A classic yellow cake recipe makes an essential cake recipe for any kitchen. Made of simple ingredients, this makes the best yellow cake for every occasion.

Classic Yellow Cake Recipe from addapinch.com

There’s just something about a freshly baked cake topped with swirls of chocolate frosting that brings a smile to my face. Usually, it signals a special occasion, such as a birthday or anniversary, a party of some sort, a celebration. But then, there are times that I think that by the end of a hectic week of my son’s classes and long hours studying, my husband working, and all that goes in and out of a week for any family, the weekend is reason enough to celebrate! Those are the times that I pull out this classic yellow cake recipe that is incredibly moist, tender, and perfect every single time. It’s like the little black dress of cakes – but the favorite one in your closet. You know the one? The one that makes you look slimmer, is the most comfortable and you always get compliments when you wear it out? Yes, that’s like this cake. 

Classic Yellow Cake Recipe from addapinch.com

Made of simple ingredients, this classic yellow cake recipe is easily one of the easiest cakes to make. This one bowl cake can easily be mixed by hand, hand mixer or even a stand mixer, making it a perfect go-to cake recipe. I love that it is also one that my family calls “the best”!

Classic Yellow Cake Recipe from addapinch.com

Here’s my Classic Yellow Cake recipe. I hope you love it as much as my family does!

Classic Yellow Cake Recipe from addapinch.com

Classic Yellow Cake Recipe

A classic yellow cake recipe makes an essential cake recipe for any kitchen. Made of simple ingredients, this makes the best yellow cake for every occasion.
4.37 from 65 votes

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Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings: 24
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch


  • 1 cup unsalted butter (16 tablespoons), softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare two or three round baking pans or a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick baking spray or by coating with butter and lightly flouring, shaking away any excess flour and discarding.
  • Cream together butter and sugar until a light yellow in color, about 2-3 minutes. Incorporate eggs one at a time, being sure they are fully incorporated before adding the next. Then, incorporate egg yolks the same.
  • Whisk together salt, baking powder, and all-purpose flour in a large mixing bowl. Spoon half of the mixture into the butter, sugar and egg mixture and stir until combined. Add half of buttermilk, then add the remainder of the flour mixture followed by the remainder of the buttermilk. Stir in the vanilla.
  • Divide the cake batter between the baking pans or pour into the 9x13 baking sheet pan.
  • Bake until the cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick or skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes for two 8-inch pans, 30 minutes for two 9-inch pans, and 35 minutes for a 9x13 baking pan. Remove from the oven and allow to cool about 8-10 minutes in the pan placed on a wire cooling rack. Then, turn the cakes out on the cooling rack to cool completely.
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Robyn xo

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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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265 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Hi, can this be made into a rum cake and baked in a Bundt pan? If so, would I swap out some of the buttermilk for rum? Or just add the rum to the standard recipe? Thanks in advance for your help ?

  2. Hi Robyn
    I’m thinking about making this cake for my mom’s birthday, except I want to use the yellow cake as just a base. I was wondering if chamomile tea would be a good flavor to add into the batter. Also, should I just brew the tea with the water and just use the tea as my water?

    1. Hi Rachel,
      I’ve not used that with it, so I can’t say how it would taste or how it would turn out. There’s no water in this recipe, so it might not turn out well. If you do try it, I’d like to hear how it is.
      Thanks so much!

  3. Please respond ASAP
    Im supposed to make this cake for a party, but dont have any buttermilk! Can I use regular whole milk instead?

  4. Can I substitute the butter for vegetable oil it for a kids party and they normally don’t like cake that have more of a pound texture.

    I need light, fluffy

  5. I just made this cake for the first time with a strawberry filling and a whipped cream vanilla frosting…. IT WAS FREAKING AMAZING!!!! Moist, tender and completely flavorful!. My boyfriend (who is just a little kid who LOVES cake) has already ate 3 slices, I had to literally take the knife from him and put the cake away! This is a wonderful easy recipe, and will be my secret weapon in my baking arsenal for a long time to come, thanks so much for sharing it!

  6. I made this cake today and the center took forever to cook so I kept it in the oven for an additional 15 minutes more. Because of that the edges came out dry and hard while the center was hard to icing as it kept falling apart. Not sure what I did?

      1. I am a little nervous about using 2 cups of buttermilk, seem like its going to be a bit too much liquid.

  7. Made this once and it was fabulous! I’d like to make it again using yolks left over from making angel food cake. Do you think I can substitute some of the whole eggs with egg yolks, and if so what do you think the proportions would be? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Sara,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the cake when you made it!
      I have not made the cake by just substituting egg yolks when whole eggs are required in the recipe, so I can’t say how it would turn out if that was done. Thanks so much!

