Perfect Yellow Cake

Well, the day is finally here. As many of you know, I’ve been on a quest to perfect the best yellow cake on the planet. And this is it. I’m sitting here wondering why the earth hasn’t stopped moving or why the President has called me personally yet (actually, scratch that, I’d rather have a call from Bobby Flay). I mean, this is a big day. Monumental, some would say. But probably only if they are a total baking nerd like me. So yeah, I’ll stop waiting around for any phone calls. While this post is a bit involved (I couldn’t help but share the testing results with you!), the truth is, the actual cake recipe is super simple so don’t let the explanations scare you. If you follow the recommendations thoroughly, you’ll end up with the fluffiest, most delicious yellow cake ever.

Perfect Yellow Cake


Many of you were shocked when I said I was on version #16 or something like that. Lemmetellyousomething: the perfect yellow cake didn’t just fall into my hands easily like I thought it would and I knew I couldn’t give you just an okay yellow cake. It took a ton of testing and my family and I have eaten more yellow cake in the last couple months than is probably legal. For some reason, yellow cake is a bit fussier to get just.right then, say, chocolate cake (my most beloved recipe for chocolate cake is a one-bowl recipe where you basically throw everything together without room temperaturing anything and it comes out completely divine).

I’ve been amused by all of you who have left comments and emailed me about what on earth I’ve done with all 16+ yellow cakes; apparently this is a source of much concern. There were two or three variations that honestly were inedible (either burned or so dry, even my toddler couldn’t choke them down). The others have been widely shared with friends and company and I even have a few unfrosted layers hanging out in my freezer for when we get the hankering to crumble it up and toss it on some ice cream. So rest your weary minds: the yellow cakes were well taken care of and devoured, although I don’t think anyone in my family will be requesting a yellow cake for his/her birthday for a long time. We are a little yellow-caked out.

Perfect Yellow Cake

I’d Be Lost Without Them

A special, super, huge thank you to two very important people (I kind of feel like I’m giving an acceptance speech at The National Convention for Perfect Yellow Cakes here): Nicole, a wonderful friend of mine, was the one who finally gave me the insight I needed for the last step in perfecting this cake (a huge blessing because I didn’t know if I honestly had another yellow cake in me and her advice resulted in the.perfect.cake) and Lisa, sweetest sweetie ever, who willingly tested this cake for me (multiple times) in order to provide all you high altitude dwellers with essential tips for success. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The Evolution of Testing the Perfect Yellow Cake

When I first set out to perfect the almighty yellow cake, I started with three recipes popular online (David’s Yellow Cake from, Deb’s yellow birthday cake from and Cook’s Illustrated Yellow Layer Cake). I made each of them as is. While I am a fan of each of these sites and resources, respectively, the cakes were all lacking to me. David’s Yellow Cake was a little dry with kind of a weird, spongy texture, the cake from Smitten Kitchen was reminiscent of cornbread and the Cook’s Illustrated yellow cake was by far the driest of them all.

I set about modifying ingredients and amounts and methods and while someone smarter than I probably could have pared the testing down to just a couple of cakes, what can I say, it took me a while.

For all of you interested in the ins and outs of testing, I’ve included probably more details than anyone wants below the recipe. If you don’t give a hoot (don’t worry, I still love you), the recipe is below just waiting for you to make it.

Perfect Yellow Cake

P.S. If you are wondering, that adorable little cake stand in a few of the pictures is from Rita Marie Weddings. The Audrey – Regular Size and I love, love, love it. Dana, owner of Rita Marie, sent it to me ages ago and I’ve been using it like crazy during the Yellow Cake Experiment.

One Year AgoSix Recipes the World Forgot {Part 3}
Two Years Ago: Paprika Chicken Stroganoff
Three Years Ago: Naan – Indian Flatbread

Perfected Yellow Cake

Yield: Makes two 9-inch layers or three 8-inch layers

Perfected Yellow Cake

Please read below the recipe for information on specific ingredients. I made and tested this cake over 16 times and have fine-tuned the ingredients and the methods. That isn't to say you aren't welcome to substitute and change, but in my yellow cake experience, this match up creates yellow cake perfection (substituting all-purpose flour, using cold eggs/milk, overly greasy soft butter, and a multitude of other factors can result in a dense, dry cake).

If you are making your own cake flour using one of the two simple methods I posted about, don't worry about making one cup of cake flour at a time, instead, use 210 grams all-purpose flour and 45 grams cornstarch; sift twice. Then add the other dry ingredients and sift once more.

For high altitude, add an additional 2 1/2 tablespoons cake flour before sifting (that would be about 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch if using a homemade cake flour substitute).

Update: I've heard from several of you that while the cake tastes amazing, it is sinking in the middle or is baking flat. I can't analyze the why's too much because it will make my head pop off since I dedicated months of my life to this cake anyway. When I had too much leavening in the cake (2 teaspoons baking powder + 1 1/2 teaspoons soda), the cake rose too much in the oven and then deflated so I scaled it back to what worked perfectly for me. But here's the deal, if you are worried about sunken layers, increase the baking soda. My suggestion would be 1/2 or 3/4 teaspoon.


  • 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (13 ounces, 368 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour, lightly measured (9 ounces, 255 grams), see note for high altitude adjustments
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (see note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk (1% or above), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (light or regular), room temperature


  1. To prep, whisk together the milk and sour cream together in a liquid measure and let come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and make sure an oven rack is placed in the middle of the oven.
  3. In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer or with a handheld electric mixer, whip the butter on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and beat for 4-5 minutes on medium speed. Mix in the vanilla.
  4. One at a time, add the eggs and egg yolks, mixing just until combined in between additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Combine the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift them together through a fine mesh strainer.
  6. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add 1/2 of the milk/sour cream mixture and mix. Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, mixing just until combined. Add the last 1/2 of the milk/sour cream mixture and beat until just combined. Add the final 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Give the batter one good, final stir with the rubber spatula.
  7. Grease the cake pans and line the bottoms with a parchment round. Grease the parchment and sides of the pan again very well. I use regular cooking spray but you can also use butter or cooking spray with flour. If your cake pans tend to cause sticking, consider also flouring the pans.
  8. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Drop each pan from about 3-inches onto the counter to minimize air bubbles while baking.
  9. Bake for 25-28 minutes (high altitude: 28-30 minutes) until lightly golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Resist the urge to open and close the oven to check on the cake - this can cause the center of the cake to fall and never recover. And as with all cakes, don't overbake or the cake will be dry.
  10. Let the cakes rest in the pans for 5-10 minutes before gently turning them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Ok, let’s talk…

I’ve jotted down all the details of why the type of ingredients/method matters for this cake. Read on, read on!

the butter

I’ve mentioned it before, but I rarely use unsalted butter. I tested this cake with both unsalted and salted and adjusted the salt amount accordingly. In the end, there wasn’t a difference in outcome, so I stuck with my go-to: salted butter. I use the Land o’ Lakes brand mostly (sometimes the Sam’s Club brand). If you want to use unsalted butter, increase the salt to 1 teaspoon. Also, butter temperature really matters. It should be soft enough to gently slide a finger through with a bit of pressure but not sludgy, greasy or overly soft. The time I accidentally used overly soft butter (uh, it somehow stayed on the counter for, like, 12 hours because even though I love baking, my five kids still take precedence over making a yellow cake), it resulted in a greasy, weirdly spongy cake. I did not test this cake with margarine, coconut oil, shortening or the like so you’ll have to experiment with those if desired. Also, whipping that butter for a good 1-2 minutes is extra important. And beating the heck out of it and the sugar for another 4-5 is non-negotiable. Doing this creates air which helps create fluffiness in the baked cake. The cake(s) that I tested where the butter was minimally whipped were not nearly as fluffy. And fluffy = greatness.

the eggs

I know, I know. Using room temperature eggs is a total pain in the behind. I’m right there with you! I hate recipes that require it. And so when I first started testing cakes, I refused to do it. And my cakes were looking like this:

fallen cake

So I crumbled, no pun intended, and used room temperature eggs the next time I made a cake and the difference was remarkable. Light and fluffy where before the cake was slightly dense and a bit crumbly. There may have been other factors at play, but as I messed around with the recipe, it was very, very clear that room temperature eggs are important. If you are like me and often forget to plan in advance, don’t fret – place those chilled eggs in a bowl or liquid measure filled with very slightly warm water for 15-ish minutes and you’ll be good to go.

Speaking of the eggs, it was my friend, Nicole (as mentioned above in the post), who encouraged me to scale down the whole eggs from four to three and add an egg yolk or two to replace the missing whole egg – two egg yolks managed to be the perfect answer. Egg whites add structure but can take away moisture from baked goods, hence the three whole eggs + two egg yolks in the recipe. Don’t be like me and get tempted to sub a whole egg for the two egg yolks. You’ll get a pretty decent cake but not a fantastic, best-ever cake. Know what I mean? I was quite in awe of the difference two egg yolks made. However, when I used all egg yolks and no whites, the cake was slightly gummy and not as fluffer-fluffy as I wanted.

milk + sour cream

I was sure that plain old milk was the only liquid I needed in my cake. At about cake #10, I was fairly positive it needed to be one cup of whole milk, even though the thought made me cringe since I never have whole milk on hand. However, I knew perfection was the goal so I put my whole milk annoyances behind me and moved on…until my friend Nicole (yes, she’s brilliant and I want to be her when I grow up), helping me troubleshoot my cake conundrums, suggested that a bit of acid in the recipe would create the tenderness I was after. I was befuddled why I was getting a really, really good cake that was still just so, very slightly dry. In the end, it wasn’t necessarily dryness but a lack of tenderness I was noticing. And the adjustment of sour cream to compensate for the reduced milk did just the trick (plus adding baking soda in for the acidity in combination with the already present baking powder, which took a couple rounds because I misjudged the amount of baking soda at first and there was so much leavening power in the cake that it sank in the middle…badly…however, once the baking powder and soda were adjusted accordingly, the cake was magnificent). The real plus was that after I added sour cream, I used 1% milk instead of whole without sacrificing any moisture or tenderness.

weighed flour

As much as my heart wanted a fabulous yellow cake without having to use cake flour, it didn’t happen. The cakes I made with all-purpose flour were dry and dense with a much coarser crumb, slightly reminiscent of dry cornbread. And uh, I don’t want cake that tastes like dry cornbread. Cake flour is lower protein than all-purpose flour and also has a finer texture (thanks to the starch in it) which results in a much finer crumb in a baked cake. The good news is that even though the recipe requires cake flour, you can make your own (my kitchen tip from yesterday gives you two super easy methods). If you have a kitchen scale, use it. You’ll get very precise results. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, buy one. Ok, just joking. Kind of. I know not everyone can do that (but you should really put it on your wish list). If you are measuring using cups, measure with a light hand. Spoon the cake flour into the cup and gently level off with a flat edge.

For this recipe, if you are making your own cake flour, don’t mess with making one cup at a time, instead, I’ve done the math for you: you’ll need 210 grams of all-purpose flour and 45 grams of cornstarch. Sift it twice. Then add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and sift once more. Make sense?

Also, for high altitude, I’ve got your back. Ok, actually, my friend, Lisa, has your back. She tested this recipe for me – she lives at 5,400 feet elevation. She made the cake twice, the first time it fell significantly. She added an additional 2 1/2 tablespoons cake flour (if using a homemade cake flour substitute, that would be about 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch) and the cake baked up perfectly (along with a slight increase in baking time and buttering the heck out of the pans).

sift the flour

This sifting action, called for in the recipe, is in addition to any sifting you may have done if you are making your own cake flour. You don’t need to sift twice, just give the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda a quick sift through a fine mesh strainer. This was one of the last variables to add to the recipe. The last few cakes I made were so good. But just not quite there. I should have considered sifting earlier on, but again, I was trying to minimize fussiness. Once I sifted the dry ingredients prior to incorporating into the batter, the results were far superior – lighter and fluffier (let’s see how many times I can use those two descriptors in this post).

the batter

Ah, the gorgeous batter. It may look just slightly curdled and that’s ok. Spread it evenly in the pan (hasn’t been done in the picture, just so you know – don’t leave your batter lumped up like that) and give it a quick tap or light drop on the counter. When I didn’t do this, there were significant air bubbles in the baked cake. You don’t want to drop it from the rooftop like a crazy egg-drop challenge and you don’t need to tap more than once, just a quick light drop will suffice. I only ever baked the cake in two 9-inch pans to keep testing criteria similar, however, I think it could also be made in three 8-inch pans. Cupcakes and sheet cakes will have to be an experiment until someone reports back. I have them on my radar also, but it may be a little while before I actually try them.

As for the cake pans, significant greasing (with butter and cooking spray and possibly flour, too) is needed for the cake not to stick. I also line the bottom of the greased pan with a parchment round that I’ve cut out and then grease the top of it. My magic number for baking was right at 27 minutes; however, keep in mind that all ovens vary slightly. Lisa, my awesome friend who tested high altitude baking for me, needed more like 30 minutes for her cakes (she made the recipe twice).

Phew! I’m tired! If you made it this far, you seriously deserve a big huge kitchen nerd award (from one baking nerd to another).

Now, the big question…

What should I perfect next?

518 Responses to Perfected Yellow Cake

  1. Michelle Feuer says:

    I have been making the same chocolate birthday cake for 14 years until suddenly this year my youngest (7-year-old) announced that she doesn’t like chocolate anymore (where did I go wrong!?) and she wants a white cake with white frosting. Spent about 2 hours reading and dithering on the internet until I decided to go with this cake. Followed your instructions to the T and it came out amazing! First time making a yellow cake and it came out soooo delicious. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain everything and in such detail!

  2. Amber says:

    I bake.. a LOT so not like I’m unfamiliar with the kitchen. wanted to try something different for my son’s birthday. Added the extra soda and the cake didn’t fall or anything.. looked quite nice but defintly not a high rising cake. Just letting ya’ll no that in my opinion ithat is closer to a pound cake. Very very dense.

  3. Adrienne says:

    Mel- I’m thinking of baking up the layers for this cake today but I don’t need it until Sunday (busy weekend though). Could I bake it and freeze the layers, and then just pull them out Sunday and frost it fresh?

  4. ed says:

    I have also been trying to perfect a yellow cake recipe and thought I had a good one. It uses double the flour and double the milk, same sugar, same eggs. Your recipe is definitely fluffier. I am curious, you use 1/2 S sour cream and 1/2 milk, where did you get when using all buttermilk? I would think the acid level and texture would be similar.
    Have you engaged in a similar experiment for icings? I have been trying to perfect vanilla and chocolate buttercreams. I have found that different shortenings provide different results. For vanilla, I find CK high yield provides a better flavor than sweetex. I am at a out 2/3 butter to shortening. For chocolate, I find the sweetex is better, as the flavor is more neutral. However, I am having a very hard time with a choc buttercream recipe. I have upgraded to Valhrona cocoa, but cant seem to get the right balance of sweet to chocolate to texture. I am at about 1.25x sugar to fat. Any suggestions? want to trade notes? I too have made about a dozen cakes/icings the past couple months. Feel free to email me. Thanks

    • Gina says:

      Do you think you can add instant pudding to ensue it’s moist?

      • Mel says:

        I haven’t tried that…you could definitely experiment, though. 🙂

        • Gina says:

          One other question, do you think this would hold up with a 3 layer cake with buttercream frosting? Wasn’t sure if it would hold up good or not.. also, I tried this recipe this weekend in cupcakes and oh my goodness, AMAZING!!! Thank you for a great go to recipe. They were a hit!

        • Mel says:

          Yes, I think it would work jut fine as a three layer cake!

  5. Rosemary Nasralla says:

    Thank you thank you thank you I! For two decades I have attempted to duplicate a yellow cake that I ate while living in Jamaica that had a wonderful sturdy body but a special open crumb which gave it lightness. The cake had been prepared by a non-measuring baker who did all the mixing by hand. i just never have been able to create it UNTIL NOW!
    with this perfect yellow cake!! I baked your recipe with all organic ingredients (except corn starch which is non-GMO) in a 9 x 13 for 30 minutes. I will not even frost this one, just serve with some chocolate ice cream to my family.
    I am so grateful to you for allowing me to end my search!

  6. bam says:

    Taste good but the texture is like corn bread.

  7. Anna says:

    Wow! Like, Oh. My. Gawd!!! I am super particular about cakes and if it doesn’t meet my standards the first time, it’s dead to me. This cake turned out better than I could have imagined! I’ve tried SO many yellow cake recipes over the years, and I’ve always been disappointed due to density and dryness. I even had myself convinced that boxed yellow cake mix was the way to go, which is embarrassing to admit because I’m a full-blown, homemade kinda girl. I made this cake earlier today and followed the instructions exactly and it produced the most perfect, tender, moist, flavorful yellow cake I’ve EVER tried. I will be putting this recipe down as my go-to yellow cake recipe! Also, I’m a registered dietitian and totally LOVE food science, so reading your blog was a blast! I loved your story of what worked and what didn’t and why! A thousand kudos to you for working so diligently so the rest of us can simply pull a card from the recipe box and have a masterpiece every time! Thank you!!! <3

  8. JulieK says:

    If you are making three 8-inch layers, what would be the baking time?

    • Mel says:

      Probably just a few minutes less than the recipe states – each oven differs in exact temperature so check closely so the cake doesn’t overbake.

  9. JoAngela says:

    I just tried this recipe and my cake came out AWESOME!! I have been on the hunt for the perfect layer cake recipe from scratch. One failed attempt after another had me so discouraged. I stumbled upon this recipe and decided I’ve it shot. It came out exceptionally well. Unbelievably moist and tasty. Family is giving it 2 thumbs up!! Thanks for sharing and for all the tips and explanations for each step.

  10. Kathy M says:

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing all of your trials and lessons learned. Yellow cake is my favorite, and before today, I’d only attempted to make it once…to a disastrous end, so I’ve been too nervous to try it again (since I only tend to bake when we’re having company). But due a family request, I decided to give it another try today…and thanks to you (pretty sure it was not letting eggs come to room temp that did me in before), I now have no fear and the best recipe I could ever hope for! Sooooo delicious! Thanks!

  11. Monica says:

    This cake is moist and very tasty. I will stop looking. thank you so much for all of your research. too delicious. ThAnka Mel!!!

  12. Ashley P. says:

    I made this the other night and it turned out perfect! I had to sub plain yogurt for the sour cream and it still turned out great. Thanks!

  13. Meg says:

    This cake turned out perfect! It took forever to bake and was very brown on top, but the taste was amazing! I added a lot of raspberry jam to the batter to make it raspberry cake. I used whipped cream frosting instead of chocolate. It turned out great!

  14. Angie says:

    How do you think I should adjust this if I am making a rectangular sheet cake?

  15. Rich says:

    Quite possibly the best yellow cake I ever made. The layers were near perfect. Thanks
    The Naked Baker.

  16. Jill says:

    I made this cake today and it was delicious, thanks for a great recipe.

  17. kati says:

    This cake was too sweet. I should of gone with my instinct and cut the sugar down to one cup. If you don’t like sugary desserts I would cut the sugar almost by half

  18. Sandi Edelson says:

    Hi Mel,
    Do you ever put your granulated sugar in a food processor to make this cake, so that the sugar is finer?

  19. Sarah says:

    I’ve only left comments on blog recipes a few times in my life. This recipe definitely deserves it! This yellow cake is indeed perfection. My daughter always requests a yellow cake for her birthday, and every year I try a different recipe that leaves a lot to be desired…though she doesn’t care 🙂 This year I felt that the cake was so good, that it was almost a shame to frost it! I used your chocolate buttercream frosting which was lovely, but I think I’ll go with vanilla buttercream or white frosting next time so the cake’s incredible taste can come through. It really is so good that it doesn’t *need* frosting and I’m thinking of making it as a sheet cake and serving with whipped cream and berries in the near future…Thank you for taking the time and effort to create this masterpiece!

