Bestest as Light and Fluffy as a Butter Cake Can Be!

October 17, 2013

Author Notes: If you love  butter cake but wish the texture could be light and fluffy as a sponge cake, please try this delightful butter cake adapted from a recipe posted in called "Mrs. NgSK Vanilla ButterCake."  Wendy, who is from Malaysia, says that she  used to eat a really good buttercake that this lady called Mrs. NgSK from church used to bring, and one day she asked for the recipe which the lady surprisingly shared with her. Many other food bloggers have adopted her cake, and I think most if not all may be from Asia (which i think is known for their light cakes).  So now I am sharing it with you my fellow Food52ers; but I have modified the recipe by replacing the self rising flour it asks for with all purpose flour and baking powder, and converting from grams to cup. I sometimes do this recipe using my scale; and on other occasions I use the cup measurements. Both deliver an excellent cake. I don't think you will find a better butter cake than this one because it is buttery in your mouth yet light and fluffy. Please do use the exact size of pan that is required, an 8 inch square cake pan; and, ideally, of a light not dark color.Regine

Serves: 10-12
Prep time: 40 min
Cook time: 52 min


  • 2 sticks of good quality unsalted butter (16 tbsp or 8 oz or 227 grams)
  • 4 Large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup Sugar, divided (1/4 cup + 3/4 cup) or 50 grams + 150 grams
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour (or 200 grams). My favorite is Pillsbury bleached all purpose flour. Do not use cake flour.
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons Baking powder
  • 1/4 cup Whole milk (60 ml), room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons Grated lime, lemon, or orange zest but this is optional
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat oven to 335F degrees.  Spray an 8 inch metal square pan.  Please use exactly what it says and preferably a light color pan. If you don't have one, invest in one. You will not regret it. Separate egg whites from yolk. Beat egg whites until soft peaks and gradually add the 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar and beat until stiff. Set aside and transfer to another bowl if you need the same bowl to cream the butter. Cream butter and the 3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar until and fluffy. Be patient. It may take 5-10 minutes.  Add the vanilla and zest if using. You can even add some cardamom or nutmeg if you so desire.  Then add eggs yolks gradually beating for a few seconds after each addition. Put half the flour (which you mixed with the baking powder, and stirred with a fork for about 1 minute to aerate it) and mix on low speed. Do not overmix.  Add 1/2 the milk, mix for a few seconds, then the other half, mix for a few seconds, then the remaining flour.   Put half the egg white and mix on low speed, then fold the rest into the cake batter using a spatula. Be patient. It may take you quite a few turns of the bowl to fold egg whites into flour so don't be discouraged. I've been there so I know. My trick is to turn the bowl as I fold. What I do is to do a "quarter turn" of the bowl (as if I am turning bowl from a zero minute position to a 15 minute position) and fold; then turn bowl to a 30 minute position and fold; turn bowl to a 45 minute position and fold; turn bowl to a zero minute position and fold. Repeat the turning of the bowl and folding until all egg white is well incorporated into bowl. Google the art of folding if needed. Pour batter into pan and level it with spatula.  Bake for 45 minutes at 335F degrees and then 9 minutes at 300F degrees. Please do this exactly. A skewer inserted into middle of cake will/should come out clean. You will see that the cake has risen to the very top of the pan but the surface remains flat (don't worry if you see a few bubbles).   Let cool on rack for 15-30 minutes then invert on a plate and turn it again onto rack or serving plate. I like to wait till the day after to eat it but you don't have to. But let it cool for a couple of hours before serving. You will find that the cake is so light that it almost melts in your mouth. Sprinkle top with some powdered sugar if you want, and serve with coffee/tea, as snack or dessert.  
  2. NOTE: When using measuring cups for flour and sugar, please do not dip the cup directly into the flour or sugar sack or container. Instead, spoon it into the measuring cup and then scrape off excess with a straight edge. Also, please note that my cup measurements are rounded but you should still have the same outcome than if you weigh the ingredients.

