Yellow Cake


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A classic Yellow Cake recipe is something everyone should have in their arsenal. This old fashioned cake is made with a rich blend of butter, eggs, and buttermilk for a tender butter cake that’s perfect for birthdays and everyday celebrations!

You can frost this homemade Yellow Cake in Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, Cream Cheese Frosting, or even Lemon Buttercream!

Close up photo of a slice of yellow cake with chocolate frosting on a white plate.

What Is Yellow Cake?

This classic yellow cake might be the most traditional of them all. It’s a simple and rich recipe made with butter and whole eggs which yields a golden crumb and tender cake.

This particular yellow cake recipe also adds in egg yolks, a bit of vegetable oil, and uses buttermilk to bring this moist yellow cake recipe to life! If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, feel free to use my easy buttermilk substitute.

Overhead photo of yellow cakes in cake pans cooling on a wire rack.

How To Make Yellow Cake

It is super easy to make this yellow cake from scratch, but it’s VERY important to make sure that ALL ingredients are room temperature before beginning.

  1. Preheat the oven, and grease and line your cake pans with parchment paper. This makes removing the cake from the pan easy.
  2. Sift together dry ingredients into a medium bowl to make a lighter cake.
  3. Cream butter, sugar, oil, and vanilla together and mix the eggs in one at a time so that all ingredients are well combined.
  4. Fold in dry ingredients with a rubber spatula, alternating with the buttermilk. Folding the ingredients in helps keep the cake light and fluffy.
  5. Divide evenly between the cake pans and bake! Easy, right?

Fork being plunged into a slice of yellow cake with chocolate frosting on a white plate.

Can You Freeze Yellow Cake?

Yes, you can and freezing this yellow cake makes assembly quick and easy when a special occasion pops up!

To freeze it, bake and cool according to the recipe directions. Once the cake has cooled completely, wrap each layer with plastic wrap, then wrap each layer with aluminum foil, then place each layer in a large freezer bag. Freeze for up to three months.

When ready to use, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 30 to 60 minutes while still wrapped, then remove and use.

Assembling the cake when the layers are still partially frozen will actually make it a little easier and will result in clean cuts once the cake is sliced.

I’m sure you’ll agree that this is the best yellow cake recipe you’ve ever made!

More Delicious Cake Recipes

Close up photo of a slice of yellow cake with chocolate frosting on a white plate.
5 from 91 votes
Review Recipe

Yellow Cake

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 12 people
Author Rebecca
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
A classic Yellow Cake recipe is something everyone should have in their arsenal. This old fashioned cake is made with a rich blend of butter, eggs, and buttermilk for a tender and butter cake that's perfect for birthdays and everyday celebrations!

Ingredients

  • 2 ¾ cups cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • cup vegetable oil
  • cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk room temperature

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Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F and spray two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl with a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream together the sugar, oil, butter, and vanilla.
  • Add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time beating after each addition just until combined.
  • Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients in 3 parts alternating with the buttermilk in 2 parts. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Gently fold until only very small lumps remain. DO NOT use an electric mixer for this step.
  • Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. A toothpick should come clean from the center when done.
  • Transfer the cake pans to a wire rack and allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely (about 1 hour) before frosting. Once cooled, frost and assemble the cake as desired.

Recipe Notes

  • Nutritional information does not include frosting.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 385, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 90mg, Sodium: 286mg, Potassium: 136mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 27g, Vitamin A: 448IU, Calcium: 71mg, Iron: 1mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword yellow cake, yellow cake recipe

Recipe Adapted from Rock Recipes.

Piece of Yellow Cake on a plate with a title
Slice of Yellow Cake on a plate with a title
Yellow Cake with a title

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About the author

Rebecca

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I’m Rebecca, and Sugar & Soul is where I blend my traditional roots and millennial imagination. I’m a self taught baker, photographer and traveler with a business degree and a dream. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Matt, and currently reside in Central Maine. I’m so glad you stopped in and I hope I can inspire you to bake a batch of cookies or head off on a new adventure!