  20. TONYA says:

    Wonderful cake. Used 1/2 tsp. Of baking soda. Baked for 10 minutes longer. Followed everything else. I was looking for a great yellow cake recipe. Thanks!!!

  21. Brittany Woodstock says:

    How many cups of batter does this make? I’m trying to figure out how many batches to make for this wedding cake I’m making and need to go buy the right amount of supplies.

    • Mel says:

      I’ve never measured the exact cup amount (for total batter) but just adding up ingredients, it’s probably right around 6.5 to 7 cups.

  22. Jessa says:

    A few mods:
    1) separate yolk from white, add yolk to batter when recipe says but then beat the whites into fluff and fold in as your last step in batter construction.

    2) NEVER bake a cake at 350. This is cake suicide… i preheated to 335 and left em go for 25 minutes never opening the oven. After that, knock it back to 300 and bake BY EYE. if you start to see any harsh browning (which you shouldn’t at that temp) just set a piece of LIGHTLY greased foil or parchment paper on top to deflect the dry heat. if you give a shimmy and see NO movement pull them IMMEDIATELY it might be too late.
    3) Toothpick inserted should come out WITH some moist crum. clean toothpick=dry cake. add moisture back to it with a misting of simple syrup.

  23. Cinnamon says:

    I see that you say others have reported back about cupcakes, but I cannot seem to find those comments. I have looked multiple times. I am planning on making cupcakes from this later this week and would like to know that they turned out good for others. If not, maybe someone could point me to a good yellow cupcake recipe? 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Here are a few of the comments that have made cupcakes:

      This was the first time I ever baked a cake from scratch and it turned out delicious…I made cupcakes with the recipe and I followed the directions to the T. On my first batch of cupcakes, I filled the cupcakes with too much batter, the middle sank in, and the edges were sugary/crystalized, sort of like creme brulee — “which was actually a yummy twist”. They were still yummy and my fiance loved it.The second batch, I filled perfectly with batter, the middle didnt sink in, and I haven’t tasted them to know if the edges are crystalized – it doesnt look like it though! . The next time I use this recipe, I will bake it in a cake pan. Thanks for the recipe!

      I have made this cake 3 times now. It is delicious. I even made cupcakes using the same batter (17 min cook time). Thanks for your hard work to find the perfect recipe.

  24. Lisa says:

    I followed the recipe exactly but the cake was not done at 30 minutes. I’m at an hour now and ended up raising the temp for high alt according to another article that said higher heat, not longer time. But it’s still not done. I’m at 5000 ft but I thought this was a high alt recipe so no clue what I did wrong.

  25. Heather says:

    If I use the whole milk can I skip the sour cream and still get great results? I always have whole milk on hand.

  26. sandi says:

    Hi again. Just noticed that the flour is stated as 9 ounces, which doesn’t equate to 2 & 1/4 cups. Wouldn’t it be more like 9 1/2 ounces??
    Usually, 1 cup equals 4.25 ounces.
    Please advise. Thanks

  27. Leah says:

    Well, to be honest, I’m still searching. Tried this out, followed everything to a “T”. I have baked about a million cakes in my lifetime, this one was just ok, certainly not perfect. Taste was very bland, cakes fell horribly HORRIBLY in the middle, Managed to salvage that with frosting, but then there’s a huge mound of frosting in the middle. Also, you state can be made for 2-9″ rounds or 3-8″? only enough batter for two 8″ and they turned out small and thin. If you’re looking for the “Perfect” yellow cake, keep on looking!

  28. Kathleen Rainear says:

    Did anyone ever use 9/13 pan. How long to bake?

    • Rosemary Nasralla says:

      Hi- I baked it today in a 9 x 13 shiny aluminum pan for 30 min. at 350. It was ‘just’ done at 30 min. It could have gone to maybe 32 and been just fine too.

  29. Angelica says:

    Thanks, Mel, for this delicious recipe! My husband said it tasted like Nilla Wafers and my kids and I couldn’t stop eating it! Used high altitude adjustments and it still sank a little but it was so good that I didn’t care what it looked like. This will be our yellow cake recipe from now on!

  30. Aliseea says:

    Hello. I was wondering if anyone had tried making cupcakes with this recipe yet? If so, how did it turn out? If not so great, what did you do to ‘perfect’ it?

  31. Ketz says:

    Mel, just wanted to say thank you so much for taking the time to perfect this recipe, I just made it this w/e and it is the best yellow cake I have ever had !
    The only changes I made were using greek yogurt instead of sour cream as I can’t find that easily where I live + adding a bit more salt as I used unsalted butter…
    The cake was delicious, fluffy, moist, tender…just Perfect =)

  32. Julie says:

    What is your recipe for the chocolate frosting? Did I miss the link somewhere? Thanks!

  33. Ketz says:

    Also, could you tell me how many sticks is a cup of butter ?
    Thanks !!

  34. Ketz says:

    Sorry, this may be a silly question but when you say “2 teaspoons vanilla”, is it vanilla extract ?

  35. kassie says:

    Have you had anyone experiment and double the recipe and try baking in a 12 by 18 sheet?

    • Mel says:

      I don’t recall anyone making it like that and reporting back yet, Kassie.

      • Sandi Edelson says:

        I just made your vanilla cake recipe as a 10″x 15″ sheet cake, using a Fat Daddio pan. It worked fine..
        I set my oven temperature to 340 degrees. Yes, 340 degrees.
        Used cake strips as an “insurance policy” to make sure it baked evenly.
        Stuck a flower nail in the center to further insure doneness in the center, however, I really don’t think it was needed.
        It was perfectly done in 36 minutes (which may vary depending on oven variables. Looks great!

        • Sandi Edelson says:

          Here’s a postscript with a question for Mel. I made this cake again, this time, using 9″ round pans and the texture was quite different than the sheetcake vesion. It was kind of “cornbread” like. Any thoughts on why the consistency was different than the nice close grained velvety cake I made last time?

        • Mel says:

          Hmmm, Sandi, that’s odd but it’s kind of intriguing to me. I wonder why the texture would have changed? To be honest, I don’t know, but let me do a little sleuthing and perhaps some experimenting and if I figure anything out, I’ll let you know.

        • sandi says:

          Oh! Another question regarding the flour. Perhaps your flour weight is based on using bleached cake flour which weighs a little less per cup than unbleached cake flour(as in King Arthur brand which weighs 4.25oz per cup!). Does this mean the recipe can be thrown off by not using bleached flour??

        • Mel says:

          No, I don’t use bleached flour. I use unbleached all-purpose flour – and for this recipe, I use it in combination with the cornstarch. There’s no real standard for what a cup of flour should weigh – Cook’s Illustrated (a highly reputed source) says 5 ounces whereas King Arthur Flour (another good resource) has it in the range of 4 ounces. And all that can change depending on the type of flour. For my own personal standard, I use 5 ounces per cup of unbleached all-purpose flour for recipes like cookies and things like that. This yellow cake recipe was tested and perfected using weight measures so I’d stick with that if you have a kitchen scale for a more reliable outcome. You can see for the overall weight of the cake flour, it’s less than 5 ounces per cup for this recipe. I wouldn’t get hung up on what the flour weight is based off of – I settled on the weight of the flour for this recipe based on how the cake turned out and not necessarily by the standards set by other recipes. Does that help?

        • Sandi says:

          Thanks. I appreciate your clarification on what flour you use. I only use King Arthur unbleached cake flour even though it’s more expensive than all purpose! I did adhere to the 9 ounce weight in your recipe and I always use a scale!

  36. Kathy Roberson says:

    I have made this cake several times, always as a sheet cake (that’s how my husband likes cake) and it has turned out perfectly every time! Also I used regular all-purpose flour every time.

  37. Bekah says:

    Thank you for all your hard work! What do you think about Greek yogurt instead of sour cream?

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t tried it with Greek yogurt but I believe others up in the comment thread have (sorry I can’t remember the specific details of how it came out).

  38. Marlo says:

    I love this cake and everyone loves it. But sometimes it comes out really dense. Please help!

  39. Marian C Greely says:

    I am successful with every cake I bake EXCEPT a yellow cake. A friend requested one for her birthday so I was stuck. I read over your wonderful, very detailed instructions & followed it perfectly, or so I thought. I haven’t even iced it yet. Your yummy chocolate buttercream is sitting on the counter waiting to be administered to my sad looking cake.
    I cooked it for 27 mins. The center had a nice crown though looked a little loose. The sides had pulled away & I didn’t want to overbake. After 10 minutes the middle of the cakes had collapsed. The sides stayed put. I really don’t want to fill the depression with buttercream. I’m going to vertically half the cake, build up the indentation with the other half. My friend will get a nice half of a cake.

    • Jessa says:

      350 is WAY too much dry heat for a delicate cake to handle. start off with 345 for 10 minutes. drop to 335 for next 10 minutes. < without opening the oven. after that, knock the heat back to 300 to finish and DO NOT STEP AWAY from the oven. cakes need to cook without drying out or browning too much. so lean on the low and slow side. lightly oil some foil or parchment and perch atop the cakes if need be.

  40. Ainsley says:

    I baked this yesterday as a trial run for my friend’s 25th birthday. I followed every instruction, except I baked it in a large copper heart pan (her birthday is also Valentine’s day). The texture was lovely, though a bit dry. I think that may have something to do with the large copper pan and possibly a minute too long in the oven. However, the taste was lacking depth. It somehow fell short of expectations. Maybe it needs more vanilla? I’m not sure. The batter was scrumptious, but once baked it lost some of its character. Perhaps it was the pan, but it was a lot of trouble to go through for my friend to declare it tastes like box mix.

  41. Patti says:

    This is the best yellow cake recipe! I have tried several recipes and was thinking that a from scratch yellow cake, that tasted good and was not dry, wasn’t possible. Thank you Mel.

  42. Morgan says:

    Would it be ok for me to make in a 9×13 instead of the cake pans? Have you tried it?

  43. valerie says:

    hello ,Mel I made the yellow cake and everyone loved it.But my guestion is why after 3days the cake start to get a litter dry and it was kept under a cake doom?

  44. johnny says:

    Mel – thank you for a great recipe. I’ve tried cook’s illustrated’s and smitten’s yellow layer cake as well and this one is clearly the best. do you prefer this chocolate frosting or your magical chocolate frosting? I used magical (with 5 oz of chocolate) and it was great but still not a perfect 10/10. The vanilla magical frosting is perfect, but the chocolate, in my book, can be better. I find the flavor of both vanilla and chocolate magical frosting to be similar to swiss buttercream. have you ever tried that?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Johnny – yes, I’ve tried Swiss buttercream and I agree that the magical frosting is similar in taste. I actually prefer the whipped chocolate frosting on my site for this yellow cake. It’s perfection (in my book).

  45. Melissa says:

    I made this cake today for my birthday. My brother literally licked his plate clean of the whipped chocolate buttercream. Turned out great! Thank you for the wonderful directions!

  46. Linda Ricker says:

    I made this cake yesterday for my granddaughter’s 23rd birthday. We had a small dinner party of six. It came out very nicely (baked for 33 minutes in an 8 inch round pan) and I iced it with chocolate creamed cheese butter frosting. Rick, tall, delicious, nice looking presentation. Thanks for the recipe and mixing instructions.

  47. Katy says:

    Made as directed but hafted recipe and put into 12 cupcake tins. Cooked 20 minutes. Turned out absolutely perfect. I covered with a cream cheese icing and sprinkles. Husband was so impressed.

  48. katie says:

    This is an amzaing recpie. i have tried so many cake recpies and htis is by far the best
    thank you for doing so much reasearch and saving us the pain!

    i never write on these things either so it realy left an imprint

  49. Mary says:

    I just made this cake for my son’s birthday and I can’t say enough about this recipe! This cake was absolutely delicious! The texture was perfect and it was moist and wonderful! This is the first yellow cake I found that is so delicious I would eat it without frosting. Thank you for this amazing recipe!

  50. Tameca says:

    I never comment on blogs but because your recipes absolutely ROCK I felt compelled to say thank you! I am trying to limit the amount of gmos and pesticides my family is exposed to in food at home and your cake recipe absolutely eliminates the need for Duncan Hines or any other boxed cake mix! I am able to use all organic products and the cake taste absolutely awesome! I have mad it two days in a row and they demolished it both days…..thanks for your hard work and creativity! Yo are appreciated!

  51. Kirsti says:

    I forgot to add that I added a couple of teaspoons of sprinkles to half of the batter for confetti cupcakes. Those turned out great, too!

  52. Kirsti says:

    Thanks for all the work you put in to this recipe. I used it to make cupcakes for my son’s birthday. I made the recipe EXACTLY like it reads (making my own cake flour as directed). It turned out so great that one the adults who got to have one wrote me a thank you note! She said that it was the most moist cupcake she could remember having in her 75 years. She asked for the recipe and I sent her to your website. Thanks again!

  53. Autumn says:

    So delicious!!! I made it as a sheet cake and it worked out great. It smelled so yummy while baking I had to eat a corner when it broke off lol. Thank you for sharing!!!

  54. Alison says:

    Thank you so much for working so hard and sharing your results. I have made this cake twice now, using 3 8-inch pans. The cake is so moist and very tasty. I have a question about the texture though. I’ve made other cakes that have a very small crumb, and they tend to be a little dry. Each time I’ve made this cake, the texture is similar to corn bread – a little heavy, with larger holes than I’d see in a yellow cake. Have you every had this result? Wondering if its the amount of baking powder? thanks for any advice you can give!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Alison – that’s a good question, I experimented greatly with the amount of leavening when I was working on this recipe and so I’d hate to mess around with it – having said that, you could certainly try playing with the baking powder amount to see if it gets a finer crumb.

  55. Amy says:

    Hi, I made this for my birthday and it was divine! I’m wondering if anyone has made this as a bundt cake? If so, how did it go? My in-laws are in town this week and I have a beautiful new bundt pan that I’d like to use so I thought I’d try this recipe with it.

    If anyone has any advice (updates to recipe, baking time, etc.), would love to hear them.

    Thank you!

  56. Jessica says:

    My cake collapsed. Now I am panicked to find time to make a cake for my 2 year old daughter’s birthday. This is the first negative thing I have ever written online but I have to warn others and save them from late night tears. Should have known seeing all the other comments and disclaimers.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jessica – I’m really sorry your cake didn’t work out. I know how frustrating that can be when you are down to the wire! I’m not sure what you mean by all the other comments and disclaimers – there are hundreds of unsolicited reviews for this recipe from people that have made it with great success (I’ve also made it dozens of times). I’m very sorry it didn’t work out for you!

  57. Meredith says:

    This came out just as you said – moist, light and fluffy. My search for the perfect yellow cake is finally over – thank you SO much. I was wondering if you have ever tried storing or refrigerating this cake in the fridge? And does it keep it’s texture? Thank you again!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Meredith – yes, I’ve stored the cake in the refrigerator. I think it does best served at room temperature so I try and take it out several hours before I want to serve it. As long as it is well-covered it does fine in the refrigerator.

  58. Margaret says:

    I’ve made this cake at least 5 times with great results! Thank you so much for putting all that time into perfecting the cake so the rest of us can reap the benefits of it. Have you ever used this recipe as a base-recipe for a lemon cake? It seems like it would be wonderful but I’m not quite sure how to approach it .

  59. Katzies says:

    This is indeed the perfect, moist, fluffy, yellow cake recipe I have ever tried baking. This is my go to cake now for my mocha nougat cake: yellow cake, creme patissiere, mocha italian meringue butter cream, and chopped peanut brittle. Thank you for going to the eleventh mile to figure it out!

  60. Akadia says:

    I made this recipe and was struck stupid by how good it was! Thank you for putting the dedication into perfecting it, and sharing it with the world! I had to make a sheet cake bc that was the only pan I had on hand, and so it had to bake closer to 40 minutes. But the results were fantastic! You have made me a yellow cake lover 🙂

  61. Nicole S says:

    I made this cake yesterday for a friend’s birthday and it was absolutely delicious! I took it out at 25 minutes, but I should have checked it a couple minutes earlier because it think it would have been done around 23 minutes.

  62. Candace says:

    I want to say thank you. I have made 4 yellow cakes with different recipes from different websites and they all turn out, well, different. From dry, to dense, to cornbread, to just plain yucky. The last one I made was good and fluffy but was still a little dry. I will deff be trying yours when this new cake is gone. I had almost given up but that doesn’t get you anywhere. Thanks again.

  63. Jennifer Corwin says:

    I just stumbled across your yellow cake recipe. You are a lady after my own heart! I can’t wait to read your blogs!

  64. Sarah says:

    I tried this cake and it was a huge FAIL – I tried to follow the instructions as closely as possible, and it came out an inedible MESS! The center totally collapsed, and the rest fell apart when I tried to frost it! (But it was starting to burn, so it wasn’t that I just didn’t bake it long enough?!) Trying to follow the directions so closely also caused it to take like 2 hours to make…biggest waste of time ever!
    Attempting this has possibly put me off baking for good!

  65. Angel says:

    Thank you thank you thank you! My husband is the most possible person to impress. He’s not rude or critical whatsoever, he is just stone faced like a throwback from a bygone era of men, and/or slightly high functioning on the autism spectrum (seriously I consider this a possibility, not being insensitive)…he would make an incredible spy because he is impossible to crack or excite. It was his birthday yesterday. I wanted to make him a cake from scratch, and a baker I am not, so of course his favorite cake would be the most challenging to conquer: yellow cake. I have major ADD, baking has always been a challenge for me as I tend to accidentally skip key directions and lose track of time. But I was determined to double up on my meds and take on this challenge once I found your magnum opus of a recipe.
    I made sure everything was good and room temped, although I see now you specifies not to leave the butter out overnight which I did do because I needed it that way for the buttercream recipe I used. Also, I mid read the directions just a little and added the dry ingredients before the milk/sour cream mixture, and I’m also not sure if I was supposed to be beating the batter with an electric mixer or only using a spatula ( I did the former ) but other than that I followed your instructions better than any in my life and although I haven’t naked a cake from scratch since I was 18 (11 yrs ago) my yellow birthday cake was a success! It was fluffy and even, moist yet airy, very cooperative as i stacked it into a 4 layer, 2 tier. I have a photo I don’t know how to show you. Thanks so much for all your hard work, you definitely perfected this recipe. I have a regular gas oven and live in Indiana, I ended up having to remove my cakes (I did one layer at a time) at the 22 min mark.
    Thanks again !

  66. Agolfman says:

    First, I want to say a huge thanks for your efforts on this recipe…#NailedIt!

    Made my wife this for her birthday this week and she (and the kids) were blown away. Made me look like I knew what I was doing, once I started sifting. I made the chocolate buttercream frosting as well, but doubled it to make sure the cake was sufficiently over the top, which it was.

    Looking forward to experimenting with some of your other recipes!

  67. Kim says:

    How long would you bake 2 8×8 square pans? I’ve previously followed the Wilton guide, and it suggests 40-45 minutes at 350. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      I’d probably start checking after about 32-34 minutes.

      • Kim says:

        Thanks! The first time I made this recipe, I made cupcakes, which were honestly the best cupcakes I’ve ever eaten. I made the square cake, and it was perfect. This will be a great birthday cake for my daughter. (I’m having a piece of my “test cake” for breakfast – after two days in a covered cake stand, it’s still very moist.) Great recipe!

