Learn How to Bake a Cake From Scratch

How to Bake a Cake From Scratch – Yellow Birthday Cake Recipe

Learn how to bake a cake from scratch with this well tested yellow birthday cake recipe.  We made helpful step-by-step videos to guide and assist you in making your first cake without a box mix.  A yellow cake with chocolate frosting is so cheerful and inviting.  One bite of fluffy cake with creamy chocolate frosting can transport you back to childhood.  Don’t be shy if you want to add some colorful sprinkles or go a more sophisticated route with fanciful garnishments.


How to bake a cake - Homemade Yellow Birthday Cake


Baking a cake can be intimidating if it is your first time so be prepared.  Read more about the basic rules of baking and making a perfect cake from scratch with our secrets on how to bake a perfect cake.



Denise Tupper How to bake a cake from scratchThis recipe and video are shared by Denise Tupper, a Portland, Oregon native who fell in love with baking during her college breaks and with a large family, she always had a birthday or celebration to bake a cake for.  At age eight, she humbly started out with a failed box cake that had the same texture as Jell-O.  Now as an adult after watching lots of baking shows and studying cake recipe books, she has finally conquered a few homemade cake recipes such as chocolate cake, tres leches cake, and yellow birthday cake.  Denise enjoys the learning process that baking requires and notes that baking beyond the box can bring about exciting and sometimes disappointing results.





Homemade Yellow Birthday Cake Recipe:
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe, Homemade Yellow Birthday Cake Recipe, Making a Cake from Scratch
Servings: 1 Cake
Yellow Cake:
  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 4 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3  eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/3 cups of cake flour, sifted
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup of milk, heavy cream or whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
  • 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (16-ounce) package of powdered sugar
Yellow Cake Instructions:
  1. Adjust oven racks to the center.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Grease (or line with parchment paper and grease parchment) three 8-inch round cake pans or one 8 x 12 oblong pan or one standard bundt pan.

  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, then whisk the mixture by hand to ensure that the ingredients are well mixed.

  4. In a bowl, using a stand or hand mixer, add the butter chopped into large chunks.  On a low speed, beat the butter until the texture is smooth and creamy (this should take about 30 seconds).  Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Next, turn the mixer back on at medium speed and add in sugar gradually.  Let the butter and sugar be whipped together for a couple of minutes until the butter and sugar are well blended and creamy.  Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides again.

  5. Turn the mixer back on at low speed and slowly pour in vanilla extract and oil, alternating the two until well combined.  Next, Add in egg and egg yolk one at a time and mix until batter is fluffy.  Once all the eggs are added, turn off the mixer again and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

  6. Turn on the mixer at medium speed, and alternate adding the flour mixture and milk.  Continue to let the mixer beat everything together until the batter is well blended.

  7. Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then tap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles.  Bake cakes until golden for about 35 to 40 minutes.

  8. The cake is done when the internal temperature registers approximately 205 to 209 degrees F. on your cooking thermometer.

  9. Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool in the cake pans on a wire rack.

  10. Yellow Birthday Cake

  11. Once the cakes are cooled, take the first baking pan and place your hand on top, then flip the pan upside down and gently slide the first cake layer on a plate or cake stand.  You are now ready to cover the 1st layer with frosting (see buttercream frosting recipe below).

  12. After each layer is frosted, repeat this step to carefully remove each cake layer from the pan and gently place on top of the frosted layer.  Continue to frost each layer until covered, then use the remaining frosting to frost the sides of the cake.

  13. Yellow Birthday Cake frosting 2nd layer

  14. Yellow Birthday Cake finishing frosting side

  15. Top the frosted cake with desired garnishments such as chocolate shavings or sprinkles.

  16. Yellow Birthday Cake ready to serve


Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Instructions:
  1. Add cocoa powder to a large bowl and whisk until all lumps are removed.

  2. Cream together the butter, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder until smooth.

  3. Alternating between the milk and powdered sugar, slowly add to mixture.

  4. Optional additions (sea salt, coffee, or cinnamon)

  5. The frosting can be immediately applied to a cooled cake.


Thermapen Internal Temperature Cooking ChartI get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer. Originally designed for professional use, the Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is used by chefs all over the world.  I only endorse a few products, on my web site, that I like and use regularly.

You can learn more or buy yours at: Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer.

Sponsored Content


How to bake a cake -Slice of Yellow Birthday Cake


We had fun baking this homemade yellow birthday cake from scratch, check out the complete video tutorial


Frosting the cake with homemade buttercream frosting.

Find out about the history of cakes and visit our cake recipe collection.

How to Bake a Cake


Baking    Cake    Cooking Lessons - Cooking 101    White Cakes   

Comments and Reviews

3 Responses to “Learn How to Bake a Cake From Scratch”

  1. Betty

    I too, make this frosting with 1 change. Mom taught me, use hot water in place of milk. She said, hot water –
    1) makes chocolate bloom
    2) makes frosting shine
    3) cake doesn’t have to be stored in refrigator
    Nancy, I love your site and recipes! I will be trying more.

    • Nancy

      Betty, the hot water replacement has sound reasoning, I love the comment, “makes chocolate bloom” my grandmother used to make her chocolate frosting with coffee, it is amazing all the little things we learned from our Mom’s and Grandmoms.

      Thanks for visiting What’s Cooking America and I am glad that you’ll be hanging around.


  2. Raushan

    Baking cakes is my passion and I run my own cake shop. I love making a verity of cakes that’s why I keep exploring top websites like yours to get some ideas. This is one of the right places where I always get something new to learn.


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