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Moist Yellow Cake Recipe (Old Fashioned)

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.

homemade yellow cake recipe

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

4.6 from 78 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.

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. I made this cake with a strawberry cream cheese frosting , and it was DELICIOUS! It was really easy to make and came out perfect , I will be making it again :)

  2. This was the first homemade cake I have ever made. It came out delicious! I followed your warning about not over beating and being extra gentle with the egg whites and it really came out great. The only thing I would change next time is use cake flour. I didn’t realize there was a difference and I used all purpose flour.

    Otherwise, see some recipe! Thank you!

  3. Hey there! I have tried these recipes and they always come out great! I am just really bad with measurements! I need to make 2 14-inch red velvet cakes and 2 12-inch yellow cake and 2 10-inch chocolate cake. Would it be the same amount of ingredients for each cake, or how do I know how much more to increase? It would?mean a lot if you could assist me!(:,

  4. I tried this recipe today and OMG I’m glad I did. This cake is so delicious and moist. The cake is certainly delicate to say the least. You have to be very careful when taking it out of the pan. I let my cake sit in the pan for about 20 minutes before removing and you have to be gentle. As far as whipping the egg whites (whip until their medium peaks) you don’t want firm peaks because it’ll be too hard to fold in to your batter. DO NOT OPEN YOUR OVEN WHEN YOUR CAKE IS BAKING. I checked my cake at the 25 minute mark (my oven tends to run a little hotter than normal) and it was ready. Opening the oven door can sink your cake, it has happened to me too many times long ago. I topped with diva’s chocolate whipped buttercream and it was the BOMB! Thank you diva! I would love to see your version of a strawberry cake from scratch!

  5. Is there a way to substitute the buttermilk?

  6. I have not made the cake yet. I am going to try it this week. This is for “Why the cake sank in the middle.. First it may be too much baking powder, too much will cause it to sink in the middle, 1 Tab. is a lot for 2 cups flour, but since all the others worked probably not.. Another is DO NOT open the oven door before cake is 3/4 of the way done. At times that causes it to sink also. I hope this helps. I learned while being a baker in a bakery for 20 years.

  7. Wow!!!! This is soooo yummy, iam a self taught baker and I have been trying to get a good yellow cake recipe it seems I have found d best . Thank you so much for sharing

  8. This is the best yellow cake recipe I’ve ever used. It has all the butteryness and moistness of box cake. It sank for me too the first time I made it but I made it again tonight and made some changes. I beat the egg whites more thoroughly this time using my hand mixer and I also made sure not to over mix the dry ingredients!! Thanks for this great recipe! (My phone is not cooperating with me but I’m trying to rate this 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  9. There are no words to describe this cake! It is phenomenal. A previous commenter said they were reluctant to try this recipe because of the extra step of whipping the egg whites and I thought the same thing.But I’m so glad I took the initiative to make it because it was so worth it! So moist and delicious. I got rave reviews when I made her Red Velvet Cake recipe and took it to work. Everybody loved it andI think everyone will love this one too!

  10. Best yellow cake recipe ever! I just made this cake and it’s super moist and delicious!

  11. Came out delicious, though I substituted coconut oil for the butter and soy milk for the buttermilk because I needed to make it non dairy. I made 1.5 times the recipe and it leaked out of the pan, but we ate the baked on bits from the pan they fell to and they were delicious. Will try again with the right proportions :). Do you recommend trying to curdle the soy milk with vinegar?

  12. I have been wowed!! I’ve been looking for a yellow cake recipe for so long it seems. I almost backed away from this one because of the extra steps of separating the eggs and whipping the whites…so glad I didn’t. This was a test cake for my two daughters’ upcoming birthday party. I’m reluctant to decorate it fancy because the cake speaks for itself. Thank you, thank you, thank you! It did not sink in the center for me.

  13. This didn’t work for me. It sank a little in the middle and fell apart while removing it from pan. It was almost as if I didn’t have enough flour for structure. Strangely enough, it was light and fluffy and tasty!
    I don’t know what I did wrong, but I am glad I made it before my mom’s birthday so I can work on it.

  14. Whoo Hoo…this is the best yellow cake recipe ever! I’m not a fan of yellow cake, but this one is so moist, light and buttery. I will use this as my staple yellow cake recipe! It is also a nice recipe to build upon, I’m going to have some fun with this recipe!

  15. Hey diva…
    I tried this cake tasted yummy.
    It’s just that it turned hard the next day after removing it from the fridge… And my husband rapped it with a cling foil after it was cooled… What could be the reason for hardness.. :(
    Please reply.

    • Hi Seema,

      I hope you don’t mind me trying to assist you with your cake issue. I have a few of theories as to why your cake may have gotten hard. Did you use cake flour or all purpose flour? All purpose flour can cause a cake to become hard/tough. This also has something to do with gluten and so forth. Is it possible that you over mixed your batter once you incorporated the flour? Lastly, how long did you bake your cake, is it possible that you baked it to long?

    • Hi Seema,

      Ok, so I’m coming back a month and a half later to report that I think I know why this cake will get hard. I haven’t figured out the scientific reason but I beleiev that the amount butter and/or sugar is the culprit when accompanied by cold; refrigerated or air.

      I made cupcakes and regrigerated them because of the filling and frosting and they were hard but not super hard (I think it was because of the filling and frosting), but once room temperature it was fine. I also noticed that when I cool this cake, as cake or cupcakes it can get hard when sitting in front of my window and where I am now…it’s cold!!!

      Also, I’ve noticed the smaller the item the harder they can become aka mini cupcakes. Oh and one last theory. I’m an avid baker and normally I cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. With this recipe you can’t do that. That was another thing I did and when I didn’t eveything came out perfect. Normally you’ll hear to not over beat once the flour is incorporated but with this recipe, NOTHING can be over beat. Hope this helps…again

  16. I have been trying to bake a cake from scratch for a while now and haven’t been able to get it right for anything…. but when I came upon this recipe I thought I would give it a try. This recipe right here is the TRUTH..I got it right the first time. It was definitely a HIT!!! My family loved it. I’m so happy now I can do a cake from scratch, nothing like it! Thanks for sharing!!!!

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