  68. Melissa H. says:

    I too have tried my hand at baking some yellow cakes and I have to say yours has turned out the absolute best. I don’t normally comment but I had to say a big thank you for sharing your recipe with us! Thank you too for all the time and effort that you invested in perfecting it! I have to agree that using weight measurements made a tremendous difference! Your recipe was the answer to my prayer for a delicious yellow cake!

  69. Annie says:

    This really is perfect. It’s the perfect combination of fluffy but substantive, flavorful but not greasy. I followed your weight measurements instead of cup measurements, then I did a side by side comparison to see how close I was just measuring with the spoon and level off method and it was rather significant. If anyone has problems with this recipe, I would venture 90% of the time it’s due to inaccurate measuring. Kitchen scales for the win!

  70. Liz says:

    This cake is perfection. It was the first successful yellow cake I’ve ever made, after many that were like cornbread with frosting. I recently tried another from a blogger that I really trust (so I won’t name them), and it came out dry and sticking to the pans. Yellow cake is no joke! Making yours for the second time today–can’t wait to have it again. Thanks for making sixteen of these so we don’t have to!

    • Liz says:

      By the way, I made 1.5 times this recipe for two 9×13″ pans. Here are changed measurements for anyone who would like to do the same.

      1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
      2 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
      1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
      4 large eggs, room temperature
      4 large egg yolks, room temperature
      3 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons cake flour (6 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch + 3 cups (minus 1/2 tablespoon) all purpose flour
      2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
      3/8 teaspoon baking soda
      1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
      3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
      3/4 cup sour cream, room temperature

      Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350F. Mine were done at exactly 27 minutes.

  71. Rasta says:

    I just baked this cake yesterday and it came out great! The only thing I tweaked in the recipe was that I doubled the amount of vanilla in the batter. If I do it next time, I might try to make the cake flour with the combination of AP flour and cornstarch to try to avoid that somewhat metallic aftertaste of cake flour. Other than that (which didn’t seem to bother anyone but me), it was awesome!

    I frosted the cake with the Cook’s Illustrated Foolproof Chocolate Frosting (I used a combo of semi-sweet and dark chocolate). If you haven’t used that frosting before, I highly recommend it 🙂 .

  72. Jackie P says:

    This is a great recipe! Typically I am a terrible baker but I followed your steps and it actually came out great…a total first for me

  73. desireek90 says:

    I love this cake yummm

  74. Charae' says:

    This was the first time I ever baked a cake from scratch and it turned out delicious…I made cupcakes with the recipe and I followed the directions to the T. On my first batch of cupcakes, I filled the cupcakes with too much batter, the middle sank in, and the edges were sugary/crystalized, sort of like creme brulee — “which was actually a yummy twist”. They were still yummy and my fiance loved it.The second batch, I filled perfectly with batter, the middle didnt sink in, and I haven’t tasted them to know if the edges are crystalized – it doesnt look like it though! . The next time I use this recipe, I will bake it in a cake pan. Thanks for the recipe!

  75. Anise Salazar says:

    I made this cake today and boy! They were spetacular! The only thing i changed was that i used half butter and half oil, because a cake that dry out too fast after cutting is the biggest peeve of mine, and i understand that butter cakes tend to dry out too quickly after a cut. But other than that, your recipe is absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with novice bakers such as myself. I love yellow cake, but had such a hard time getting soft, fluffy tender crumb and one that rise well too. And your recipe and techniques definitely made that possible. Too bad i made it just for trying it out without anh occasion to share it wih, i already ate half of the pan in less than an hour. goodness!

  76. Bryce says:

    Hi! I am hoping to use this recipe for my Sister in Law’s Baby shower..! “Diner cake” is her all-time fav 🙂 I am making it into a taller layer cake, so I wanted to make sure you think it can handle the weight? It’ll probably be 5 layers tall (obviously I’ll need to make extra batter for this). I plan on making this on Thursday for her party on Saturday.

    What are your thoughts? Thank you!!

    • Mel says:

      Sounds like a fun plan! I haven’t made it at quite that scale but I think the cake is sturdy enough to handle the layers.

      • Bryce says:

        Awesome! Thank you!! And thank you for doing all the testing of cakes to find the perfect one! I’ll have to let you know how it turns out! 😀 -Bryce

  77. Abbey says:

    I’ve made this cake twice (I’m fourteen btw) and the first time it had amazing texture, but not quite that yellow cake favor I was going for. The second time I added about 2 teaspoons butter extract and it was fantastic, my family loved it. In case anyone was wondering plain Greek yogurt works great as a substitute for the sour cream (we didn’t have any).

  78. sewfarmgirl says:

    I appreciate the time and effort put into this cake. However, mine fell and was extremely greasy. I followed the recipe exactly and even added the recommended extra baking soda. Kind of disappointed, but I appreciate you sharing the recipe. Hope it works for others.

  79. Kate says:

    Thank you for all the time you spent testing yellow cake recipes! My son and I are researching yellow cake recipes, and we are anxious to begin trying a few, though we would like to limit the number, and your research will probably help us to do that. You said that you had tried Cook’s Illustrated…Cook’s Illustrated has two recipes:
    The first one listed has you fold in beaten egg whites, whereas the second one does not–it follows the “high ratio”/”two step” mixing method of coating all the dry ingredients with the fat, then adding the liquid in two stages . Which recipe did you try? (We’d like to stir clear of it since you said it was dry!) 🙂

    Also, with your recipe, did you every try buttermilk instead of the milk? (So that you were using buttermilk AND sour cream?) And did you ever experiment with beating the egg whites in separately? Or using the high-ratio method of mixing?


  80. jami says:

    Peach cobbler

  81. Shannon says:

    I love this post and I cannot wait to try this recipe today for my Mother-In-Law’s birthday! I was wondering, do you find it makes a difference when you use Cane vs. Beet Granulated Sugar? I know in my cookie recipe Beet Sugar gives me the desired texture where as Cane make it more crispy… What about with cakes? Thank you!!!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Shannon – I haven’t experimented with the differences between the two sugars. Generally I stick with regular, every day cane sugar.

  82. Sally says:

    I made this yesterday and it was wonderful! I did not change a thing. I frosted it with sweetened whipped cream and Fresh strawberries between the Layers and on top…perfect! Thanks Mel. 🙂

  83. Julie says:

    I’ve made this cake many times and it’s always a delicious yellow cake. When I did bake this cake in a 10 inch round, it turned spongy and the texture was strange. I tried it 3 times and the texture was the same…? I wish I knew why the texture was spongy…maybe I need a heating core? Even thought the texture was off, just adding a little frosting and this cake is still the BEST! Love your recipes Mel!

    • Mel says:

      That’s definitely odd, Julie. I haven’t baked it in larger pans but I’m guessing it has something to do with that and maybe if it’s baking unevenly. Sorry I’m not more help! If I ever get a chance to bake it in a larger pan, I’ll check back in with my results.

  84. Roopa says:


    I am going to bake the cake for my son’s first cake smash and yes it didn’t get time to try it out beforehand. Fingers crossed!!! No retrys have to get it right.

    Couple of questions:
    I need a small cake so can I bake it in Pyrex glass. Any tips?
    I have brown granulated sugar. Will that make a difference to the color or texture of the cake?
    Previously when bake the sugar didnt melt or dissolve when whipped with butter. Is that expected? Will it make a difference.

    Thank you so much!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Roopa – I wouldn’t recommend a glass pan as they bake differently (usually the temperature needs to be decreased by 25 degrees). Also, brown sugar will completely affect the texture of the cake and I haven’t tested the cake with that type of sugar (it has more moisture) so I’d recommend following the recipe as written. Good luck!

  85. Robin Lamprecht says:

    I want to ask if the sour cream in this cake makes it taste tangy. I’ve tried sour cream before and it makes the cake taste tangy which I don’t like. But I’m going to try it anyway. Just wondering. Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      I don’t notice a definite tangy taste – but I like sour cream/buttermilk in my baked goods so I might not be looking for that type of taste difference.

  86. Julie says:

    I have the exact same question.

  87. jyum says:

    Can you bake and freeze this cake ahead of time? Also can I make it into 12″ layers? I’m baking my brother’s wedding cake and I think he would really enjoy this!

    • Mel says:

      Yes, you can bake and freeze the cake and I think it would work well as 12-inch layers but if you want more than one, you’ll need to increase the batter. Good luck!

  88. Gigi says:

    You have never failed me Mel so I’m going to say I screwed up somewhere. I have an oven thermometer which read 350 but it took close to 40 minutes to cook. It didn’t sink and looked great but it was pretty dry. I used room temp everything and beat the heck out of the butter and eggs. I checked them at 20 min and the middle was no where near done so I rotated them. Maybe should I just cook one at a time ? I really want this to work haha.

    • Mel says:

      Hmmm, Gigi, not sure why it was so dry! It is pretty important to not mix too much at the end (after adding the dry ingredients). You could try baking one at a time and see how it goes – even a few extra minutes of baking can dry out the cakes – any chance they would have been done around 36 or 37 minutes?

      • Gigi says:

        At 20 I checked them and they were far from done so I let them go another 5. I was confident they were set enough they wouldn’t sink at that point so I kept checking every two minutes or so. I’m always cautious about over cooking. The outer part of the cake looked done while the middle was still so jiggly. I just wish I knew why so I could fix it next time

  89. Bri H. says:

    It truly was perfect. Best yellow cake I’ve ever tasted! Thanks for working so hard to perfect it for us!!

  90. Rabia says:

    Hi! Thanks for this lovely cake! I have been hunting for yellow cake forever and it’s the hardest cake to perfect for odd reason.

    The problem is, I followed everything exactly. My oven isn’t that great so I put it on fan forced. Which means the sides cooked too quickly and te middle didn’t cook as I had to take the cake out before it overcooked/burnt.
    So my question is how would you vary the temperature & time for fanforced grill cooking?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Rabia – I’m sorry but I’m not familiar with that type of oven and can’t give you any good advice. Good luck experimenting! Sounds like you might need to lower the temp but again, I’m not completely sure since I’ve never used that type of oven before.

  91. Janean says:

    I just made this cake, and wanted to tell you how great it was. I did need to bake it a bit longer then listed (about 34 minutes), but the texture and moistness were perfect. I think the only thing I might try the next time I make it, is to add a touch more vanilla.
    Thanks for your countless hours of perfecting this cake… family really appreciates it.

  92. Rachael says:

    The most delicious, moist, fluffy, heavenly yellow cake I’ve ever had! When I put it in the refrigerator for the night (because I didn’t read that I shouldn’t-oops) it came out the next day as the most delicious pound cake I’ve ever had! Weird.. But I feel like I don’t lose out either way. 😉

  93. Tinly says:

    They are 9″ by 2 3/4″

  94. Tinly says:

    On my first attempt for this cake it sunk in the middle and poured over the sides.
    I followed the recipe exactly. I don’t know where I went wrong.

  95. Celia says:

    I followed the recipe exactly. The layers came out crumbly and baked unevenly. This cake will be great with fruit, but it is not a good cake to decorate with buttercream as it falls apart easily. So we will enjoy it for dinner with fruit and whip cream! Thanks for sharing.

    • Mel says:

      Sorry this didn’t work out for you, Celia. From the way you described the cake, it sounds like it might have overbaked a bit. Good way to salvage with the fruit and whipped cream. 🙂

  96. Alinda Green says:

    This is the best yellow cake recipe I have come across in years.Thanks for sharing.

  97. Katie says:

    Mel, this ones a winner! I made it this morning for Easter. Important to emphasize the need for parchment rounds that cover the whole bottom, made the mistake of sloppily cutting the paper, leaving a small crescent shape on the edge of the pan uncovered, when I turned the cake out that part stuck on the pan, leaving me with the incredibly unfortunate consequence of having to taste what remained in the pan! Though a benefit for me if trying to make an aesthetically perfect cake, could have been quite the bummer. Absolutely adore the texture of the cake, buttery, light and just absolutely delicious. Followed every step to a ‘T’ weighing the flour and sugar. Can’t wait for tomorrows’ guests to try it! Does anybody have any tips for storing it?? I read not to refrigerate, in that case should I wait to frost it till tomorrow? Or can I frost/decorate today and leave the whole thing at room temp? Maybe just a crumb coat? or does it matter at all?? Any input would be appreciated!!

    Overall a truly phenomenal recipe, will definitely be making again!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Katie – this cake does do best at room temperature although if the frosting needs to be refrigerated, then my advice is to frost the entire cake and refrigerate it (covered by a cake dome or something of the sort) but be sure to take it out of the refrigerator several hours before serving. If you can wait to frost it, simply cover the cake rounds well in plastic wrap and keep at room temperature until you frost. Glad you liked it!

  98. Leah says:

    I just wanted to say “Thank You!!!”! I have also made about 16 different yellow cakes in my quest to find one that I and my family likes. My son’s birthday is coming up and he has decided on a vanilla cake (aka yellow) for his party so the pressure is on to find a good recipe. I tried two others this week already and both had issues. I’ve been disappointed so many times by the promises of “the best yellow cake”, but this one delivered!! The only adjustment I made was to up the vanilla extract to 1T and I also put in 1T of vanilla bean paste as he really wanted a good vanilla flavor and it turned out amazing! The flavor is great, it is super moist and tender and it has the perfect crumb. Thank you, thank you!!

  99. Julie says:

    How many cupcakes would this recipe yield, and it would work for cupcakes?

    • Mel says:

      Others in the comment thread have made cupcakes with this recipe (I haven’t) so feel free to scroll through and read their advice.

  100. zeh says:

    Hi, Can i bake this in a 9×13 pan? What should be the temperature? Thanks a lot 🙂

    • Mel says:

      There are several people in the comment thread who baked this in a 9X13 so it might help to scroll through the comments. I’d keep the baking temperature the same – just keep an eye on the time.

  101. Tamboosh says:

    I’m a food blog lurker. I never ever comment ever. It’s how I maintain an air of mystery. 🙂 I have made many-a yellow cake from Smitten Kitchen to Magnolia to recipes from old and new cookbooks. I always felt like they were off somehow until this cake. I baked it today and, I kid you not, I tasted it with my mom and it was so utterly perfect that l whispered “I found my recipe”. There might have been a happy tear, but then I do have some flair for drama. In a long winded way I want to thank you from the bottom of my cake loving heart for this paragon of ultimate recipes. This made me SO happy!

  102. Kay says:

    This recipe is perfection. Growing up in a Greek household, I had no point of reference as to what a good yellow cake should taste like. We had fancy torte birthday cakes but, I was just a bit envious of a good American cake. Now the I am a parent making birthday cake for my toddlers, I was in search of that illusive yellow cake. I tried Cook’s Illistrated, Smitten Kitchen and coutless others. There are so many claims of the “perfect” cake on the internet but, this really delivers.

    I followed the recipe exactly as written. It is meticulous but, not complicated and it turned out exactly as the picture. I filled it with a barely sweetened raspberry whipped cream and topped with a chocolate swiss meringue buttercream. When I make it again I will decrease the amount of sugar (personal preference as I find most cake too sweet). I hope that doesn’t throw anything off.

    Thanks so much for sharing this gem of a recipe!

  103. NIJA says:

    I tried this cake out today… must say it really boosted my morale! polished it off by dinner time! Mel, this is one outstanding recipe…Thank you so much…

  104. Sandy B says:

    This is the best yellow cake recipe. Your instructions were easy to follow and spot-on. Thank you.

  105. Claire says:

    Hi Mel! Thank you for this awesome recipe. It is beautiful. I see in your notes that you mention several people have had the infamous sinking cake after baking it completely. Your suggestion to increase the baking soda was good, but I also wanted to pass on a tip that I recently learned. When mixing ingredients in, every step beyond softening the butter and creaming the sugar should be at the lowest speed possible. Yes it will take a little longer, but it will also avoid too much air being incorporated into the batter. That air may be harmless at first but it expands in the heat of the oven and then deflates as it cools, like a delicious balloon. Someone may have already mentioned this (I confess I did not sift through all 300+ comments!) Thank you for all of your hard work- I trust and use your blog for lots of my baking and will continue to do so. xo

  106. Brianna says:

    I made this cake as cupcakes and used full-fat greek yogurt instead of the sour cream, and it was so delicious in texture and taste! I think I’ll reduce the sugar next time for personal preference, but thank you for trying 16 times to find the perfect recipe!

  107. Latasha says:

    Made the cake and it was good! I just might make it again for my daughter’s birthday.

  108. Abbey says:

    I made this cake and it was perfect! Except I had one minor issue: it didn’t have that yellow cake flavor. I made chocolate frosting and you could barely taste the cake! I mean I tell you tho the texture was PERFECTION, it was so light and fluffy and moist. But do you have any suggestions for the flavor ?

    • ChriisfromCT says:

      Abbey, perhaps an extra splash of vanilla would accomplish what you want, in terms of flavor

    • Mel says:

      I agree that probably a little more vanilla will give you the flavor you want. Did you use pure vanilla extract? Good quality extract will help amp up the vanilla flavor.

    • Viola says:

      Try to find an extract called Vanilla Butter Nut. To my nose and palate, it’s yellow butter cake in a bottle. I’ve used it off and on depending on the final cake. I too have been searching for that perfect yellow cake recipe! I finally found a perfect pound cake recipe that was good for layers, but sometimes you don’t want that dense of a cake. I look forward to trying this recipe for a strawberry whipped cream cake (the main reason I’ve been experimenting with different yellow cakes).

  109. Tammy says:

    Would like to try baking this cake for a wedding cake. Will it be compatable with fondant? Thanks

  110. Raymond says:

    Mel, I’m making this cake next week and I’ve never actually made yellow cake before. I like to add mayonnaise to my white cakes. I was wondering what ratio would I decrease the sour cream, (if I decrease at all) to add the mayonnaise…or would this not be a good idea?

  111. Irina says:

    Last night, my husband and I got a craving for something sweet. Since I recently received a silicone baking dish that has pockets for individual slices to bake, I decided to try it out. didn’t want to make a whole cake so there wouldn’t be a temptation to eat too much cake (yay portion control!) So I made 4 slices by reducing the recipe to 1/4 of the original. While it was baking, I was so worried that the batter would go over the top (it looked almost like muffins while baking), and I was thinking that maybe I put too much batter in the forms. Thankfully it all stayed in place and even steeled down during the cooling process to give me perfectly flat tops! I filled the cake slices with a blueberry and blackberry compote I made while the cake was baking and topped it with a merengue frosting and sprinkles. Came out delicious! It all went from craving to eating it let that and hour and a half.

    Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  112. Gina says:

    Made this cake for superball Sunday. It’s a bit fussy- but I love fussy. If I want easy I’ll buy a box. Anyway- loved the process did everything to direction then left it in the oven a bit to long. Didn’t hear the timer bc I watch watching the game. Anyway- I thought it was a touch dry but my husband loved it! (I’m very critical). Overall is was still light and yummy. Going to make it again for my moms birthday.
    A question: how long to bake for cupcakes?

    • Mel says:

      Hey Gina – several people have commented that they’ve made cupcakes with this – I’m not sure of the exact time but I’d start checking around 15 minutes.

      • Gina says:

        I’ll be sure to hang in the kitchen this time so I don’t leave it in to long. I’m sure thats why it seem a bit dry the fist time. Otherwise delish!

  113. joanna says:

    Hello, Is there any way I could make a marble cake with this recipe without compromising flavor and texture?

  114. Kim says:

    So first and foremost, thank you for testing out so many different recipes. Time and resources I’m sure it wasn’t cheap to come to the final product. I followed the recipe but I had to sub out due to food allergies (sorry). I used earth balance butter and for milk and sour cream I used 2 tbsp of vinegar to 1 cup of Soymilk. The cake was light and airy. It sunk but I can’t complain because the cake in itself was incredibly moist and just perfect. The batter looked a little runny but it came out really tasty and I made cupcakes so I baked for 21 minutes.

