Tender Yellow Cake

By • May 4, 2011 • 124 Comments

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Author Notes: One of my quests has been to find a yellow cake recipe that I love. I have tried what seems like hundreds and although some are really good they were not exactly what I was looking for. I wanted the cake to be tender and light and moist. I was speaking to my Mother on the phone a few months ago, my Mom is an amazing cook and we always discuss food and recipes. I happened to mention my quest and she said she had a recipe for me to try. This recipe is from the 1950's and she made this cake for our family. I remember her cakes were always amazing I just attributed to my mothers culinary prowess. This is my Mom's recipe, she said it took a very long time to get it right and she sure did. It's of of the best yellow cakes I've tasted.
When I made this cake my search was over. Its light, tender and moist. Holds well with fruit filling as well as a buttercream and any way you make it its delicious. The cake is a combination of a yellow cake and a chiffon cake. It rises beautifully and is very simple to make.
sdebrango

Serves 10-12

  • 3 large eggs separated and at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 3 teaspoons Baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbs vegetable oil (I use canola)
  • 1 cup whole milk (1 or 2% work also)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350
  2. Prepare 2 9 inch round baking pans, butter bottoms and line with parchment rounds, butter again bottoms and sides and dust with flour.
  3. Beat egg whites until frothy then add 1/2 cup of the sugar (reserving the rest) a tablespoon at a time until egg whiles are stiff and glossy. Set aside.
  4. Sift flour, remaining 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt into large mixing bowl if you are using a hand held mixer or into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add the oil and 1/2 cup of the milk and the vanilla. Beat for 1 minute on medium speed, mixture will be quite thick. I actually prefer to use a hand held mixer for this recipe.
  5. Add the egg yolks and remaining milk and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
  6. Fold in egg whites and distribute into the baking pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool for 10-20 minutes in the pan then turn out onto cake rack to cool completely.

Tags: Jennifer Steinhauer, Jenny, Jenny's in the Kitchen, jestei

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Comments (124) Questions (4)

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about 1 month ago Mindy

I+just+made+this,+however,+I+made+cupcakes.++So+moist!++Really+delicious,+even+two+days+later!!++I+used+sunflower+oil+rather+than+canola+or+veg.+oil.++very+good!

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

So glad you liked the recipe Mindy and I think sunflower oil is a great idea, I will try that!!

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about 1 month ago Ali

As I mentioned before I loved this recipe .Was wondering ,how can I turn it into chocolate cake or if you have a recommendation for a chocolate cake recipe that could be slimier to this .Your reply will be greatly appreciated .Thanks in advance.

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much, try this, it's my favorite chocolate cake recipe, so easy to make and results are consistently good It's the Hershey's chocolate cake recipe on the can of unsweetened cocoa it's the best in my opinion https://food52.com/recipes...

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2 months ago Ali

Thank you for the great recipe I've been searching for the perfect vanilla cake and the search is over .I did both cake and cupcakes and both were great .
I did follow the comment of adding a fourth egg .

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I like adding the 4th egg also, thank you so much and so glad you liked this cake. It's my favorite also!!

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4 months ago Grace

Are the cups metric?

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4 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I really don't think so, but not sure. I just use dry measure cup, sorry it is not in grams I am going to weigh and see what the weight in grams is.

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7 months ago Jen

I love this recipe.... I make custom cakes and am always on the lookout for a good yellow cake that doesn't dry out- this is the one! It's perfectly delicious and moist- thanks so much for sharing- made cupcakes and a cake out of it yesterday And have another to do today... I sub ap flour and it worked just fine!

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7 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I am so glad to hear that you like it, I do too, it was a revelation for me. Thank you so much for letting me know.

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10 months ago Evelyn Dieppa

Love this recipe! Made it today, substituted whole milk for buttermilk. Garnished with a nutella cream cheese, delish!

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10 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Sounds delicious with the cream cheese nutella icing, thank you so much for trying my recipe and so happy you liked it.

