Cake .NET Tool

This is the recommended way to run Cake Scripts.


The Cake.Tool NuGet package, is a .NET Core tool compiled for .NET Core 2.1 or newer.


dotnet cake [script] [switches]


Switch Description Available Since
--bootstrap Download/install modules defined by #module directives, but do not run build. Since 1.0.0-rc0001 bootstrapping is done by default when running build. 0.24.0
-d, --debug Launches script in debug mode. 0.12.0
--description Shows description about tasks. 0.1.10
--dryrun Performs a dry run. 0.2.0
-e, --exclusive Execute a single task without any dependencies. 0.29.0
-h, --help Prints help information. 0.1.12
--info Displays additional information about Cake execution. 0.31.0
--skip-bootstrap Skips bootstrapping when running build. 1.0.0-rc0001
--tree Shows the task dependency tree. 0.31.0
-v, --verbosity <VERBOSITY> Specifies the amount of information to be displayed (quiet, minimal, normal, verbose, diagnostic). 0.1.1
--version Displays version information. 0.1.12

--target=<target> is not a switch of the runner, but a custom switch which scripts often implement to invoke a specific task.

Custom switches

All switches not recognized by Cake will be added to an argument list that is passed to the build script. See Arguments And Environment Variables how to read arguments in your script.

Use a space instead of = if the value of a switch can be empty or null:

--foo ""

Bootstrapping for .NET Tool

Bootstrapping scripts ensure you have Cake and other required dependencies installed. The bootstrapper scripts are also responsible for invoking Cake.

The following instructions require .NET Core 3.0 or newer. See How to manage .NET Core tools for details and other options.


There's a one-time setup required for configuring a repository to use Cake .NET tool.

If you have .NET Tool already available in your environment you can skip the steps in this chapter.

Make sure to have a tool manifest available in your repository or create one using the following command:

dotnet new tool-manifest

Install Cake as a local tool using the dotnet tool command:

dotnet tool install Cake.Tool --version 1.1.0

You can replace 1.1.0 with a different version of Cake you want to use.

Getting the bootstrapper

Use of a bootstrapper is optional. You can also directly call the .NET CLI if you prefer.

A Bootstrapper for Cake .NET Tool is available in the Cake Resources repository and can be installed using the command for your operating system from below:

Open a new PowerShell window and run the following command:

Invoke-WebRequest -OutFile build.ps1

Open a new shell and run the following command:

curl -Lsfo

Open a new shell and run the following command:

curl -Lsfo

Running build script

To launch Cake run the bootstrapper:

Open a new PowerShell window and run the following command:


Open a new shell and run the following command:

Open a new shell and run the following command:

By convention this will execute the build script named build.cake. You can override this behavior by additionally passing the name of the build script.

Extending the bootstrapper

The bootstrapper that you can get directly from is intended as a starting point for what can be done. It is the developer's discretion to extend the bootstrapper to solve for your own requirements.

Using pre-release versions

Cake uses Azure Artifacts as a NuGet feed for testing and pre-release builds. With these pre-release builds the next version of Cake can be accessed and utilized for getting the latest features or testing addins or build scripts to know if the next release will be safe when you need to upgrade.