    Thank you!!!

  115. Jessica says:

    I am a cake nerd, too, and have tried 10 different yellow cake recipes. I am so excited to have found this and can’t wait to try it out!!

  116. Mary ann says:

    I made your last night and it turned out good . Now I need a recipe for the chocolate frosting asap

  117. Lacey says:

    This cake was FABULOUS! I made it for my birthday yesterday, along with the Whipped Chocolate Buttercream Frosting!! I will say it was so great it didn’t need the frosting, except to make them prettier! This was my first cake from scratch and it will be my “go-to” yellow cake! Thank you so much for your hard work critiquing the recipe. I followed the recipe to a T (which I have a very hard time doing, haha!) I did use AP flour plus the corn starch to substitute for cake flour, I also weighed it. After weighing I measured (before sifting) just to see how many cups/tablespoons it ended up using. My measurements were approx. 1 1/2 cups very lightly packed AP flour and approx. 4.5 tablespoons of very lightly packed cornstarch. I sifted these together twice, then added other dry ingredients and sifted one more time. I used whole milk and regular sour cream. I generously buttered the two 9″ rounds then lined the bottoms with a parchment rounds (I cut myself) and generously buttered the top of the parchment paper. I had a little bit of a hard time with the sides of my cake sticking to the side of the pans, so I think next time I will test with cooking spray. Although I will say, the buttery cake that I got to eat from the sides was amazing! One cake was ready at 25 minutes, the other needed 28 minutes, maybe I got more batter in one pan than the other. Both of my cakes sunk a little where I stuck a toothpick in, but not tremendously. I just filled them in with more frosting in those spots ;). Thank you so much once again!

  118. Rebecca says:

    This cake was AMAZING!!!!! Best yellow cake from scratch I have ever had. Way better than the boxed junk. I have tried many yellow cake recipes without success, and the last one I had been making was temperamental, and seemed to shrink and sink in the middle. Not this cake! Awesome perfect crumb, not too crumbly,spongy and fluffy, and very moist. I did use regular flour with cornstarch, and weighed ingredients. I did have to increase baking time, since I used a bigger pan and increased the recipe by a half. The best part about this cake, is that it is a no fuss cake! No making egg whites to fold in at the end. Thank you so much Mel. My search is FINALLY over!!!

  119. Pirate says:

    I meant buttermilk, not sour cream.

  120. Pirate says:

    I made this cake this morning following your recipe almost exactly. The one thing I changed was I use 1 cup whole milk instead of half sour cream. I also used a 13X9 oblong pan, and baked for 40 minutes. It came out perfect. And it didn’t sink in the middle. I frosted it with butercream frosting (my husbands favorite). It was the best tasting yellow cake I have ever had. My husband loved it!! You can eat this cake with nothing on it because the taste is great, fluffy, tender and moist. Thank You So Much

    • chelsea says:

      SO glad i found someone who made it in a 9×13. I am making this for my mom and my uncle (they share a birthday) for sunday and there will be 15-20 people there. want to make sure i have enough cake!

  121. Kathryn says:

    Hi Mel,
    Came across your site while looking for yellow cake recipe.
    Would love to reproduce my Tennessee grandmother’s yellow cake which was always super moist and fluffy. She did not use cake flour as she didn’t usually have any. I’m talking back in the 40’s & 50’s. She had those giant yellowware bowls, and whipped all by hand without a mixer. I was enthralled as she hummed along as she worked. Or told me stories or riddles.
    No one ever had her recipe as she never wrote things down. It was all in her head. She did have a scale and a multitude of gadgets as she also put up her whole garden and orchard in jars for the winter. Her cake batter was altered slightly to make her own style of “Madeliene’s” which we called “Granny Cookies”….they were just little round “tea cakes”. Delicious. But they weren’t really as eggy or creamy as real Madeleines. She changed them up with coconut or lemon from time to time. The cake she made was altered depending on who it was for or the holiday season. But there was a yellow cake every Sunday after church! For dinner dessert. I think your recipe must be something like hers.
    Often there was more then one cake as she had 24 grandchildren. (I was the eldest girl and got to hang out in the kitchen a lot) I have the Granny Cookie recipe which one of my aunts wrote down while watching Granny whip it up. But it’s not quite right, of course. I have another whole story about her pumpkin pie. (very dark, and shiny like custard)
    Anyway, she just had a knack. Which I do not. Which you do!!

    Thank you for explaining the variables in the flours and the adjustments which must be made with the other ingredients. I’m going to have my granddaughters read this recipe as it will give them a great understanding of and respect for the chemistry of baking. Especially cakes. I don’t think they have a clue as to how it works. For them it’s sort of magical. Well, truthfully, for me, too.
    Thank you for this recipe, and though I’m a bit intimidated by it, I surely will try it. Best regards to you, Kathryn
    PS. To make it go around better for a crowd, Granny served by cutting cake in half and then slicing 1″ slices from the center cut out on both sides. So all the slices were parallel. Yes, out to the curve, the slices got smaller, but those got more frosting, or icing as Granny called it. I never saw anybody else do it that way. Thanks again! KH

    • Mel says:

      I love your detailed comment, Kathryn! So much of cooking and baking is emotional when tied to memories like you have with your grandmother. I love that! It sounds like such a treasured time when you were able to spend time with your grandma in the kitchen.

  122. Marguerite says:

    I too, have been searching for the perfect yellow cake recipe. I googled “best yellow cake recipe” and I came across your blog. I’m so glad I found you! My search for the perfect yellow cake is now over. This cake is so delicious and the texture is beautiful! I just made it for my Dad’s birthday and my family raved about it. Thank you, Mel!!!

    PS. I found you just before the holidays and the timing was perfect. My family also enjoyed your Chocolate Pretzel Pie, Yellow Cupcakes and Favorite Sugar Cookies!

  123. Chris says:

    I used your recipe to make a slow cooker cake; I did vary an ingredient .. .. .. instead of the sour cream called for, I used a full cup of hm applesauce

  124. Heather says:

    Just put it in the oven (fingers crossed)!! I added an extra tsp of almond extract to the vanilla, the batter was deeeelish. Hoping this birthday cake to myself is as yummy on the first try as yours was on the 14th. Thanks for sharing!

  125. Mimi says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe! I made this cake with cream cheese frosting and stored it in the fridge the night before my party. The flavor was very good, but the cake was slightly dry after I left it in room temperature before serving. Some cakes seem to taste better the next day, but is it better to make this cake on the day you’re serving it so I don’t need to refrigerate it, worrying that the cake will turn hard? Can you tell me the best way of dong it? Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Mimi – I don’t refrigerate this cake and I think that might be the reason it dried out a bit. I usually store it well-covered in a cake dome or cake carrier at room temperature.

  126. Sue U says:

    Thank you for the wonderful recipes. 🙂 I made (or am in the process of making this cake). I ran into a dilemma. When I weighed out the flour/cornstarch it made almost 4 cups of flour after sifting. I wasn’t sure what to do. So, I measured out the 2 1/2 cups of sifted flour rather than using the measured (grams) amount. Now, I’m not anywhere near an expert and may have made a mistake somewhere, but I doubled checked my weight (grams) twice. I didn’t know if you might have an answer for this.

    • Sue U says:

      The cake came out very dense. I am re-reading your recipe and wondering if I didn’t cream the butter and sugar enough? Any other hints or help would be greatly appreciated. I love the flavor just need to lighten the cake.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Sue – Sifted flour will always measure more (using cups) than unsifted because it’s essentially just been fluffed up while sifting so that’s probably why it seemed like a lot of flour. The safest method is to use the weight measures given in the recipe since they are foolproof (as opposed to cup measures which can vary widely depending on how people scoop the flour and also, as you saw, if they measure before or after sifting). I think the reason your cake may not have turned out is because of the flour issue. If you make it again, weigh the dry ingredients and use that amount even after sifting. Hope that helps!

  127. Linda says:

    I made this cake for my daughter’s 13th birthday New Year’s Eve. It was amazing. This will now be a tradition. I used 3 4″x2″ pans (filled with batter about 3/4 of the way) and still had enough for a nice 8″ layer. We ate it with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Yum. The next day we had it slightly warmed in the microwave with a scoop of ice cream. Another winner. Thanks for the great recipe. How about tackling Madeleines next? I’ve tried a couple of recipes but I found them too dense and eggy. Seems a slight variation on this recipe might work. Thanks for the memorable cake!

  128. Emily says:

    More high altitude tips here!! I just took the second trial out of the oven – and they look AMAZING! Perfectly golden and rounded – can’t wait to try it!
    Here are the changes I made (I live at 6500 ft.):
    Increased milk by 1 T
    Increased flour by 2 1/2 T
    Decreased baking soda to 1/8 tsp
    Decreased baking powder to 1 tsp
    Decreased SUGAR by 2 T (I measured 1 3/4 cup and then scooped out 2 T).
    My first cake was totally flat in the middle, and crusty/sugary around the outside. I have had success with decreasing sugar in other recipes, and thought it might work here.
    Also, my son really wanted marble cake, so I went for it. I used about a cup of the finished batter, and mixed it with an ounce of semi-sweet chocolate chips, then just dropped in on top and swirled with a knife.
    I guess the taste is yet to be determined…hoping the missing sugar won’t have a huge effect, or that the chocolate makes up for it. I will post again after we eat it!

  129. Emily says:

    Just took this cake out of the oven as a trial run for my son’s b-day on Saturday. Glad I did a trial because doesn’t look good. Totally sunk in the middle before I even took them out of the oven. I live at about 6500 ft. altitude, and made the adjustments recommended in the recipe…but didn’t read all the comments until it was already in the oven (silly). High altitude baking isn’t a universal thing- each 500 – 1000 ft has it’s own tricks, I guess! I will look for the “pie in the sky” chart that was recommended and try again – he needs a birthday cake after all. I have to say, it smells delicious, so I’m sure we will have no trouble eating my trial, even if it isn’t pretty. Also, he requested marble cake but i thought I’d figure out the yellow first – has anyone tried marbling this successfully yet?

    • Nikki says:

      Hey there I have made a variation of this cake several times using vanilla extract & almond extract and just vanilla. I switched to 2 1/4 tsp just baking powder using no soda and I use 2 tbsp vanilla. I experimented with preheating at 350 and once cake was in turning down to 325. It did produce a little moister crumb but both ways are ok. For me, these as cupcakes turn a little flatter than my other cupcake recipe but the flavor is better in Mel’s recipe but I think adding for extract makes it taste way better.

  130. Marlynn Stott says:

    How come you know longer have a “save recipe” button for your recipes

    • Mel says:

      Marlynn – Ziplist (along with the ability to save recipes is no longer available). I am exploring other options to replace Ziplist, but want to make sure it’s the best one before implementing on my site. In the meantime from what I understand you can create an account at to access your currently saved recipes and I’ve heard paprika is a good app to use for individuals wanting to save recipes online. I hope that helps!

  131. Laura says:

    Cannot wait to try making this cake! My boyfriend absolutely loves yellowcake with chocolate frosting and my biggest pet peeve is a dry cake. Hopefully, I can make this one successfully!

    Could you provide the link for the recipe of the chocolate frosting you used?


  132. Dione Washington says:

    I made this cake for christmas and it was amazing. Easily the best yellow cake recipe I have run across so far. I did use 1/2 teaspoon baking soda as another commenter suggested and a tablespoon of vanilla but those were the only changes I made.

  133. Dante Bullock says:

    Made this cake for the first time on Christmas Day… Best cake I ever made in my life!!! I really enjoyed making it and eating it. I love yellow cake so this will be a sure regular for me. Thanks!!!

  134. Amy says:

    Thank you so much for posting this detailed recipe. I just made the most beautiful yellow cake of my life!

  135. Anna says:

    Hi. You used to have an amazing GF flour recepie (with the pink icing recepie. Where can I find it? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      I think you might be thinking of a different blog, Anna. I don’t remember having a recipe like that. Sorry!

      • Alan Harper says:

        About 65 years ago I started cooking cakes at home using an old cookbook and the recipe for a two egg cake. (There was also a variation for spice cake which we always iced with homemade caramel icing -my Dads favorite) Always dumped everything into the bowl and beat the daylights out of it by hand. Cake pans were greased and floured. Made very good cake that was not as dry tasting if it was not cooled too long. Fond memories using cows milk and chicken eggs with Crisco. I milked the cow and gathered the eggs. YUM!

  136. Jen says:

    I just made this cake for my daughter’s 2nd birthday! I followed it exactly, using the APflour/cornstarch mix. Looks just like your picture, I was so happy with it. Very moist with a light mouthfeel. One thing that did differ greatly is mine took 37 minutes to cook. I have an old uncalibrated oven but have an oven thermometer that read 350. Oh well, just glad I didn’t under or over cook and that there is lots leftover 🙂

  137. mira says:

    This cake looks absolutely gorgeous! Trying it soon!

  138. Lari says:

    I think it’s hilarious that when people make it and it doesn’t work out that they have to mention they are an expert baker or have a culinary degree or whatever. I’m not saying they don’t but it’s almost like they have to say that to make themselves feel better or something cause heaven forbid the recipe really is right and they might have made a mistake. It’s kind of funny. I’m not a professional bake or caterer or whatever, but I just made this cake again this weekend (probably the 4th time or something) and it’s really the best.

    • Sue U says:

      Lari did you “make” the cake flour or use purchased cake flour? I am trying to figure out where I went wrong on the recipe. My cake came out very, very dense. Any help would be appreciated.


      • Kyle says:

        The rule of thumb on changing all-purpose flour to cake flour is: 1 cup cake flour = 1 cup all-purpose minus 2 table spoons.

    • Rodney says:

      I have been baking all my life, I had a little bit of culinary experience from a class that I once took. I have read her does and don’ts to this recipe and everything looks fabulously in order. I will make one adjustment to the recipe and use buttermilk instead of sour cream to add acidity to the cake. The only reason is that I am not a big fan of adding sour cream into this recipe ( I could be wrong ). I will post my results. It looks like to me that she didn’t try using buttermilk and as butter milk will add a tender richness to the cake. Yellow cake is a very difficult cake to perfect and all of her steps should be taken and wouldn’t skip one of them.

      • Myra says:

        Rodney, I like buttermilk too in a cake and although I have made this recipe several times it always come out perfect ( I am NOT a professional baker). I wanted to try it with buttermilk. I’m curious, how did your cake turn out and taste?

        • Robin says:

          Myra, did your cake taste tangy with the sour cream? Coming out perfect is real moist also????

      • Robin says:

        Rodney, did you ever try the buttermilk instead of the sour cream. Just wondering. I am inclined to do the same!

    • Jan says:

      Glad to know you found a good recipe because I recently made one similar and the reviews were great but the cake was dry and not sweet at all. I decided more eggs and sugar plus sour cream should be incorporated. This one might just work.

  139. Sherry says:

    I will try the cake again, but my first attempt didn’t turn out so well. My son thought it was dry (and he has a culinary degree), my husband thought it was good. Mine did something weird though, after baking the required time and testing it with cake tester, I removed from the oven and all around the edges looked kind of wet, not wet as in not done. I couldn’t not figure it out. I catered over 20 years and still did not know what the problem was. I followed the directions exactly and even using baking strips around the pan to keep cake from crowning in the center. I will try again sometime and post results.

    • Kyle says:

      Its because the ratio of flour (100%) to sugar (about 150%) is too high causing a caramelization on top of the cake. Sugar also adds some moisture to the cake making the top possibly seem more soggy then your typical cake out of the oven. All in all a good recipe if you just reduce the sugar to the same almost as the flour (9oz) its golden not to sweet but just perfect in balance. The most sugar i would ever add to a butter cake is about 125% of total flour weight.
      4 stars other than that! good job!

  140. Sarah says:

    I was suspicious from the get go and I should have relied on my intuition. Basic facts you learn from experience apply universally and are much more valuable than the romantic ideas dreamt up by fancy headline bloggers. When you mix flour with wet ingredients, you need to mix it as little as possible to avoid a tough and dry end result. Cold eggs….I didn’t use cold eggs….I don’t know about the science behind cold eggs….but I’ll go out on a limb and say that sifting everything before you combine it makes all of the particles settle more closely together, kind of like sand as opposed to gravel. This made the cake dry, more akin to fluffy bread rather than a moist confection. As far as the butter being too “greasy”, room temperature is pretty standard. It wasn’t melted and it wasn’t cold. You may want to say that I did something wrong along the way but I followed the directions word for word and this isn’t my first cake. Sorry for being brash. My motivation isn’t to spread negativity but rather to offer balance to the strictly positive reviews I’ve seen and maybe to save one cake from the fate of mediocrity with a touch of desert wasteland. #MIX BY HAND!!

    • Lisa says:

      I just want to say, in response to the couple of negative reviews that I’ve seen on here, particularly the one above, that I completely disagree. I searched for an entire year for a moist and fluffy scratch yellow cake recipe. I tried over 30 DIFFERENT recipes without success. This is the ONLY one that turned out well. I have made this recipe dozens of times since, and it turns out perfect every time. It is SUPER moist but still fluffy and tastes great. It is not dry in any way. I do follow the instructions exactly, except that instead of sifting the dry ingredients, I whisk them together in a bowl with a wire whisk. I bake and sell cupcakes and I am very picky about the moisture level and texture of my cakes. This is the absolute only yellow cake recipe that is acceptable to me. I don’t mean to pile on, but I’m just telling you that if this is turning out dry for you you’re either over baking it, or your butter is too warm. Butter should be at a cool room temperature so that you can barely make an indentation with your finger. If you can easily slide your finger into it, it’s too warm. I know nothing about this blogger, I just happened to find her recipe in my massive and endless search for a good yellow cake recipe. I have no horse in this race, but it really is a good recipe.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Sarah – I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you and the others who have commented on this thread. I don’t consider myself a “fancy headline blogger” and actually don’t know what you mean by that; my only motivation for blogging is to provide tried-and-true recipes, and for me, this yellow cake is just that. I think it’s helpful for people intent on trying this recipe to read all the reviews, including the ones that aren’t raving about the recipe and your review and others will add value. Although I do agree with Lisa that if the cake is turning out dry, it’s not recipe error but perhaps simple variations in how people are making it (baking it even slightly too long or overmixing the batter at the end or a variety of other factors outlined in the post). This cake will be moist and tender if made exactly like the recipe states as I and the other hundreds of positive reviews can attest. Good luck on your search for the perfect yellow cake! Sorry this didn’t happen to be the one.

      • Shirleen says:

        I am a home baker and cookbook author. I made this cake today and it was awesome-moist, tender and so delicious. It will be my go to recipe for a yellow cake. Not sure why some have issues, but for me it is perfect. Essential Oil Talk and author of Ancient Grains

      • Shirleen says:

        I am a home baker and cookbook author. I made this cake today and it was awesome-moist, tender and so delicious. It will be my go to recipe for a yellow cake. Not sure why some have issues, but for me it is perfect. Author of Ancient Grains

  141. Amanda says:

    This was so good! You have definitely perfected the yellow cake. Thank!

  142. Dierdre says:

    I just made the cake, and love the texture. I am not advanced enough to scale this up to 3 layers, but that would make it even more perfect!

  143. Danielle says:

    I made the cake today with your chocolate buttercream frosting and they were both absolutely amazing! The cake was a huge hit with my family- THANK YOU for another wonderful recipe, Mel!

