Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Finally, I found it!

Moist Yellow Cake

A moist yellow cake recipe. (Actually, I asked for it.) I have been on the hunt for a moist yellow scratch cake recipe since I started this site. I’ve tried several in the past, like the Butter Cake recipe from The Cake Bible (a great baking resource, by the way). And, while the taste was really good, I’ve been having a time trying to get the recipe to come out as moist as I like. I finally came to the conclusion that it must be my gas oven that’s the problem. At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself.

So, the hunt was on. It was a short search that began and ended with my friend’s mom. She used to own a bakery and made the yummiest cakes. So, I thought I would ask the pro for help. And, I’m so glad I did. It was yellow and moist, but mostly delicious. Thanks for the recipe, Shirley! I guess I’ll have to come up with another reason to trade my gas oven in for an electric one. Here’s the recipe:

Moist Yellow Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) of butter (room temperature)
2 cups of sugar
4 eggs (room temperature)
3 cups of sifted self-rising flour (White Lily)
1 cup of whole milk (room temperature)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (McCormicks)
1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease and flour (3) 8 inch cake pans.
  • Using a mixer, cream butter until fluffy.
  • Add sugar and continue to cream for about 7 minutes.
  • Add eggs one at a time. Beat well after each egg is added.
  • Add flour and milk (alternating to creamed mixture), beginning and ending with flour.
  • Add vanilla and butter flavoring to mix; until just mixed.
  • Divide batter equally into three cake pans.
  • Hold each layer about 3 inches above your counter and carefully drop the pans flat onto counter several times to ensure release of any air bubbles. This will help you have a more level cake.
  • Bake for 25 – 30 minutes (depending on your oven) until done.
  • Cool in pans for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Remove and immediately wrap each layer in plastic wrap to seal in moisture. Cool completely on wire racks.
  • Once cooled, you are ready to assemble your cake.

Here’s a little trick to add moisture into your layers:

  • Combine 1 cup of sugar and 2 cups of water.
  • Bring to boil and boil for approximately 3 minutes. Let cool.
  • Pour liquid into a spray bottle or pouring bottle.

Secret Sauce

Cake assembly:

  • Unwrap first layer and using a serrated knife, level off the top of your cake.
  • Place layer onto your dish. Take a straw and poke holes into the layer. Using your spray bottle, spray top of layer several times; enough to give it a little moisture. Be careful – don’t add too much.
  • Add a layer of frosting to your bottom layer. Repeat on second and third layers.
  • Frost the sides.

Easy Buttercream Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) butter (room temperature)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1b. 10X powdered sugar
1-3 teaspoons milk, half and half or cream

  • Using a mixer, cream softened butter and vanilla until smooth.
  • Add sugar gradually, allowing butter and sugar to cream together before adding more.
  • If you want your frosting a little creamier, add a teaspoon of milk at a time and beat on high until you get the right texture.
  • Then, just use icing colors to tint the frosting the color of your choice.

This is usually just enough for a 2-layer cake, so I would recommend doubling this for a three-layer. But, I like a lot of frosting.

Cake Pans
P.S. I’ve been using aluminum cake pans instead of the dark coated kinds you find in the grocery store. They also come in many different sizes.

Moist Yellow Cake

Jen said...

I made cupcakes using this recipe. I have to say that it did not turn out well. It tasted dry to me. Likely will keep searching for another recipe but thank you for sharing!

September 26, 2010 11:16 AM
Babycakes! said...

Hiya Bakerella!!!! I am Sarah…im from the Caribbean and let me tell you I have been making ur yellow cake for the last couple months and people have been going crazy over them. I have even gotten orders from people to do birthday cakes and different kinds of cupcakes because of you!!! Thank you sooooo much!!! You are the best!!!!!

October 8, 2010 10:05 AM
Becca said...

I just pulled these out of my oven and they really didn’t rise too well. I have to do another cake recipe to get the height I want on my birthday cake now. :( I just hope that the three vanilla layers taste good AND moist. So far, I’m not too impressed. I’ll alternate the other layers with my chocolate cake recipe (my go-to, never fail choco-cake).

October 12, 2010 02:58 PM
Veeoh:) said...

