HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


GREAT yellow cake recipe...why so hard to find??

I can't seem to find a GREAT yellow cake recipe. Any suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. What have you tried, and what is it that you don't like about them? I Like my James Beard's American Cookery book, Scandinavian gold cake. I will also turn to my baking book from cooking school.

    1. Restaurant Eve's birthday cake is exceptional. The only caveat is that it's quite fluffy, so if you want a dense cake, this isn't yours.


      5 Replies
      1. re: katecm

        Interesting that you think that because I think of it as a very dense yellow cake, especially with the melted butter. I love the cake--it's my go to cake.

        I think of the Cooks Illustrated yellow cake from the Best Recipe as a very light, fluffy cake. I like the one from the cookbook not the one from the magazine that's more recent (with the melted butter). This is a good comparison of CI (with melted butter), Martha Stewart and Smittenkitthen:


        1. re: chowser

          Very interesting link! Thanks, chowser!

          1. re: chowser

            I usually look for recipes that are described as "almost a pound cake," so that could be why. I've also learned when making this recipe that you can control the fluffiness a bit by how much you beat the heck out of it. Perhaps I should beat it less to make it denser when that's what I want. Thanks for the input.

            1. re: katecm

              I just made the RE cake and thought I'd like it slightly less dense. Next time, I'll do what you do--beat it more and see if I can get the texture I want. Good idea--thanks,

            2. re: chowser

              I agree, the Restaurant Eve cake is more on the dense "pound cake" end of the spectrum.

          2. This will work for you. Sour cream adds richness to classic yellow cake while whipped egg whites lighten it up.

            Yellow Cake


            Ratios: Flour 1.5 Liquid 1 Egg 1 Fat 1 Sugar 2

            • 2-1/4 (10.125 oz) cups sifted cake flour
            • 2 teaspoons baking powder
            • 1/2 teaspoon salt
            • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
            • 2 (14 oz) cups sugar
            • 4 (2.67 oz) large egg yolks
            • 2 teaspoons vanilla
            • 1 cup sour cream
            • 4 (4.32 oz) large egg whites


            Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and line two 8 x 3-inch baking pans with parchment.

            Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

            Cream the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy and light in color, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Add the sugar and continue to mix until fluffy and light.

            Add the egg yolks, one at a time, being sure each is well incorporated before adding the next one. Add the vanilla.

            Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour. Be sure the mixture is completely blended after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and beat for 1 minute.

            In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter with a rubber spatula.

            Pour the batter into the prepared pans and smooth with a rubber spatula. Bake in the preheated oven, 45 to 50 minutes.

            Top with Buttercream Icing.

            1. The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum has at least two great ones with great technique.

              1. what texture are you seeking? light and fluffy? more like box mix? denser like a genoise?

                1. Here's my favorite, Alice Waters' version of the 1-2-3-4 cake: http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...

                  1. Funny you ask... I made the yellow cake last weekend, following the recipe that came in my KitchenAid mixer handbook (they include lots of recipes in there). I didn't think it was that great, it was dense, and not very sweet. I used a buttercream frosting (also from the KitchenAid book) and the frosting was perfect. Since the frosting was sweet, it paired with the un-sweet yellow cake quite nicely. From your post though, I imagine you're on the hunt for the cake by itself to be good.

                    1. not hard to find
                      posted it in here a couple of times
                      not sure anyone has ever looked it up though


                      7 Replies
                      1. re: iL Divo

                        I've made that cake. The results were decent, and it was an easy recipe, but I don't think it was the be all and end all. Funny, I have a bunch of go-to cake recipes, but not yet one for yellow cake, which I make infrequently. Thanks for the link.

                        Here is a link to another cake recipe, based on Shirley Corriher's recipe from Bakewise. This is definitely different since it uses hot water to dissolve the sugar! Now, that's different, but apparently the results were outstanding!


                        1. re: roxlet

                          oh ok roxlet, just trying to point you in a direction not sure you knew about is all

                          1. re: iL Divo

                            Heh, I guess I agree with iL Divo that this is a great cake (I posted the same one below!)

                        2. re: iL Divo

                          ooooooooh that looks really good! Thank you, I missed it before, wow. That looks delicious and I'm making it. This is the hubby's favorite cake. I bet that'd be good with a crunchy brown sugar/caramel frosting too! thank you!

                          1. re: chef chicklet

                            you are kind chef chicklet

                            thanks for nice post. it has taken many of us a few tries at mastering that recipe just to let you know. it's confusing if you don't read every post cause if you put the posts together all your inquiries will be addressed, mine were. it is truly a wonderful cake, i mean it must be as i am gaining in girth and single handedly ate too much of it when i made it, where is the son when you need him home.

                            i love brown sugar caramel frosting too especially if i use little sprinkles of sea salt on top for a salty surprise.

                            with you on the eggy thing, made way too many pound cakes where all you taste is egg and they end up reminding me of deviled eggs which isn't what i'm looking for in a cake at all. youre find chef chicklet about not being able to identify the smell of that lovely yellow cake, the aroma is divine i agree. to me it's the butter and expensive vanilla i reserve for such treats. i'll be buying more great vanilla tomorrow in bogota columbia.

