Learn to Bake a Basic Yellow Cake From Scratch

Yellow Layer Cake
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
164 Calories
9g Fat
18g Carbs
4g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 164
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 5g 24%
Cholesterol 75mg 25%
Sodium 184mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 4g
Calcium 87mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Everyone will enjoy this basic yellow cake recipe made from scratch. It's very similar to what the British call a sponge cake with holes and a firm texture. Few people know that the term yellow cake generally refers to a simple cake made from a mixture of butter, sugar, eggs and flour.


  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup milk

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) cake pans.

  3. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt with a wire whisk.

  4. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

  5. Beat in eggs, one at a time.

  6. Add vanilla and mix until completely combines.

  7. Slowly add flour alternately with milk. After adding ingredients, batter should be smooth.

  8. Divide between the two pans.

  9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

  10. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then invert onto a rack and cool completely before frosting.


  • For a 9-by-13-inch pan: Bake at 350 F for 30 to 38 minutes.

What Makes a Yellow Cake Yellow?

The yellow cake is colored by the egg yolk used in this recipe. When you bake a white cake, you use only egg whites to avoid a yellow color.

Where Did Cake Come From?

I bet you didn't know the word "cake" dates back to the time of the Vikings, from the Old Norse word "kaka."

Early signs of cake stem from when the Ancient Romans used bread dough flavored with butter, eggs and honey. This is said to be one of the early cake-like desserts.

The English also were known to have baked cakes that resembled bread. Initially, the differences between bread and cake were the shape; cakes were flat and round, while bread came in loaves.

Frostings and Icings

You'll likely want to glaze your cake with a creamy topping. Try these frosting and icing recipes: