The word cake derives from the Norse word "kaka". Cake recipes have been around for many ages with the difference that they were more bread like.
In the mid-17th century, Europe had what looked like todays cakes, sometimes with icing on top. Round cake molds were made of wood, metal or some type of layered, greased paper.
They already had icing made of egg whites, much like the icing recipes we still have today.
It wasn't until the 19th century that we saw modern cake recipes arriving, as we know them today. We generally know two types: Those with butter and those without butter.
Some chefs claim that making cake recipes requires more understanding and care than any other branch of cooking.
* * * *
So let me start with the first one and probably the most important one. You need to have all the ingredients at room temperature.
This type of baking is a little more complicated than making bread. The chemical interaction between the ingredients are more sensitive to the ratios and external influences.
At least, if you care enough about the right texture, size and taste.
One of the caveats - unlike popular belief - 30 minutes is not enough to bring milk, butter, yoghurt/cream and eggs to room temperature. It takes at least 1,5 hours depending on the amount of each ingredient.
There's nothing complicated on bringing the above ingredients to the right temperature. Right means 20°C/68°F or somewhat higher. You just leave them on the kitchen counter for a couple of hours.
Did you know that for fluffy, sponge cakes or even butter cakes you get better results, if you warm up the eggs to 40°C/104°F before beating them?
Right, this is the opposite of what you do with whip cream. It should be ice cold.
But anyway, the best way to speed up the warming process is by boiling a large cup of water in the microwave. Remove the cup and quickly put for example the butter (chopped up) inside the microwave. Do not turn on. Just leave the butter there for 20 to 30 minutes.
The heat from the boiled water trapped in the microwave will do its job.
Like said before, we're dealing with interacting chemicals here. There is a science behind it!
Without overcomplicating things, cold ingredients for cake recipes do not mix well and it takes a huge amount of heat energy to make a batter do what it is supposed to do. According to what the (chef-) creator of the recipe had in mind.
Which is bake, often rise, slowly increase the cake's right core temperature and come to the right texture.