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Comments

  1. Delicious! I followed the recipe as written except used gluten free flour (King Arthur brand) and doubled the baking powder. I also added 1.5 teaspoons of imitation butter flavoring (to enhance the butter flavor). The gluten free cake came out moist and light and with great butter flavor!!!5 stars

  2. Hello!
    I’m going to try this recipe for my daughter’s birthday in a few weeks! I have one major question: Do I relaly need a stand mixer or hand mixer? Or does it just make baking easier? I’m a pretty good baking myself, but don’t have any mixers. One downside I think of not having a mixer is when beating butter with a whisk the butter always gets stuck in the whisk. So could you answer my questions?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Samantha, I think it depends on how much you plan to use the mixer, what you’ll use it for and how much baking you do. If baking cakes or making simple dishes, I most often use a hand mixer because I find it easy to pull out and clean.

      I find a stand mixer handy with things that take a long time like bread dough (where it kneads for a long time), whipped egg whites (so you don’t have to stand at the mixer for a long time) or recipes where the butter needs quite a while to mix.

      I agree, the butter can get stuck in the beaters or along the bowl. With a stand mixer you can buy beater attachments that run along the side of the bowl and once you add more ingredients, it does seem to get most of the butter out. I hope that helps!

  3. If I’m making two different recipes(one chocolate and one yellow) can I substitute all purpose flour for cake flour? I really don’t want to buy 2 different flours if I don’t have too.

    Thank you!

    1. We have only made this as written, I can’t say for sure how it will affect the texture of the cake. Let us know how it works out for you!

  4. Yaaaassss! I love this recipe! I made this for thanksgiving and it is moist! I loved that if you follow the recipe and fold the dry ingredients with the wet, it prevents you from over mixing the batter. It was soft and pillowy. I actually made a cake from scratch!!! Thank you for sharing!5 stars

  5. I’ve been looking for a perfect yellow cake recipe for a while now and this is it! Exactly what I want in a yellow cake: perfect texture, moist and perfectly sweet. This will be my staple recipe for life! Thank you so much! I was out of vegetable oil so I used coconut oil instead, still turned out amazingly delicious!5 stars

  6. Hi there,

    I am hoping to make this cake for my partner this weekend for his birthday. I am curious, I live at 5,000 ft., are there any adjustments to the recipe that you would recommend? Thanks!5 stars

  7. Hi! I’ve made this recipe before and I LOVE IT!! It’s so moist! I want to make it again today but I’m curious if I could make it in a bundt cake pan and what the adjustments would be?5 stars

  8. I made this cake yesterday for a dear friend’s birthday. It was my first time baking a yellow cake from scratch and I was really nervous about it. No worries! It was fabulous! I used a different frosting recipe for the chocolate frosting because I didn’t have all the ingredients for the one posted. My cake pans measured 8 3/4” and it turned out perfect! I will definitely make this again and highly recommend this recipe. Thanks!5 stars

  9. Just made your yellow cake and it is by far the best yellow cake I have ever had; and, I have made and eaten lots of yellow cakes through my 68 years, especially because it is my husband’s favorite! This past year I have tried at least 5 different yellow cake recipes and some were very good, but this yellow cake beats them hands down. I don’t have to ever look for another yellow cake recipe again. Yippee!5 stars

  10. I just made this cake. I have finally found the yellow cake I’ve been looking for! The only thing I will say is, make sure your salt is fine or at least no more coarse than table salt. My kosher salt is way to large and didn’t dissolve. But it’s moist and delicious! The picture doesn’t do the cake justice.5 stars

  11. Will using 9 in pans make a big difference in height or should I increase the batter? I know I would have to shorten the baking time. Thanks

    1. I haven’t tried this in a 9″ pan.

      Surprisingly, a 9″ pan will give about 20% more surface so the cake will be much thinner. As long as the bake time is shortened, flavor/texture should still work out ok but the cake itself may be too thin for stacking/decorating as in the photos. Let us know how it goes!