Ive been wanting to try this recipe for the longest!! every time i see this blog, my mouth waters!! I’m a culinary student and i even dared to take this recipe and bake this at school. only they didn’t have self rising flour :/ one of my chef instructors recommended; for every pound of flour, to mix in 1 Tblsp. baking powder & baking soda, if i remember correctly. Just wanted to ask you as well, what do you recommend on how we can substitute SR flour with AP flour?
Baking with Love- Vanessa:)

October 19, 2010 04:30 PM
stephanie :) said...

Just found your website today for the first time! i’m so excited to try your recipes out. Today i will be trying out this one. Just one question, can i substitute the self rising flour to cake flower?

October 22, 2010 12:32 PM
stephanie :) said...

oops flour*

October 22, 2010 12:33 PM
catrina said...

yummy! i just used this recipe to bake mini cakes! not cupcakes. but somewhere in between. it’s a really spongey & moist cake! i like it :D
i also put chocolate chips in it for something extra, but unfortunately they all sank to the bottom :(
but yeah, good recipe! thanks!

October 25, 2010 08:17 AM
Chez said...

Can’t wait to try this cake, finally an ending to the to the dry yellow cake!

November 1, 2010 06:37 AM
Sandra Treadway said...

I think they need a pretty pink one & they could call it sugar roses!

November 1, 2010 07:24 AM
Sandra Treadway said...

oops, I posted on the wrong thing, the comment was supposed to go on the diaper bag reply!

November 1, 2010 07:40 AM
Jacki said...

oh Bakerella…Bakerella….your rock my world….one day when I grow up I want to be as good as you…hehehe…ok…so I am 38 already…but there is still hope ! Thank YOU…You are a CAKESTAR ! <3

November 1, 2010 07:42 AM
dee whisnant said...

seeing this for the 1st time makes me wonder why I didn’t find you back then! anyway, THANK YOU for everything! LOL!
LOVE everything you do! Hugs, Momma Dee

November 1, 2010 08:37 AM
sara said...

O.K. the coffee is on and I want a piece of that cake. I have looked everywhere for a butter cream frosting..thank you.

November 1, 2010 08:43 AM
Linda BOlz said...

where do I enter to win the cake purse?

November 1, 2010 09:13 AM
norma said...


November 1, 2010 11:24 AM
kim said...

I just made this cake and buttercream recipie for my daughtes 1st birthday! THANK YOU!!!! cake was super moist and the buttercream was the best we’ve had

November 1, 2010 04:09 PM
Millie said...

I love your website. Great stuff. How do I print the recipes? Thanks. :)

November 2, 2010 04:47 PM
Millie said...

It’s me again. I found it. LOL! Have a great DAY!

November 2, 2010 04:50 PM
Pearse Hashmi Franklin said...

Gorgeous looking cake. yummmm.
Does this buttercream crust, so that we can work on it to get a smooth finish

November 3, 2010 11:56 PM
Millie said...

Can this cake recipe be made into a chocolate cake? For example if you use cocoa powder …just wondering?

November 4, 2010 03:23 PM
Lis F. said...

Bakerella I made this today and my cake was so moist it was falling apart. Did I use too much sugar water?

It was still delicious even in pieces lol.

November 7, 2010 08:55 PM
Irina said...

I’m somewhat confused about buttercreams. Do the finished products go into the fridge for a firmer feel/taste, or do they stay in room temperature to be soft? I’m going to make your recipe tonight :) I tried an orange buttercream, it was amazing.

November 16, 2010 01:46 PM
Sue said...

I am also on the hunt for a moist yellow cake and when I saw this I thought that my hunt would be OVER too, but I can’t say that yet. I made this into a three layer cake for a little girl’s birthday and it taste great, but a little dry and crumbly. Not sure what I can do to make it moist and stay together better. I also used the sugar water spray, but it did not help that much. Thanks for the recipe though, I will keep searching.

November 21, 2010 10:11 PM
Emily H said...

Looks delicious! Just a quick question: did you use Salted or unsalted butter for the cake?

November 22, 2010 10:10 PM
Carol said...

This looks wonderful.Can’t wait to try it…
Can i ask the conversion to gms if you have it? Thanks so much..

