Response surface methodology was used to optimize the formulation of microwave-baked cakes. The independent variables were water content, emulsifier content baking time, oven power, shortening content and starch type. The quality factors evaluated were specific gravity of batter and volume index, uniformity index and tenderness of the crumb. Constraints for quality factors were obtained by conventional baking of American Association of Cereal Chemists high-ratio cake formulation. Multiple contour plots showed the optimum region for various water and shortening combinations at different emulsifier, time and power levels. Cakes formulated with wheat starch, containing 0.3% polysorbate 60, 133.7% water and 45.2% shortening (flour substitute basis), baked for 6 min at 100% power yielded acceptable cakes that can compete with conventionally baked cakes. Rice and corn cakes had lower quality than conventionally baked high-ratio cakes. Power was found to be the most efficient independent variable affecting all the dependent variables.