For some reason, yellow cake was always my nemesis. I just couldn't find one I really liked and I couldn't come up with one. I just skipped it every chance I got. One day, I decided enough was enough and started experimenting. By the time I was done, I had a yellow cake to be proud of and proud I was!
This cake is very tender, light and stays moist for days. It is easily scaled up and accepts any number of fillings. This is a thick, velvety, luxurious batter.
The mixing of this cake is interesting. Where I spent a lot of time creaming the butter and sugar, this one does none of that. It's basically two steps after assembling the ingredients. Not only is it the best one I have ever made, it is the easiest.
See if you don't agree this is yellow cake at it's best and easiest.
How to Bake a Flat Cake Layer
At the bakery, we didn't have time to trim humpy cakes flat so I came up with a method to insure flat layers. It is based on the way an angel food cake is baked. Angel food cake pans are not prepared in any way. The batter is just added to the pan, smoothed out and baked.
Cake Pan Prep guides you to the perfect, flat cake layers every time. It's all in how the cake pan is prepared.
Easy Yellow Buttermilk Cake
- 4 large egg yolks (68 grams or 2 ¼ ounces)
- ⅔ cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups cake flour (225 grams or 8 ounces)
- 1 cup sugar (200 grams or 7 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter (170 grams or 6 ounces, softened)
- For the flatest cake layers, go here to prepare the pans.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Whisk the yolks, one fourth of the buttermilk and vanilla in a bowl. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix briefly to blend. Add the butter and the remaining buttermilk. Mix on low until the ingredients are moistened, then raise to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape down.
- Add the egg yolk mixture in thirds, beating about 30 seconds after each addition. Scrape down between additions. Divide into the desired number of layers or cupcakes.
- Bake as called for below or until a tester comes out clean or it springs back when the center is lightly touched. The cake should not pull away from the sides of the pans.
- Cool in pans, release and use as desired.
- The batter weighs approximately 790 grams or 27 ¾ ounces.
Weights and Baking times
2 layers = 390 grams each or 13 ⅔ ounces each. They are about 1 inch tall. Bake for18 to 20 minutes.
3 layers = 265 grams each or 9 ⅓ ounces each. They are about ⅔ inches tall. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.
4 layers = 195 grams each or 6 ¾ ounces each. They are about ½ inches tall. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
18 to 20 regular size cupcakes with a #16 scoop, well scraped off. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
This Analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.
Mary Soucy says
Many years ago (about 40 or so), I had a piece of yellow cake that was absolutely delicious. I remember it very well, it was so buttery and delicate of crumb. I didn't dare ask for the recipe, but when someone else did, they were not so gently rebuffed. I have been on the hunt for a cake to fit the bill for 40+ years. Might this be it????? If not, I am sure it will far surpass the yellow cakes I have tried since that day so long ago. I can't wait to put this together! When I do make this, I will write back and let you know how close to my original memory this brings me.
Thank you..... :)
Hi Mary: I remember going on a tour of the houses we used to live in with my brother. I remembered the one we grew up for many years. I remembered it as so large and spacious on a big lot with those marvelous flowers, snowballs growing over our fence from the yard next door. Well, when I saw it, it was so small on a tiny lot and my beloved snowball bush was no more. Being so small, it seemed like a giant house to me.
I will be anxious to see how this compares.....
Would love to know your favorite frosting for this yellow cake.
Hi Hillary: Tomorrow, I will be posting the "Lamington Torte" using this yellow cake. It is a new one I have just come up with and raspberry and chocolate mingle with toasted coconut and this yellow cake. The frosting we used at the shop with this cake was called the Spirited Chocolate. It contains creme de cocoa and is a very simple but really good buttercream. This frosting goes first and foremost with the Spirited Chocolate cake, which I will post fairly soon.
Diane Ridge says
I loved your blog and I cant wait to read more! I'm intrigued by Bobs comment about pan prep..... Thanks so much......
Thanks Diane - It's encouraging to be so well received.
Helen, yellow cake has always caused me problems too. I'm looking forward to trying this one. Love the column!
Thanks Joyce. I am surprised that so many others have had the same problem with yellow cake. But satisfying for me as I love company.
Bob Spena says
I suggest that you add the size of pans that the formula is scaled for.
Hi Bob - thanks for letting me know I didn't put the size in. It said two 9 inch pans earlier. Since I included other options, I meant to erase only the two but took out the 9inch also. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I"ll fix it as soon as I get home.
Bob Spena says
Thank you for your quick and positive reply. It's great (and and honor) to be heard and receive a respectful reply from you. BTW, I was totally intrigued by your suggested method of how to prepare a baking pan, namely by not using a fat to coat the pan. Looking forward to trying your method. Again, thank you. Bob
Hi Bob: I thank you for reading my blog. I love teaching, I love sharing and I love my blog. It is people like you that make sharing so important to me. Helen
Eva Forson says
Helen, I have always had the same problems with yellow cake. I shall surely try this, it looks promising.
Hi Eva: So comforting to know someone else had the same problem.
Its always a joy to read your column..and the differences in methods UK/USA.
Hi Janet - I hope you are taking care of yourself my friend. I always enjoy your comments.