Basic Yellow Cake

basic yellow cake Dessert
Basic Yellow Cake
  • Prep 20 min
  • Total 1 hr 55 min
  • Ingredients 13
  • Servings 15

Everyone needs a good scratch yellow cake recipe in their recipe box. This no-fail recipe is quick to prepare and easy to make—with a few steps and basic pantry ingredients, you can have it in the oven in just 20 minutes. Make this cake extra-special and serve with a delicious spread of homemade chocolate frosting! MORE+ LESS-

Updated June 17, 2019



2 1/2
cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2
teaspoons baking powder
teaspoon salt
1 1/3
cups granulated sugar
cup butter, softened
1 1/2
teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4
cups milk


oz unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
cups powdered sugar
cup butter, softened
teaspoons vanilla
cup milk


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  • 1
    Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour 13x9-inch pan. In medium bowl, stir flour, baking powder and salt until well blended.
  • 2
    In large bowl, beat granulated sugar and 3/4 cup softened butter with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and eggs until well blended. Alternately add flour mixture and 1 1/4 cups milk, beating well and scraping bowl after each addition. Pour batter evenly into pan.
  • 3
    Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  • 4
    Meanwhile, in small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate uncovered on High 30 to 60 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth. Cool 10 minutes.
  • 5
    In large bowl, beat remaining Frosting ingredients with electric mixer on low speed until creamy. Gradually beat in melted chocolate until well blended. Immediately spread on cake.

Expert Tips

  • This is a classic sponge-style cake—its light texture depends on the air you beat into the softened butter and sugar by creaming them together until they’re smooth and fluffy. Measuring the flour accurately is important too. Stir up your flour to aerate it, then lightly spoon it into a measuring cup and level it off with the flat side of a knife. Too much flour will make the batter too heavy and the final cake texture will be dense.
  • Don’t overbake the cake. It will be a rich golden brown and the top will spring back when lightly touched with a fingertip. You can also use a toothpick inserted into the center—it should come out clean when the cake is done.
  • Cake can be baked in two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans; grease and flour pans. Make as directed above; pour batter evenly between 2 prepared pans. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Assemble, fill and frost cake.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value
Trans Fat
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Carbohydrate Choice
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

More About This Recipe

  • Once you’ve baked yellow cake from scratch, you’ll have a go-to-recipe that never fails to delight and impress. “You made this yourself?” people will ask, and you can just smile and nod. No need to tell them that your never-fail recipe required just a few steps and some basic pantry ingredients—or that you were able to mix it and put it in the oven in just 15 minutes. There’s just something so celebratory about cake that it seems to be the one dessert everyone loves. If you want to welcome a new neighbor, make a splash at the next neighborhood potluck or tell someone “Have a Happy Birthday,” there’s really no better way to do it than by baking a cake. This yellow cake recipe is sure to become your favorite baking project when something a little bit special is the order of the day. And now that you know how to make yellow cake, you can find more time-tested favorites, heirloom classics and fun modern twists in our cake and cupcake recipe collection.

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