  144. Lori Martin says:

    I have been in search of a moist yellow cake recipe forever! Thank you for sharing. I tried your recipe today and it turned out great. Thank you for the tips that you gave. I have been so reluctant to used cake flour. i have ALWAYS been a White Lilly girl, to which I will continue to use. But I am sold on your basic yellow cake recipe. Thanks again for sharing.

  145. G says:

    Dear Mel,
    I am so happy to come across your blog. The moment I read this, I know that I have found the perfect yellow cake recipe finally. I haven’t had much luck with yellow cakes; the ones I tried usually end up flat or too oily. In fact, my default cake for celebration cakes is enriched sponge. Isn’t yellow cake supposed to be basic? 🙂 To thank you for sharing your recipe, I would like to report back that I have successfully baked your recipe in a 9″x13″ pan. One recipe yields 1-1/4″ to 1-1/2″ in height, and it takes 35 minutes to bake. I made the recipe twice, since I needed two sheets, with repeatable results. I did make a few small adjustments to the recipe: I used 1/2 tsp baking soda, just because I worry about cake sinking in the middle, but that might not have been necessary; reduced sugar to 11oz because I like a less sweet cake; used buttermilk instead of a mixture of sour cream and milk, which should have the exact same effect. The cake baked very evenly. Thank you for perfecting the yellow cake!

  146. Samantha says:

    This is indeed the best yellow cake recipe ever!! So good in fact that while I was focused so hard on perfecting all of the steps I forgot to add the vanilla extract, and it was still the best yellow cake ever! Thanks for all of the hard work and testing.

  147. Sherry says:

    I will try your recipe. I compare every yellow cake to my grandmother’s recipe she use to call butter cake. I may try your technique of having everything room temperature though on her recipe.

  148. Paykie says:

    I made this cake yesterday for my dad’s birthday and it was very delicious. The cake was moist, fluffy, and had just the right amount of sweetness. I followed the recipe exactly as it is written. However, I added 1/2 tsp of baking soda because I was afraid the cake would have a sunken centre. I also didn’t have cake flour but I made a substitute for it using a recipe online. Thank you very much for this recipe – I will definitely keep it in my books!

  149. Fred says:

    Yes, your right! I’ve been looking for a moist yellow cake recipe for a long time, found it, 🙂

  150. David says:

    I baked at 350 and I checked the cake in the center with a toothpick at 25 min and it still had batter then I checked at 27 min and it was good. The only thing I can think of is maybe I had to much flour since I didn’t weigh it. I just scooped it out of the box with a measuring cup. Is that a possibility?

    • Mel says:

      Yes, measuring the flour differently can affect the results. I usually fluff up the flour really good, scoop it into the cup and level off the cup. Weighing will give the most precise results, though.

  151. David says:

    So I made this perfect yellow cake exactly by the recipie and it turned out a little dry. What could be wrong?

    • Mel says:

      It’s really hard for me to know without being right there while making/baking and without details. Could it have been baked too long?

    • Sarah says:

      Me too. Very dry. Even worse than those store bought doughnuts covered in chocolate wax that I still eat because they look yummy. My honest opinion, we are going to have to keep looking for a great yellow cake recipe. This wasn’t what I had in my imagination beforehand. Not moist, not tender and not going into my first generation, family heirloom, only awesome recipe box. Good luck fellow bakers.

  152. Nikki says:

    So I decided to try this cake recipe for several reasons. One being I have no cell cupcake recipe for vanilla and chocolate and white but every time I used it to make a cake it just didn’t come out the way I want it.I read all the reviews read the ingredient list and read all Mel’s great advice. I have tried all the tricks even separating the yolks from the whites and beating the whites last separately and folding them in at the end to try to create a fluffier Texture. However I find this is phenomenal for chocolate cakes but a little too much folding and mixing for the Vanilla and white cakes. The only saying that I felt I had to change to accommodate my preference is more the Vanilla extract because I use organic and I also feel that a lot of times homemade cakes don’t have enough vanilla flavor. In saying this I increased the vanilla 2 tablespoons.because of this I knew I had to add more cake flour for evening out the liquid ratio. I also did not use baking soda as I do not like to use this in white or vanilla cakes because of flattening affects. I ended up using 2 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder and no baking soda for cake flour I ended up using the 2 1/4 cups plus an additional 2 3/4 teaspoonsto make up for the difference of the extra vanilla extract (liquid vs. dry ratio).The batter came out just like in your picture and The cake tastes awesome. Perfect fluff no flattening affect.

  153. Caroline says:

    Just baked this (aka my first real, legit, not-in-a-box cake) today for my moms birthday and topped it off with you chocolate buttercream and I could cry it’s so good. THANK YOU SO MUCH for working so hard and for creating a recipe for literally, the worlds best yellowcake. SO happy right now!

  154. Regine says:

    Wow. Definitely the best yellow cake from scratch. I used all purpose flour and cornstarch instead of cake flour which I do not like. I used 11/2 the recipe of the chocolate frosting in the back of ghiradelli Cocoa powder and it was perfect (9 tbsp butter + 4 cups confec sugar + 3/4 cup cocoa + 1/2 cup milk). Thanks for sharing.

  155. Nicole says:

    Okay, I commented earlier, was concerned about trying this for a customer order. Well I had to come back and let you know, I baked it in a 12×16 sheet, made two separate batches and combined in the sheet pan. It came out great! or at least from what I can see after I cut the small dome off the top. I tasted the scraps of course and it seems perfect! Thank so much for sharing this recipe! I used both batches and filled the pan. It was just the right amount to make the cake full to the top with a small dome that I leveled off. Perfection! I now have a much better “go to” recipe for yellow cakes.

    I am not using fondant other than for small decorations on this cake so I can’t tell if it would be sturdy enough to use fondant on, but since that wasn’t part of the order, that’s okay by me! Thanks so much for your hard work!

  156. Regine says:

    Mel, I can’t wait to try your cake. Since I too like to experiment with cakes, I would like to share with you something that always works with me. I particulary dislike the metallic taste I seem to find in cake flour, so I always replace it, and always successfully, using this formula. 1 cup cake flour = 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp cornstarch. I know you have a similar substitution but in grams (210 grams of all-purpose flour and 45 grams of cornstarch). I would love it, if you have the time, if you could try my formula and compare it to the original recipe which asks for cake flour. Who knows. You may, like me, prefer the taste with the all purpose flour and cornstarch. I see you recipe asks for 2 1/4 cup cake flour, so based on my formula, I would replace it with 1 3/4 cup minus 1 tbsp all purpose flour PLUS 4 1/2 tbsp cornstarch (equivalent to 4 tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp).

  157. SA says:

    So…. if you are a dumb bunny and forget to buy the sour cream on your grocery list, I would recommend trying a full cup of milk, soured with the juice of a lemon. I did this for my daughter’s birthday cake and it was a hit! That said, I can’t wait to try this with sour cream, per the recipe.

  158. Theola says:

    Hi Mel, I baked your yellow cake two weeks ago, it was a big hit. Thanks so much for the recipe. I do a lot of baking and like some of the other reviewers I had been searching a while for a yellow light fluffy cake–almost like a box cake but I don’t like box cakes. I am making two this weekend for a cookout. I made two layers, but I will try the three layer cake in 9″ round pans, thanks again.

  159. LG says:

    Hi Mel! I figured it out on my third try. I was following the recipe incorrectly. I had doubled the milk and sour cream. I Just pulled the cakes out of the oven and they are beautiful! Thank you for such a great recipe! My hunt for the perfect yellow cake is over 😉

  160. LG says:

    Hi Mel,

    This cake was wonderful! It is the third yellow cake recipe that I made this weekend :). However, after I took the cakes out of the oven and they cooled, there was a thin gummy layer at the bottom of both of my cakes. The top half of the cakes were beautiful and had a fantastic crumb. Do you have any guidance regarding the bottom gummy layer and what I could be doing wrong? I appreciate all of the leg work you put into making this cake. It really is great. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi LG – I think I may have included a picture in the post about this but I think I experienced something similar when I used cold eggs from the fridge (instead of room temperature). Were your eggs cold?

      • LG says:

        Hi Mel,

        I am still at it. Baking this cake and I just love the flavor. However, I have noticed that after I frost it and leave it out at room temperature to serve the next day, it is dry. How can I get it to stay moist. It is perfect out of the oven but dry when we finally get ready to eat it.

        Thank you!

        • Mel says:

          Can you try underbaking by just a minute or so? Also when you frost it, are you talking about two layers frosted completely or are you frosting the top of a 9X13-inch cake?

  161. Paulina says:

    Hello! I’ve made several yellow cake recipes and have not found THE one yet, my birthday is coming up and I’m thinking of giving this one a try!
    Just a couple of questions, how tall are your layers once baked? 1″? I usually like to torte my layers so I like to have 2″ layers, would it be good to double the recipe to achieve two 2″ layers on 9″ pans?

    And another question, have you tried using buttermilk instead of sour cream and milk?
    Can’t wait to try it out

    • Mel says:

      Hi Paulina – I’ve never measured the cake layers exactly but I think they could be split in half easily. I haven’t used buttermilk instead of sour cream but I believe others in the comment thread above have so you might scroll through and see how it worked out for them. Good luck and happy birthday!

  162. Bilal Ismail says:

    I just made the cake and it turned out amazing, I love how moist the cake is and the tenderness of the crumb. I followed the recipe and used unsalted butter and adjusted the salt as per your instructions and had no issues at all. I also tried your frosting recipe with Lindt 70% cocoa and it is to die for. I am loving your site and plan to test a few more recipes over the next few weeks. Lots of love from sunny South Africa

  163. LaShonda says:

    Hi Mel, I am using whole milk and was wondering if I should still use the Sour Cream. I was a little confused because it seemed as though you only used the Sour Cream because you are using reduced fat milk. So, since Im using what’s on hand (Whole Milk), should I leave the sour cream out?

  164. Olivia says:

    Hi mel..i just wondering for how many grams should i put for 1/2 of milk and 1/2 of sour cream. Im a bit afraid if not the exact same amount will cause a trouble in the baking really looking forward to make this super awesome recipe that everyone keep talking about it.

  165. This is the perfect yellow cake! Finally !

  166. Cheryl C says:

    How do you keep the cake from having a dome? All my cakes are so high in the middle. Also, I use Wilton 8 inch round pans and don’t grease the sides at all. I do put parchment on the bottom. For this recipe do I still need to grease with vigor? ~ I have no inventory of hand made cakes, and I’m so tired of store mixes. It’s just my success with home baked cakes is ludicrous. I do have one ‘cake’, but I have to use a Bundt pan and so am not sure that counts. It’s called ‘Huggin’ Cake’. It works every time. It uses every flavor and extract available and is so moist, soft and tender. But it isn’t a ‘cake’ cake. I can make awesome brownies, however. Still, no cake. I’m ready and eager to try your recipe, but at writing time it’s nearly 5 pm. So, due to all the prep, which I actually enjoy, this cake will have to be scheduled into my day. No matter what happens with me and my cake attempt, thanks for all the experimentation. I’m guessing I’ll have to experiment in following directions exactly! Looking forward to success!

    • Avi says:

      I made this cake in 9 inch pans, and I used cake strips to keep the tops flat. They were more or less perfectly flat on top once fully baked. Cake strips insulate the outside of the cake, so the edges bake at the same rate as the middle. You don’t have to buy them – there’s a video on youtube from America’s Test Kitchen on how to make homemade ones with newspaper and aluminum foil. (I won’t link it so the comment doesn’t get marked as spam.)

  167. Katie says:

    Mel – nice to see someone has really been putting an effort in getting a good fluffy yellow cake recipe to perfection. I always went back to out of the box, because I simply never had a success story like you to tell. I am always a batter taster. Its seems very sweet, but I will try the end result of course. Do you think if you use less sugar it would still turn out the same, but simply not as sweet?

    Keep up the fab work!

    • Mel says:

      Could definitely experiment…I haven’t reduced the sugar myself because I like it as is. Good luck if you try it!

      • Katie says:

        The taste of this cake is just absolutely fabulous! Thank you so much. The only thing that didn’t work is the raise. It didn’t raise much at all, but super soft and moist and fluffy. So where do I need to adjust?

        • Mel says:

          I’m not sure what to suggest, Katie since the recipe usually rises nice and fluffy when I make it. Any chance your baking powder is old/expired?

  168. Mary says:

    When I taught 9th grade foods class, for several years I assigned 1 group in a 6-group kitchen to make a light lemon bread. That bread (except for ONE success) would rIse beautifully then fall right before end of bake time. I found that if AFTER spooning the flour into the cup, the girls would cut through the flour with a knife and then level it off the bread would not fall. I think sometimes there are air spaces in the cup when spooning flour and cutting through with a knife collapses the air pockets. It worked for us.

  169. Natasha says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I tried it for the first time tonight and it’s turned out great!

  170. Adrienne says:

    Ok. I am probably super special, but when you divide the cake into 2 cake pans, are you using 9 inch pans? I read every post trying to figure it out, but after not figuring it out on my own I thought I’d ask. I am hoping to use this recipe to make the bat cake for my son’s birthday, and have a 10 inch round pan. Do you suggest filling the pan half full? And then for the bat head, again was thinking of filling the pyrex bowl about half way?
    And, while I’m in question-asking mode, was thinking of baking the cake on Wednesday, making the icing (your “best icing ever” recipe) and icing the cake on Thursday and then serving on Friday. Good? No good?
    Thanks for your help and advice! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Hi Adrienne – yes, I use 9-inch pans for this cake. Filling the 10-inch cake pan halfway sounds fine. I’d probably fill the pyrex bowl a bit higher than halfway. If it were me, I’d try to bake the cake and ice it the same day especially if making it in advance. Frosting the cake the same day (unless the cake is frozen) helps make sure it doesn’t dry out which can happen if left unfrosted for an entire day. Good luck!

  171. Amanda says:

    I made this cake for my husbands birthday and everyone is very pleased and asking for the recipe. Thank You so much.

  172. Rachel says:

    A friend requested a yellow cake for her birthday so I used this recipe. I used buttermilk instead of milk+sour cream and it turned out beautifully, with good crumb and buttery flavor. I baked mine for 26 minutes in an Aga 6-4 convection oven, switching racks halfway through.

  173. I just made this cake and it was delicious! I followed your recipe for the cake flour, will be making that more often.
    As for the cake I took it out at 25 minutes, and it wasn’t done, so I put it in and left it in maybe a minute or two too long, I spooned over some simple syrup and it made it super moist. I love this recipe, has good flavour and texture, will be adding it to my favourites! Thank you Mel!

  174. Debi and Brian says:

    Delicious!!! My husband and I tried the corner of the cake for just a taste as we were curious, needless to say we cut two pieces and ate them without frosting! Ours came out what we consider perfect and so yummy it didn’t even need frosting! We even forgot to add salt but our butter was salted. Thank you because my husband loves yellow cake and we will never go back to a box. 🙂

  175. Christi Maiolo says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I’ve made this cake twice now exactly as you instructed also using your cake flour and chocolate butter cream recipes. It’s come out perfect. No domes and no over flow. This is my go to yellow cake now.

  176. Connie says:

    I read this post with a smile because, I, too have tried many yellow cake recipes in search of that soft, fluffy, moist yellow cake but many recipes just fell short. Obviously, the cake mix always made those soft, fluffy moist cakes but these days I’m not all that interested in eating chemical cake. This recipe looks like a winner, hope to try it soon!

  177. Amanda says:

    This looks amazing, can’t wait to try it! How do you think this cake would go with a strawberry cream cheese frosting? My daughters birthday is coming up and her cakes *have* to be pink.

  178. Ann D. says:

    To the person who wanted to reduce the amount of sugar….I have baked this cake and it is not overly sweet made as is. I don’t think your family would find it too sweet. it is perfect. I wouldn’t mess with decreasing the sugar because it will change the texture and everything else. Good luck!

  179. Adela says:

    The rigor you’ve applied to perfecting this recipe is astounding–Thank you so much! However, I was wondering if there’s any way for me to cut the sugar without ruining the beautiful texture you’ve worked so hard to create. My family doesn’t love sweet desserts so do you think it would be safe to only add 3/4 or 1 cup of sugar instead?

    • Mel says:

      Adela – I can’t really say for sure as I haven’t tried it – I stick with the recipe that’s posted since it’s the version I tested the guts out of, but you could certainly experiment. Good luck!

    • Ron says:

      Sugar effects caramelization, browning, tenderness and moisture, just to name a few, so when you reduce the sugar by half you’re going to end up with something totally different than this recipe produces. Mel has done such an awesome job of explaining each ingredient and the science of why she ended up with the measurements and ingredients in the recipe. I’ve tried way too many yellow cake recipes in the past and I can tell you this is as close as I’ve seen to Yellow Cake Perfection.

  180. Tasha says:

    Hi Mel,

    I made this cake as cupcakes the first time and it came out great. I made it as a cake this week and it came out a little more dense than I expected. I did use 1/2 tsp of baking soda, but everything else was the same. Any suggestions?

    • Mel says:

      Tasha – I’m not entirely sure if the extra baking soda could be the problem but that may be the case. I tweaked the leavening (baking soda and powder) so many times when I was perfecting this recipe because even the slightest variance affected the texture of the cake (sometimes too much leavening can make the cake rise and then fall a bit creating density instead of the light and fluffy texture). Also, overmixing toward the end of making the cake (when adding the dry ingredients) can make the cake a bit dense, too.

      • Tasha says:


        What do you think about substituting buttermilk for the milk/sour cream mixture?

        • Mel says:

          Tasha – I think someone else tried this in the comment thread – but I’m not sure. I haven’t tried it so I don’t know how it would work out. Good luck if you try it!

        • Tasha says:


          I can’t remember if someone asked this (and it is hard to check from my phone) but I want to cut the recipe in half because I want to make a few cupcakes. What would I do with the eggs? 1 whole and 2 yolks?

  181. Ron says:

    Finally, a scratch-made cake that beats a cake mix! Thank you so much for all your hard work and expense you’ve put into perfecting this yellow cake recipe. Every one who has tried it loves it. I know the chocolate frosting is extremely popular with yellow cake but my favorite is to frost it with my homemade caramel frosting. Thanks again!

  182. Angela says:

    Mel, this cake is awesome. I new from the look and taste (I couldn’t help myself) of the batter that it would be grand and it did not disappoint. Like many others have commented, I too have tried a multitude of yellow cake recipes but none, until now, have ever held their own. I followed all your tips for the flour, eggs, and butter to a tee. Thank God I read the mixing instructions more then once, I almost used the egg whites instead of the egg yokes (close one). But for my next try I will be reducing the sugar by 1/4 a cup. It’s a little on the sweet side but over all the cake is amazing, taste and texture. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

  183. Courtney Morris says:

    AMAZING!!! Best homemade yellow cake ever! I made a three layer cake with this recipe for my sons birthday party, OMG our guest raved about this cake! Super moist and oh so delicious! I followed the directions as stated, the only change I made was adding one extra teaspoon of vanilla extract

  184. Kiva says:

    I have made this cake 3 times now. It is delicious. I even made cupcakes using the same batter (17 min cook time). Thanks for your hard work to find the perfect recipe.

  185. Caroline says:

    Hi Mel! I was looking at making this cake for my husbands birthday, and I wanted to know if you think this would completely ruin it, by making it like this:
    I would use your recipe for both the actual cake and the cake balls, my only problem is having to bake the balls and then inserting them into the cake pan to bake again…
    Let me know what you think!

    • Mel says:

      Caroline – Definitely worth a try! It’s really hard to know how the twice baked colored balls will turn out – they might be a little dry but I don’t know for sure since I haven’t tried it. Good luck!

      • Caroline says:

        I am attempting this in the morning!! SO nervous! It will be used for a birthday party tomorrow night, which frosting did you use? Do you have a FAVORITE chocolate frosting you like??

