Classic Yellow Cake Batter

Prep Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
15 mins
8 cups

Layer cake, cupcakes, or loaf cake? Our basic yellow cake batter recipe makes all these and more. This classic, all-purpose batter will help you turn out Raspberry-Cream Layer Cake, Cappuccino-Chocolate Cupcakes, and Chocolate-Vanilla Marble Cakes. The buttermilk in the batter is not only a flavor enhancer with its subtle tang, but it also keeps the cake moist and tender. Be patient creaming the butter and sugar, as this important step ensures the final product is light and fluffy.


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

  • 1 ¾ 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

  • ½ teaspoon fine salt

  • 1 ½ 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.

    classic yellow cake batter
    Diana Chistruga

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.

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