Southern cakes are legendary and this easy recipe is one of the best. I like to use it for my Boston Cream Poke cake when I'm making it from scratch.
This easy, classic yellow cake recipe is moist and buttery with a thick bittersweet chocolate frosting - just like that droolworthy layer cake you remember.
I've included tips and tricks to make sure that your homemade cake comes out perfectly every single time.
There's not a better cake for birthdays and other celebrations. If you've been making it from a boxed mix get ready for this recipe to change your life!
Much like any good, old fashioned recipe this from scratch cake doesn't require anything that you probably don't already have in your pantry. Here are the ingredients and a little about why they're important.
- All- Purpose Flour - you could use cake flour, and many recipes do, but I like my yellow cakes to be a little more dense. Plus all-purpose flour is more stable and easier to work with.
- Baking powder - is used to help the cake rise high and light.
- Baking soda - adds a little energy to the rising but it also reacts with the acids in the buttermilk and helps the cake have a more tender crumb.
- Salt - gives depth to the other flavors in the cake.
- Buttermilk - gives the cake a more tender crumb and adds a slight tang.
- Sugar - adds the sweetness needed as well as helps with the texture of the cake.
- Eggs - help bind the ingredients and make them tender.
- Butter - adds flavor and moistness.
- Vanilla extract - adds flavor but using the vanilla butternut flavor adds a little extra flavor that's deliciously different.
- Almond extract - is one of the things I add in a very small amount because it also adds to the flavor of the cake.
A moist yellow cake recipe is one of those things that everyone needs to have in their recipe file. It is as welcome at a fancy party as it is on a child's birthday table.
And it makes great cupcakes.
There is something comforting about yellow cake. I 'm not sure exactly what does it for me, the cheerful golden color, the delicate, buttery taste?
A southern yellow cake goes with everything, it's easy to make, and nearly everyone loves it. You'll find it at almost every church supper.
Add a deep, rich chocolate buttercream frosting and you have everything childhood memories are made of right on a plate.
The Irish Cream Whipped Frosting would be amazing with this yellow cake as well.
It really is an easy cake to make from scratch but here are some tips to ensure success!
- My yellow cake recipe gets its bright color from egg yolks. Pasture raised chickens lay eggs that tend to have an almost orange yolk and when used in this cake the color is magnificent. If your yolks aren't a rich orangey yellow then a few drops of yellow food coloring will give you the color you want - just one or two though.
- Make sure your eggs, buttermilk, and butter are at room temperature!
- Cream the butter and sugar thoroughly - most people stop too soon. Cream it until it's light and fluffy - and that's going to take around 3 to 4 minutes.
- Use vanilla-butternut flavoring - it adds a delicious flavor!
- Don't over bake your cake. When it's done a toothpick stuck in the center will come out clean with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
- Or, you can use an insta-read thermometer. The cake is done when it registers 200F when the thermometer is stuck in the center.
- Grease and flour your cake pans, cut a piece of parchment to fit in the bottoms, and grease and flour the parchment. This will keep the cakes from sticking.
- Smooth the cake batter in the pans making it a little higher on the edges than in the middle - this keeps the layers nice and flat.
- You can freeze the cake layers unfrosted for up to 3 months.
- This wedding cake frosting is great for decorating
More great homemade cakes
There's nothing like a cake baked from scratch and here in the south we're known for our love of sweets.
Here are some of my favorite recipes-
- White Texas Sheet Cake is super easy to make and feeds a crowd. It's like a buttery yellow cake covered in pecan fudge.
- Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake is dark, fudgy chocolate cake with a rich dark chocolate frosting. It's the "other" classic recipe for birthday cake!
- Spice Layer Cake with cream cheese frosting is one of my "fall" favorites.
- Banana Layer Cake is a classic with a gooey walnut filling.
- Southern Coconut Cake is layers of light cake with raspberry filling and a creamy coconut frosting. It's just as good for special occasions as it is for every day.
- Coca Cola Cake is a southern classic made with chocolate and Coke. Sometimes you see this as a sheet cake but I like mine in layers.
- Burnt Sugar Cake is an old fashioned chocolate cake with peanut butter mousse between the layers. One of our favorites.
- Vintage Orange Gold Cake is a delicious yellow cake with just a hint of orange flavor.
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This vanilla butter nut flavoring is just so homemade tasting! I use it right along with my vanilla. Give it a try - I think you'll like it.
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You can make this classic yellow cake in a 13x9 inch pan if you like. The baking time should be about the same.
You can make cupcakes out of it, too. Bake for about 15 minutes and then check them for doneness.
One flavor variation that I really like is simply to add about a tablespoon of orange zest to the batter. It gives it a delicate, dreamy orange flavor. The Irish Cream Whipped Frosting would be amazing with this yellow cake as well.
You could also add a few tablespoons of sprinkles to make a funfetti cake. Just stir the sprinkles into the batter just before adding to the pans.
I am telling you, try this old fashioned cake once and you'll never want to use a box mix again!
If you click on the number of servings in the recipe card you can adjust the measurements up or down for the exact number of servings you need. Don't forget that you can click on "save" to save it to your own, private recipe box!
If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Classic Yellow Cake RecipePrint Pin Recipe Save Go to Collections
- ½ cup butter
- 1-¼ cups white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1-¼ cups buttermilk
- 1-¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- Pinch kosher salt
- ½ cup butter
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 1 pound powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¾ cup heavy cream
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- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease and flour two 9" round pans.
- Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt)
- Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time and then stir in the vanilla and almond.
- Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, mixing just until incorporated.
- Pour batter into prepared pans, scraping out the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave, or in the top of a double boiler.
- Let cool.
- In a large bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, vanilla and ½ cup of the cream.
- Blend in the melted chocolate mixture.
- Add remaining cream, a little at a time, whipping until desired consistency is achieved.
- Let stand until spreadable .
- Frosting will thicken as it cools.
- Use room temperature ingredients.
- Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
- A homemade yellow cake recipe will go stale faster than a store bought cake because of the lack of preservatives. Eat within a few days or freeze.
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First published September 21, 2007. Last updated December 8, 2022.
This would have been great but because of the photo and the requirement for cake pans (plural) I assumed the recipe was for two layers. I thought the 2x was for making a larger cake.....duh. So I got two pancakes that were almost delicious but for the dryness. For morons like me it would be clearer to write one layer, 2 layers etc rather than 1x etc. some of us nonbakers don’t know the lingo. Will try again.
I make 2 layers with that recipe - exactly like in the image. Sorry it didn't work for you. Try 8" pans.