        • Mel says:

          Caroline – I am sorry it’s taken me a while to answer your question. My favorite chocolate frosting is THIS one. I hope the caked worked out for you and that you found a frosting you liked.

  186. Annette says:

    OMG!! This cake is to die for!!!! What a delicious cake!!! I love to bake but I am in no shape or form a professional at it. My husband was craving yellow cake and of course I had to please him. I did an internet search and came across this recipe. Glad I did!! Well, not really because I am on a diet now. Yeah right!!! Wow!! I did everything step by step and came out perfect! And no icing! My husband doesnt really like icing just a freshly baked warm cake. Delicious! Thanks!

  187. Vanessa S says:

    I have to tell you…after 17years (and MANY birthdays with 6 children) I’ve found the homemade cake recipe that trumps the box mix – your Best Yellow Cake Recipe!!! Seriously, I made it 3 times last week – I’ve NEVER made 3 cakes in a week EVER. I’ve only not made it this week because I’m out of Cake Flour – but you even provided a solution for THAT! The best part for me is the “short cuts” to having to think ahead with room temp eggs and the milk/sr cream mixture. Awesome!!! BTY I actually did it with Buttermilk instead of sr. cream (I had it on hand because there was another cake recipe I was trying as well and what else do you do with buttermilk?) it was perfect. And I made it in a 9×13 pan all 3 times (reduce heat to 325 and bake 40-45 minutes – perfect!! Thank you so VERY much from the 8 of us! 🙂

  188. Katie says:

    Curious if you or anyone has tried this as a marble cake or used it under fondant?

  189. Michele Cooke says:

    I came across your recipe yesterday and your extensive research convinced me to give it a try. My husband requested a yellow cake for his birthday party. I hoped to find a recipe similar to the one my Mom used to make many years ago but of course her recipe is long gone. Well, the cake just came out of the oven and it looks beautiful!! Tomorrow I’ll make the chocolate frosting and no doubt it will be delicious as well as beautiful. Many, many thanks!

  190. Ashley says:

    Mel! I have been baking homemade cakes for years! I have perfected all of my faves but always managed to steer clear of yellow cake. Yellow cake can be the driest, most flavorless cake in all the land. You my friend have INDEED PERFECTED THIS RECIPE. I cannot thank you enough for this amazing recipe! I almost cried when this cake came out of the oven because it was that moist. You can feel the moistnest before even tasting it. I had a request for a yellow cake with chocolate icing and this SAVED THE DAY! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU MEL. I know what it feels like to try recipe after recipe, alteration after alteration, trying to obtain the perfect recipe. You have truly outdone yourself!

    • Mel says:

      Your comment gave me goose bumps (I know, I’m a nerd), Ashley! Thank you for taking the time to let me know you loved this recipe!

  191. Vickie says:

    I want to substitute stevia for sugar..would you be able to give guide to do so in the perfect yellow cake recipe

    • Mel says:

      Hi Vickie – I’m sorry that I can’t help you; I haven’t tried this recipe with stevia and don’t use stevia enough to know how it would work here. Good luck if you try it!

  192. Nita says:

    Wow! I made this cake for the third time and I still can’t get over how delicious it is! I made it in a 9×13 pan and it baked beautifully. I weighed everything and followed your instructions and it was perfect! Light ,fluffy ,and tasted so buttery. It was even delicious plain ,without any frosting.

  193. Helen says:

    I leave in Africa,tried this cake but it sunk,help me and I didnot have cornstarch I used custard powder

    • Mel says:

      Helen – I don’t know what custard powder is but that might be the reason the cake sunk – it’s a technical recipe and so the results may not be the same if ingredients are substituted. I’m sorry it didn’t work out!

  194. Alejandra says:

    Mel, do you use unbleached or bleached cake flour?

    • Mel says:

      Alejandra – I use bleached cake flour (I’ve never seen unbleached in my store). As for your other question about ounces, a measuring cup’s volume is 8 ounces but that doesn’t translate to the same weight. Cups of flour generally weigh anywhere from 4 to 5 ounces. If you have any other questions just let me know!

  195. Alejandra says:

    I discovered your web site a couple of weeks ago and I love it. Thanks for all the recipes.
    I want to bake this cake for my twins birthday which is tomorrow and I’m confused about the quantities the recipe calls for flour.
    The recipe says 2 1/4 cups of flour and next to this 9 ounces. Meaning 2 cups plus 1/4 cup?
    One cup is about 8 ounces so, is the total amount of flour 9 oz times 2?

  196. Marci says:

    Can you give me some make ahead tips? Like could I make the cake a couple days in advance, let sit at room temp covered and then frost the day of? Or would you do it differently? Also, is it better to use the hand mixer? I’ve always made cakes in the Bosch but I want to do this exactly how you did.

    • Mel says:

      Marci – I don’t use my Bosch for cakes because I like using a hand mixer to really get the bottom of the bowl cleaned and all the batter incorporated. If I were making this a couple of days in advance (more than the day before), I would wrap the baked and cooled layers in plastic wrap and slide them in a freezer ziploc bag and freeze them. If making the day before, I would bake, cool and frost that day and then cover well and keep it out at room temperature until serving the next day. You could also refrigerate the frosted covered cake but I’d take it out several hours before serving.

  197. Diana says:

    Have you tried this in a 9×13 pan? Do you recommend any adjustments to the recipe for a 9×13 pan? Thank you!!

    • Mel says:

      Diana – I made this the other day in a 9X13 inch pan (for a tres leches cake) and it worked just fine for me although I think I ended up baking it slightly longer.

  198. Kim says:

    Mel- could this recipe be converted to a white cake? Maybe 1 egg and 4 whites? Has anyone else tried this? I’m looking for a really good homemade white cake recipe.

    • Mel says:

      Kim – Hmmm, good question. But my inclination is to say no. White cakes are usually different structurally (flour amounts, etc). I’m on the quest to get a perfect white cake, too. Hopefully soon!

  199. Mary says:

    Hi Mel,
    What a wonderful cake! I made this cake for my sister’s 65th birthday luncheon. I bought salads & soup from this delicious restaurant that we all love but I wanted the cake homemade so I read many recipes and their remarks and chose yours. Mel, your cake is the best, moist flavorful. Thanks for the tips on baking soda & curdling look to the batter. I know raw eggs but even the batter was delicious! Thank you for this recipe I gave copies to all my four sisters & daughter. You are awesome!

  200. Lorie Hainsworth says:

    So sad…I made it EXACTLY according to instructions and the layers sank in the middle. : (

  201. Johannah says:

    I rarely, okay never, leave remarks on web sights. Mainly because I have to make changes to every recipe for my picky husband, but I had to on this. Yellow cake with milk chocolate frosting is his favorite, but he told me he only likes the box kind. I like to bake from scratch so I decided I was up to the challenge. His birthday was in May, and he is still talking about it. I had to break the news about the semi-sweet chocolate chips in your frosting, but he couldn’t tell. Thank you so much. I did have a question about where to find a good conversion chart since I purchased a scale and want to continue to use it. I also wanted to tell you that I have used a number of your recipes with excellent results and will look here first for recipes from now on.

    • Mel says:

      Johannah – Thanks so much. I’m so happy you loved this recipe and hope you enjoy others that you try. I don’t have a really great conversion chart but I think if you Google it you might be able to find one. Good luck!

  202. Jessica says:

    I’m making this for a birthday lunch on Friday and wanted to try it first before I served it to guests but TRUST ME I cannot have two double layer yellow cakes laying around. Does this recipe halve well? Could I make one cake round so I could possibly minimize my weight gain?

  203. Wanda says:

    It was good, but not great. What would account for sponginess? I followed recipe to the letter.

  204. Aubrey says:

    Holy smokes. It is amazing that Mother Earth has the necessary elements to create something so divine. I didnt know a cake like this could be created. I served this cake as a pineapple upside down cake with whipping cream. Best I have ever had.. and everyone at my dinner party loved it. Mel I have to tell you that you are the only way I have been able to achieve any cooking success. After my third son was born over a year ago I resolved to use the next year to learn how to cook without any artificial color flavors or preservatives because of some health issues. My sister in law introduced me to you, and I am ever so grateful. AND I ALWAYS GIVE YOU THE CREDIT BY THE WAY;)

    • Mel says:

      Aubrey – that is brilliant to use this in a pineapple upside down cake. Love that idea (and will probably copy it!). Thanks so much for your sweet comment – you made my day!

  205. Melissa says:

    I just made this for my sons bday party and it was AMAZING!! So worth the work. Very fluffy and full of flavor. I live in Spain, so this type of baking is not common here. The Spaniards couldn’t believe how fluffy it was! One lady said it was the best cake she ever tried. So fun! Thanks for making it so many times and perfecting it so that the rest of us can benefit from all your hard work. I read your blog but have never commented. You’re such an inspiration to me and I use many of your recipes. Thanks for such a great blog!!

  206. Hi Mel – Just wanted you to know I made your cake and posted about it today. It was phenomenal! Thank you so much for taking the time to test and perfect the recipe. It really is the best yellow cake I’ve ever had!

  207. Niki says:

    I wanted to make sure I came back to report! I made this cake and when I tasted it on the first day, I wasn’t to sure about the texture. I waited until 1.5 days to taste it again, at room temperature and it was absolutely amazing!!!!!!!! I doubled the recipe for a 12 x 16 inch pan and baked it at 325 degrees. The only other change I made to the recipe was to add additional vanilla and also added butter flavoring, because I really like the flavor to pop. Thank you for sharing because I have replaced my original yellow cake recipe with this one!!!

    • Nicole says:

      I am going to use this recipe for a bday cake order i have, I am going to make the recipe twice, enough to fill a 12X16 pan. I like to “overfill” a little to level, did you find this to work for you? Thank you for sharing!

  208. rmd says:

    Hi Mel, just a quick cupcake update since you haven’t tried this yet. I’ve made this cake a few times as it is now my current go to yellow cake (thanks again for that.) I baked it last week in a 16 square pan (two batches of batter) and it worked out beautifully for one of the layers of a Neapolitan cake. Today, I confidently made cupcakes….no changes to the recipe, but I didn’t get a good dome and they were not only flat, but strangely, mis-shapen when they cooled and also looked a bit oily on top like they might not be cooked, but they absolutely were cooked to a perfect cake temperature. The crumb is still perfect inside and the flavor remains insanely delicious, so they’re destined to become a trifle or something, but I wanted to let you know, that the cupcakes did not work well. In retrospect, I should have used your vanilla cupcake recipe instead. I’ll keep watching comments to see if anyone makes cupcakes and succeeds.

    • Mel says:

      rmd – thanks for reporting back! It sounds like cupcakes don’t work perfectly with this recipe (someone else commented with a similar experience). My guess is that the leavening needs to be adjusted for cupcakes to get a nice rise. I’ll definitely report back when I try them out. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  209. sujoo says:

    Hi Mel!! The cake is sooooooooooooooo, sooooooooooooooo Yummy! Who knew I could make a cake from scratch?!! I don’t have 2 round pan. (Only 1), so I baked mine in a 9×13. It obviously had to bake longer, and I was concerned about keeping it out, as we weren’t going to eat it until 1~1/2 days later, so I put it in the fridge and worried(all that time) that it would get dense,…..but it didn’t!!!!! Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! !!!! Great recipe! This cake is moist and beautiful!!!! I’m having a piece for breakfast too! Lol Thanks so much for working so hard on this and all your delicious recipes!!!

    • Jen says:

      I am going to be making this tonight and will be doing so in a 9×13 pan as well. How long did you bake yours for?

      • Mel says:

        Jen – I haven’t made this in a 9X13 so I don’t have a lot of advice. Sorry!

      • Leah says:

        I made a 9*13 on Memorial Day. In my oven it baked for 30 minutes. I used made a chocolate frosting with:
        1 stick butter
        3 Tablespoon cocoa
        6 Tablesppon of cream or milk
        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

        Mixed it all together over medium heat until the butter melted and then added 3 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar. I poured it directly onto the still warm cake. It was so tasty!

  210. Taylor says:

    Hi Mel- I made this cake as cupcakes. I followed your original recipe, but did use super-fine sugar (the secret to REALLY tender cake). The cupcakes puffed up very nicely in the oven, but after about 15 minutes started to fall. I ended up baking them for approx 19 minutes and they had at that time fallen quite a bit but they were done so I pulled them out. I was a little disappointed at first because I didn’t get any dome whatsoever. However, they did still taste very good and they were moist and tender. If they had just stayed risen, they’d be perfect! I iced them with Hershey’s chocolate frosting recipe on the back of the container. I think my dad will be pleased with his birthday cupcakes, so for that I thank you.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Taylor – sorry the cupcakes fell a bit. I haven’t made this recipe as cupcakes yet and am guessing the falling issue is either due to the superfine sugar (not saying it would be for sure, but I know that every ingredient can be a factor and I haven’t tested the cake with superfine sugar) or the batter needing more/less leavening when adapted as cupcakes. I’ll definitely try them soon this way and report back with my experience.

  211. Barbara says:

    This cake is perfected!!! I’ve made it twice now. the second time I added 1T of lemon zest (which was a little wet with juice) and my son did the beating (I think a little overbeat). It sank a little and was a little heavy, but still really good. I added a batch of the lemon curd from the no bake lemon cheesecake to the Magical frosting and it was a winning lemon cake!

  212. Kelly says:

    Hi Mel,
    A few quick questions. What is the best way to store this cake after I’m finished making it? In the fridge or on the counter at room temp? Also, I making your chocolate butter cream frosting to go with the cake, do you think the frosting travels well? I’ll be driving about two and half hours with it and I’m debating whether or not I want assemble the cake before I go or after I arrive.

    • Mel says:

      Kelly – I definitely think the cake is fine assembled with the frosting for that length of time as long as the temperature isn’t overly warm. I always store this cake well covered with plastic wrap or on a cake plate with a cake dome at room temperature. Sometimes refrigerating cakes can dry them out. Good luck!

  213. Daphne says:

    So…I made this cake and brushed it with rum Chata. The cakes did sink a bit in the middle…got a little darker than I would have liked on top bc the centers weren’t cooked. Texture seemed great though! I cut each later in two to make 4 layers. I put cake, vanilla ricotta cannoli filling, cake, chocolate ricotta cannoli filling with coconut, cake, another vanilla layer, cake, and iced it with European buttercream. Topped it with toasted unsweetened coconut and chocolate ganache drizzle. The fillings are not very sweet, but the cake and buttercream should help with that. So excited to taste it for my mother in law’s bday tonight!!!! I’d add a pic if I could!

  214. Daphne says:

    Any ideas on how to incorporate coconut into this to make it a yellow coconut cake? I wasn’t sure if just adding dry coconut would change the texture. I don’t want a dense cake. Thanks for any suggestions!

    • Mel says:

      Daphne – It’s a great idea but I haven’t tried it so I don’t know how coconut would affect the texture. If it were me, I’d whisk in a cup or so of shredded coconut with the dry ingredients and incorporate that way. Coconut usually doesn’t absorb moisture so I’m not sure it will dry out the cake but it might change the texture a bit.

  215. Katie says:

    How do you think this would do as the cake in your coconut tres leches recipe?

  216. rmd says:

    Mel, have you ever doubled this recipe with success? Having tested it out and declared it a winner, I now have an occasion that requires a larger cake. I know straight doubling doesn’t necessarily work as the leavening agents don’t necessarily double…etc. so if you have successful larger volume amounts, that would be great. If you haven’t doubled, I will just make the recipe twice to be safe. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      rmd – I totally know what you mean and wish I had doubled it so you didn’t have to go to the extra work but I haven’t yet. If it were me, I’d probably make the recipe twice instead of doubling. If I do double it, I’ll be sure to post an update. Good luck!

  217. kate C. says:

    Worked great for my daughter’s birthday cake! Very tasty! Topped it with Deb’s Caramel cake caramel topping instead of frosting – so good! The texture and flavor and rise were all great. I did add 1/2 t. baking soda instead of 1/4 t. though, but everything else was the same (I use a scale and love the weight measurements – so much more precise and that’s important!)
    I baked the layers yesterday and used one for the caramel cake today, though we all had to try a little of the other layer yesterday (that was destined for the freezer). It was definitely best and freshest yesterday, but still pretty darn good today!
    Thanks for a great recipe!

  218. Emily says:

    I added the extra baking soda you recommended. I weighed everything (with a newly-calibrated scale). The cakes looked beautiful in the oven but ended up being very thin and dry. So sad. I wonder where I messed it up. I think you are amazing and know it was me who ruined it and not the recipe’s fault. I made it for my son’s first birthday and he dug right into it! Thank you for all of your hard work for us helpless chefs! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Emily – The increase in baking soda is just a suggestion for those that have had cakes fall which can happen based on altitude and other factors. It could be that you had the same thing happen to you that happened to me – because of the increase in baking soda, there was too much leavening and that can make the cake fall into thin layers (that’s the reason I scaled the baking soda back to 1/4 teaspoon). The 1/4 teaspoon soda works the best for me so I’d encourage you to make it per the recipe and see if that helps next time. I am glad your son still enjoyed it despite it being thin!

  219. Stacia says:

    I’ve been on the lookout for the best cake recipe. I’ve made so many cakes that haven’t matched up with my expectations. I have to say you nailed it. This cake was delicious, fluffy, and moist. Just what I’d expect from a homemade cake. It did take a little more planning ahead but well worth the effort. Thanks so much. If I wanted to convert this to a white cake what would you suggest since the yolks were so important in this recipe?

    • Mel says:

      Stacia – I don’t dare guess how to convert this to a white cake since I learned the hard way with this cake experiment that there are too many factors at play. The good news is I definitely want to perfect a white cake and hope to do so soon, so keep checking back!

  220. Maureen says:

    Wowsa! I followed your updated advice and upped the baking soda to 1/2 teaspoon — I am looking at two beautiful, level yellow cake layers on my cooling rack just waiting for the chocolate buttercream frosting. Happy Birthday indeed! :o) Thanks Mel!

  221. Holly says:

    Here’s something to try for those who have trouble with cakes sinking in the middle – baking strips on the outside of your pan. Wilton and a few others make them (sometimes called ‘bake even’ strips). I’m at about 4500 ft, and find they really work well here. You soak them in water first, then wrap them around the pan. I prefer the ones that are pinned rather than Velcro so that I can adjust according to pan size (or use two for my larger pans).

  222. ellen says:

    W.O.W. This cake is simply too good for words. It’s like no cake I’ve every made–it’s moist, flavorful, tender, and waaaaay to good to be turned into a bunny for Easter dessert tomorrow. But that is it’s fate. I’m happy to say that I now have a go-to cake and it’s this one!

  223. Wendy says:

    Love how this recipe reads – I am on a mission to make a marble layer cake for an upcoming birthday. Wondering if I took a cup of the batter and then added either 2 oz melted chocolate or a 1/4 cup of high grade cocoa and then swirled? What do you think?

    • Mel says:

      Wendy – Generally for marbled cakes you need to swirl the yellow batter with another batter, in your case chocolate, so instead of swirling melted chocolate or straight cocoa you might try adding a bit of cocoa to half of the yellow cake batter and using that to swirl. I haven’t tried it so I am not sure how adding cocoa will affect the yellow batter. You could also use another chocolate cake recipe for swirling. Good luck!

    • Adrienne says:

      Hi! I, too, was wondering if this recipe could be ‘marbled’ since my son is looking for a marble cake in the shape of a bat for his 5th birthday (which is how I ended up on your site to begin with, which is even funnier because I noticed your bat cake was also for your son’s 5th birthday…)
      Anyway, I’m wondering if anyone has tried your suggestion of adding in cocoa to a bit of the yellow batter with success?
      Any tips would be super appreciated!