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11 months ago Catherine

Have you ever tried to cupcakeify this recipe? If so, how many did it make?

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11 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

LOL, cupcakeify. Yes I have numerous times it makes 24 average size (as in not jumbo) cupcakes. Fill each cup about 3/4 full. Let me know if you do, would love the feedback. Thank you so much.

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10 months ago melissav

I want to make these as cupcakes for my son's 1st BD at the end of august and I am trying to do as much as possible ahead of time. Have you ever baked them and froze them before frosting? I would like to do that and take them out of the freezer the night before and frost them the day of. Appreciate your thoughts!

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10 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yes I have, I froze them in the cupcake liners in double freezer bags (thats just me) and thawed in the refrigerator the day before I was going to use them. If you thaw on the counter they may get a bit soggy so do it in the fridge. They froze and thawed beautifully and no one even knew, Happy Birthday to your son!

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10 months ago melissav

Perfect, thanks. And thanks for the birthday wishes! Also, if you were to double it, would you make two separate batches or just double the ingredients and make one batch?

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10 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I would do it in 2 batches unless you oven will bake all the cupcakes at once. I would make one batch and while its baking make the other batch, Best of luck! let me know how it goes.

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11 months ago gingerroot

This is an amazing cake as promised, Suzanne! I ran out of AP flour and had to sub 1/2 cup of millet flour with excellent results. My only regret is not making it sooner.

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11 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Jenny wow, millet. I never would have imagined using that type of flour. So happy you liked the recipe. Thank you so much.

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11 months ago gingerroot

I will definitely try it as written when I get more AP flour. I'm curious to see how the millet version differs. I was happy it worked out so well with what I had on hand!

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11 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

It has me thinking of a GF version. I think I will try that. Thanks again!

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4 months ago KH

I'm reading through comments now so I'm not sure yet if anyone answered this but did you try a GF version yet? I'm thinking of trying your recipe GF but I'm not an avid baker! I have Pamela's Artisan GF mix and I also have a recipe I found online for a GF mix that I might do (brown rice flour, white rice flour, sweet rice flour and tapioca starch). I'm trying to find the perfect cake for my daughters first birthday in a few weeks and I'm delaying gluten for her for a while. I've had pretty good success with a few coconut flour recipes but I'm still searching. This cake just looks and sounds perfect! Not sure how it would do as GF though! Thank you!

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4 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I never tried GF, I use the King Arthur GF mix of flours. I am not a GF expert by any stretch of the imagination maybe someone will see this and reply. Because the batter uses cake flour which is lighter than AP flour even if you use a GF mix I would use the same ratio to make cake flour, in other words remove some regular flour and add corn flour or corn starch to lighten it. I think coconut flour is light but not sure how it would work on a one on one sub. I'm sorry I am not much help here.

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4 months ago KH

Thank you for the quick reply! I will let you know how it turns out if I try one of the GF mixes. I probably won't try to alter the recipe for coconut flour though because I do know that coconut flour absorbs an incredible amount of liquid and I'm not knowledgeable enough to know how to alter wet-dry ingredients yet. Thanks so much!

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4 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

You're welcome, I wish I could have been more help though. I am afraid my GF knowledge is lacking when it comes to baking, Best of luck and if you do make it let me know how it comes out.

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about 1 year ago Julie

This cake was great! I've also been on a quest for a go-to yellow cake recipe, and I will definitely be coming back to this one. Thanks!

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about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks Julie, my Mom really came up with a great recipe. I was so thankful she gave it to me, it will forever be my go to yellow cake. So happy you liked it!

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over 1 year ago creamtea

This has become my go-to cake for our new favorite, Boston Cream Pie for family birthdays. So glad you submitted it for Best family Recipe, Suzanne.

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over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks creamtea, it truly is a family recipe, one my Mom is very proud of. Boston Cream is my all time favorite cake, I use it for that also. Happy Holidays!

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over 1 year ago creamtea

Happy Holidays to you and your family.