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Reviews (60) Questions (0)

60 Reviews

Indie November 22, 2018
Seriously the best butter cake if recipe is followed to the tee!!<br />Added a pinch of nutmeg nd all the options mentioned....yummilicious!! :)
Author Comment
Regine November 22, 2018
Hi Indie. I am happy you agree with me and that my instructions were good. You are right, you can always add a pinch of nutmeg or maybe cardamom or cinnamon. Citrus zests work well too - orange, lime or lemon.
Indie November 22, 2018
Yes indeed!! Added orange zest nd a pinch of nutmeg. I am from Australia nd Woolworths out here sells a cake named tot loves it nd this cake came out exactly like the Madeira cake!! Yumm!!
Author Comment
Regine October 21, 2018
Hi Koma. I am am so glad you liked the cake; and original recipe comes from Malaysia where you live.
Koma S. October 21, 2018
omg Regine love your recipe?! Mai here from Malaysia; i tried today 21 Oct 2018. Bestest as Light and Fluffy as a Butter Cake Can Be! as delicoius as the topic seriously the best butter cake ive made❤️❤️❤️❤️
Author Comment
Regine July 28, 2018
Hello Marie. Happy you liked the cake; and that you plan on making it again.
Marie H. July 28, 2018
Made this last night and topped with a lemoncello pastry cream ,fresh mango and strawberry. I did take the liberty to add a touch of lime zest and nutmeg to the batter. Incredible!!!! I will come back to this recipe again for sure!
Marie H. July 28, 2018
but i must add... i did take the cake out when it was barely done, if i would have left it any longer would have dried out easily. <br />
Author Comment
Regine April 15, 2018
Hi Keenan. I am happy you liked the cake.
Keenan K. April 15, 2018
Keenan i've tried the recipe it came out grate the perfect butter cake recipe i been looking for thanks i will continue to use it from here on .
Author Comment
Regine April 1, 2018
Hi Angie. Happy you successfully made 1 1/2 the recipe in a 12 inch cake pan. I love the idea of the custard.
Angie C. April 1, 2018
Hi. I one-and-half times the original recipe and used a 12 inch x 8 inch x 2 inch pan. Baking time was about 45 minutes. Turned out light and fluffy and was a hit with the family. I poured custard over the cake and topped it with strawberries and choc eggs (Easter).
Author Comment
Regine March 30, 2018
Typo. i meant I am happy you liked it. 0:)
Author Comment
Regine March 30, 2018
Happy you liked if Angie. But be careful when you double cake. It may be harder or take longer for you to fold the egg whites into batter. Be patient when you do this as the folding of egg whites into cake contributes to the light texture.
Author Comment
Regine March 30, 2018
Hi Angie. The 8 inch (2 inch height) square cake pan called for in recip holds 8 cups. 9 inch holds 10 cups. 10 inch holds 12. You could then do 1 1/2 the recipe in a 10 inch square cake pan. The 12 inch pan holds 16 cups so you can use that pan if you double the recipe. But please note that it may take longer to bake.
Angie C. March 30, 2018
Thanks, I’ll give it a go. I’ve tried the original recipe and it gave me a very good cake.
Angie C. March 30, 2018
Hi. If I doubled this recipe to make a bigger cake, what size pan would I need to use?
Author Comment
Regine February 23, 2018
Interesting. 3 things. Maybe you did not measure the flour properly and put too much? What type of flour did you use? I use bleached all purpose flour. Second, not properly folding the egg white into the batter can result in a less fluffy cake. Third, you wrote cake was maybe dry because you took it out sooner from the oven. Usually, it is when a cake is overbaked that it gets dry. I hope you try it again. I appreciate your feedback.<br />Also, to make it more moist, instead of 2 sticks<br />of butter, use 1 1/2 sticks (6 oz) and 3 tbsp vegetable oil. Also add 2 tsp more milk. Replacing some of the butter in a cake can make it more moist. Thanks again for your feedback.
mary February 23, 2018
I found this cake to be a little on the dry side, not as moist & fluffy as I expected. The flavor was good. Perhaps if I took it out the oven a little sooner maybe it would not have been so dry. I would give it a 7 out of 10.
Author Comment
Regine November 23, 2017
I see superfine flour is basically cake flour. I am not fond of cake flour because of what I perceive as a slightly metallic taste. However, I think using it will be fine. Let me know if you make it/how it turns out. Thanks.
Author Comment
Regine November 23, 2017
Hi Alice. Sorry about late reply. I have never heard of superfine flour. Hmm....<br />Let me google :0) about it and I will let you know. Thanks.
alicebibiana November 23, 2017
Hi, can I use superfine flour instead of multipurpose flour?
Author Comment
Regine October 7, 2017
Wow Jennifer. You must have strong arms or be patient to successfully do cake by hand. I don’t know if I would. I love my kitchenaid mixer. :O)
Author Comment
Regine September 1, 2017
And you are so right regarding no rushing (in the foldinf step).