When you need a classic vanilla cake, this yellow cake recipe from scratch is what you want! A moist and flavorful butter cake, this from scratch vanilla cake recipe is a sure to please your people.
Three years ago tomorrow, I put up the very first recipe on the Goodie Godmother blog. That means that three years ago today, I was setting up a website, picking out the garish pink polka dot background I used for ages, worrying about broken links in the menu, and probably wondering what in the world I was going to share first. I was so clueless about blogging. The only thing I really knew was I wanted to share recipes.
Since then, the blog grew from an afterthought to my home bakery to my primary focus and full-time occupation. I love the creative process in the kitchen, I’m really getting into the food photography and staging, but most of all, I enjoy sharing with you. Food brings people together, so even though Google analytics tells me we’re all over the world, we’re really here together, sharing an experience in the kitchen. Thank you for that.
I couldn’t imagine a better recipe to share today than my yellow cake recipe from scratch. This recipe is memorized because I’ve made it so many times over the past three years. For a few of the ingredients, I can almost eyeball the measurement (I don’t – crazy talk), and it takes less than 10 minutes to mix and put into the oven.
This yellow cake recipe is a birthday cake, wedding cake, party cake, just because cake, the “I can’t go back to a box” yellow cake. Some also claim it’s the best cake they’ve ever eaten, but I’ll let you decide for yourself after you bake it. 😉 Since it’s a butter based vanilla cake (unlike my white cake), this vanilla cake recipe is easier for beginners! Not to mention, butter adds such a beautiful flavor to the cake and helps keep everything nice and moist.
Yellow cake, because of the great flavor and texture, pairs well with a variety of frostings. I often top it with my Swiss meringue frosting (as used in my rainbow cake tutorial). Today though, the classic vanilla and chocolate pairing won out. This cake is frosted and filled with my decadent chocolate frosting, an American buttercream that is worthy of eating on its own.
For all the elaborate cakes I love and aspire to one day making to perfection, the simplicity in this cake speaks to the heart. I think it expresses the spirit of Goodie Godmother – real food, made well, presented beautifully.
Thank you for cooking with me! Happy (almost) birthday, Goodie Godmother blog! Time to make a wish…
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 sticks (16 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- 1/4 c sour cream
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- Preheat your oven to 350 F. Butter and flour 2 8" cake pans or place liners in 2 dozen cupcake wells. Set aside.
- Cream the sugar and butter together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer) until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition, then stir in the vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add about 2/3 c buttermilk to the egg mixture, then stir in half the flour mixture, add another 2/3 cup buttermilk and the sour cream, add the rest of the flour, then finish with the remaining buttermilk. The batter should be smooth, it is a little thick.
- Evenly distribute the batter between the pans. This is important because this recipe makes enough batter to bake so the cake domes slightly over the 8" round (2" height). This is convenient because you can level right in the pan, but not so convenient if you have too much batter and it bakes over, spilling in your oven. Alternatively, you can use a 9" pan, or two 8x3" pans. If you are making cupcakes, fill the cups about 2/3 full.
- Bake 20-25 minutes for cupcakes, 40-45 minutes for cake.
- Remove from the oven and allow to set for 10 minutes before turning cakes onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
If you don't have sour cream, you can substitute full fat plain yogurt. If you don't have that, 2 cups of buttermilk will work just fine. And if you don't have buttermilk, take 2 cups of milk (full fat, ideally) and add 1 tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes or so and bake as usual.