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 89 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. livianca says

    Hi, such a great recipe..
    But im kinda confuse with some of the steps in the recipe, when u cream the butter and sugar, is it just til combine or until light fluffy? Thanks :)

  2. Chris says

    So after reading the comments and making this recipe, I will say this. The flavor of this cake is awesome! However the constant problem of falling in the center is due to the high sugar content. There is a heavy crust forming on top of the cake which causes too much weight and therefore the cake falls. I suggest decreasing the sugar to 1 1/2 cups and increasing from 2 to 3 eggs. This will aid in creating more structure.

  3. Jamie says

    I desperately need a g recipe as good as this yellow cake for cupcakes??? This recipe is delicious but a hit and miss! I bakes several batches in one day. The first two came out good, but is hard to get out the cupcake liner due to the crystallization on top and around the rim of the cupcake which, I love!!! The last batch exploded in my oven like a volcano! They didn’t bake at all, the batter just kept rolling out like lava! Live your recipes @divascancook :) need a full proof yellow cake to make cupcakes just as good as this one???

  4. Hannah says

    The only reason this is given one star is because it did not turn out for me (both times), and I’m pretty sure it’s a mixture of my fault/high altitude. It turned out exactly like a pancake, and it was WAY too sweet. I’m not sure what happened here, maybe yellow cake isn’t my thing, which is weird because I tend to pride myself in my chocolate/white cake making skills! I don’t know, just not the recipe for me I guess.

  5. Angela says

    WoW!! I’m a newbie and am teaching myself how to be a skillful home cook & baker. I’ve only made two yellow cakes from scratch and they turned out dry. I tried this recipie also following her tutorial on YouTube to give me a visual and this cake was very delicious. Feeling proud of myself. I have made plenty of boxed cakes because they are a no fail way to get a moist cake, my husband when eating a slice of this cake I made today commented on how it tasted moist and it was!! Just like box cake but wayyyyy better really no comparison but coming from an amature like me that’s what I was used to. Other yellow cakes I made from scratch did not call for the folding of egg whites and I used regular flour in the past. Between cake flour, the egg method, and whatever else is required for this bake it is very impressive.

    Thank you very much this really has to be one of thee best recipies for such a classic.

    I added finely diced pineapples and strawberries under the icing. I made homemade vanilla icing.

  6. Challice says

    I’ve been baking for my family for quite some time. Making intricate cakes and cupcakes. For my fathers 50th birthday, just this past weekend, he wanted a simple yellow cake. Well I make everything I bake from scratch, so I decided to try this recipe. IT TURNED OUT AMAZING. I hate eating cake, and I LOVEDDDD this one. I used my grandmother’s caramel icing recipe to top it. (I also cooked it in a sheet pan all together, and it turned out great! No sinking! I just had to increase the cooking time.) I also didn’t have the egg whites fully thick because I was hand whisking them and it still turned out great. Thanks so much for this recipe. My dad LOVED his cake and even took the leftovers to his buddies at the courthouse and the judges loved it too! Thanks again! I will be using this recipe for my lamb cake for Easter!

  7. jean says

    this is crazy, i miss read the recipe on the egg part and used only the yolks and not the egg whites and got so many compliments on it and mine did not sink. I am making another one right now for our children”s ministry bake sale for tomorrow. I love this cake.

  8. Sarah says

    The cake was delicious and extremely time consuming. Mine also run over the sides and then flopped like a pancake. I was reminded of a tres letches cake while making this. Yes you must take extra care and time to get the right texture. I rushed through it. I tried cupcakes but every single one came out busted. I believe this is due to the cake having so much moisture. I also had a hard time frosting the cake because it was so moist. I just wet my spatula with hot water to help spread the frosting. I could not stop eating it. My stomach hurts from eating so much cake. (I used the chocolate frosting recipe that is used with this cake which was good).

  9. says

    The first time i tried to make this cake, its was very good. It did not rise in the middle the way a box cake usually rises, but it was very good and my hubby loved it ! I tried to make cupcakes for a birthday party and they sank miserably !! I threw the batter away and tried again and the same thing happened. I love the flavor, but i guess this receipe is not exactly fool proof. I will try again tho, no cake from scratch will EVER kick my butt !! = ) thx for ur great recipes, keep’em coming !

  10. Cheri says

    I would like to make a 3 layer yellow cake for a birthday. Can you tell me how much to add? Can I just add 1/2 the recipe again?

  11. Karen says

    Has anyone made this into cupcakes? I tried tonight and they sunk after about 18 min in the oven. The flavor was amazing but they almost looked like they didn’t have any structure. Any ideas??? I want to master such a great recipe!! Thanks in advance.

  12. Tracey says

    Hi, This cake came out amazing! It was the perfect texture and had a wonderful flavor. It is my new go to yellow cake! Also, I appreciate your going into detail on how to execute making this cake so that it comes out exactly as you intended it to. I use recipes from many blogs and I hate when I am questioning just how to perfectly execute them!

  13. Michele says

    What a flop and waste of ingredients! I did everything she said to do but my cake sank like a pancake in the middle and over flowed the edges of the pan and burned on my brand new convection oven. So disappointed. Don’t make this.

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