                            mine vile is almost depleated, enjoy and please do make this cake, let me know if you need any help with anything about it, as i said, i struggled with first attempts too

                            seriously, we all have different tastes in things, what one person adores, another despises. i would even go so far to anyone who is truly seeking a wonderful yellow cake from scratch to try it, even try it a few times cause if it's off or not perfect, as i found, it may be the oven temp, the lack of reading or understand the ingredients or how to put them together etc.
                            i've been cooking-baking all my life, and again, challange you all to make this and make it until you get the result you hope to achieve. you will if you pursue or don't if you have no desire, that's ok too

                            1. re: iL Divo

                              well thank you for such a thorough and well thought out reply. I'd like to make this on Sunday for my hubby. I'm going to make the chocolate frosting since that's his favorite, and I'll practice that caramel frosting. (it's got a little crunch-so hard to explain) I had a yellow cake once with what was like a brickle or small bits of praline, and the the frosting was that caramel crunch. I found a recipe but it's from and old Gourmet magazine recipe in the 80s. But anyway, sure thing, I'll try to do your recommendation right! ditto on the good vanilla - Madagascar or Tahitian are my favorites for special desserts. I use Kirkland's for everyday cookies and such, I find it decent.

                              1. re: iL Divo

                                off to get a new tin of baking powder.
                                as you've taught me here on CH, the end of the container may not be active any longer. since I'm making as a thank you, I do need it to be perfect.
                                the aroma of the house as I remember from making it in the past, is worth a little effort.

                          2. I am curious as to what makes a great yellow cake for some people. I personally don't want to taste a lot of egg. There's a great smell to a good yellow cake that I find lovely. I'm not sure if its vanilla or butter or what. Since I don't bake desserts all that much, well not as often as some people on this board anyway, I can't identify the ingredients by smell and taste....yet.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: chef chicklet

                              I don't like an eggy cake, either.

                              I like lots of vanilla and a touch of almond extract in both white and yellow cakes. The KAF yellow cake has just a bit of fresh lemon juice in it, too.

                            2. This is by far the best, fluffiest, most delicious yellow cake I've ever made/eaten: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1507...

                              I think of it as a classic birthday cake, and I substitute it in all recipes calling for prepared yellow cake mix.

                              The best thing about it may be that the recipe is completely unfussy. I've made the yellow cake from Cook's Illustrated, which calls for much more complicated separation of eggs and an ungodly amount of butter, and I prefer the above recipe.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                Christina Mason, funny how we both chose the same recipe, just different sites. the author is the same person with same verbiage.

                                I have to say it wasn't perfect the first time I made it, good, but not duh bom. it took a couple of stubborn tries.

                                I'm making it tomorrow for a lady that did a lot of insurance paperwork for me. not sure how much it helped me if any, haven't looked through as I just picked up the folder but her kindness deserves this cake.

                                1. re: iL Divo

                                  I'm looking for a good yellow cake recipe . Curious about why you don't use cake flour instead? Isn't that suppose to make it lighter and fluffy?

                                2. re: ChristinaMason

                                  I made this cake a couple of weeks ago as one of the two cakes I'd narrowed recipes down to for a big event that I'd been asked to bake cakes (125 hungry teenagers)

                                  While the voters chose the other cake, I thought this cake was *excellent* and would make it again in a heartbeat. It was easy to make, very light with a delicate crumb, and a very nice flavor.

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    what recipe beat this one out. is it posted somewhere?
                                    I'd love to make it as well. want to have more in my recipe box. TIA

                                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                                    Haha! I already posted that link, Christina! I know you're fond of that cake, and while it was fine, it didn't knock my socks off. I'd be interested to try the Shirley Corriher one that is mentioned in the yellow cake bake-off.

                                    1. re: roxlet

                                      Wow! Do you have Cake Enhancer? Sometimes I think, just forget it. I'll stick to Lidia's recipe for Boston Cream--that's a killer cake. Nothing ever takes like Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Golden, so I'll keep it in the pantry and accept it's one of those things I can't do better myself. :)

                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                          I believe I have the book that recipe is in...

                                        2. re: kattyeyes

                                          I don't, but I will probably order it with my next KAF order. I find their recipes to be very reliable. I know a lot of people like the boxed cake mix, but I have a hard time with them because they smell very chemical-y to me.

                                          1. re: roxlet

                                            Every time I buy a boxed cake mix, I end up being disgusted by the chemical smell and taste, too -- but that's nothing compared to the disgust at the rubbery texture.

                                            I have a half-dozen recipes that take no more time than a boxed cake mix, so I couldn't honestly tell you who was even president the last time I made a boxed cake mix.

                                            1. re: roxlet

                                              It's funny, kind of as stated in the article you link, I bake everything else from scratch EXCEPT something that tastes like Butter Recipe Golden. Maybe I like chemicals. :)

                                        3. i know this is an old thread, but the yellow cake recipe on smittenkitchen is excellent.