Homemade Yellow Cake Recipe

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Hints for making a homemade yellow cake recipe. Use the right ingredients and special egg technique for a fluffy, buttery from-scratch cake.

Homemade Yellow Cake Recipe

One thing I love about you all is that you stretch me to try new things. If you were with us at the start of the new year, I sent out a reader survey asking people what recipes you’d like to see me share. The response was overwhelming. I’ve got a spreadsheet full of the names of delicious food you want on your family’s table. Thank you!

For many of you who found us because of this cake, your request was that you wanted a homemade yellow cake. Yellow cake was something I hadn’t considered too much before. What makes the cake yellow? What makes yellow cake tastes differently than white cake? It was easy, really, once I actually did think about it. Yellow cake does have a different flavor than white cake. It’s richer and full of butter flavor.

Homemade Yellow Cake Recipe

I went digging in my favorite old cookbook to find a potential recipe to work with. It didn’t take long to find a cake that I knew had huge possibilities based on the ingredients & technique they used to make it. Let’s chat about it.

Ingredients for a From-Scratch Yellow Cake

  1. Cake flour. In my from-scratch cake testing I’ve done the past few years, I’ve realized that cake flour is a must for homemade cakes. Can you use all-purpose flour in this homemade cake? Probably. But I haven’t tried it and don’t recommend it. If you want good texture, buy cake flour. You can usually find it in a box in the baking aisle right by all the other flour.
  2. Butter. Most of the old-fashioned cake recipes I find call for shortening. After testing the recipe with both butter and shortening, I decided to switch out the shortening for butter. Although the texture seems potentially a bit better with shortening, the flavor the butter gave the cake totally won out. The butter also helps give the yellow color a boost.
  3. Butter flavor. Most cakes will call for vanilla extract and this cake is no different. But to really give this cake a flavor that is a little different than traditional white cake, you’ll also use butter flavor. You can find little bottles of butter flavoring right by the extracts in the baking aisle. Dont’ skip it! It gives the cake such a rich, delicious taste.

Homemade Yellow Cake Recipe

Our Hint for a Fluffy Yellow Cake

The ingredients give this homemade yellow cake recipe an amazing flavor, but there’s a technique we use to give it the perfect texture. Here’s the secret. Divide the eggs and beat the egg whites until they are thick and stiff, like a meringue. Then fold those fluffy egg whites into the prepared batter. This adds a lightness to the cake. It’s the same technique we use for our almond cream cake.

There are a few keys to making the fluffy egg whites successfully. 1. Make sure the bowl and utensils that you use to froth the egg whites are clean and grease-free. If your eggs don’t get to the point where they can hold a peak in a few minutes, you may have to start over. Clean utensils and a fast, strong mixer are important.  2.  Do NOT overmix the batter once the egg whites are added. I cannot emphasize this enough. Fold gently. Do not mix quickly.

Homemade Yellow Cake Recipe

And with those hints, this homemade yellow cake recipe should go fairly smoothly for you.

Our favorite topping? Chocolate Frosting. Homemade, of course. But honestly, we’ve eaten this homemade yellow cake recipe without any topping before. Because the flavor is simply that good.

Homemade Yellow Cake Recipe

Homemade Yellow Cake Recipe
Homemade Yellow Cake Recipe

Homemade Yellow Cake Recipe

4.74 from 19 votes
Hints for making a homemade yellow cake recipe. Use the right ingredients and special egg technique for a fluffy, buttery from-scratch cake.
Servings 15 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 32 minutes
Total Time 47 minutes


  • 3 large eggs divided
  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons butter extract
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour 270 grams
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup thick buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 recipes Chocolate Buttercream


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Divide the egg yolks from the egg whites.  Place the egg whites in a medium bowl. Place the egg yolks in another bowl and set aside.
  • Use a hand mixer on high speed to beat the egg whites until the are frothy and can hold a peak.
  • Transfer the egg whites to a smaller bowl and set aside.
  • In the same mixing bowl that you beat the egg whites in, cream together the butter and sugar.
  • Add the egg yolks, vanilla and butter extracts. Beat for 1 minute.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 
  • Add half the flour mixture to the creamed butter. Mix.
  • Add half the buttermilk. Mix.
  • Add the remaining flour mixture and then buttermilk to the cake batter, mixing between each addition.
  • Beat until smooth, no more than 1 minute. Do not overbeat the cake batter.
  • Fold the egg whites into the cake batter using a rubber spatula very gently. Be careful not to mix too quickly or harshly. Just fold gently just until the egg whites are completely folded in. This is what keeps your cake fluffy!
  • Grease and flour two 9" round cake pans.
  • Divide the cake batter evenly between the two prepared pans.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, until the top of the cake bounces back when you touch it. Be careful not to open the oven door until you think your cake is done or the cakes may fall. 
  • Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes, then loosen the edges of the cake with a knife and turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once the cake is cool, frost with the chocolate frosting (or whatever frosting you'd like!).



Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 259mg | Potassium: 91mg | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Author Julie Clark
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 249

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Chelle Thompson
5 years ago

5 stars
I made this the other day & it is absolutely AMAZING!!

Can I add cocoa to this to make it chocolate? Or is there a chocolate recipe that will match this fluffiness & moist recipe?

Renee Moten
4 years ago

5 stars
This is a great recipe! My husband wanted a homemade (from scratch) yellow cake with his New Year’s dinner and after searching many recipes, I selected this one. He was so happy with the taste and texture of this cake, he has requested another one with tonight’s dinner. Thank you for the great recipe!!!

4 years ago

5 stars
My cakes are just about ready for icing. I LOVE your version. The cake is good enough to eat by itself or topped with fruit. It’s moist and I think you’re correct about that butter extract. Yummers

4 years ago

This cake looks delicious! So do you only use the egg whites in the recipe and not the yolk? Or just separate them?

4 years ago

What would you recommend for the cooking time if I use a 9×13″ pan instead of the round pans? Making this for my daughter’s birthday, and she wants an un-layered cake.

4 years ago

Don’t know what I did wrong, but it had no flavor at all, very disappointed ???? even bought pure vanilla and butter extract.

Maggie P
4 years ago

5 stars
I have a bit of a challenge. My clients are requesting sugar free cakes more and more. I was wondering if I could sub Splenda or Stevia for the sugar in the recipe. I don’t want to use the overproccessed sugar free cakes from the grocery stores. I have perfected my sugar free buttercream icing but having trouble figuring out how to get my cake just right. This is my go to yellow cake. Perfect every time. My question is if I do make it sugar free what adjustments should i make. Any advice?

4 years ago

Could I add some brewed coffee to the chocolate frosting? My mom use to do this and it was delicious. Am thinking maybe a tablespoon. Your thoughts? Thanks. Am making this for a friends birthday this weekend!

Donna Beck
4 years ago

Making this delicious cake today. I noticed the butter doesn’t say unsalted. But you also add 1/2 tsp salt to the dry ingredients. I have salted butter and was going to omit salt? Just clarifying! Thank you

4 years ago

I don’t know what I did wrong either. Followed the recipe to the letter and topped with your recipe for Chocolate Frostings. Didn’t overbeat either and was sure to fold in egg whites carefully. Baked Orr the correct time. Caked looked great, tasted very dry .

3 years ago

5 stars
I suggest staying away from those fake sugars. The class is still out on their long term effect. Being a chemist it’s not some hair brain idea that I read on YouTube. It’s after researching and reading books related to these topics. The means don’t justify the ends. After all it’s cake. Not the top ten health foods to consume.

3 years ago

This is a good recipe, but the baking time seems to be too long. I checked mine at 28 minutes and it was very overcooked. I use an oven thermometer and the temperature was spot on (325)…unless my thermometer is off somehow? I used two 9″ pans, as directed. And, no, I didn’t eat any of the batter (although I wanted to!). I think 25 min would have been perfect for this. My fault for not checking sooner – I should know better. It still tastes good, just overcooked. I’m guessing this could be what happened to the person who… Read more »

3 years ago

5 stars
I baked the yellow cake for the first time without the frosting , everyone loved it, thank you

Ashley Smith
3 years ago

Just put mine in the oven and CANNOT wait to taste! If I’m wanting to do 3 8″ in pans, would you recommend making 1.5x the recipe? Thank you SO much!

3 years ago

Have you thought of adding instant vanilla pudding to the recipe for those that are saying it is dry. Pudding in the mix helps to keep the cake moist. In one of the recipes I have come across it called for 1/3 cup Vanilla Pudding Mix instant.