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How to Make Yellow Butter Cake From Scratch

Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over 20 years. She has cooked on multiple television stations, including the Food Network.


Homemade Yellow Butter Cake

I don't think anything is more homey than a big fat piece of yellow cake slathered with chocolate frosting. This is the kind of cake your granny gave you, quite possibly set on a paper towel, and sent you out to the back porch so she could make a telephone call in peace. If you got lucky, you got a big mug of icy milk with it. If not, you did what every other red-blooded American kid did and grabbed a drink out of the water hose. The only thing that could make that kind of afternoon more perfect was if your brother came around the corner of the house without looking and got into range of the hose without noticing you standing there. Better still, you got the last piece of cake and sprayed him with the hose. Not that I ever did such a thing.

Whether you got your yellow cake from granny, got squares of it off a church potluck table out of one of those oblong cake carriers, mixed up your own as a kid out of the red box, or don't even remember, there isn't anything better than yellow cake from scratch. It's delicious, moist, the perfect delivery vehicle for chocolate frosting, and gives cows a reason for making milk. It's also simple to make. That's a win-win bombshell.

Tip: If you don't have cake flour, don't worry. I almost never do. Simply measure out all-purpose flour as normal, and for each cup of all purpose flour, remove two tablespoons and replace them with two tablespoons of cornstarch. Make sure you shift the dry ingredients well, and you're golden!

Hey, my brother is coming over this afternoon. I think I'll make him one. And find the hose . . .

If You Don't Have Cake Flour...

No problem if you don't have cake flour. You can make a great substitute in less time than it takes to run to the store.

For each level cup of all purpose flour, remove two level tablespoons of flour. Replace those with two level tablespoons of cornstarch. Whisk the two together well, and you're good to go!

Yellow Butter Cake Recipe Ingredients

You'll Need:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Creaming Together Butter and Sugar

Creaming together butter and sugar.

Creaming together butter and sugar.

Not Sure How to Prep Your Cake Pans? Check it Out!

Yellow Butter Cake Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. With butter, grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy.
  4. Mix in egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as you work. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour in three additions, mixing until just incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl again, and mix for another few seconds.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared pans, diving between pans evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until tops of the cakes are golden and spring back when pressed very lightly or a cake tester or skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Allow cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes. Turn them out onto wire racks to finish cooling completley. Frost with chocolate frosting.

Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


© 2011 Jan Charles


Beverly A Holland on November 01, 2017:

This cake remind me of the time me and my mom would be on the kitchen making this for Christmas the smell . Bring back memories.

Jan Charles (author) from East Tennessee on August 25, 2017:

Thank you Lesia!

lesia Mojica on August 23, 2017:

this cake looks delicious, I can not wait to made it. thanks a lot FOR the good. recipe.

Kristie on July 05, 2017:

If i want to make this a marble bundt cake, how much cocoa powder do i need to add? And do I need any extra moisture?

Annie on June 30, 2017:

This is my go to recipe I love it.

Lorraine on June 23, 2017:

Where did you find the chocolate frosting for the yellow butter cake from scratch?

Cynthia Williams on June 21, 2017:

Great recipe . I will use it again.

enaennah on May 20, 2017:

thank for this recipe

Sara on April 30, 2016:


Can i half the ingredients to make one cake, will it work?

Juanita Seals on December 23, 2015:

Can you use ap flour

dandelionweeds from Canada on November 19, 2015:

Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Natalie on October 22, 2015:

Can you make this in a bundt pan

Courtney on August 13, 2015:

definitely need 9 x9. First time making this as a cake, normally as cupcakes and it's almost overflowing

sye on May 10, 2015:

I made this yellow cake for Mother's Day with strawberries, bananas,and a cream filler. I've tried a number of yellow cake recipes but they can't compare to yours. 2 thumbs up, I will always use this recipe as my new go to recipe. Thanks a lot!

Iulia Boariu from London on February 26, 2015:

It looks delicious!

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on January 11, 2015:

I gave your recipe a thumbs up. I love home made cakes, but sometimes do come out a little dry. Yours looks so good and I am going to make it for sure. I will be looking at all your hubs. Thanks for sharing.


Jicotea Kinsella from Jacksonville, FL on January 06, 2015:

Looks great!

Alfred Miller from Rowland NC/United States on January 04, 2015:

I love Cake .This cake looks moist and tasty.

Dee on August 17, 2014:

Almond milk is not the same fat content as regular milk.

Holly on July 31, 2014:

I tried this with almond flour and almond milk and it fell :(

Sharon Skelton on July 20, 2014:

Google very moist yellow cake and try it. It's the one that says it is a combination of pound cake and regular cake recipe. It's very very good.

Elena on July 08, 2014:

I want to try this. If it comes out well i might make it into a pb cake. Not many good pb cake recipes.

kathreen on June 07, 2014:

What happens if I use regular flour?

Judy on May 23, 2014:

This cake is so good that you could eat the batter. I DID!

Jill on April 24, 2014:

Any different to do if you wanted to make it cupcakes?

Carolyn on March 30, 2014:

Made the cake. Like all of my yellow cake recipes, it fell. Have yet to find a good recipe for high altitude .

ngloekler on March 21, 2014:

Looks relish..can't wait to bake..thank you!

Claire on October 31, 2013:

What happens if you don't sub the cornstarch and use all regular flour?oops. (White/wheat flour actually). Made this last night and am worried that I botched it and not sure if I should ditch it and try again for 9yr old bday..

Jackie on March 02, 2013:

If I add 1/2 C of Peanut Butter to this recipe, do I need to up the amount of liquid as well?

Jan Charles (author) from East Tennessee on June 18, 2012:

It is! Hope it suits!

simone on June 18, 2012:

hi, yes the cake does look delicious. does the recipe for this cake look like the picture of the first cake? im really cautious now since i've been searching and have yet to find the perfect yellow or sponge cake..so if the answer is yes i will try this immediately..

Jan Charles (author) from East Tennessee on November 17, 2011:

Thank you! It's one of my favorites!

sestasik on November 17, 2011:

This looks delicious!

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