  12. After trying multiple yellow cake recipes that I didn’t love, I think this is the one that I will stick with! It was easy to make with a great flavor!5 stars

  13. I made this cake Monday night and it was amazing!!! I confess I wasn’t a fan of yellow cakes, I tried many recipes and was always disappointed. I found this recipe and I liked the addition of oil and buttermilk. I baked it and this is the most flavorful and moist yellow cake that I’ve every made, topped with chocolate buttercream frosting and it’s a match made in heaven. Thank you!5 stars

  14. I plan to bake this cake next week; it looks amazing! Are these pans the deep ones…8×2?
    Thank you!

  15. Excellent recipe. I made for first time and followed exactly and it was everything I hoped for. Tender, moist, delicious.5 stars

    1. If you click the “jump to recipe” button at the top of the page it will take you directly to the recipe.

  16. Finally I have found a fantastic yellow cake recipe! I’ve tried so many different recipes over the years and have never found one as good as this one! What sold me were the ingredients…the combination of cake flour, buttermilk and oil always make for a moist cake and this one hit the mark! I cut the recipe in 1/2 and made two 6” layers which baked up perfect with a nice light color and slight dome! Thanks for this awesome recipe!!5 stars

    1. Hi Faith, you will want to adjust the bake time to ensure they don’t overcook. I would recommend checking them with a toothpick for doneness after 15 minutes.

  17. Hi I want to make this cake today how would I alter the recipe if I wanted it in 3.. 9 inch round pans?

    1. Hi Kim, based on the volume of the pans you will want to double the recipe and fill the cake pans 1/2 to ⅔ full. This may give you a little extra batter, perfect for some cupcakes to sample while decorating :) Be sure to check for doneness using a toothpick to ensure it is fully cooked.

  18. Delish! I only had all purpose flour so used that and this cake is still amazing. My family loves it.

  19. This was a winner!
    I have made a few different yellow cake recipes and they are generally dry and don’t have much taste. This one was a hit and very easy!
    It turned out perfect!5 stars

  20. This was the best yellow cake! I used 3 eggs and 2 yolks. It was soooooo good. This was the first yellow cake I’ve made from scratch. Will not be buying a box mix ever again! Thank you!5 stars

  21. Could I use all oil (maybe about 3/4C or so) for this cake instead of using both butter and oil? Or will it just crumble and die with oil only? Looking forward to trying this!

    1. Hi Raven, we have only made this recipe as listed but if you do try it with just oil let us know how it turns out.

  22. This cake is delicious! I was missing a couple ingredients, so I used all-purpose flour instead of cake flour and I used 2% milk and fresh lemon juice as a substitute for buttermilk. I also only had 9-inch pans on hand. I tried to adjust the temperature and time for the larger pans and ended up over-cooking the cake slightly. I did not want to go to the store to pick up the items I was missing. Even with all of the adjustments, the flavor of this cake is just amazing! Definitely a keeper! So thankful for this little “pick me up”!5 stars

  23. I made this cake today, it was delicious! I will keep this recipe on hand. I made the chocolate icing as well very creamy. I will definitely make it again. Thanks5 stars

  24. The Yellow Cake is the bomb dot com!!! This cake is the very first yellow cake I made from scratch, and I also made the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting as well. Most of the cake is gone now, and I plan on getting a slice tonight with a glass of milk. I will be making this cake again. Thank you so much for sharing this very delicious recipe 5 stars

  25. I have two questions for you –

    Can this cake be made with AP flour instead of cake flour?

    Can it be baked in a 9×13 pan, and if so, what is the baking time?
    It looks delicious, and I can’t wait to try it.
    thank you, looking forward to your reply!!

    1. This recipe has only been made as written so I can’t say for sure. It work in a 9×13 pan, I would suggest about 35 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let us know how it goes!

  26. can this cake be made in a 9×13 pan, and if so, what is the baking time? Also, is it necessary to use cake flour or is AP ok to use? It looks delicious – can’t wait to try it. Hope to hear from you soon.
    Thank you,
    Grace

    1. This recipe has only been made as written so I can’t say for sure about the flour. It work in a 9×13 pan, I would suggest about 35 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let us know how it goes!