Yellow Cake Layers

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Preparation info

  • Makes


    round layers
    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Modern Baker

The Modern Baker

By Nick Malgieri

Published 2008

  • About

Here’s a great new way to make a moist cake layer that’s perfect for a birthday cake or just filling with whipped cream and a few berries. It’s used in several recipes for finished cakes later in this chapter. In the past it was common to whip the egg whites and fold them into the batter for this type of cake. After experimenting with a few combinations of ingredients, I realized that it isn’t at all necessary, but do remember to let the batter beat on the mixer for a few minutes after it’s assembled—that part is critical.


  • cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons ( sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • cup milk or buttermilk
  • Two 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pans, 2 inches (5 cm) deep, buttered and the bottoms lined with disks of parchment or buttered wax paper cut to fit


  1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Combine the Hour, baking powder, and salt. Stir well to mix.
  3. Combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat with the paddle on medium speed until lightened in color and texture, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  5. Decrease the mixer speed to the lowest and add half of the flour mixture. Stop and scrape down the bowl and beater.
  6. Beat in the milk and after it is absorbed, beat in the remaining flour mixture.
  7. Stop and scrape the bowl and beater. Increase the speed to medium and beat the batter continuously for 3 minutes.
  8. Divide the batter equally between the 2 prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake the layers until they are well risen and deep golden, and feel firm when pressed in the center with a fingertip, 25 to 30 minutes.
  9. Cool in the pans on racks for 5 minutes, then un mold, turn right side up again, and cool completely on racks.


Double wrap the layers in plastic wrap, keep them at room temperature, and use them within 24 hours. Or freeze the layers for up to a month. Defrost before assembling the finished cake. Don’t be concerned if some of the crust from the outside of the layer pulls away with the plastic wrap—it won’t affect the outcome of the finished cake.