November 25, 2010 02:45 AM
Muria said...

I’ve been substituting buttermilk for milk in cake recipes with much success. It really does help the moisture (that with the magnolia cupcake recipe was really good). I tend to use regular flour (White Lily rocks) instead of self-rising, and add the leavening separate, mostly because you want more baking soda and less baking powder if you’re using buttermilk.

I’m a little disappointed in my recent discovery that buttermilk has lots of additives to make it thick. I’m still trying to decide if I want to try to find another miracle ingredient.

December 4, 2010 02:53 PM
yadira cancel said...

looks delicious can’t wait to try it !!!!! can i substitute self rising flour (white lily) for any self rising flour??

December 10, 2010 05:12 PM
Sweet as Pie Creations said...

I started a home baking business back in April 2010 and this is my go to vanilla cake recipe. Thanks for sharing!

December 18, 2010 01:54 PM
Kookie said...

Your blog and creations are amazing! Your cakes and cupcakes are my inspiration for my homebaked business.

December 21, 2010 11:58 AM
mbair said...

I’ve made this recipe twice, once as cupcakes with a single layer cake and once as a 3 layer cake. I did everything excatly how the recipe called except for the sugar water and they came out soooo dry. Does all the moisture come from the sugar water? Help this looks delicious and I really want it to come out moist.

December 22, 2010 09:43 AM
dawn ho said...

so good and yummy (:

January 1, 2011 01:17 AM
Brittany said...

Worst cake recipe ever.

January 7, 2011 10:11 PM
Rhonda Bracaloni said...

The best!

January 10, 2011 10:53 AM
megan said...

love this.

question though – how long can you keep the sugar water spray?

January 11, 2011 12:32 PM
g said...

would the time and temp be the same for cupcakes??

January 11, 2011 11:33 PM
Sheila Hammer said...

I finally tried this…I’ve been (quietly) following your blog for quite some time now and finally mustered up the courage to try it. Mine came out a little dry which I bummed about. I think next time I’ll cook it for 2 minutes less and try the spray bottle trick (I wanted to experiment without the 1st time…my first mistake probably). Love your blog. Just finished my beginner’s course in cake decorating, and I’m officially hooked on baking/decorating!

January 22, 2011 03:50 AM
Amanda said...

What am I doing wrong! I have tried this recipe 3 times following it to a tee. And it comes out flat and dense like pound cake every time!

January 25, 2011 01:00 PM
Sweets by Seiller said...

Is this the buttercream recipe that you use for your cakes?

January 25, 2011 06:26 PM
Sara said...

This recipe looks absolutely stunning,
but one of the recipe measurements confuses me;
1 1b. 10X powdered sugar

Does this mean, one pound of sugar?
And what does the 10X stand for?

Also, your blog is very interesting to read through 8)

January 29, 2011 03:39 AM
sharon said...

I just spent my snowday making this recipe for my husband’s birthday and oh MY GOSH, he is going to love this!!!!

February 2, 2011 02:35 PM
Grace said...

what do you do if you aren’t able to buy self-rising flour?

February 4, 2011 10:12 PM
Lacey said...

If using this for cupcakes would you do anything different?

February 7, 2011 12:52 PM
Kristi Evans said...

How do you ice a cake with buttercream icing and the cake not start to just spread cake crumbs. How do you get it to look that way so pretty. I don’t like decorating with fondent over the buttercream so I’m curious how you make the buttercream work and it be so smooth looking????

February 8, 2011 03:04 PM
Aurora said...

Why do you prefer to use Aluminum Cake pans instead of the darker treated ones for your cakes? I kinda searched your response to see if you’d already answered this but I couldn’t find anything.

February 12, 2011 03:57 PM
Kathy said...

I have a gas oven, and it really do not admire it! It makes the tops of my cupcakes and muffins hard and dry, and once it cools, it becomes really dry. Do you have an idea on what I should do? I was thinking about using one of those tiny convection ovens that I got for $15 and have been using it for

February 21, 2011 06:46 PM
Kathy said...

…two-three years. And the gas oven smells really bad…

[I accidently pressed the ‘enter’ button)

February 21, 2011 06:47 PM
frances said...

i tried this recipe yesterday. The only part i didn’t like, was the recipe for the icing. Other than that, super easy! :)

February 23, 2011 11:05 AM
christine said...

