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Moist Yellow Cake Recipe

For Your Recipe Box: The Perfect Yellow Cake

I like to keep a few well-loved recipes in my repertoire to make time and time again, and birthday cake is something that I find myself happily making several times a year. I typically turn to a very rich chocolate cake from Ina Garten or a simple vanilla cake from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. I've noticed, however, that yellow cake is a favorite of many, but until now I'd never thought to make it from scratch.

Most recipes for yellow cake use buttermilk, which differentiates it from a standard vanilla cake. I noticed a particularly mouthwatering photo floating around on Pinterest months ago that I couldn't get out of my head. Rather than buttermilk, this specific recipe calls for butter flavoring, which you can find at cake supply stores or online.

This cake comes together easily. I used two seven-inch cake pans and had a little bit of leftover batter for a few cupcakes. The simple vanilla buttercream frosting is delicious and rich, but I'd like to experiment with some more exciting flavors in the future. It tasted rich, buttery, and slightly sinful. The cake itself was moist and dense, which I appreciated, and one piece was more than enough to keep me satisfied.

For the recipe, keep reading!

Moist Yellow Cake

Adapted from Bakerella

Moist Yellow Cake Instructions


  1. For the cake:
    2 sticks of butter, room temperature
    2 cups of sugar
    4 eggs, room temperature
    3 cups of self-rising flour, sifted
    1 cup of whole milk, room temperature
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring
  1. For the frosting:
    2 sticks butter, room temperature
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 pound powdered sugar
    1 to 3 teaspoons milk, half and half, or cream
    Icing colors


  1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Grease and flour 3 8-inch cake pans.
  3. Using a mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream for about 7 minutes.
  4. Add eggs one at a time. Beat well after each egg is added.
  5. Alternate adding flour and milk to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour.
  6. Add vanilla and butter flavoring to mix, until just mixed.
  7. Divide batter equally into 3 cake pans.
  8. Hold each layer about 3 inches above your counter and carefully drop the pans flat onto counter several times to ensure release of any air bubbles. This will help you have a more level cake.
  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (depending on your oven) until done.
  10. Cool in pans for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove and immediately wrap each layer in plastic wrap to seal in moisture. Cool completely on wire racks.
  11. Once cooled, you are ready to assemble your cake.
  12. For the frosting: Using a mixer, cream softened butter and vanilla until smooth.
  13. Add sugar gradually, allowing butter and sugar to cream together before adding more.
  14. If you want your frosting a little creamier, add a teaspoon of milk at a time and beat on high until you get the right texture.
  15. Use icing colors to tint the frosting the color of your choice.

Makes 1 cake.

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