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Classic Yellow Cake Batter


Layer cake, cupcakes, or loaf cake? One basic batter makes all these and more. Raspberry-Cream Layer Cake, Cappuccino-Chocolate Cupcakes, and Chocolate-Vanilla Marble Cakes each use this entire batch of batter. For the Pineapple Buckle, halve the recipe -- leftover batter would deflate if stored.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 8 cups
Classic Yellow Cake Batter

Photography: Romulo Yanes

Source: Everyday Food, April 2012


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk


  1. Bring cold ingredients to room temperature. Butter should be soft enough to hold a thumbprint but still keep its shape. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.

  2. Beat in 4 eggs plus 2 yolks, one at a time, until combined. Beat in vanilla extract.

  3. In another large bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low, add 1/3 the flour mixture to butter mixture, beating to combine.

  4. Beat in 3/4 cup buttermilk, another 1/3 the flour mixture, another 3/4 cup buttermilk, and remaining flour mixture until just combined. Scrape down bowl as needed.

Cook's Notes

Don't rush when mixing the butter and sugar. This important step, called creaming, aerates the batter for a light and fluffy texture.

Reviews Add a comment

  • likesbikes57
    17 JAN, 2015
    I read all of the reviews and tips. I do cook, but never had luck baking cakes. I made one mistake right off the bat, I forgot to add the two extra yolks. I used milk mixed with a tablespoon of vinegar. I was very careful to keep the flour light. I beat the egg whites, and folded them in at the end. Let me tell you, my cake turned out great! I believe the fact that i used jumbo eggs saved it. I do agree, the flavor was a bit bland, but next time, will try a bit of lemon zest. Great recipe!
  • Ramona Murphy
    16 JAN, 2015
    Everybody - this is the recipe for the BATTER only. Once you decided which cake to make you go to that cake. If you are like me and want to make cupcakes try 350 for 10-12 minutes, depending on oven. I know confusing but worth making this batter. I made the raspberry-cream layer cake and it was delicious and fresh. Needs to be eaten that day though.
  • qtee64
    10 NOV, 2014
    Thank you to the poster with the time & temp. I subscribe to Living, but, did not have time and really wanted to make this yummy sounding cake! I will follow this recipe to a "T" and let you all know how it worked for me *fingers crossed*
  • Neha
    29 OCT, 2014
    hi , sorry guys haven tried the recipe but i want to try it. I request to please give me the measurement of butter in gms, and also sugar and flour , baking powder in gms. please help me out . thank you
  • Beatrix K
    28 SEP, 2014
    Very good! I made cupcakes with this recipe and they were great. Looking forward to making a layer cake with this batter.
  • BonkieB
    10 MAY, 2014
    I found the rest of the recipe in the magazine. It says to butter 2 9 in. round cake pans. Bake at 350 for about 30 min. rotating half way through. Cool in pans for 10 minutes.
  • MS112583616
    26 OCT, 2013
    Where on earth is the rest of the recipe? It stops at step 4, leaving out how long to bake and at what temperature.
  • brooklynbaker66
    17 SEP, 2013
    People that write in claiming a recipe is a disaster and doesn't work often didn't follow the basic principles of baking. Make sure you add the liquid and dry ingredients in steps, exactly as outlined- and never over beat the batter. Once the final bit of dry ingredients are added, stop mixing immediately. Take the batter off and give it a final stir with a spatula or spoon. The more you mix, the less tender the cake will be.
  • withawhy99
    2 SEP, 2013
    This made a very rich, moist cake. To keep it from being overly dense, I imagine it is important to use cake flour as directed (a special flour, not all-purpose) and fresh baking powder, have the ingredients at room temperature, cream the butter and sugar thoroughly, and not overbeat after adding the flour. I did all these things and was happy with the results. The flavor was a bit bland and the cake is quite sweet. It would go well with a flavorful and not-too-sweet icing.
  • Jada W
    21 AUG, 2013
    So I found this recipe and then I texted my mother in law and asked her what was a good yellow cake recipe and she suggested this one so I tried it. I will make this again but with regular milk. I has a slight tangy take to me but not too noticeable. It was not cornbread like or hard to cut. it was like and fluffy. Not sure what went wrong with the other reviewers cake but maybe sometimes you have to follow the directions to a "T". I would defiantly make this again. Very easy recipe to follow.