  224. I’m so excited to try this – I love yellow cake!

    So one important question – any thoughts on this in a bundt pan? I know I’d need to increase the cooking time, but do I need to use more ingredients (like 1.5 times?) or do anything else differently? I’m trying to make a yellow cake for my dad’s birthday and he is quite skeptical of me using anything other than a boxed cake mix combined with a boxed pudding mix. Thanks!!

    • Mel says:

      That Married Couple – hmmm, bundt pan. That’s a good question. Definitely new territory since I haven’t tried this specific batter in the almighty bundt. My inclination is that you will need more batter for a bundt pan unless you want it to turn out a little on the shrimpy side, so I’d go with your idea of 1 1/2 times the batter. We have to get this to turn out right so your dad’s skepticism can be banished for good! 🙂 This cake does tend to be a little sticky in regular cake pans so make sure to grease and flour the heck out of your bundt pan.

    • Ron says:

      I made this in a bundt pan and it turned out perfect ! Make sure to grease the pan well ( I used Bakers Joy baking spray). It was baked at 50 mins, but next time I will check it at 45 mins. I will definitely make this again.

  225. Laurel says:

    I’m back and I figured it out!! Thank goodness you perfected everything for me and all I had to make was 3 cakes.
    According to a website, high altitude, high Altitude baking requires a decrease in the leavening and increase in the moisture. The website has a chart from the cookbook “pie in the sky” telling you exactly what you need to do depending on your altitude.
    I’m at 5,660 so I added 1 T more milk, 1/8 t baking soda, 1 1/4 t baking powder.
    Don’t forget the already mentioned increase in flour 2 1/2 T flour.
    Watch the bake time too! I only needed 25 minutes.

  226. Diane says:

    Perfection, Mel!! Thank you so much! The layers are perfect and the cake is so light feeling. I haven’t frosted and eaten it yet, but I’m sure it will be exquisite. I’m filling it with Italian custard and strawberries, and icing it with almond frosting and strawberries.

  227. Mariah says:

    Mel, I love the scientific, experimental approach you take with your baking! As a engineering PhD and baker, I can totally appreciate the crazy amount of time you put into checking all the factors! Next time, whatever you decide to perfect, call me, I’ll give a smaller Design Of Experiment. That way you won’t have to get sick of the perfect thing you’ve created! (p.s.- cheesecake? brownies? toffee? I have so much trouble with toffee!)

  228. Denise says:

    After seeing this post, I decided I wanted this cake for my birthday. Hubby made it and turned out delicious! The frosting is also amazing!

  229. Melanie says:

    Tried it and it was amazing! So yummy!

  230. Anna says:

    Just chiming back in to report that as of yesterday, our cake is gone to the last scrap.

    It kept getting better as the days went on, which is most of the reason it didn’t last long.

    The orange curd soaked in to the cake a bit in the middle, the chocolate frosting soaked in a bit from the top. So good.

    Next time I think I’ll add 6 ounces of chocolate, just to see how it compares.

  231. Paula Nielson says:

    My cake turned out exactly like Laurels…. I even measured and followed directions to a T. So strange… I’ll try it again someday… You are amazing Mel and I absolutely love everything you do.

  232. Allie says:

    Mel, this cake is SO good! I’ve tried many different yellow cake recipes, including Cook’s Illustrated and Shirley Corriher’s, but I think your recipe is now the one I’ll use. I followed your instructions to the letter and weighed all the ingredients, and the cake turned out very moist, tender, and fluffy. I used one of the layers for a strawberry shortcake, and I wrapped up the second layer and put it in the freezer. A week later, my husband thawed it and had a slice—plain—and, HOLY COW! The texture had become ever-so-slightly more dense, and it tasted like the best pound cake ever. With every bite, he kept saying, “This is SO good. My god, this is good.” Thanks for your tireless research and testing to bring us this recipe!

  233. Anna says:

    The cake turned out great! The orange curd I made was delicious, and your chocolate frosting is divine!

    The cake baked really well in a 13×9 pan, then I wrapped it up in plastic wrap and chilled it before I sliced off the outer brown layer and split the cake into two layers. For service, I put it back in the cleaned 13×9 pan, with the curd between the layers, and topped it with a half batch of the frosting. So delicious!

    Thanks again for sharing your experiments.

  234. Margaret UK says:

    Hi Mel, I made this cake plus the chocolate frosting for a small party the other day. I topped the whole thing with sliced strawberries and served with cream. Everyone said it was – quote – Fabulous! and it really was. Light, moist, fluffy, and tender. I made it in 2 x 9″ tins and may try it in 3 x 8″ tins next. Thanks for the recipe! x

  235. Justin says:

    Hey Mel, just thought I should comment, as I just made these into cupcakes. It made 24 cupcakes, I’m not high elevation or anything, and it took my oven about 14ish minutes (and that was with two tins of 12 cupcakes in the oven together), so I would say for the average person anywhere from 12-15 minutes. The edges may not brown near the top (they didn’t on all of mine before the toothpick pulled out clean on them) but yeah, they came out awesome. Thanks for the recipe!

  236. Sm says:

    I made this cake for my son’s first birthday yesterday, and it was a hit!! I also wanted to let you know that I subbed the cornstarch for arrowroot powder, and it worked out great!! The internet told me I could, but it warned me the cake might bake faster. It didn’t. Just wanted to let you know that, and thank you for all the time spent perfecting it! It was yummy!!

  237. Danielle says:

    I tried my hand at this cake over the weekend…I failed! Apparently my pans were over filled because half way through they overflowed into the bottom of my oven making a smoky mess. In an effort to salvage it, I dumped both cakes into a 9×13 pan and through it in another oven. (The non smoking one) It wasn’t very pretty, but I thought I would cover it with frosting anyways. I have never had more compliments on a cake in my life. The texture and flavor were perfect! Your recipe…even with all my mess ups it was still to die for!

  238. Hailey says:

    I made this Saturday and it was really really good! The first slice I had (two hours after it came out of the oven) didn’t really impress me. My husband on the other hand who is not a dessert person at all went back for seconds (he doesn’t even like cake for his birthday he likes milkshakes)! The second slice I tried after dinner rocked my world. I used the chocolate butter cream recipe you posted a few weeks ago and it all was just perfect. This is my new go to yellow cake recipe!

    Has anyone tried making this recipe as cup cakes?

    • Lisa says:


      Thank you so much for this outstanding recipe!! I have been on a quest for the last 9 months to find a scratch yellow cake recipe that is moist, tender, fluffy and actually tastes good. After baking over 30 different recipies, wasting tons of ingredients and gaining 5 lbs, my search is finally over! I could kiss you! I made your recipe exactly as you instructed. Although, I did bake cupcakes instead of a cake. They were perfect. I did not have any of the issues that some of the other posters described with my cupcakes. They had nice little domes, no sinking or flat tops and the taste and texture were perfect. Again, I was careful to mix them exactly as you instructed, which I think makes a difference. Thank you so much for all your time in testing the recipes in order to make this one perfect for us :)!!!

      • Mel says:

        Thanks, Lisa! I’m thrilled your cupcakes turned out well – I’m planning on trying this recipe as cupcakes next week. Thanks for reporting back!

        • valerie says:

          I made this cake twice first time I made it sort of fell apart tthe second time I made it it was flat. Both times thecake delicious Do you have any suggestions to make the cake fluffy and moist I followed the directions to a t

        • Mel says:

          I’m sorry that happened. I don’t have any other suggestions besides the one in the post. Keep in mind if you are at high altitude the cake may bake differently so you might want to google suggestions (or follow the high altitude suggestions in the post).

  239. Tami says:

    I made this cake recipe this past weekend and it did not disappoint! It was absolutely amazing! This recipe makes me so happy! Thank you Mel!!!

  240. Megan says:

    Thank you for posting this! I have been trying to find the perfect yellow cake for a long time and yours is by far the best! I made it in a 9×13 pan for 38mins and it came out great. I used a cream cheese/whipped cream frosting and topped with strawberries. My family devoured it!!

  241. Carlie says:

    Just tried to make this cake and now I am on a mission to figure out how to make it well. It was a disaster. It sank horribly and had that sponginess you mentioned. I added extra cake flour for altitude and added extra baking soda as suggested. I was so frustrated! But I did my best to laugh and salvage it. Oh well.

    • Mel says:

      Carlie – so sorry about the disaster! It sounds as if the altitude is a problem for people even after the high altitude adjustments in the directions; since I don’t live at high altitude I can’t troubleshoot for you guys, unfortunately. Seriously, I’m so bummed it’s not working out since I really want this cake to be perfect for everyone! I think I know the exact texture/issue you are talking about because I had several turn out like that during my trials. I’d almost suggest adding a bit more flour and instead of increasing the baking soda, I wonder about leaving the baking soda at 1/4 teaspoon and increasing baking powder to 2 teaspoons. Just take care with the leavening since I had several cakes sink because of too much leavening.

  242. Kathy says:

    I made this cake today…the taste is amazing BUT I baked them for 25 min, they did not seem done so I gave them 3 more minutes and tested with a toothpick, they were done. They looked beautiful, even etc. Left the pans on the cooling rack and came back 5 or 10 min later to turn them out and they were sunk in the middle. I followed your directions exactly…even bought a kitchen scale etc. Any ideas? My baking powder is not old…I just used it the other day with success. We loved the taste and texture and the chocolate frosting was to die for 😉 Just not pretty layers like I would like.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Kathy and others who have checked back in on this cake. The flat/sunk layers baffles me considering I dedicated my life to this cake for months. But I really, really, really want this to turn out perfectly for you like it does for me. I’m guessing it is a leavening issue. Here’s the update I just put in the recipe:

      I’ve heard from several of you that while the cake tastes amazing, it is sinking in the middle or is baking flat. When I had too much leavening in the cake during my experimenting (2 teaspoons baking powder + 1 1/2 teaspoons soda), the cake rose too much in the oven and then deflated so I scaled it back to what worked perfectly for me. But here’s the deal, if you are worried about sunken layers, increase the baking soda. My suggestion would be 1/2 or 3/4 teaspoon.

      Be sure to check back in!

  243. Laurel says:

    Nope. I didn’t forget. Would it help to add a little more soda or more powder? Or maybe both? I’m going to try it again this week! Determined to get it perfect.

    • Mel says:

      Laurel – definitely worth a try. In one of my variations, I think I had 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon soda and my cake had so much leavening that it “popped” in the oven and deflated. So I scaled it back to the measurements in the recipe. So you might google some high altitude help about leavening to see whether to scale it up or down. Good luck. Keep me posted!

  244. Sylvia says:

    Perfect name for this perfect cake. Thanks for your hard work.

  245. Laura Clark says:

    Tried your newest recipe last night. I tried making them into cupcakes, and I’m not sure what happened, but they all sunk in the middle! Shoot! I WILL be trying them again because the batter is delicious! The cupcakes are actually still edible, just not pretty, and they are delicious! The flavor is perfect. I am a high altitude baker (6800 ft!), so recipes are always a little finicky for me. I’m probably going to try it with a scale next time to make sure I get enough flour to support the cake’s structure, and I’ll be trying that 15-degrees-higher oven tip mentioned earlier too! Thank you for your many trials and for succeeding in finding such a great final product!!

  246. rmd says:

    Dear Mel….I made the cake yesterday and, after so many attempts at perfect yellow cake, including the ones you mentioned in your post as well as many others that I tinkered with to try to achieve greatness…. I think, quite possibly this is really it!!! The flavor and texture are spot on. It is moist and fluffy with not too fine a crumb. It’s not eggy, it not cornbready, it’s not pound cake but also it’s not too fragile…. I agree that it didn’t dome as much as other recipes, but that did not detract from the texture. My husband declared after dessert last night that this is “the one.” As obsessed as I am with perfection, I will need to make it one or two more times just to make sure….but, with deep gratitude for your efforts, let me say thank you one more time for persevering and sharing your success with all of us! (now, fingers crossed that it works well for cupcakes and can also scale up for larger cakes for special occasions….if anyone tries doubling or tripling, please share what proportions work)

  247. Jodi says:

    Of all the cooking blogs I have used, Mel’s Kitchen Cafe is the best out there! In my many years of trying new recipes from this blog they have all turned out…. unless I’ve made a mistake! I cook from it daily and I appreciate all the time and effort Mel puts into perfecting each recipe.

  248. Jess Lundahl says:

    What a timely post!! I had just spend two days testing several different yellow/white cupcake recipes. I do live at high altitude, so there’s always that to contend with 🙂 I thought I had found THE yellow cupcake, but then I came across your post. So I figured I would give yours a try since I LOVE so many of your recipes!!! I followed all the high altitude directions as written. The first batch of cupcakes I made, I baked at 350 for 18 mins, as directed…the cupcakes didn’t fall but did spread a bit and were quite flat. I decided to raise the temp to 375 for 15 mins for the next batch. That batch didn’t spread quite as much but were still pretty flat. They weren’t bad by any means! However, they were a bit gummy or something. The texture was just a tad bit off. I thought I’d share my high altitude cupcake trial with you. Thanks so much for all of your hard work!!

  249. Kelly G says:

    Hi, so I was on my phone sitting in my car in the 3rd grocery store parking lot when I posted that last (incomplete) message! It somehow posted before I finished, I’m sure it was some error of mine:) So anyways I just got home got on my computer and came to your blog to see right there on your home page your solution to make my own cake flour!! YAY! So happy now, you’re the best and I can’t wait to make this recipe for my husbands birthday tomorrow. THANK YOU!!

  250. Kelly G says:

    I can’t find cake flour, we have 3 grocery stores in my town and no one has it. Is it worth trying to make it with all purpose? Or is there a substitute? Self rising? I really wanted to make it tonight d

  251. Barbara says:

    How about perfecting crepes?

  252. Laurel says:

    Perfect a cookbook? Ha! What do they think this blog is?

    Made the cake last night. I’m at a HA so I added the extra flour and it didn’t rise. Came out already sunk in the middle. I only cooked it for 25 min but it was super dark and dry too. I was sad. I weighed everything. Followed directions perfectly. Never fear! I’m attempting it again until it comes out perfect or until my newly purchased cake flour is all gone 😉

    • Mel says:

      Oh shoot, Laurel! That’s not what I like to hear. Darn! I’m sorry this cake didn’t work out for you. I can’t imagine what went wrong. This is a dumb question but you’re sure you didn’t leave out the baking powder/soda, right?

  253. Stephanie says:

    Oh, and you asked about what to perfect next? I would to have a perfect moist and light fresh strawberry cake or cupcake recipe with a strawberry frosting. Often they are too dense or the recipes call for packets of instant pudding or strawberry jello. You would be my hero if you could give us the recipe for a delicious, moist and fluffy/light fresh strawberry cake/cupcake!!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Stephanie – the cupcakes, while delicious, aren’t quite as light as this cake. Either are delicious but hopefully this batter translates well into cupcakes, too (I’m guessing it will). Good luck if you try it!

  254. Stephanie says:

    So excited to try this! Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is one of my all-time favorite desserts. Ever. Thanks for all of your hard work to perfect this recipe! Some have asked about turning this into cupcakes. I have only ever made your Ultimate Chocolate Cake as cupcakes and they are AMAZING! The most moist homemade chocolate cucpake i have ever had (i frost them with one of your cream cheese frostings). I the recipe exactly, only adjusting the bake time since they are cupcakes. 13 minutes in my oven (it’s gas) is the perfect amout of time. Given how well that recipe works as cupcakes, I bet this one would too. I was all set to use your Light and Fluffy Yellow Cupcakes recipe, but I may try this one. What would you say is the difference in this cake’s texture from your yellow cupcakes?

  255. Carrie says:

    While I haven’t tried 16 recipes in the past two months… I definitely have in the past 2 years, including all the ones you mentioned! I had given up, even though yellow is my favorite cake. Thank you so much for persevering for us! I am so excited to try this. MUAH! Kisses to you!

  256. Jen T says:

    wow. that is all I can say. wow!

  257. Patience says:

    Yellow cake is so difficult! I haven’t made a decent one yet, so I can’t wait to try your method.

  258. Thanks Mel! You have done the world a great service by perfecting this cake! Can’t wait to try!!!

  259. Anna says:

    Perfect Cake? Perfect timing! Thank you for your experiments!

    Dad’s got a birthday coming up, and I’ve had the same reservations about the cake recipes I’ve tried in the past, but wasn’t sure what to do when I saw a Martha Stewart birthday cake with an orange curd filling and a ganache icing. Dad likes that idea, but I wanted a tried and true recipe to try. (online reviews can be a bit limited without the details you’ve provided.) I’m thinking this cake will be a good place to start.

    Here’s hoping it’s not too delicate and fluffy to handle the filling. I’m making it in an 9×13 for simplicity, with only one layer to split.

    I’ll be trying the chocolate version of the frosting too. Per your experiments, I’ll be adding extra chocolate.

  260. Jenn A says:

    I have a cake idea that I’d love for someone to figure out! Maybe you’d want to try it. When I was in graduate school I ran wedding receptions as my part time job. There was one baker who was very popular for her chocolate groom’s cake. It was! Of course, she kept her recipe secret. I have looked and looked at chocolate cake recipes and have never come across anything that seems similar. It was very different from your description of your yellow cake above. It was VERY chocolate (I remember hearing from somewhere that she used multiple kinds of chocolate in it, but I don’t know if that is true or not). It was also very moist and very dense. It was so good! All my reception helpers would be so eager for the reception to be over so they could snag a piece of leftover cake. The frosting on it was very chocolate too and was almost like fudge in texture. The cake was intensely chocolate but not overly sweet. I would love to have someone figure out how to make a cake like this – or even point me to a recipe that would be similar. I’ve dreamed about it for years now. =)

  261. Thank you!!! I have forever been on the search for the perfect yellow cake and I have come pretty close, but can’t wait to give your recipe a try. I wish it wasn’t so late so that I could make it right now!

  262. Elizabeth W says:

    This is awesome! I was craving a yellow cake the last time I was pregnant and I tried the cook’s illustrated one since they have never let me down. It was good, but not exactly what I had hoped for. I was wondering if I had done something wrong. I’m glad I’m not the only one who was looking for more!

    As for perfecting, I would love a perfected deep dish pizza. I’ve tried a few recipes (including CI) but they are either incredibly complicated or incredibly tasteless.

  263. Bet says:

    Wow. This cake is SO GOOD. I’ve tried a few other from-scratch yellow cakes and they have been dry even when they tasted good. But this is light and moist and the taste is amazing!!!!! I didn’t even ice it. (I’m pregnant and I just wanted cake, gosh.) I didn’t have the right pans, so I used a 9×13 and baked it for 38 min, which was maybe 1 or 2 too long. 🙂 Thank you for the recipe!!!!

  264. britt says:

    Thanks again for the high altitude directions. There aren’t many of us but we really appreciate it when we’re not forgotten! At 6200 feet, homemade cakes are tough.

  265. Pam says:

    Thank you so much for including high altitude directions!

  266. Nita says:

    Hi Mel, the cake was still fluffy and moist ,just not as high as I thought it would be. It had great flavor and it was delicious. I definitely think I was too light with the flour but I will be making it again for sure. I made it last night and it’s already gone! Thanks for all the great recipes. I make several of your recipes every week and we always love them.

  267. Sandee says:

    Mel, if ever you need a recipe tested at 7605 ft, im your gal (southern colorado). anxious to try this one out. thanks for your extensive testing!

  268. Crystal says:

    I am making this today for my son’s 18th birthday. I’m going to try it in a sheet cake pan and hope it works. Thanks for all the work. I check in regularly every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Love it!

