Easy Scratch Yellow Cake

Simple Golden Cake

This Easy Scratch Yellow Cake perfectly displays the difference between a typical boxed mix cake and a “from-scratch” cake.  Yes, you might be able to throw a box mix into the oven a tiny bit faster, but when you pull it out, you have a rather gooey, sickly sweet confection, full of artificial flavors and colors that sticks to the roof of your mouth when you bite into it.  Blech.

If you’re making a cake from scratch, it makes no sense at all not to use the very best ingredients.  That’s what makes a scratch cake special.  I try to keep my recipes natural, so I shop around for real flavorings, not factory-made, chemically-enhanced products. Here are some good options:

Vanilla Extract Pure Madagascar – 4 floz B…

After extensive product testing we offer you what we believe to be the superior single strength, pure vanilla available today. The standard for this single strength is 100 beans per gallon to assure you only the best vanilla flavor. Perfect for cakes, cookies, custards, frosting, meringues and puddings. As with all our vanilla extracts, this product is gluten-free.[More]

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This simple moist yellow cake is made from a recipe that is hundreds of years old, so it’s tried-and-true, unlike the hundreds of Pinterest recipes that I’ve found to be frighteningly hit-or-miss. It uses an addition of whipped cream to add a lightness to the batter that you and your guests will notice.  I’ve included both the regular and high-altitude versions in this post.

If you’re looking for a simple cake recipe that will work beautifully for any occasion, this cake is the perfect balance of sweetness, velvety texture and superb moistness.  It makes one 9″x2″ layer and you can slice it into multiple layers with a cake leveler.

For some other high- and regular altitude cakes, try my White Velvet Cake or my Sour Cream Chocolate Cake. They’re tested for high-altitude to work perfectly for you.

Simple Moist Golden Cake

This simple scratch cake is made from a recipe that is hundreds of years old, so it’s tried-and-true, unlike the hundreds of Pinterest recipes that I’ve found to be frighteningly hit-or-miss. It uses an addition of whipped cream to add a lightness to the batter that you and your guests will notice.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: All-Natural Cake, Simple Moist Golden Scratch Cake
Servings: 9 servings
Author: Don Herman

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups Cake Flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 1/3 cups Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Warm Water
  • 4 tbsp Unsalted Butter cut into smaller pieces
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3 lg Whole Eggs
  • 3/4 cup Heavy Cream

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Grease and flour a 9″x2″ round cake pan. Line the base of the pan with parchment, if necessary.  (Click here for a quick way to make the perfect size parchment round)
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder together until thoroughly blended.
  • Place a medium bowl, hand mixer beaters and heavy cream into the refrigerator to chill for the final step.
  • Add the sugar and warm water to the mixing bowl. Beat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the butter, vanilla and salt and beat until blended (this should take a while – give it 3 minutes or so). Add the oil and beat to blend.
  • Add the flour in 1/3 portions, beating just until it’s all incorporated.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, and blend gently until incorporated.
  • Remove the chilled bowl, beaters and cream from the freezer. Beat the cream with a hand mixer until soft peaks form, then just a minute beyond that. Gently fold 1/2 of the whipped cream into the batter, followed by the second half.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350F until the cake just springs back to the touch – about 40 minutes. The inner temp should be 209F on a thermometer.
  • Cool in the pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then strike with a palm all around the edge and invert on the rack. Cool completely.
    Perfect Cake Layers

Notes

Slicing your cake into layers I use a cake leveler that has an adjustable wire, but you can also use dental floss or even a simple, long knife. Just mark out your layer with a “clockface” of toothpicks, and use the knife or floss to slice it evenly. Frost or and/or fill your cake with fruit jam for a delicious, moist cake.

At altitudes above 3,000 feet, use this adjusted recipe. At higher altitudes, you need to adjust your leavening, sugar and liquid to allow for the impact lower air pressure will make on your cake.

Simple Moist Golden Cake (High-Altitude Version).

This simple, basic scratch cake is made from a recipe that is hundreds of years old. It has been revised to accommodate those living above 3,000 ft. altitude. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Classic High Altitude Yellow Cake, Simple Moist Golden Cake High Altitude
Servings: 9 servings
Author: Don Herman

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups PLUS 2 tbsp Cake Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 1/3 cups LESS 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 4 tbsp Unsalted Butter cut into smaller pieces
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3 lg Whole Eggs
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 370F
  • Grease and flour a 9″x2″ round cake pan. Line the base of the pan with parchment, if necessary. (Click here for a quick way to make the perfect size parchment round)
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder together until thoroughly blended.
  • Place a medium bowl, hand mixer beaters and heavy cream into the refrigerator or freezer to chill for the final step.
  • Add the sugar and warm water to the mixing bowl.  Beat until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the butter, vanilla and salt and beat until blended (this should take a while – give it 3 minutes or so.)  Add the oil and beat to blend.
  • Add the flour in 1/3 portions, beating just until it’s all incorporated.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, and blend gently until incorporated.  
  • Remove the chilled bowl, beaters and cream from the freezer.  Beat the cream with a hand mixer until soft peaks form, then just a minute beyond that.  Gently fold 1/2 of the whipped cream into the batter, followed by the second half.  
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, but with a few moist crumbs (not batter) – about 40 minutes.  The inner temp should be 209F on a thermometer.
  • Cool in the pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then strike with a palm all around the edge and invert on the rack to remove the cake from the pan.  Cool completely.

Notes

Perfect Cake Layers: I use a cake leveler that has an adjustable wire, but you can also use dental floss or even a simple, long knife. Just mark out your layer with a “clockface” of toothpicks, and use the knife or floss to slice it evenly. Frost or and/or fill your cake with fruit jam for a delicious, moist cake.

I welcome your comments below. Thanks.

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