  8. I have sort of a stupid question … is it 4 eggs and 2 yolks from those 4 eggs or 4 eggs and two separate eggs yolks ?

  9. I made this cake today and it came out watery n i added a little more flour then asked for but still took 50 mins to cook in the center . is there an error on the cups of butter milk portion? Should it be 1 cup instead of 2 cups?

    1. Hi Ida,
      I’m not sure what happened, but sorry your cake didn’t turn out as it should have. I’ve not had this happen before. The batter for this recipe should be fairly thick – not watery. Thanks!

  10. This suggests preparing 2 or 3 pans round pans but the baking time only addresses 2 pans. What is the estimated baking time for three 8 inch round pans?

  11. Idk what I did wrong, I measured everything correctly, and the cake came out dense and too floury rather than how creamy the batter was. Perhaps it was over mixed. However, your chocolate cake recipe is like heaven

    1. I’m sorry it didn’t turn out for you Michelle. I don’t know exactly what could have happened – possible it was overmixed like you say but not sure.
      I am happy you enjoy the Chocolate Cake – it’s such a delicious favorite in my house too. Thanks so much! xo

    2. This recipe is awesome! I have been looking for the perfect yellow cake recipe for a long time and so glad I finally found it! I followed it exactly and it was delicious.

  12. I had the same issue as a couple of the commenters above. It seems that the milk should only be one cup when compared with other cake recipes I’ve used. Two cups of buttermilk makes the batter too liquidy and the cake doesn’t bake properly. If I make it again, I will use half the called for amount of milk.

  13. I’ve tried to make this recipe a couple times now, and each time it’s come out very dense. I tried mixing the batter as little as possible once I combined the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, but it still hasn’t turned out right. I bake pretty regularly but can’t seem to get this one right. Any other tips or suggestions I could try? I’d hate to give up on this recipe, as I LOVE your chocolate cake recipe and that one has come out perfect every time I’ve made it. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Kellie,
      If it is too dense can either be from over mixing, or difference in flour. White Lily flour is a softer and lighter texture flour than most others. Hope this helps.
      I’m happy you enjoy the chocolate cake recipe!
      Thanks so much!

    2. I made this and turned out great. Have you tried sifting flour before measuring? And Lilly’s flour works best for my baking needs!

  14. I was really hoping to find a good yellow cake recipe and while the flavour was decent, the end cake result was disappointing. I kept it in the oven for 38 minutes, but got paranoid so I took it out. it turned out to be very custard or poundcake-like. I was disappointed that I had messed up so badly, though I couldn’t think of what I did wrong. I only wish I had read the comments beforehand. Seeing as so many people have had the same problems as I had made me realize that there’s some fault in the recipe (my mum thinks too much buttermilk)

  15. Hi! Like some of the other commenters, I used two 8in round pans, and the cake took over 50mins to bake through. It came out delicious in the end, but I’m surprised about the wildly different baking times. Any thoughts? (Just for the record, I don’t live at a high altitude, and my oven temperature seems decently calibrated.) Aside from the long baking time, it was a great recipe, thanks! Cake was very well received!

  16. I tried this recipe tonight using a springform pan. I did end up baking longer (50 minutes) but this is a great recipe. I almost didn’t frost it because the cake was do darned pretty. I eventually did opt for the Unfrosting, Makes frosting method. DELISH!

  17. I made this cake today and it was super moist! I found it to be too sweet to put icing on, so I think I will reduce the sugar. However it was sticky, so much that it stuck to the pans. Any tips besides using parchment? I did grease and flour the pan. I will try this recipe again, with some tweaks.

    1. Hi Jasmine,
      I would just say that if you greased and floured the cake pans well, then make sure to finish cooling the cake on a wire rack, after cooling for designated time in the pan. I hope this helps. Thanks!

  18. I have made quite a few different yellow cake recipes, and yours was the best I have tried. I made it for my daughter’s birthday party, and several people asked for the recipe. I used Gold Medal unbleached flour, being careful to measure lightly. In my oven with thermometer, it took 30 min in two 9″ rounds for a toothpick to come out clean and cake to spring back. The top was pale in color, but the sides and bottom were well-browned. The texture was moist and delicious. I have also made your easy chocolate cake, which was amazing! I am excited to try more of your wonderful recipes! Thank you so much.