  269. Kim in MD says:

    Me again…I forgot to add that I think cake pops would be a fun way to use up some of your frozen yellow research cake! 🙂

  270. Kim in MD says:

    Wow, Mel…the research you did to perfect this cake is very impressive! I have been waiting for you to post this recipe since you first hinted that you were working on it. I have never found a from scratch yellow cake recipe that I have loved. Like you, even my beloved CI recipe let me down. I am co-hosting a big party in two weeks, and I am going to make your yellow cake. I don’t even feel the need to test before making it, because I trust that this will be the best homemade yellow cake! As you know, I like to prepare as much as I can before the party. I am going to bake the cake layers this weekend and freeze them (well wrapped). I’ll frost them before the party. Thanks so much for devoting so much time to perfect recipes to share with us!

  271. Carly Pickering says:

    Mel! I know what you need to perfect next. Or, if you already have, and know the answer, please send it my way. 😉 EVERY time I make a bundt cake, it sticks to the pan when I try to get it out. EVERY time. Seriously, it is going to make me crazy. Maybe I just need to conduct my own experiment. Do you have an exact science for it? Spray the pan? Spray and flour? Butter? I would use parchment paper, but it doesn’t work great with the grooves. Am I not letting the cake cool enough, or maybe too much?
    Thanks! 🙂

  272. stacie says:

    I might just have to make a cake today…I was going to make your French bread dinner rolls, I might have to make both 🙂 I am always looking for the perfect cakes. Always trying new ones, I am right there with ya being a nerd about this stuff. Havn’t read through the entire post but WILL before I go ahead and bake this thing! Thanks for posting and I will come back and give you my thoughts 🙂

  273. Jill says:

    I can’t wait to try this cake as soon as Lent ends. I love every recipe I have made from your site. Thanks for all your effort to perfecting each recipe and providing helpful tips for us.

  274. Amanda says:

    My husband has been the cook in our family lately. (Joys of morning sickness…) And I’ve sent him to your site on many occasions. He made our 2 year olds birthday cake a few weeks ago–but the recipe wasn’t great and it turned out amazingly dense. Knowing that you had this on the horizon, I’ve been checking occasionally. Tonight he asked if it was posted–and we were so happy to see it was! He’s looking forward to redeeming his previous attempt. Thanks for your experimentation! You’ve saved us years of development on our own. 🙂

  275. Jodi says:

    I couldn’t resist trying this today. It is exactly how you described – light, fluffy and perfect! I pulled out my scale which I hardly use and even though I think weighing ingredients can be a pain, it totally paid off. It truly is the best yellow cake ever!

  276. Thank you do much for going through all the effort AND for sharing it!! I have the perfect occasion to make this for next weekend!

    PS ~ I love my kitchen scale. I’d be lost without it. I live in Australia where sticks of butter don’t exist so a scale is a lifesaver just for that alone. But I use it for so much more!

  277. Jenn A says:

    Amazing!!! And I can’t wait to try this cake. Every time I have tried a yellow cake I have been disappointed and I think I’ve tried a different recipe every time. So glad you tested and tested this one. What a ton of work! and cake!

  278. Kim says:

    You made my whole day – thank you! If you wrote a cookbook, I would buy a copy for everyone I know (including those people I hate). I love your blog!!!

  279. Nita says:

    I just took this cake out of the oven and it’s not very fluffy. I’m not sure what I did wrong but it looks kind of flat. It smells great so I’m sure it will still taste good. I followed all the instructions except I didn’t have a scale so maybe my flour measurements were off? I just ordered a scale and I will try again.

    • Mel says:

      Nita – you can see from my pictures that the cake layers aren’t ultra-thick. Just pretty standard, I’d say. Was it still fluffy and moist? Weighing the ingredients definitely helps with precision…do you think you may have measured the flour with too light of touch?

  280. Colleen says:

    Dang woman! I can’t wait to try this out since earlier today as I was gorging myself on your Decadent Chocolate Cake I told my mom I was totally over standard yellow cake. Guess I’m not after all! Thanks for all the awesomeness that your blogging has brought to my world and my kitchen. I can’t help but constantly throw shout-outs your way on my blog as I tell my readers what awesome new dish I cooked/baked up from your site. Cheers to you, Mel!

  281. Suzanne says:

    Can’t wait to try this!! Would 1 c of buttermilk work in place of the milk/sour cream?

    • Mel says:

      Suzanne – I’d suggest using the milk/sour cream to start and then play around with it from there. The recipe I tried with just buttermilk was a bit too cornbread-tasting for my liking.

  282. I am new the last few weeks reading your blog. So I had no idea about your quest. Your blog was fabulous and very well written—-on top of being down right informative and even the adjective fascinating could be used. We should all be honored that you so kindly shared your recipe. Thank you.

  283. Moe Young says:

    What to perfect next? A cookbook. Please!

  284. Jessica says:

    That read like a freaking novel! Nothing more interesting than the whys and hows of cooking/baking.

    Only two obstacles standing in the way of making this: 30 lbs of baby weight from my 3 month old and the purchasing of a sifter. One might be easier to surmount than the other.

    You remain my favorite food blogger of all time.

  285. Viktoriya says:

    This just flew into my recipe box faster than the speed of light!!:))

  286. Dana says:

    Hi Mel- Your posting turned out great and I am so excited to not only make your perfect yellow cake, but to display it on my cake stand! Thanks a million for using my cake stand and linking back to me ;o) You are very thoughtful! Happy Baking!

  287. Catherine says:

    Thank you for describing steps you took too make the perfect yellow cake. I was interested in hearing about you test baking recipes.

  288. Kelli says:

    I would love for you to find the perfect recipe for breakfast, whether it be a breakfast casserole, pancakes or waffles. We love breakfast in this house!

  289. Megan Lemon says:

    Thanks for this amazing post, Mel! It is exactly what my husband wants for his birthday, yellow cake, chocolate frosting. I always go to your website so I am so excited that it came just in time. His birthday is this Sunday!! 🙂 THanks!

  290. Deb says:

    oh my I’m so happy — it’s cake week at our house and so far the results of a different cake each night have been so so — especially the yellow cakes! so perfect perfect timing – I will be making this cake next! Thank you for saving me so much pain and testing! Can’t wait for the perfect yellow cake! What frosting did you use??

  291. Thank you! Wow, what a great resource! Pinning and hoping to try sooner than later. Quick question: How do you view your “homemade yellow cake mix” recipe now that you have tested so many yellow cakes and found “the” one. Will you still keep the cake mix on hand to use in a pinch?

    • Mel says:

      Jeanette – good question. I think the homemade yellow cake mix has its merits for certain recipes and I like knowing I have a dry mix option but this perfected yellow cake is better, in my opinion.

  292. bluebaker says:

    I am so going to try this soon! The photos look like a party just waiting to happen.

  293. Karen says:

    I totally woke up this morning thinking: I need to try different yellow cake recipes, and attempt to find the best one.
    Then I go to your website and find out that you’ve already done it all! It’s a sign. Now I MUST try this recipe. Thanks for all your hard work!! I especially love the long explanation behind the recipe (I love knowing WHY I need to do things a certain way).

  294. Patti says:

    If you could take the time and trouble to bake 16 cakes and then write this awesome post, the least we could do is read it to the very end! It’s either that or I’m a big kitchen nerd too. I am putting this at the top of my baking to-do list! Thanks for all your experimenting on our behalf! Oh, and I love that you weigh your ingredients. LOVE, love, love!

  295. Sally H says:

    You are fabulous. And I LOVE that you include all those details. One of my fav things about your recipes! This was perfect timing, son #’3’s 7th birthday is tomorrow and I was just sitting down to figure out what type of cake so I will be doing this one TONIGHT (mini cake for him; cupcakes for his class). He cannot have chocolate so I’m going to use a caramel frosting. Thank you thank you!

  296. Lindsey R says:

    Great. Now I will spend the rest of the day yelling at my chickens to hurry up and lay more eggs. I can not wait to make this cake, and I don’t typically make cake in the first place. Thanks Mel!

  297. Meghan says:

    Haha– so you guys ate a lot of yellow cake. I was mostly also curious if you just discard some of the cakes because that’s a lot of cake! I love the why’s of how to do specific recipes.

  298. Hira says:

    WOohoo! Cant wait to try this! So u recommend using the whisk attachment? Hm…i think the paddle is best for creaming though. Anyway, i would love the perfect vanilla cake recipe. Something moist and fluffy but not a sponge cake ( i already have a great sponge cake recipe ). would this cake taste like a vanilla cake if i add a vanilla bean to it? THANKS AGAIN!

  299. Sally says:

    Great post! So for how long do you leave out your butter? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Sally – It really depends on the temp of my kitchen but usually if I take it out and place it on the counter, it’s good to go in an hour or two (that’s judging by the cooler, winter kitchen).

  300. Tami says:

    I LOVE this post!! Thank you for all the hard work in finding the perfect yellow cake recipe! I will be trying this recipe very soon! 🙂

  301. Adrienne says:

    This is next on my to make list!
    I would love it if you could give me a perfect recipe for Cherry Turnovers!

  302. Mary H says:

    So there’s no sour cream where I live… What would be the next best thing, creme fraiche, yogurt, something else?

  303. Barbara H says:

    A suggestion for what to perfect next? This might sound simple but how about the perfect french fry. I’ve tried the double fry method and different fry temperatures for each fry but mine never seem to come out right.

  304. Sandle says:

    After all the work you put into perfecting this recipe, how could I not make it! This is going to make my family very happy!

  305. Loved reading your process to get to the best end result and I’ve done a lot of them. Things I really loved. Using unsalted butter. I have NEVER bought salted butter; see no need for both and I’ve never had anything taste bad if I used salted.

    More significantly though, I live in Denver at 5680 feet and I’ve struggled with high altitude for 28 years. It’s a variable beast for sure but the past couple of years I’ve had more success than ever with a tip from a local celeb baker who owns a very popular dessert restaurant. He said to forget changing the leavening and other ingredients and simply increase the oven temp 15 degrees. This allows the heat to more quickly set the risen goods and prevent them from falling for having risen too fast in our lighter air. Made sense and works for me. It does mean cutting back a bit on time too so the end result isn’t overbaked so I start testing at 10 minutes less baking time. Just a suggestion because high altitude baking is such a pain. It varies from 2,000 to 5,000 to 10,000 feet and sometimes it really is on the baker to test and find the perfect fix.

  306. Sherry says:

    This looks divine! Will you please share your chocolate frosting recipe also? If I’m going to go to the work of making YOUR perfect yellow cake, I want the perfect frosting as well. Thanks!

  307. Tricia says:

    Thanks for perfecting the yellow cake. Personally, I’m not a regular cake eater, I like pies instead. But, my daughter & grandson will only eat yellow cake. So, the next time I make them a birthday cake, I’ll try your recipe.

  308. Mel, can I give you an award for your efforts at perfecting this recipe? You surely deserve one! I love this!

  309. Anna S. says:

    Not to make you scream after all your hard work…but would this batter do well as cupcakes? Easter is around the corner and it just begs for yellow cupcakes with pastel swirls of frosting…however, you were very specific about having a yellow CUPcake recipe and a perfect yellow LAYER CAKE recipe. And I have to say, the tender texture of this cake in your pictures is enchanting!

  310. rmd says:

    Mel, I’ve visited your site often in the past, but when you mentioned that the perfect yellow cake was coming soon, I had to sign up for regular emails. And, I’m glad I did! I am obsessed with finding the perfect recipe for many different things and while I’ve gotten close on yellow cake, I’ve not made anything I could crown, “the one.” I deeply appreciate all the baking geek talk and read every word of this post at least once. I can’t wait to try your perfected recipe….and enough time has passed from my last attempts to present yet another yellow cake to my family. I’ll let you know how it goes…Thank you for all of your efforts. Love your blog!

  311. Katie Brooks says:

    Thank you so much for perfecting a yellow cake recipe for us! I loved hearing how you got to the perfect recipe. I recently made the Cooks Illustrated yellow cake (my first layer cake from scratch) and was so disappointed, I’m glad that it was the recipe and not me. After reading this post, I can’t stop thinking about cake…. 🙂

  312. Wowzers! I appreciate all your effort. I’d have never made it through that many trials. I can’t wait to give it a try.

  313. I love this post! I’ve had similar experience with yellow cakes (was really surprised when I had the same thoughts on Deb’s!) and have found only a couple of recipes that are pretty decent. I’ll definitely be trying your recipe soon.

  314. Katherine says:

    What should you perfect next? You should poke some holes in that there yellow cake and pour milk (or coconut milk or whatever other variations that you have the patience to try, but I don’t), and make the perfect tres leches cake. It would be awesome if I could get those results before May 5th 🙂 Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  315. J_b_ird says:

    Been anxiously awaiting this recipe for my twins’ upcoming birthday! From one baking nerd to another, I had given up finding that perfect yellow cake recipe…I am confident my search is over 🙂 ever grateful for all you do!

  316. Yellow cake always has been and will remain my favorite cake flavor. You have no idea how much this is calling to me right now! I’d love to try your recipe, Mel. Thanks for sharing!

  317. Leah says:

    What next? How about a lemon meringue pie? Or if you want to back off sweets, how about pimento cheese? Or since Mother’s Day is coming, how about the best breakfast casserole ever?

  318. Cammee says:

    Your kids and husband are pretty lucky to have you, you have FAR more patience than I. You are amazing! I can’t wait to reap the rewards of all your hard work. This looks so good!

  319. Michele says:

    If any of you, like me, hate hassling with the parchment rounds, a flattened coffee filter (basket style) is a handy substitute.

  320. You are amazing Mel!! Thank you for all your hard work. 16 times! Way to not give up! I’m excited to try this recipe now. And I am sure you won’t be trying it again for a LONG time!

  321. Laurel says:

    Best! Post! Ever!

  322. Isabelle says:

    Could I ask you to share your secrets for staying skinny in spite of doing things like making 16 yellow cakes??? This is seriously the secret I desperately need perfected. haha.

  323. Megan McClen says:

    I had the exact same experience with Smitten Kitchen’s yellow cake and thought I did something wrong! I was so sure it would be the best but it totally underwhelmed for my birthday cake last year. I will be trying this one this weekend for my mom’s birthday, it looks and sounds amazing. It’s incredible how much time and thought you put into it! I imagine I’ll have a tough time getting the cakes into the oven though, that batter looks deeeelicious

  324. You are a total trooper for putting this much effort into getting the perfect yellow cake! From all of us way too lazy to do that – THANK YOU!!!

  325. Maureen says:

    Hi Mel!

    Hurray for us that we get to enjoy all your hard work — thanks! I can’t wait to try it — sounds like it will be perfect for a birthday cake I’ll be making in a couple of weeks. Anyhow, you asked about what you should perfect next — how about fruitcake? I’m serious here — I love a tasty, moist fruitcake around the holidays, but a good one is very hard to come by — that’s probably why they get such a bad reputation. You could be the cook who creates a fruitcake that no one would ever regift! :o) If anyone could do it, it would be you.

  326. Cindy says:

    Appreciate all you hard work on perfecting the yellow cake. Enjoyed reading all the details. Also, is the recipe for the chocolate on your website? Thanks.

  327. susanj says:

    Reminds me of the fun in my food science class. It’s a fun process, thanks for writing about it for us kitchen science geeks.

  328. Gail says:

    At last…I’ve been waiting for this post since you hinted at it recently. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is hard to do well! How many of us who love this combination have tasted a lot of bad yellow cake and been so disappointed! But when you get it right it’s amazing and so worth the calories as a special treat. All of us baking nerds appreciate you, Mel! I have also tried the versions mentioned in your post and have been disappointed as well. A version I did like used beaten egg whites but was so fussy to make (which I’m wiling to do for great yellow cake) so I’m looking forward to trying your version soon. I trust your taste buds. To answer your question above…I myself would love to perfect breaded pork chops. My mom and grandma used to bake these and I’ve never gotten it right….they used bone in pork chops and cracker meal. Ever made them?

  329. Nicole Hunn says:

    YOU DID IT, MEL!! I’ve seriously been crossing my fingers every day since you said that you finally developed the Holy Grail of Yellow Cakes that it would be the day. And today’s it!! You’re too sweet to give me those shout-outs, but you know I enjoyed the troubleshooting more than a normal person ever should. Kitchen science geeks unite!

    It looks … like a thing a true beauty. And the best part for you? No more yellow cake for at least a little while!

    xoxo Nicole

  330. Teresa R. says:

    Thank you! I will be making this cake on Friday for my son who loves yellow cake and chocolate icing. Like you, I have baked the Cooks Illustrated yellow layer cake and was a little disappointed. As for what recipe to perfect next, everything I can think of is already on your site and tastes perfect to me.

  331. Brandy says:

    Thanks for all your hard work! I cannot wait to make this. My middle child is turning 3 in two weeks so I will be giving this one a try for her birthday.

  332. Heather M says:

    I am so very impressed!! That’s nothing new when it comes to you and this here blog, but seriously…wow! This looks so delicious! Thanks for all your hard work!

  333. Beth says:

    I am very impressed as well; congratulations! I do have a question as I tried a yellow cake recipe a few weeks ago and it was WAY TOO DENSE for my taste. Is that a yellow cake thing (I’m not a huge fan) but want to try your recipe…?

    • Mel says:

      Beth – this cake is definitely not dense. It has a different texture than a cake mix so if that’s what your after, this isn’t it, probably, but this cake is definitely on the tender, fluffy end of the spectrum and not the dense, cornbread spectrum. Hope you like it if you try it!

  334. Betsy says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! My son is getting married next spring and they want several “homemade” cakes on stands at the reception instead of a big, fancy cake. I’ve been gathering recipes, but I was afraid I’d have to do several trial runs and, frankly, I feared I wouldn’t be able to fit into my dress after all that experimenting! You’ve done all the work for me and I truly appreciate it! One question: do you use the paddle or whisk attachment on your stand mixer? I always feel like I should at least use the whisk for the butter, but most recipes call for the paddle. Thanks again!!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Betsy – I usually use a handheld electric mixer because I don’t have a KitchenAid and my Bosch is super great at making bread but too big for a cake recipe. Could you use the whisk attachment the entire time? That’s similar to the little beaters on my handheld mixer.

  335. Nita says:

    Thanks for the detailed post! I will be making this cake tonight for sure. 🙂

  336. judy werner says:

    You are amazing! All that plus 5 kids, and a husband??? You go girl.
    As for what you should perfect next: that coconut tres leches looks might tempting. Love getting your daily blog. That and a cup of coffee starts my day just right. Thanks.

  337. Sheila says:

    Congratulations, Mel, on this yellow cake achievement. What a witness to your little ones as they witnessed your determination through multiple failures to keep diligently trying to achieve excellence! I have changed my mind about wanting you in my presence to receive wonderful, neighborly gifts of food (or Bobby Flay). I would much rather prefer for my family to be constantly exposed to a steady dose of your character. Like Hillary, I too am incredibly impressed, as I laughingly read through this post. Delightful reading! Thank you Nicole and Lisa for coming along side of Mel to support and encourage her in her work!

  338. Michelle M says:

    I love hearing the whys and what fors. Thank you!

  339. Hilary says:

    WOW!!!!! I am so impressed!!!!! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for all of your effort going into this extraordinary feat!!!! I CANNOT wait to try this, and being that we are supposed to get 10 inches of fresh snow in the next couple days, I think this will be the perfect treat to drown our winter blues in 🙂 as far as what to perfect next….. My vote is for tortillas…specifically whole wheat tortillas 🙂 thanks again and I will let you know how much we all loved it!!!

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