This looks and sounds delicious! If I’m making a flat cake (9×13) would this be too much batter to put in one pan? Would this recipe make a 9×13 and some cupcakes?

February 23, 2011 05:14 PM
mellie said...

I found this searching for a pink frosted yellow cake recipe or my daughter’s birthday. She wants chocolate cupcakes, so I was hoping for something different for the top layer of the tower.
I’m picky about cake, especially yellow cake and this one looks like it would fit the bill.

March 3, 2011 10:16 AM
stephanie said...

Thank you for the recipe! I’m just wondering… can I fill this with a strawberry filling and will it still hold up?

March 4, 2011 03:57 PM
stormie said...

I love this! i don’t do the sugar thing though, i just use milk after i level them.

This is the second time i have made this recipe the first time I made a 2 layer cake with pink butter cream frosting, this time I made mini cakes with my awesome pan <3

March 7, 2011 11:42 PM
Stephanie said...

I add some vanilla to my simple syrup, too–it amps up the scent and flavor beautifully. Genius with the spray bottle!

March 12, 2011 10:35 AM
Sonia said...

If I wanted to make a small batch of cupcakes just to try this recipe, maybe like 12 or less cupcakes, could you tell me how much of each ingredient to use? Thank in advance!

March 15, 2011 11:16 AM
stephanie said...

Hello. I have fallen in love with your blog!!!!! I am just starting out with baking cakes, i love baking cakes…i made my first cake yesterday and the buttercream frosting was so soft that it slid right off my cake :(!

March 20, 2011 03:40 PM
Deauna said...

I really like the recipe. Think the oven cooks unevenly, so I’ll have to remember to turn the cakes next time. I substituted almond for the vanilla and it turned out fabulously.

March 26, 2011 01:17 AM
Mandy Nel said...

Hi Bakerella, love love love your stuff – I am a novice at this wonderful world of sugar, and find myself doing a lot of googling for the simple pleasure of looking at perfection in the cakes and bakes on line – sheer inspiration! On your front page you show pictures of the Dutch book with your cake pops and although I am not dutch, I do speak Afrikaans which is a derivative of dutch (I am from South Africa) and you might want to know the direct translation for the lady bug cake pops:
lieweheerbesies = liewe is dear; heer is Lord; besies is bugs ……. so they are dear Lord bugs :-)
Please keep up your good work – you bring so much joy to so many bakers :-)

March 28, 2011 08:38 AM
Ashley said...

Has anyone used this recipe for cupcakes? If I do, do I need to change anything? So excited to try this!

April 5, 2011 03:41 PM
Liz said...

i was so excited to try this recipe out, specially because it was from you! so i did. i followed every step to a “t” and i was kind of dissapointed. the flavor was great! delicious but my cake only stayed moist for the first couple of hours. i did keep it in my cake carrier so it would dry out and it completely went stale-like crumb. idk what happened! i followed your every single instruction. and to be honest ive actually tried other recipes that are alot more moist. idk if would try it again..i was sad! ):
but of course people still ate it. i woulder if they liked it, i got no compliments on it lol.
im still trying to figure out what the heck went wrong when i followed your every word. love youu by the way

April 6, 2011 04:39 PM
Millie said...

HI there! I was wondering Can I use food coloring for the frosting instead of the icing colors?
I hope you are having a great BLESSED DAY!

April 10, 2011 06:01 PM
Shannon said...

Can this recipe be easily converted into a recipe for 9 or even 10 inch cakes?

April 11, 2011 03:46 PM
Anonymous said...


April 11, 2011 10:09 PM
Sharlene said...

I’m doing a cake for my aunt for her 60th birthday.. And she loves lychee flavour.. I was wondering if I can substitute the butter flavouring with other flavouring? thanks.

April 13, 2011 06:06 AM

I used this recipe for 30th Birthday cake party last night. It was amazing, most moist and delicious cake I have ever tasted, and made. I used the base cake (minus the butter flavoring thats is impossible to find in Sweden) and filled it with a traditional filling we use in Sweden, home made vanilla cream and wild raspberry jam, covered with whipped cream and a pear flavored marzipan lid. Turned into a truly amazing cake. Thank you so much for sharing this awesome recipe and for all the inspiration you share through your blog.