    1. I’m so happy to hear this, Sarah! We love this cake and I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed it! I’m so glad you’ve found other recipes to try and hope that you enjoy them all! Wonderful to hear from you, Sarah! Thanks so much! xo

  19. I’ve made this recipe multiple times since it’s been posted and it turns out perfectly every single time. I’m a “Bundt” enthusiast so I just have to keep it in a little longer. I also add about a 1/4 c of sour cream and it’s sooo moist. Thanks for the great recipe!

  20. well I know I’m not much of a baker but this cake was a disaster for me.  I baked it in a 9×13 NEW CAKE pan and it came out flat as a pancake!  the top never browned however, the bottom almost was burnt – when I place a toothpick into middle of cake it came out dry (baked for 35 min @ 350 degrees).  After letting it cool for 15 minutes, I cut into it and it was not done!  ECCK!

    where did I go wrong – won’t do this again, time, effot and expense!  Diasppointing at least!

    1. Hi Alyce,
      I’m so sorry it didn’t work for you. I would recommend not making this as a 9×13 cake, but making it as the layer cake described. xo

  21. I have made this cake three times each time came out perfect the seceret is to cream the sugar and butter if directions are followed cake comes out great, and I don’t use buttermilk. Thanks for this receipe

  22. I made a 3 layer 9 inch cake with this recipe and it came out perfectly! Wonderful flavor and texture! The layers were done at 25 minutes. I did not have any problems with the middle not setting. This will be my”go to” yellow cake recipe from now on. 

  23. I absolutely love this recipe I’ve made many birthday cakes and cupcakes all with the chocolate buttercream frosting. I haven’t had anyone that doesn’t devour it up. I’m going to attempt to use this recipe for my “cake” in my pineapple upside down cake. Can’t wait for the results.

  24. I made this and the Best Chocolate Cake for the men’s shelter today. My husband’s group goes there once month to feed the guys. I regularly make your Best Chocolate Cake, everyone loves it. Today was the first time making the Yellow Cake. I asked him to tell me how it tasted. He said, “Yeah, you can make that for me anytime.” It was a hit!

  25. Baked this cake for my wife’s 72 birthday plus the perfect chocolate buttercream frosting. The recipe is her fav and Wow, like Home Runs and Touchdowns, as name implies “Perfection “. Even I, as a diabetic type 1 had to have 2 pieces! Do you have any guess about nutritional content? Thank you!

  26. I tried this recipe a couple of years ago and it didn’t turn out for me. Your white cake was fine. Yesterday I decided to try it again. After reading a number of reviews which was about what happened to me I tried it in a 9×13 pan with parchment it rose fine after 38 minutes the top cracked in about 3 or 4 places the stick looked done but where it was cracked looked wet and doughy 10 more minutes then changed to convection for 5 more. Taste great with strawberries and homemade cool whip would also be good with chocolate butter cream icing. I don’t profess to be a professional I’ve been baking since 2013 mainly Coconut Cream Pies and Dream Horns from scratch so if can make this cake anyone can. Oh I’ve tried some of your other recipes which I liked real well.

  27. Best cake ever used 13×9 pan had to cook an extra 15 min but I’m in the deep south my flour is always a bit wetter with the humidity.
    so soft fluffy and moist this is my new go to yellow cake recipe all the others I have tried are dry.
    So happy thank you my niece requested a butter cream frosting I could have eaten it with nothing like a pound cake.

  28. Success! After reading about the various issues that people had with this recipe, I took a leap of faith and tried it anyway. And I’m glad that I did because it was delicious. 
    – I used two 9” cake pans that I bought recently. They are made by Nordic Ware and have higher sides than typical round cake pans, so there was no issue with batter spilling over into the oven.  
    – I had extra large eggs, so I reduced the number of whole eggs by one – 3 whole eggs and 2 yolks. 
    – The recipe says to stir the dry ingredients together, but I sifted them. This does a better job of aerating the flour and distributes the salt and baking powder more evenly. 
    – I used buttermilk as called for, but was careful to make sure that it was well shaken. I shook it before pouring out the first cup and adding it to the batter and then shook the bottle again before pouring out the second cup. 
    – I was surprised at the number of comments complaining about the cake being dense, which is exactly why I wanted to make it in the first place! If you look at the picture of the cake slice you can see that this is a finely textured cake with few, if any, air pockets. This is as it should be since you are not beating the batter, but stirring it. The resulting batter was thick, just as I had anticipated, and the resulting cake dense but not tough. 
    – I did have to bake the layers for 50 minutes, but did not have a problem with the bottom or sides over cooking. However, I was disappointed that the tops of the layers didn’t brown nicely, but since I was frosting this cake so it really didn’t matter. 

