CakePHP has long had the ability to generate new projects via the bake command:

// my custom cat project
cake bake project camila

With the above command, CakePHP would scaffold out all the necessary directories and files for a new project (AppModel, AppController, configuration files, etc.). You could even customize this using a bake skeleton:

// be sure to copy in my cat project instead
cake bake project camila --skel Console/Templates/cat

In CakePHP 3, this feature of bake has mostly gone away in favor of using composer to handle scaffolding. When starting a new project, you typically do something like:

composer create-project --prefer-dist cakephp/app camila

Composer’s create-project command is great for scaffolding out new projects and is used for a variety of things:

  • Framework-specific application repos
  • Framework-specific plugin modules
  • Generic composer packages

The great thing about this command is that the “skeletons” are in all actually composer packages. This means it is extremely easy to use your normal distribution methods to release new versions of the package, something the CakePHP project has done with it’s cakephp/app repository.

Now, as a side-effect of this, you can *also* fork any existing composer skeleton and add your own customizations. For instance, lets say we wanted to have a composer skeleton with the following plugins installed automatically:

We can simply do the following:

  1. Fork the cakephp/app repository on github.
  2. Change the name in the fork’s composer.json to myname/app.
  3. Add any custom requirements to the composer.json.
  4. Make a new tag/release on github.
  5. Add it to

Pretty simple. We can now use this project as a baseline for all of our new CakePHP projects:

composer create-project --prefer-dist myname/app camila

Apart from adding custom plugins, one thing you may want to look is customizing the initial project files. For instance, if you find yourself constantly adding certain helper classes, or modifying how configuration is loaded, this is a good chance to improve the base state of your initial applications.

As every project is slightly different, please try and keep application-specific enhancements to a minimum, as they may only serve as a hindrance when using your skeleton. No one wants to setup an app and then spend an hour deleting useless code :)

For those of you who are interested in such a project, here is an advanced skeleton from the good folks at Loadsys Web Strategies.