Yellow Cake

yellow cake recipe

This is our go-to yellow cake recipe. It’s buttery, tender and moist and we developed this version with all-purpose flour because it’s a pantry staple. No need for a box mix when you have such a fast and easy recipe at hand. This cake is a great start if you are new to baking from scratch.

Yellow Cake
Makes: Makes two 9-inch by 2-inch round layers or one 9-inch by 13-inch cake
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 1⅔ cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  1. Position the rack in the center of your oven. Preheat to 350˚ F. Coat the insides of two 9-inch by 2-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray, line bottoms with parchment rounds, then spray parchment. (Or coat the inside of 9-inch by 13-inch pan, line bottom with parchment, then spray parchment.)
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl to combine and aerate; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar gradually and beat until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Beat in vanilla.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down after each addition, allowing each egg to be absorbed before continuing. Add the flour mixture in four additions, alternating with the milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture and beat briefly until smooth. Divide batter evenly in pans (or pour into 9x13).
  5. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes for the 9-inch rounds (30 to 35 minutes for the 9 by 13-inch pan) or until a toothpick shows a few moist crumbs. The cake will have begun to come away from the sides of the pan. Cool on rack for 10 minutes. Unmold, peel off parchment, and place directly on rack to cool completely. The cake is now ready to fill and frost. Alternatively, place layers on cardboard rounds and double wrap in plastic wrap; store at room temperature if assembling within 24 hours. (If you are baking the 9 by 13-inch cake a day ahead, simply leave in the pan, cover with plastic wrap once it has cooled completely and store at room temperature overnight before frosting.)

Bakepedia Tips

  • Note that the recipe will make two round layers for a tall, filled and frosted layer cake or will make a rectangular sheet cake, which is perfect for bake sales or when you need to feed a crowd.
  • This yellow cake recipe is a true basic and will support pretty much any flavor frosting or buttercream you might want to use.

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16 Responses to Yellow Cake

  1. mary August 23, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    Just started out making cakes. Was asked to make a wedding cake for some friends. Can you send me a great recipe for a perfect white cake that is not dry, tastes great and sturdy enough to make 3 tiers out of. Tired of searching for that great cake recipe only to be dissapointed. Hope to one day have my own business so I cant put smiles on peoples faces when they tastes something yummy and sweet. Thank You.

    • Dede Wilson August 23, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

      We are actually working on a White Cake as well as a White Chocolate Chiffon Cake right now in the Test Kitchen and either could be used for wedding cakes. The chiffon cake is, of course, based on oil and is very moist. Its light texture is not a problem as you would be using internal supports for a multi-tiered cake. Also, since oil-based cakes stay moist for longer periods of time and wedding cake assembly can take place over a few days, it would be perfect for this application. Feel free to email me at if you have more specific questions. The White Chocolate Chiffon Cake will be published next week and the basic White Cake before mid-September.

  2. Marianne boice September 6, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    Dede I’m going to make a wedding cake for my friend for the first time neviouse lol in going to make your yellow cake and your white chiffon cake with your italian meringue buttercream but can youtell me, do I have to keep the finished cake in the refrigerator until it is needed (like overnight) or not necessary. Pls help! much appreciated.

    • Dede Wilson September 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

      We do recommend refrigerating any cake made with IMBC. IF, and it’s an iffy IF, you have a very cold room with an air conditioner, that can work in a pinch but isn’t optimal. Is space the issue? Consider large cardboard boxes with dry ice.

  3. Ivette December 8, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    What frosting is used on this cake I the picture ? And do u guys have a recipie for a carrot cake ?

    • Dede Wilson December 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

      Our yellow cake is very versatile and can be used with many frostings, such as the Espresso version of our Italian Meringue Buttercream, as pictured, or vanilla, chocolate, fruit flavors…your choice! We do have a carrot cake coming up soon. Stay tuned for the date.

  4. Ivette December 23, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    What is white premium flour and can it be used to bake cakes ?
    I’ve heard it un bleached flour is it true?

    • Dede Wilson December 23, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

      The term could mean many things…what was the context? Could just be a brand description.

  5. Ivette December 23, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    And do I beat the eggs together with the butter and sugar

    • Dede Wilson December 23, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

      You beat the eggs into the butter/sugar mixture, which is creamed first. Beat one egg in and allow it to be absorbed into the butter/sugar mixture before adding the next egg.

  6. Ivette December 23, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    On the label it says natural premium flour

  7. Carole July 23, 2014 at 3:12 am #

    Hello Dede, I am making my brother’s wedding cake and have decided to use your recipe of yellow cake. I would like to make a tiered 12, 10 an 8 inches cake. I just do not know how to adjust the recipe ‘s ingredients you posted to bigger cakes. Could you please help me figure it out. Thanks a lot, your site have been of tremendous help.


    • Dede Wilson July 23, 2014 at 8:44 am #

      Hi Carole! This question comes up so often I think we will have to do a post about it! For now, I would use this recipe as is for the 8″, double it for ONE layer of the 12″. The 10″ will be approx. 20% more in volume than the 8-inch and do the math from there. I do not alter the proportions. Does this make sense for you? Use a cake core for the 12-inch. You can play with volumes by making the cake as is, fill the 8-inch pans, see how far the batter comes up. After you are done and have clean pans again, fill them with water to that level, then pour the water into the other size pans to get a visual of what you need and multiply from there. You could also reference my books. Both The Wedding Cake Book and Wedding Cakes You Can Make go into this and break recipes down/multiply them up.

      • Carole July 24, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

        Thank a lot, I think I got it I will try to confirm though 🙂

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