My Trusty, Tasty Yellow Cake

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I have used this recipe several times, most recently to make a wedding cake and cupcakes – see Picture Today entry: Tips for Constructing & Decorating a Cake When You’re Not a Cake Boss.
Trusty, Tasty Yellow Cake

This recipe will make a half sheet cake, 2 – 9 inch rounds, or 22 jumbo cupcakes. This cake has a great buttery taste and is moist and a little dense. It’s the perfect consistency for large or tiered cakes.

Here are some tips that are helpful for successful baking:

  • To ensure ingredients combine properly, make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before using.
  • Use shortening and flour to grease pans, rather than cooking spray or butter. It’s been my experience that using shortening and flour to coat pans makes it easier to remove the cake from the pans, and keeps the crust intact making it easier to frost.
  • Oil can be substituted for butter. Butter provides a great flavor, but makes a denser cake than when baking with cooking oil. I have experimented with using half butter which still provides a great flavor, and half oil which makes the consistency of the cake a little lighter.
  • Once you have filled the baking pans with batter, gently tap the pans a couple of times on a flat surface to distribute and even batter out, and release any large air bubbles.


1 cup butter or oil (see note above about using butter vs. oil)

2 cups white sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups milk + 2T white vinegar

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda


Preheat oven to 350° Grease and flour pans.

In a small bowl combine milk and vinegar, stir and let sit for approx. 5 minutes. Set aside

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Work butter into dry ingredients until you have a sandy consistency.

  • I find that this is easier if you slice the butter up into chunks and then add it to the dry ingredients. Use a fork, pastry blender or, if using a mixer, the paddle attachment seems to work the best.

Add slightly beaten eggs to milk mixture and stir to combine.

Add approximately half of the liquid mixture to the butter / dry ingredients and mix on low to combine, scraping bowl to ensure all ingredients are combined. Add the rest of the liquid and beat until thoroughly combined – approximately 1 minute.

  • Be careful not to over mix. Over mixing will produce a denser, rubbery consistency, rather than a light and fluffy consistency. Mix until the ingredients are combined and the batter has an over all even consistency, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl, to ensure that all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Time for baking will depend on the size pan you are using. It’s been my experience that a 9” cake generally takes about 20 minutes, though I check it at 15 minutes and adjust the time appropriately. For jumbo cupcakes, I would start with 10 minutes and then test by inserting a toothpick into the center. Cake is done when toothpick inserted into the center of cake / cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

  • For cakes, I generally let them cool on racks in their pans for about 10 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Okay, now that you have your fabulous cake baked, are you ready to decorate it? If you’re a fan of buttercream icing, I have just the recipe for you. Check it out HERE

© 2015, C.L. Alden. All rights reserved.

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