April 14, 2011 12:28 PM
lisa said...

used this recipe to make rainbow cupcakes. i cut the recipe in half 2x. just enough to make 9 mini cupcakes. super recipe. they were delish!

April 21, 2011 01:28 PM
Sam said...

you never added the baking soda/powder measure. Otherwise beautiful cake. :)

April 30, 2011 08:48 PM
Jess said...

Wow! This recipe is divine! For my parents anniversary I omitted the butter flavoring and added lemon zest to the batter. The cake came out great! Moist, but not falling apart. Then I used lemon curd for the filling and frosted the cake with whipped cream icing. It was amazing!!! Definitely a keeper — this is the perfect basic MOIST yellow cake recipe! Thanks, Bakerella!

May 1, 2011 05:47 PM
Janet Jones said...

I live in UK and want to make your cake for my sons wedding, I am not sure about your cup sizes etc as we use pounds/ounces or grams/kilos what is your conversion?
The cake looks amazing and is just what I have been trolling through the internet for ages.
Many thanks

June 5, 2011 06:24 AM
Janet Jones said...

I live in UK and want to make this cake i am not sure about your cup sizes for measurements as we use pounds/ounces or grams/kilos, can you please help me with the conversion. I have been looking for this recipe for ages and want to make it for my sons wedding,
Many thanks

June 5, 2011 06:26 AM
Janet Jones said...

What are the conversions pounds and ounces please?

June 12, 2011 05:28 PM
Carla said...

I made the cake exactly using two layers. TASTY! but dense. Sweet cornbread texture. Moist. On to the three layers. I will update.

June 27, 2011 02:40 AM
Carla said...

Sam… the self-rising flour has the baking powder. :)

June 27, 2011 02:42 AM
gabbers. said...

i am trying the moist cake(cupcakes) right now but i did add some extra things… hopefully it will come outt tastyer than i imangined!

June 27, 2011 10:37 PM
Sophie said...

Wow! I made this cake for a friend’s retirement function. I made a lemon curd mixed with mascarpone for filling and everyone loved it. The cake is so moist… Thank you for the recipe and all the superb work you are doing. This is very inspiring!

July 2, 2011 05:15 AM
Sunni said...

I made this cake today and it turned out really dry. The only thing i changed was that i made it into two 10″ pans and it took about 10-15 minutes longer to bake. Is that my problem? I’m so tired of using cake mixes that are too soft for multiple layers. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

July 9, 2011 11:42 AM
Mary Ann said...

I LOVE to add about a teaspoon of Vanilla to my water/ sugar mixture.

Great recipe by the way!


July 17, 2011 08:52 PM
Marlene said...

I just tried this, this wkend to make a birthday cake or my mother in law, it is very moist and tasty :) Everyone raived about it! Thankyou for sharing it!

July 17, 2011 09:22 PM
Anna said...

I tried this recipe with cupcakes and it was just as dry as regular cake mix. Does cupcakes really make a difference? In my experience in the past, it doesn’t.

July 26, 2011 09:45 PM
Eileen Fry said...

It looks beautiful! I will be trying this. I absolutely love your blog.

July 31, 2011 02:31 PM
Sarah P. said...

making this for my little lady’s first birthday next week – copycatting the pink frosting and everything. ~happiness!~

August 2, 2011 03:58 PM
Karla of Dreamaginarius Arts said...

I am usually horrible at baking but this looks too yummy and too beautiful that I really need to try it! Thanks for sharing!

August 5, 2011 12:18 PM
Olayemi said...

I haven’t baked in 10years! I know! I have missed a lifetime! SO i decided to get right back into it and I found this recipe followed instructions to a tee but the cake was very dense and not crumbly at all….. Could anyone please help me with what you think I definitely did wrong? I really want to get back into baking again………………………..

August 6, 2011 02:25 PM
Monica Whalen said...

Wow this is the best homemade cake i have ever made it was delish and moist thank you for sharing. I made this cake for my best friends cake reveal and turned it color pink and everybody loved it. Of course it was a girl!!!

