This Classic Yellow Cake is tender, rich and flavorful. One secret ingredient makes this the BEST yellow cake recipe with both the texture of box mix and the flavor of a homemade butter cake. Layer with my Double Chocolate American Buttercream for a magnificent cake perfect for any occasion.
I have tried the classic yellow cake recipes in over a dozen cookbooks and tested and retested adaptations to try and recreate the perfect yellow cake. I was disappointed every single time. They were always too dry, too spongy, too bland or just fine. I wanted the texture of box mix with that rich buttery flavor of homemade.
While I was testing for my Bacardi Rum Cake, I had a stroke of genius that I realized created the perfect flavor of yellow cake with that almost chewy, yet light texture. I kept fussing with the ratio of eggs to egg yolks for my classic yellow cake when I should have been focusing on the ratio of sugar and also the dry mixture.
I was looking for classic yellow cake richness in all the wrong places. The secret ingredient for that perfect texture is in the cornstarch! The hint of almond extract adds the “cake batter” flavor. I still have a mix of whole eggs and egg yolks for richness. BUT this does not have the added moisture and leavening of the whites. With this cake, it is more about the extra sugar.
Behind the Scenes: Why this Classic Yellow Cake?
This Classic Yellow Cake is what we professionals call a “High Ratio Cake.” That is just fancy chef-speak for a high ratio of sugar to flour by weight. You’ll notice in the weighted measurements that there is more sugar than flour by more than a third! Typically, there is a different method for mixing high ratio cakes, which is essentially the cut-in method like pie crust. Sure, I tested this recipe and some of the others from cookbooks with the high ratio cake method. However, I found it easier to overmix the batter resulting in a tougher, less delicate crumb. I found the creaming method still worked best here and resulted in a light, tender, yet rich crumb.
Layer in my Double Chocolate American Buttercream, and you have a sure-fire winner.
- 3 ½ cups Cake Flour
- 2 tablespoons Cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon Baking Powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons Salt
- 1 cup Butter
- 2 ½ cups Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 3 Egg Yolks
- ⅜ teaspoons Almond extract
- ¾ teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 1 cup Sour Cream
- ½ cup Milk
- 1 Recipe for Double Chocolate American Buttercream
Make Your Yellow Cake Next Level:
- Preheat oven to 325°F convection.
- Prep your Pans: I sprayed my pans and lined with parchment
- Sift together cake flour, cornstarch, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a small bowl whisk together milk and sour cream. Set aside
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time followed by egg yolks, scraping down the sides of the bowl after every two eggs or so. Add the extracts with the last bit of eggs.
- Switch the mixer to low and then alternately add the flour mixture and sour cream. I don’t wait until all the flour has incorporated until I add the next batch. I just keep adding with two hands. Pro-style. I do stop the mixer to add the last of the sour cream because I like to scrape it all out with a rubber spatula.
- Pour into prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Bake in preheated oven until a cake tester comes out with a few clinging crumbs. This will take about 20-25 minutes depending on your oven
- Let her COOL 10 minutes and then loosen the edges with a paring knife and then turn them out onto a rack. Allow to cool completely.
- Layer and frost with your favorite buttercream!
Note: Can also easily be divided into a three-layer cake.