09 July 2016 CAKE, Build, MSBuild Robert Muehsig


CAKE - C# Make

  • A DSL for build tasks (e.g. build following projects, copy stuff, deploy stuff etc.)
  • It’s just C# code that gets compiled via Roslyn
  • Active community, OSS & written in C#
  • You can get CAKE via NuGet
  • Before we begin you might want to check out the actual website of CAKE
  • Cross Platform support

Our goal: Building, running tests, package NuGet Packages etc.

I already did a couple of MSBuild and FAKE related blogposts, so if you are interested on these topics as well go ahead (some are quite old, there is a high chance that some pieces might not apply anymore):

Ok… now back to CAKE.

Let’s start with the basics: Building

I created a pretty simple WPF app and followed these instructions.

The build.cake script

My script is a simplified version of this build script:

var target = Argument("target", "Default");

    .Does(() =>

    .Does(() =>
      MSBuild("CakeExampleWithWpf.sln", settings =>




If you know FAKE or MSBuild, this is more or less the same structure. You define tasks, which may depend on other tasks. At the end you invoke one task and the dependency chain will do its work.

Invoke build.cake

The “build.ps1” will invoke “tools/cake.exe” with the input file “build.cake”.

“build.ps1” is just a helper. This Powershell script will download nuget.exe and download the CAKE NuGet-Package and extract it under a /tools folder. If you don’t have problems with binary files in your source control, you don’t need this Powershell script.

Our first CAKE script!

The output is very well formatted and should explain the mechanics behind it good enough:

Time Elapsed 00:00:02.86
Finished executing task: Build

Executing task: Default
Finished executing task: Default

Task                          Duration
Restore-NuGet-Packages        00:00:00.5192250
Build                         00:00:03.1315658
Default                       00:00:00.0113019
Total:                        00:00:03.6620927

The first steps are pretty easy and it’s much easier than MSBuild and feels good if you know C#.

The super simple intro code can be found on GitHub.

Written by Robert Muehsig

Software Developer - from Saxony, Germany - working on primedocs.io. Microsoft MVP & Web Geek.
Other Projects: KnowYourStack.com | ExpensiveMeeting | EinKofferVollerReisen.de