August 6, 2011 06:18 PM
Sandy said...

Looks like an awsum recipe!! Is there any way you could give us the recipe converted to ounces or grams? I’m from the uk and we don’t really use cups here, would be much appreciated :)! X

August 10, 2011 07:00 AM
Beth said...

Wow!!! This cake was fabulous!! Nice and moist and an easy to follow recipe. I made it for my friends b-day and frosted it with the buttercream. I didn’t use the self rising flour, just all purpose flour with some baking powder. There wasn’t a crumb left! Thank you so much!

August 23, 2011 03:04 PM
mamatat said...

I’m making a two tier birthday cake for my twins. I wanted to know how would I double this recipe. And also how to make this buttercream frosting in big batches.

September 12, 2011 06:14 PM
Natalia said...

i’m sorry but i,m not sure if i understood the buttercream recipe.”1 1b. 10X powdered sugar” means 1 pound of sugar? Thanks…

September 16, 2011 02:45 PM
Tontonisha said...

This is the Best Moist yellow cake recipe..It’s Awesome! This cake is highly recommended. I have tried so many recipes and have yet found the right one… until now. You will not be disappointed. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Can’t wait til you share a good moist chocolate and white wedding cake recipe. Still haven’t found a good one.

September 19, 2011 10:55 AM
Carrie said...

I made this for my daughter’s 3rd birthday, and it turned out amazing! Thank you so much for a recipe that I don’t have to fiddle with to make a delicious cake. I didn’t have time to use the sugar spray and the cake was still moist, flavorful and had a lovely texture. I’ll definitely be checking back for more in the future! Thanks again!

September 21, 2011 11:16 PM
Bonnie said...

Ca n you take this same batter and do cupcakes?….will it be to liquidy of a batter?

September 22, 2011 02:47 PM
Karissa Ferguson said...

Thanks for the awesome recipe! How long can you leave buttercream room temp?

September 23, 2011 11:44 AM
Lubianka Ortega said...

Receta de cake amarillo con buttercream frosting.

October 10, 2011 06:34 AM
christy said...

I tried this recipe out to a ‘T’ several times but each time it’s just so incredibly dry! I tried adding some oil to it which helped, but it still needed a tall glass of milk to get it down :(

October 11, 2011 02:22 PM
Clearlybrunette Cupcaker said...

I tried this recipe and I have to say it is my new yellow cake recipe! I have tweaked it with the artificial flavorings by adding some almond flavoring as well and a little more butter flavoring but I am also using this recipe this weekend for a wedding cake and used this cake as a sample and it was to “DIE FOR” with my buttercream! SO GOOD! Thank you!

October 12, 2011 09:53 PM
Clearlybrunette Cupcaker said...


I did cupcakes with this recipe and they were a hit! They taste just as marvelous but only bake them for 17 minutes!

October 12, 2011 09:55 PM
cake1bake said...

Thanks!!!!!!!!!! I can agree to this cake being very good and moist. My mother has been using this exact same recipe since I can remember, and I am 49 years old… Now I am following her footstep.

October 19, 2011 07:15 PM
Mangai said...

Is the butter flavoring mandatory? Or is there any other substitute?

October 21, 2011 03:08 PM
B said...

I followed this recipe to a t and it was a complete fail! It tasted like pound cake instead of a light and fluffy cake. I am not sure what I did wrong. What a waste of ingredients! Is there any way I could replace the flour with cake flour? I think this may have been the culprit. Thank you.

October 24, 2011 04:29 PM
Kristi said...

I was going to try this out, but it is exactly like the yellow cake I am currently using minus the butter flavoring. A recipe I ran across by Bobby Flay!

October 25, 2011 05:07 PM
Juli said...

If u want moist cake that’s SUPER SIMPLE…just add about 1TBL of mayo to a box mix…WONDERFUL!! Guaranteed to stay moist at least a WEEK (if your cake lasts that long!!;)

November 14, 2011 12:10 PM
Jo said...

This looks so amazing! I haven’t found a scratch recipe that I have really like so I just make the box mix. (I always feel like I’m cheating.) I will defiantly try this!! :)

November 14, 2011 05:49 PM
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