  29. I have been making this cake for a while with your recipe and it has always come out moist, delicious and it doesn’t over rise, it gives me perfect layers for my cakes!  I am actually using your recipe to make a cake for a VIP customer this weekend (www.sugarbread.net/blog) to see who I make it for, but your cake turned out amazing!! I have developed recipes before and I know how long it takes and the time involved so thank you so much for taking the time to do this for us and sharing the fruits of your labor with us!! I think when people measure correctly get their ingredients to room temp, make sure they have fresh ingredients and don’t over mix like most recipes this will come out spectacular!  Thanks again!!

  30. ??? This is just a general question. How do you determine the amount of batter needed for different size pans. Example; Your Yellow Cake recipe is for 2 9″ pans, but I would like to use it for a 11×15 (I think thats my pan size) sheet pan. Is there a chart that helps with ingredients to calculate how many cups of batter it will make for various size pans. Sorry, I’m a novice baker and still learning. I will post pics in a couple of weeks

    1. Hi Sheron,
      I think you could use this recipe for a wedding cake. I know several people, including a pastry chef, have used my Best White Cake (Ever) recipe for wedding cakes if this one does not work as you want it to. My advice is to do a trial run and make the cake just as the layer cake to see how it works for you before making as the wedding cake. Hope this helps!

      1. I’ve used this recipe twice now. My household absolutely loves it!! So yummy and moist! And holds up well for a few days; well, I think 3 is the longest it’s lasted in the house so far. 😀 Thank you!! This has quickly become a staple recipe for birthdays in our house.

  31. Served this cake tonight for sweet granddaughter’s 7th birthday – to rave reviews!! Here’s what worked for me: (1) butter & eggs at room temperature. Always. (no microwave cheating; results will disappoint) (2) used stand mixer with beater attachment for mixing as per directions through the point where eggs are incorporated (3) at the point where flour & buttermilk are added, STIR with a rubber spatula; DO NOT BEAT (4) I subbed 1/2 cup of sour cream in place of that much buttermilk (5) I cooked part of the batter in mini springform pans & part in tin cupcake liners. Watch for slight browning & pulling away at edges, but top of cake will be light in color when done. No need to over-bake. It came out perfectly! Iced with cream-cheese based buttercream frosting with almond extract & filled layers with homemade strawberry jam (YUM). Topped cupcakes with a single raspberry. LOVELY! Making this my go-to recipe for all future birthday cakes!! THANK YOU! Good luck, fellow bakers!

  32. If you make this recipe as is but for cupcakes, would you reduce the oven temp to 325 & about how many cupcakes would it yield? Thanks!

  33. This was a huge success for me, and I’m not a baker. I substituted brown sugar for white because I was going for more of a caramel cake. 30 minutes exactly in the oven, and it came out maybe a little less dense than the pictures show, but still moist. I frosted with a whipped grenache I made with a bag of chocolate chips and a bag of peanut butter chips and a pint of heavy cream. The combination is indescribable, nothing like you’d imagine. This cake was a big hit and will be my go-to from now on. Thanks!

  34. 1st from scratch cake that my 16 yr old granddaughter made. I had her measure out exactly what was needed and follow the recipe. It came out perfectly!! She made 3 (8 in) layers , 1 layer was eaten before it finished cooking!!! She made it a second time and now considers herself an ‘expert yellow cake baker’ . Thank you for such a great recipe

    1. Oh, what a sweet memory for you and your granddaughter. I always loved being in the kitchen with my grandmother. It sounds like she deserves her title. Thank you, Terri.

  35. This was such a delightful surprise! It was a very heavy batter and I was afraid that I had over baked it, but it turned out so well. So moist and dense and absolutely one that will be my birthday cake go-to. I already use the Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting for just about all my cakes. Thank you for this recipe. I think the key is buttermilk.

  36. A hugh fan of this cake!! Making this for my mother in law’s 85th birthday tomorrow.
    This is one of her favorite cakes on this site! Thanks Robyn. 🎂🎉🥳

  37. Robyn,

    I had the best caramel buttercream frosting in Detroit Michigan and I was trying to duplicate it. Do you have any ideas on making this?

  38. I’m sorry if someone has already asked this… but I’m going to make this recipe in cupcake form for my boyfriend’s birthday. If I want to make 12 cupcakes – do you suggest halving the ingredients? Also how long do you think they’d need in the oven? Thank you!!

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