Perfect Yellow Cake

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My perfect yellow cake is fluffy, moist and a classic flavor.

With a hint of vanilla, this sweet cake pairs well with so many flavors and is just the right texture for stacking.  I love it with my cream cheese frosting and a surprise filling for a really impressive cake.  Lemon curd or jams are always a big hit!  With a few quick tricks, these cakes bake with perfectly flat layers every time, so there is no need to trim the tops before stacking!

Perfect yellow cakes baked flat tops even layers

What you need:

Perfect yellow cake ingredients

AP Flour – To mimic cake flour, start with All Purpose Flour (+ corn starch)

Corn Starch – This is added to the flour to lighten the flour, similar to cake flour.

Baking Powder – For a light an fluffy crumb.

Baking Soda – This will react with the buttermilk and help leaven the cake.

Salt – Kosher salt to help balance out the sweetness

Buttermilk – This reacts with the baking soda to make a light fluffy cake.

Sourcream – This gives the cake a tender texture.

Vanilla Bean Paste – This is the key flavor to this classic cake.

Butter – Room temperature, I always bake with European style butter.

Sugar – Two kinds: granulated sugar and brown sugar

Egg – To get a rich yellow cake, this recipe only uses whole egg and egg yolks.  Save the extra whites for another recipe-like my Perfect Macarons (a great way to decorate the top of the cake!)

 

How to make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Soak three cake strips in water while you prepare the batter. This is one of the keys to ensuring the cakes have flat layers!  Butter and flour three 6” cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment rounds.

Perfect yellow cake baking strips soaking pans prepped for baking

Whisk together the flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then set aside.

Perfect yellow cake prepping whisking dry ingredients

Combine the buttermilk, sour cream, and vanilla bean paste together then set aside.

Perfect yellow cake prepping wet ingredients

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for five minutes until it is light and fluffy.

Perfect yellow cake beating creaming mixing butter

Add the two sugars and mix together until it is well combined (3-4 minutes).

Perfect yellow cake granulated sugar brown sugar creaming stand mixer

One by one, add the egg yolks and whole eggs, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Perfect yellow cake mixing eggs in stand mixer

Add a third of the dry ingredients and mix to combine.  Pour in half of the wet ingredients and mix to combine.

Perfect yellow cake batter dry ingredients wet ingredients mixing

Repeat this process, ending with the final third of the dry ingredients.  Stop the mixer as soon as the last bits of flour are incorporated.

Perfect yellow cake batter mixed

Scrape down the sides of the mixer and give it one good stir.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and even out the tops with an offset spatula.

Perfect yellow cake weighing filling cake pans with batter

Pro Tip:

I keep a note of how much my stand mixer bowl weighs when it is empty (I have a label on the back of my mixer so I remember!).  This way I can measure the batter and deduct the bowl to know exactly how much batter I have.  This makes dividing it into the cake pans easy!

Perfect yellow cake leveled off with batter and cake strips

Squeeze the cake strips dry and wrap around the cake pans.  Bake at 350ºF for 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Allow to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.

Perfect yellow cake baking in the oven at 350 degrees

 

Perfect yellow cake baked even layers flat tops

For best results, I refrigerate the cakes before decorating.  It is so much easier to stack and handle the cakes when chilled.  Once completely cooled, wrap the cakes tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.

How to make a layered cake:

To make a four layer cake, start by making a batch of frosting, pick an optional filling, and have two chilled perfect white cake layers.

Cut the two cakes in half so you have four evenly sized layers.  Place a 6” cardboard cake board on a turntable and secure the first layer of cake with a small dab of frosting.  Pipe on a thin layer of frosting with a ring around the parameter.  For this cake, I used buttercream frosting and maraschino cherries to create a pattern between each layer.

Perfect yellow cake stacking and filling decorating with icing

Place the next piece of cake on top  (make sure it’s centered and level) then press down to secure.  Repeat with the next layers, then top with the final piece of cake.

Pipe or coat the cake with a thin layer of frosting and smooth with an offset spatula or cake scraper-this is the crumb coat.  Place the cake in the refrigerator and let the frosting chill 30 minutes to an hour before applying the final layer.

Perfect yellow cake decorating crumb coating with frosting icing on turntable

To get a perfectly smooth finish,  apply an even layer of frosting and hold a cake scraper up to the edge (perfectly vertical) while resting on the turntable.  Rotate it while holding the scraper as evenly as possible.  Clean the scraper often and use the extra icing to fill any gaps or bubbles.

Level off the top, then decorate as desired.  A large star piping tip is an easy way to add an impressive swirl of frosting to the top!  Add a few macarons and you have an impressive cake, perfect for any occasion!

Perfect yellow cake decorated with macarons sprinkles Sesame Street theme Elmo birthday cake

Perfect yellow cake recipe

Perfect Yellow Cake

My perfect yellow cake is fluffy, moist and a classic cake flavor. With a hint of vanilla, this sweet cake pairs well with so many flavors and is just the right texture for stacking.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cake
Makes: 3 6 inch cake layers
Author: Corey Grimsley

Equipment

  • (3) 6 inch cake pans
  • (3) cake strips

Ingredients

  • 480 grams AP flour
  • 60 grams corn starch
  • 8 grams baking powder
  • 6 grams baking soda
  • 10 grams salt Mortons Kosher, coarse
  • 490 grams buttermilk
  • 120 grams sour cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 227 grams butter unsalted, room temperature
  • 200 grams granulated sugar
  • 100 grams brown sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3 whole eggs

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  • Soak three cake strips in water while you prepare the batter.
  •  Butter and flour three 6” cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment rounds.
  • Whisk the flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together then set aside.  Combine the buttermilk, sour cream, and vanilla bean paste together then set aside.
  • In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for five minutes-until light and fluffy.
  • Add the two sugars and mix together until it is well combined (3-4 minutes).
  • One by one, add the egg yolks and whole eggs, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add a third of the dry ingredients and mix to combine.  Pour in half of the wet ingredients and mix to combine.  Repeat this process, ending with the final third of the dry ingredients.  Stop the mixer as soon as the last bits of flour are incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the mixer and give it one good stir.  
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and even out the tops with an offset spatula. Squeeze the cake strips dry and wrap around the cake pans.  Bake at 350ºF for 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Allow to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.
  • For best results, I refrigerate the cakes before decorating.  It is so much easier to stack and handle the cakes when chilled.  Once completely cooled, wrap the cakes tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • Alternatively, you can divide the batter into two prepared 9” round cake pans and bake for 40-45 minutes at 350ºF.  
  • To make two half sheet cakes, divide the cake into the prepared half sheet pans and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350ºF.  
  • These cakes refrigerate and freeze beautifully, perfect for making ahead!  Just be sure to wrap tightly in plastic wrap and close in a ziplock bag.  
Did you try this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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About me

Corey Grimsley

I’m an artist and art restorer who spends an equal amount of time in the kitchen. Follow along as I put an artisanal touch on all of my bakes!

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