Moist Yellow Cake Recipe (Old Fashioned)

Why does yellow cakes give folks such a hard time? It’s one of those cakes that if you find a great yellow cake recipe, you stick with it! I’ve been testing out yellow cake recipes off and on for awhile now.

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The problem with homemade yellow cake is:

1.) It’s hard to find a from scratch yellow cake recipe that has the texture of a fluffy box yellow cake but that buttery, homemade taste of a scratch-made yellow cake. I can’t tell you how many dry, crumbly and/or eggy tasting yellow cakes I’ve had in the past.

2.) Um…I can’t think of anything else right now.

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I’m here to tell you that YES YOU CAN have a scratch made fluffy, moist, yellow cake with a beautiful crumb texture. YES YOU CAN have that classic buttery-vanilla taste of a homemade yellow cake WITH simple ingredients. YES. YOU.CAN!!! YES. YOU. CAN!!! Sorry I’m literally sitting on the couch watching Nutty Professor  while I write this blog post. Remember that part?

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Anyways, I’ve been fortunate to come across some really good yellow cake recipes, but something in me just can’t seem to stop searching, kinda like with macaroni and cheese. Never satisfied even when you’re satisfied. Well today I want to share the homemade yellow cake recipe I’ve been making for years.

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It’s that classic, old fashioned yellow cake recipe with simple pure ingredients. No butter flavored shortening (which I normally put in cakes) or sour cream or yogurt (which I also love to put in cakes). It’s the kind of yellow cake I grew up eating, with homemade chocolate butter cream frosting, sprinkles and candles (yes yellow cake taste best with  candles. I don’t know why but it just does!)

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 This yellow cake recipe is the stuff old school birthdays were made of. You know, when most moms actually made every birthday cake from scratch. Wait, am I telling my age?? I digress…

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This yellow cake recipe bakes up super moist, fluffy and velvety soft without the eggy taste that really irks me. My grandmother occasionally adds in butter flavoring to take the buttery taste over the edge, but I never seem to have that stuff on hand so I don’t add it in. I think it taste great without it. Although, if you really like the taste of boxed yellow cake, you may want to add that butter-flavored extract to replicate the taste.

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Watch me make this moist, homemade yellow cake from start to finish!

4.5 from 113 reviews
Fluffy, Moist Homemade Yellow Cake Recipe
Cook time
Total time
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened, room temperature
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
  4. Add in egg yolks and vanilla, mixing until fully incorporated. Set aside.
  5. In a seperate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  6. Gradually add dry ingredients into wet ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk.
  7. Mix until batter is fluffy but be careful not to over mix.
  8. Beat egg whites until foamy and thick.
  9. Very gently fold egg whites into batter and mix JUST until incorporated.
  10. Pour batter into prepared pans and spread into even layers.
  11. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and let cake cool in pans until pans are warm to the touch.
  13. Carefully remove cakes from pan and place on a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  14. When cakes are completely cooled frost with chocolate buttercream frosting.


Did This Yellow Cake Sink In the Middle?

*NOTE** Hey guys!! I see ya down there in the comments section (waving) and I see this cake is giving a lot of you a hard time with sinking in the middle (so sorry). Yellow cakes are notorious for giving folks a hard time and I was so sure this one would be a breeze for everyone. Ok let’s look into this.

I’ve tried to troubleshoot this cake so many times to see what could be causing the sinking but it comes out great for me each time. Go figure! I thought about removing the recipe and adding another in it’s place but so many have equally told me that it’s the best yellow cake recipe they’ve ever had.

It really is a GREAT cake and I’d love for you to experience it so I’ve listed some tips below that may help. Meanwhile I’ll also post my grandmothers yellow cake recipe as well (although I prefer this one).

What causes a yellow cake to sink in the middle:

1.) BEAT EGG WHITES CORRECTLY AND GENTLY FOLD THEM IN THOROUGHLY. I’m not yelling at you, I just want you to understand the importance of beating those whites until they are thick AND gently folding them in completely. It’s crucial for any cake that requires this method. If not, it could cause the cake to sink in the middle.

2.) Fresh baking powder. Make sure your baking powder is not expired. No seriously go check right now, you might be surprised.

3.) Don’t open the oven while the cake it cooking. Use the oven light if you want to peek at the cake.

4.) Don’t overbeat. Once you add in the flour be very careful about mixing to long. You just want the flour incorporated. I think this is the main reason cakes tend to sink.

5.)  Increase baking time. If your cake looks like it’s still uncooked in the center let it cook a bit longer until the top springs back when touched. Keep an close eye on it.



  1. monique spencer says

    My daughter is a baker so I was just going to buy her a birthday cake. Saw this recipe and have actually made something that looks good and is truly tasty. Thank-you so much. We just call this a sponge cake here in the UK but I am now going to call it ‘Yellow Cake’.

  2. says

    Dear Monique,
    Awesome recipe. I tried cake baking for the first time and it turned out perfect and super soft. Delicious cake it was. Thanks a lot for the recipe

  3. tara says

    Hello all, what brand of cake flour is everyone using? I tried the swan and it seems to be best suited for pound cake types of cake. Thanks for suggestions!

    • Dana says

      Walmart sells a great cake flour by the name of Softsilk. It comes in a red box with pink. The flour has a silky texture o the touch. The flour is wonderful!!!! I hope this helps!!!!

  4. Anam says

    Hi! this recipe looks amazing. but I’ve got a little bit of a problem. my microwave cum convection oven can only handle one cake pan at a time :( so i will bake the cakes one after the other
    do i halve the baking time?

  5. Lee says

    My friend asked for yellow cake and vanilla frosting on her birthday cake and I panicked – yellow cake is NOT my thing. I looked up recipes and the ones that got good reviews were crazy complicated…. I almost resorted to a box, but I’m so glad I tried this first!!!! Beautiful, moist, delicious cake, completely even on top, I wish I made two of them so I could have one for myself. I baked it in a 9X13 pan (because commenters said it was hard to make it work as a layer cake, although I’m going to try that next time) for 42 minutes and it was PERFECT. I did use a bit less sugar as a few people suggested. The recipe says to mix the batter until it is “fluffy” but not to over mix. I stopped WAY before my batter looked fluffy, because I was afraid of over mixing.

  6. Jess says

    Hi Monique, this recipe was amazing!! The texture and flavors are so perfect! I have been waiting years to find this frosting recipe. I will be trying your other recipes soon. :-)

  7. Tracey says

    AMAZING. That’s all I’m here to say but ill go into more detail anyway…. I’ve made this cake several times now and each time it is a hit. Most times, I am making some sort of layer cake for someone else and I always secretly hope that it rises unevenly so that I have to trim it down for even layers and then I get to eat the cake! No icing needed. It is most definitely my “THE” yellow cake recipe. I don’t even look at other yellow cake recipes anymore. If I see any recipe that involves yellow cake, I disregard the cake part of their recipe and use this one.

  8. Herbert A. says

    I’ve been baking professionally for over 20 years. I have my own recipes and used other recipes for yellow cake. But this recipe is Amazingly super delicious. I give it a 9.9, the only reason I didn’t give a 10 is because it was too sweet. Next time I bake it I’ll cut down on the sugar. Other than is awesome. Diva’s can Cook and BAKE! Thank you! Keep on the amazing job.

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