Classic Yellow Cake Batter


This easy batter can be used for sheet cakes, birthday cakes, cupcakes, and more.

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

Layer cake, cupcakes, or loaf cake? Our basic yellow cake batter recipe makes all of these crowd-pleasing desserts and more, including Raspberry-Cream Layer Cake, Cappuccino-Chocolate Cupcakes, and Chocolate-Vanilla Marble Cakes. The secret ingredient is the buttermilk: It doesn't just enhance the batter's flavor with its subtle tang, but keeps the cake moist and tender, too.

Be patient when mixing the butter and sugar. This important step is called creaming and aerates the batter, creating a light, fluffy texture.

While our cake batter recipe can be made by hand, it's easier if you use a stand or hand mixer. It follows the classic method of creaming the butter and sugar, then adding the eggs one by one. The dry ingredients are added in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk. 

How you use the batter is entirely up to you—but whatever you decide, you'll have plenty to work with. The recipe makes enough for a sheet cake, several layer cake layers, or a batch of cupcakes, among other uses.

yellow cake slices on colorful plates

Diana Chistruga


  • 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.

    ingredients for yellow cake batter

    Diana Chistruga

  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.

    yellow cake batter in bowl of stand mixer

    Diana Chistruga

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

    yellow cake batter in mixer bowl after eggs added

    Diana Chistruga

  4. In another large bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

    whisking flour in mixing bowl

    Diana Chistruga

  5. With mixer on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture to butter mixture, beating to combine.

    flour added to yellow cake batter in mixer

    Diana Chistruga

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

    classic yellow cake batter in bowl

    Diana Chistruga

Using Classic Yellow Cake Batter

Use our Classic Yellow Cake Batter whenever you need a yellow cake—for a sheet cake, trifle, birthday cake, cupcakes, or just for snacking. The recipe yields 8 cups of batter, enough for a 9-x 13-inch sheet cake, four 8-x 2-inch round layers, or about 24 cupcakes.

classic yellow cake batter
Diana Chistruga

We recommend baking all the batter when you make it; it will not rise as well if baked later.

Related Articles