All Yellow Cakes Compared

The yellow cake tests are done!  The winner was Shirley Corriher’s cake, but if you have the ingredients on hand for any of the cakes below, they were all more than passable.  If you like charts, here’s an at a glance table showing the ingredient lists.

Yellow Cake

Yellow Cakes Based on 1-2-3-4 Cake Recipe

Magnolia Carole Walter Paula Deen
Really great cake! Tasted like a cross between a sponge cake and a yellow cake. Not as crumbly as some other cakes, yet tender. Not a lot of baking powder flavor. This was my favorite of the 3.

1 1/2 c. self rising flour (6.8)
1 1/4 c. ap flour (5.6 oz)
1 cup unsalted butter (8 oz)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 large eggs
1 cup milk (whole)

Wonderful, light, melt in your mouth cake. If you are sensitive to baking powder flavor, you might notice its salty metallic flavor. My husband didn’t notice it and this was his favorite. 

3 c. sifted cake flour (11.2 oz)
1 T. baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter (8 oz)
2 cups superfine sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup milk (whole)

Very convenient and a good cake to make if you have self-rising flour on hand. I preferred the texture of Magnolia’s cake which wasn’t quite as crumbly, but this was still a very good. 

3 cups self-rising flour
1 cup butter (8 oz)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 large eggs
1 cup milk (whole)

Yellow Cakes Made with Egg Yolks

Cook’s Illustrated Shirley Corriher Egg Beater
Loved it!  Light, moist, fine crumbed and great flavor.

2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
10 tablespoons butter
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 large egg yolks
3 large egg whites

My favorite cake of all 6 cakes. Perfect in every way.

1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c vegetable oil
3 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream

Very good!  Would make great cupcakes

2 1/2 cups sifted ap flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cups granulated sugar
20 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large eggs
3 large yolks
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

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  1. says

    Not certain whether my comment got through or not. Something came on and told me I was “timed out”. Let me know, will you Anna?

  2. says

    Oops, I see the first comment did not go through. Did I talk too much??
    Love that you do these tests…then I don’t have to! Anyway, saving Shirley’s yellow cake mix recipe!
    I worked on a lemon cake this week….made it three times before I was happyl

  3. says

    Hey Barbara!

    I was trying to type a comment yesterday and it timed me out. Hopefully that issue will resolve itself soon. I’ve been having odd issues like that lately.

  4. says

    My mouth waters every time I look at all these cakes! I can just taste them! Ha, maybe I’ll actually make one at some point… 🙂 Thanks Anna!

  5. Jenn's Baking Chamber says

    Love the new website! Thanks for testing out all those cake recipes, I will definately follow your advice and make shirley’s!

  6. Rebecca says

    I love the new layout. And the cakes look amazing; I want to eat them all now and it’s only 6am.

  7. Rina Shah says

    Anna – I love this comparison and am inspired to try Shirley’s recipe (I have Bakewise but have yet to try that recipe). This is incredibly helpful, thanks for taking us through the various trials!

  8. says

    What a coincidence that you’ve been doing posts on yellow cake! 2 days ago I made my makeshift version of yellow cake with chocolate ganache frosting but it didn’t work well as a cake, so I’ve been looking for a good recipe, and these look very promising. 🙂 I’ve heard that Rose Levy Beranbaum’s version is good as well, can’t wait to try all of these variations.

  9. says

    Wow! you have done your homework. I was just talking to my husband about how we should bake a yellow cake one of these days and here all of the work to pick out a recipe is done for me!

  10. says

    I’m so glad you did this. I’ve never had luck with a yellow cake but I made your winner tonight for my 8 year old daughter and 40 year Old husband. Big hit!!

  11. says

    I remember checking out Shirley’s cookbook a couple years ago, but all I made out of it was the Fire Crackers! Imagine that, picking like the only non-dessert recipe, lol. I hope to make her magnificent moist golden cake soon. Oh, and a tip on the baking powder–buy Rumford, which is aluminum-free and won’t add an aftertaste. I had to learn that the hard way when I had similar yucky aftertaste problems with yellow cake.

  12. says

    Hi Veronica,

    I’ve been buying Rumford on a regular basis lately. You are right. There’s definitely less (if any) aftertaste. About Shirley’s cookbook, it’s a great reference. Some of the recipes are better than others, but all have been good. I think you will love the cake.

  13. Melanie--The Cake Flake says

    I am SO glad you posted this. I just made Corriher’s cake and it was amazing (but it overflowed). I love to try different versions of recipes. After reading about all the buttercreams in BakeWise, I’m going to do a buttercream test soon on my blog.
    Which method did you use? Corriher has the 2-stage, creaming, and dissolved sugar methods all in her book.

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