Learn to Bake a Basic Yellow Cake From Scratch

Yellow Layer Cake
  • 40 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: Two 9-inch rounds (serves 16)
Ratings (17)

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.

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.

What You'll Need

  • 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

How to Make It

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

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

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix until completely combines. Slowly add flour alternately with milk. After adding ingredients, batter should be smooth. Divide between 2 pans.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then invert onto a rack and cool completely before frosting.

For a 9 x 13 pan: Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 38 minutes.

Frostings and Icings:

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

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 164
Total Fat 9 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Unsaturated Fat 3 g
Cholesterol 75 mg
Sodium 184 mg
Carbohydrates 18 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Protein 4 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)