Classic Yellow Cake Recipe

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Yellow Cake – Make a deliciously moist and fluffy yellow cake topped with chocolate buttercream frosting. Classic homemade dessert recipe!

slice of yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting on an ivory plate with a fork

Growing up in the 80’s, yellow cake was one of the desserts of choice. I’m not sure if it was because we always used a cake mix or because it was so delicious with chocolate frosting.

Either way, I grew up kinda loving this yummy dessert. So, I decided to give it a go making a yellow cake from scratch.

This is a really easy yellow cake recipe, and I’ll give you a few tips below on how to make a cake moist and fluffy. While making my chocolate cupcakes, I learned a few tips and tricks to getting that perfect soft texture.

bite of yellow cake with chocolate frosting on a fork with ivory plate and blue and white striped kitchen towel

Top this cake with chocolate buttercream frosting, and you’ve got the perfect classic dessert. It’s so simple yet so delicious!

WHERE CAN I FIND THE RECIPE FOR YELLOW CAKE?

If you’d rather skip all of my baking tips, important baking info for this recipe, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to the scrumptious yellow cake recipe – just scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a printable recipe card.

HOW TO MAKE CAKE MOIST

You can ask my family. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with homemade cake recipes in the past.

I’ve even gotten confused while trying to make recipes from my grandma’s handwritten recipe cards, and I’ve totally messed up the simplest of recipes. There’ve been times I got them right, and other times they’ve been total flops.

I’m learning as I go, though. And I love to share with you what I’ve learned through my own trial and error process of learning how to be a better cake maker.

chocolate buttercream icing on sliced yellow cake in metal cake pan

There are a few steps I took to ensure that our yellow cake would be very light, soft, fluffy, and moist. These are the same steps I took to make these deliciously moist and fluffy chocolate cupcakes.

The steps I take to make a moist yellow cake actually work.

  • Use a mixture of butter and oil to make a moist cake.
  • When you cream the butter and sugar (or mix the butter and sugar), do so for a good 5 to 8 minutes.
  • When mixing the other wet ingredients in with your creamed mixture, only add the yolks of the eggs. Wait to fold the egg whites in after all the other ingredients have been added and mixed.
  • Use buttermilk instead of regular milk. In fact, you can make your own buttermilk; I’ll show you how if you keep reading. What buttermilk does is break down the gluten, which makes your cake softer.
  • Use cake flour to make a lighter, softer cake. It really does make a difference.

how to make a cake moist by sifting dry ingredients into mixing bowl

  • Sift your flour and dry ingredients together at least 3 times. My grandma would’ve said 7; she was a real stickler about sifting.
  • Don’t mix the cake batter too long after adding the flour. Mix it just until it’s mixed. You can even alternate the flour mixture with the milk to be more aware of how long you’re mixing. Over mixing can make a cake more dense.

Want to know more? SugarEd Productions has all sorts of helpful tips for how to make your cake fluffy and moist.

slice of fluffy, moist yellow cake on white plate with fork

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN BUTTERMILK

Why buy buttermilk when you can make it yourself? My mom taught me this little trick back when I was a budding baker in our old farmhouse kitchen.

All you’re really doing is souring the milk with a little bit of vinegar.

ingredients for making buttermilk for yellow cake recipe

Just add about a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar to a cup or two of milk; I usually use a tablespoon for every 1 to 2 cups of milk. Stir and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

So I have the right amount of liquid, I’ll usually pour my vinegar into the measuring cup first; then add the milk to my desired level or measurement.

And that’s it! Before you know it, your milk will be perfectly soured like buttermilk.

CAN I FREEZE HOMEMADE YELLOW CAKE?

You can. In fact, The Bearfoot Baker has a really helpful tutorial for How to Freeze a Cake Before Frosting It.

HOW DO I GET THAT YELLOW COLOR TO MY CAKE?

The yellow color really comes from the natural ingredients you’re going to use, no artificial colors whatsoever.

sliced yellow cake in cake pan

You’ll be using butter and eggs. And the butter extract will give the cake a buttery flavor, kinda like a butter recipe yellow cake mix.

TIPS FOR HOW TO MAKE THIS YELLOW CAKE RECIPE

Start by making your buttermilk and setting it aside so it can do its thing.

