Make and cake do the same job, examining dates of files and then recompiling and invoking required programs. They differ in what they do when intermediate files are missing. Make will rebuild everything starting from the first missing file. Cake doesn't care about intermediate missing files so long as they can be created if need be. Looking to the above list of files you will recognize that it is foolish to store many bulky intermediate files, particularly if they can easily be regenerated. In the final analysis, there is a trade off between compute time and available storage space.
In the above example with cake you might choose to save only the original ratfor program and the intermediate plot file plot.vplot. This would enable a reader of the active document to read it on various devices (hard copy or soft copy) and rebuild the figure only if program changes were made. The bulky intermediate files could be removed. The reader of the document is secure. If he/she is reading it, then it is up to date. If the reader changes a program or parameter file, plots will be rebuilt to the new specifications.