This yellow cake recipe is a classic. It’s easy and delicious. Some links in this post are affiliate links that earn me a commission if you purchase through them.
My birthday was Saturday. And if I want a cake, I have to make it myself.
Since I was already making chocolate chip cookie cupcakes for a friend’s daughter’s birthday party, I wasn’t feeling super creative on what I wanted for myself. I just wanted something I knew I could make easily to take to the Northwestern tailgate.
The answer is deliciously simple: my favorite yellow cake. It’s super quick to throw together, and it tastes so good!
To make things easy, I often make my cakes in a 13×9 inch pan so I can just frost the top and serve it. Layer cakes are pretty, but yeah they’re a tiny bit more work. The recipe notes include tips to make this into a layer cake if you prefer.
Looking for more fun cake recipes? Check out my favorites at the end of this article.
I made a mocha frosting for this that was awesome. It’s super easy to make frosting and so forgiving. Keep reading for the down and dirty recipe. But first….
How to Make a Classic Yellow Cake (From Scratch)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. You always want to have your oven ready before anything goes in it.
When you make a cake, this is such a great way to make life easier by having precut parchment paper to easily remove the cake after it bakes. No more tracing and cutting circles!
Beat together the butter and sugar until they are fluffy and lightened in texture, just as you do with most recipes.
It is important that the butter be room temperature. When it’s cold, it doesn’t fluff as well, and you don’t get the same light texture to your cake. Trust me.
Add your eggs one at a time. Beat well between each addition.
You want the light texture from your eggs, too, but you don’t want to overbeat these, so don’t leave your mixer on for minutes at a time.
Add the salt and baking powder, mixing well. Add 1 cup of the flour and stir gently.
This is when I stop with the electric mixer and move to a large spatula to ensure I don’t overmix the batter, which results in bubbles in my cake and a too dense, crumby texture.
Add half the milk, as well as the vanilla and almond extract. Mix with your spatula until incorporated, stirring from the bottom to the top.
Add another cup of flour, stirring again. Once incorporated, add the remaining milk, stir. Add the last of the flour and stir until just combined.
Pour your batter into your prepared pans. Bake in the 350 degree oven for 24 minutes for the rounds or 30-33 minutes for the 9×13 pan, testing to ensure the middle is baked before removing the cakes.
You want to use a cake tester – either a toothpick or an actual cake tester – and have just a few crumbs come out when you test. If the tester comes out completely clean, you overbaked your cake. Who knew, right?
Let cool for ten minutes in the pan, then turn out to a wire rack to cool the rest of the way. Frost as desired and eat within a day or two.
If you try to turn out your cake before letting it cool first, it will stick to the pan even if you grease it well. How many times have you lost part of your cake because you didn’t wait long enough?
Of course, if you make your cake in a 9×13 pan, just leave it in the pan and let it cool all the way down before you frost it. Easy peasy that way!
How to Make Mocha Frosting
One day I will make a video showing how to rescue frosting from various issues because no matter how much I’ve accidentally put in too much milk or powdered sugar or whatever, I can always bring it back to a wonderful frosting – and you can, too, if you have the confidence.
Mocha frosting? It’s super simple to make A little espresso, half a stick of butter, half a cup or so of cocoa powder, a couple tablespoons of milk, and 2-3 c powdered sugar.
Mix together the butter and sugar, add the milk, add the cocoa powder and espresso and mix again. Then beat until it’s fluffy. Adjust your ratios until you like the texture, then frost immediately.
Oh, and then sing happy birthday to me. Loudly, please.
Bookmark this classic yellow cake to make it again!
More favorite cake recipes:
- Molten chocolate cake
- Strawberry lemonade icebox cake
- Individual pineapple upside down cakes
- Green tea cupcakes with matcha buttercream frosting
- Strawberry cake
- S’mores cake
- Perfect light white cake
- Chocolate olive oil cake
- Chocolate sour cream pound cake
- Wicked chocolate bundt cake
- Lemon blueberry dump cake
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups sifted flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease 13x9 pan well.
- Beat together butter and sugar until fluffy and lightened in texture. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.
- Add salt and baking powder, mixing well. Add 1 cup flour and stir gently.
- Add half the milk, as well as vanilla and almond extract. Mix with spatula until incorporated, stirring from the bottom to the top.
- Add another cup flour, stirring again. Add remaining milk, stir. Add the last flour and stir until just combined.
- Pour batter into your prepared pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-33 minutes, until cake tester comes out with just a few crumbs.
- Let cool for ten minutes in pan, then turn out to a wire rack to cool the rest of the way. Frost as desired and eat within a day or two. Alternatively, frost in the pan once completely cooled.
- If you don't have almond extract, use an extra teaspoon of vanilla instead. The almond adds a great zip of flavor that makes the cake taste that much better.
- If you prefer to create a layer cake, bake this in three nine inch round cake pans. Bake at the same 350 degrees, but for just 24 minutes. Make sure you let the cake cool in the pans before you turn them out.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 230Total Fat: 10.6gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 110mgCarbohydrates: 30.3gFiber: .5gSugar: 15.7gProtein: 3.7g
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