Then cream (or mix) the butter and sugar together for a good 5 to 8 minutes. You can cream the oil, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and butter extract in with the sugar mixture if you want, or you can wait and mix it in after the butter and sugar have been creamed together.

mixing ingredients for yellow cake from scratch with white KitchenAid stand mixer

Sift your dry ingredients together at least 3 times. Then alternate adding the dry ingredients with the buttermilk to your creamed mixture, mixing after each addition.

yellow cake batter in KitchenAid mixer bowl with white spatula

Finally, when everything is mixed together, fold in the egg whites and mix together, being careful not to over-mix.

Pour the cake batter into a well-greased 9″x13″ cake pan, and bake at 350° for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. You can also make 2 round cakes or cupcakes, but keep in mind, baking times may differ.

easy yellow cake recipe cake batter in cake pan, unbaked, ready for the oven

When the cake is fully baked, remove it from the oven and allow it to fully cool before attempting to frost it. If you’re making round cakes or cupcakes, let the cakes cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

baked yellow cake cooling in metal cake pan

Once the cake has fully cooled, you’re ready to top it off with delectable chocolate frosting and enjoy every bite, along with a cup of coffee. Can’t forget a warm mug of coffee to bring all the flavors full circle!

piece of yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting on ivory plate with fork

MORE CAKE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE

Easy Lemon Cake

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake from Scratch

Chocolate Cake

slice of yellow cake with chocolate frosting on white plate with fork

KITCHEN TOOLS YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE A YELLOW CAKE

Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer – You can absolutely mix up a yellow cake by hand, but a mixer enables you to get a really smooth cake batter.

Measuring Spoons and Measuring Cups

Egg Yolky Separator – Who doesn’t love a cute egg yolk separator?

Spatula

9″ x 13″ Cake Pan

Cake Tester or Toothpicks

Coffee Maker with Coffee – Some of my favorite memories are dessert with my grandmother. She always loved a hot cup of coffee with her dessert.

YELLOW CAKE RECIPE

If you love this yellow cake recipe as much as I do, please write a 5 star review, and help me share the recipe on Facebook and Pinterest!

classic yellow cake recipe

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Classic Yellow Cake Recipe

Make a deliciously moist and fluffy yellow cake topped with chocolate buttercream frosting. Classic homemade dessert recipe!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Dessert
Keyword easy yellow cake recipe, how to make a cake moist, how to make fluffy cake, moist cake recipe, yellow cake, yellow cake from scratch, yellow cake recipe
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 24 servings
Calories 186 kcal
Author Mel Lockcuff

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°.

  2. If you're making buttermilk, make it first and set aside.**

  3. Cream (or mix) the butter and sugar together for a good 5 to 8 minutes. 

  4. You can also cream the oil, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and butter extract in with the sugar mixture if you want, or you can add them in after the butter and sugar mixture is already creamed.

  5. Meanwhile, sift the dry ingredients together at least 3 times.

  6. Then alternate adding the dry ingredients with the buttermilk to your creamed mixture, mixing after each addition.

  7. Finally, when everything is mixed together, fold in the egg whites and mix together, being careful not to over-mix.

  8. Pour the cake batter into a well-greased 9″x13″ cake pan.

  9. Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.

  10. When the cake is fully baked, remove it from the oven and allow it to fully cool before attempting to frost it. If you’re making round cakes or cupcakes***, let the cakes cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

  11. Once the cake has fully cooled, top it with delectable chocolate buttercream frosting****, slice, and serve.

Recipe Notes

*When mixing the other liquid ingredients in with your creamed mixture, only add the yolks of the eggs. Wait to fold the egg whites in after all the other ingredients have been added and mixed.

**You can make your own buttermilk or sour milk. Just add about a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar to a cup or two of milk; I usually use a tablespoon for every 1 to 2 cups of milk. Stir and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

***Keep in mind, if you're making round cake or cupcakes, cooking times may differ.

****Icing not included in nutritional facts. See nutritional info for chocolate buttercream frosting at the link above, included in the recipe instructions.

Nutrition Facts
Classic Yellow Cake Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 186 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 27mg9%
Sodium 187mg8%
Potassium 39mg1%
Carbohydrates 22g7%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 165IU3%
Calcium 23mg2%
Iron 0.2mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Classic Yellow Cake from Scratch
Yellow Cake

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