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Yellow Butter Cake


This is the kind of classic, all-American layer cake that birthday memories are made of. It's guaranteed to please a crowd. To make an 8-inch layer cake, as featured on "Martha Bakes," use 1 teaspoon salt and finish with Mrs. Milman's Chocolate Frosting. Adapted from "Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook."

  • Yield: Makes two 9-inch cake layers
vanilla pecan sand castle

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, Episode 4001


  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.

  3. Divide batter between the prepared pans, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off the parchment. Reinvert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.

Reviews Add a comment

  • alaskagiggly
    25 FEB, 2017
    Without a doubt, this cake is moist, dense, and decadently sweet, all in its own; however, when you frost it with a much less-sweet, chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream (using very dark - 85% cacao organic bars - or the like), the combonation is a PERFECT balance!
  • mmartha61
    2 JUL, 2016
    Made this for a birthday. Frosted it with Borden's fudge frosting. The best, most flavorful yellow cake ever! This is a keeper!
  • MS12086435
    30 OCT, 2015
    The cake is wonderful but it's not your typical yellow cake! the texture sort of reminded me of pound cake. and i made this twice but my cake came out white. when i make it again i will add less sugar than the recipe asks, because i felt it was a little too sweet.
  • rjparalegal
    3 SEP, 2015
    Love the butter taste. The cake was quite dense but good either way.
  • Hershee35
    23 AUG, 2014
    Anybody not too enthused about the heaviness of the cake can easily reduce flour to about 2 1/4 cups and beat the butter and sugar for about 20 minutes. That will give you a lighter, fluffier batter.
  • angelicagracilis
    15 AUG, 2014
    Excellent taste but the cake is too dense, it looks pretty fluffy in the pictures but it doesnt turn out like that, and I have done it several times.
  • crazyboutmartha
    21 APR, 2014
    I made the cake this past weekend and everyone loved it. It was moist and delicious, but personally I was a little disappointed in the texture of the cake. I prefer lighter fluffier layer and they were really pretty dense. More like a pound cake. Martha has always been my go to girl, but I will probably use a different recipe next time.
  • mvhyde
    13 FEB, 2014
    Made this cake for my hubbies birthday. It was very tasty, smelled delicious and was not dry. I can't say it was extremely moist, but 3 days later (of sitting on the counter on a covered cake stand) the cake is still reasonably moist. I followed most of the instructions but I used a quick substitute of Corn starch and AP flour for the cake flour. I frosted this with chocolate frosting and it is delicious. Better than a box, but I am still looking for a recipe with more moisture in the cake.
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