Hoda Kotb’s Tip for Baking the Best Cake Is One You Wouldn’t Expect

published Mar 24, 2022
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Credit: TODAY

Known for serving up hard-hitting news on the NBC News morning show TODAY, broadcast journalist and co-anchor Hoda Kotb is also in the business of serving up some of the best birthday cakes. 

From social media posts showcasing her desserts to playing a round of Netflix’s Is It Cake? with host Mikey Day on a recent TODAY episode, it’s clear she knows how to satisfy a sweet tooth. But her simple trick for making her own tasty treats might surprise you. 

During a visit to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Kotb shared the couch with her co-anchor, Savannah Guthrie, as well as her signature cake-baking secrets with the audience.

“I do something ya’ll should do because it’s super easy and fun,” she tells Fallon. “I make the best birthday cakes, but let me tell you the secret.” Following a family story about her daughters having recent birthdays, she opened up about the foolproof way to ensure your cake batter bakes to perfection: You barely stir it. 

Just like over-watering can kill a plant, Kotb shared that over-stirring can be a fluffy cake’s worst enemy. Now, if you’re wondering whether or not this tip is legit, Kotb assures it is because it’s one she learned from TODAY contributor Elizabeth Heiskell (aka the Debutante Farmer), who also taught the co-anchor how to make a “dump cake” (named for its simplicity of dumping everything in without mixing).  

“You take the Duncan Hines (cake mix), dump it in, pour the egg in, barely stir it — just barely — [and] stick it in the oven,” said Kotb. When Fallon seemed shocked she doesn’t stir the batter until smooth, Kotb actually credits the clumps for giving the cake batter that extra-special something. “The clumps make it delicious.”

She also cuts the box cooking time down by five minutes, and finishes up with a frosting job that she jokes is frequently mistaken for being done by her daughters, Haley Joy, 5, and Hope Catherine, 3.

You can watch the full video below — and for another quick and easy confection, you can try this peach dump cake.