tiers: After the cakes have been chilled, it is time to level off the tops. If your cakes are especially uneven or have a “hat” on the top (see the second cake in the picture below), take a cake leveler or a serrated knife and carefully trim off the hat. Remember not to trim off to much. You can always take off more cake, but it’s not as easy to add cake back on. You also don’t want to end up with a tiny cake, so if you are afraid you will take off to much, don’t trim your cake.

Image source: Everyday Food

Before frosting your cake, note that: cakes must be completely cooled before frosting. Unless you want the frosting on your cake to slide off, chill your cake in the fridge! It makes frosting and trimming so much easier.

Frost your cake! I suggest using this buttercream recipe: Easy Vanilla Buttercream

That’s really all there is to a last minute cake. I’ve got to say, I think I actually made the last-minute-cake process even more complicated…for the most part, just follow the recipe on the cake box. Most of the directions above are more like tips to prevent your cake from getting ruined. Most of the directions above are more like tips so that your baking goes smoothly. But really, just follow the directions on the cake box. I probably should have said that in the beginning.


There. I think it’s a little bit better now. I just sort of go crazy because I love baking. A little bit too much.

Here’s a few pictures as an apology for messing things up.

Image source:
Image source:

2 thoughts on “Last Minute Cakes

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