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Moist Yellow Cake Recipe

For Your Recipe Box: The Perfect American-Style Yellow Cake

I like to keep a few well-loved recipes in my repertoire to make time and time again, and birthday cake is something that I find myself happily making several times a year. I typically turn to a very rich chocolate cake from Ina Garten or a simple vanilla cake from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. I've noticed, however, that yellow cake is a favourite of many, but until now I'd never thought to make it from scratch.

Most recipes for yellow cake use buttermilk, which differentiates it from a standard vanilla cake. I noticed a particularly mouthwatering photo floating around on Pinterest months ago that I couldn't get out of my head. Rather than buttermilk, this specific recipe calls for butter flavouring, which you can find at baking supply stores or online.

This cake comes together easily. I used two seven-inch cake tins and had a little bit of leftover batter for a few cupcakes. The simple vanilla buttercream frosting is delicious and rich, but I'd like to experiment with some more exciting flavours in the future. It tasted rich, buttery, and slightly sinful. The cake itself was moist and dense, which I appreciated, and one piece was more than enough to keep me satisfied.

Moist Yellow Cake

Adapted from Bakerella

Moist Yellow Cake Instructions


  1. For the cake:
    225g of butter, room temperature
    200g sugar
    4 eggs, room temperature
    375g self-raising flour, sifted
    250ml whole milk, room temperature
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon butter flavouring
  1. For the frosting:
    225g butter, room temperature
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    450g icing sugar
    1 to 3 teaspoons milk or cream
    Food colouring


  1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Grease and flour 3 8-inch cake pans.
  3. Using a mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream for about 7 minutes.
  4. Add eggs one at a time. Beat well after each egg is added.
  5. Alternate adding flour and milk to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour.
  6. Add vanilla and butter flavouring to mix, until just mixed.
  7. Divide batter equally into 3 cake pans.
  8. Hold each layer about 3 inches above your counter and carefully drop the pans flat onto counter several times to ensure release of any air bubbles. This will help you have a more level cake.
  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (depending on your oven) until done.
  10. Cool in pans for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove and immediately wrap each layer in cling film to seal in moisture. Cool completely on wire racks.
  11. Once cooled, you are ready to assemble your cake.
  12. For the frosting: Using a mixer, cream softened butter and vanilla until smooth.
  13. Add icing sugar gradually, allowing butter and icing sugar to cream together before adding more.
  14. If you want your frosting a little creamier, add a teaspoon of milk at a time and beat on high until you get the right texture.
  15. Use food colouring to tint the frosting the colour of your choice.

Makes 1 cake.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Camilla Salem