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over 1 year ago Regine

Welcome Melissa. Do try my formula. I bake ALL the time and it has NEVER failed. Plus the cake tastes better; I find that cake flour imparts a slight acidic after taste to cakes. Let me know!

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over 1 year ago Regine

I hae also, but this time it was a mistake which I ended up liking, used 4 eggs instead of 3. I now use 4.

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over 1 year ago Regine

Melissa, I hate cake flour. I have made this recipe SEVERAL times and successfully using this formula, 1 cup cake flour = 3/4 cup all purpose flour (12 tbsp) + 2 tbsp cornstarch. Trust me, it is still light and fluffy and tastes better than with cake flour. Use 1 3/4 cup minus 1 tbsp all purpose flour, and 4 1/2 tbsp cornstarch. You can eyeball the 1/2 tbsp or do 1 1/2 tsp (1 tbsp = 3 tsp).

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over 1 year ago Melissa Riley

Thanks, regine. I also think it's just so inconvenient to have too. I'd rather do AP anyway.
THe last time I used cake flower was for this red velvet cake (supposedly from the Waldorf Astoria) and it was for someone buying a cake from me. Anyways, I made some extra for me to eat and it was so hard & dry the next day. I just hopes they ate all the cake the first day... I'm really good about covering up the cake & doing my best to keep it moist. It just makes me nervous. Especially if I'm charging someone.

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over 1 year ago Melissa Riley

Do I have to use cake flour??
Whenever I've used it instead of AP, to me, it comes out dry. I wonder what I could be doing wrong. I like in sw Texas, humidity is not an issue here at all. It's just hot

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over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I do recommend using cake flour if you have it, if not use Ap flour with some corn starch, I would have to look up the ratio. The cake is very light and very moist and I have never used anything but cake flour in the recipe. Try it using cake flour and let me know what you think, I do hope it turns out for you. Using oil instead of butter in the cake makes it very tender, moist and with a very fine crumb.

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over 1 year ago Melissa Riley

Ok I will, thanks!

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about 2 years ago Regine

John D, the parchment paper is placed only on the bottom. But again, from experience you don't need parchment paper so long as you make sure the pan (both bottom and sides) are greased. You can use either the spray they sell specially for that, or use butter/flour.

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about 2 years ago Regine

John D, I have made this cake several time (although I like to add one more egg for a total of 4) and many times I don't even bother with parchment paper. I only spray the pan; but if you use parchment, to be safe, I would spray both the pan and the parchment paper.

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about 2 years ago John D.

I need help, could you clarify point number two. It reads butter and flour the pans and then line with parchment paper. Do you place the parchment paper on top of the butter & flour? Or, do you place the parchment paper in the pan first then butter and flour the paper? Also do you place parchment paper around the sides of the pan as well as on the bottom? ........Thanks, John.

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about 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

John, you are exactly right, I will correct the directions it should read butter the bottom of the cake pan, place parchment and then butter bottom and sides again, then dust with flour. Thank you for pointing this out.

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over 2 years ago Jessica Harrod

This cake turned out awsome! It was moist and light! Used it with a fresh strawberry filling. Everyone loved it.

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

So glad you liked this cake. For me it was a revelation. Thank you so much!

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over 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Oh, I guess I should have been clear - this will be his birthday cake this year :-)

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Happy Birthday to the Grandson!!

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over 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I've got it in the oven right now, Suzanne!! One of my grandson's turns 7 on Saturday, and he asked to come up to Tahoe to spend it with us. Because we're at 7000+ feet above sea level, I added a little yogurt (one of my tricks that usually works up here to add moisture). It was pretty liquidy going into the pan, so we'll see if I went a little too overboard. But the batter was so good, I briefly considered stealing some to pour into a glass, and pretend it's a smoothie.

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

LOL, a smoothie. Thanks Susan, I hope it works out. Good trick to know adding yogurt for extra moisture when you are at a high elevation. Let me know how it turns out and Happy Birthday to the grandson. Thank you so much for letting me know that you are making the cake.