The Best One-Bowl Yellow Cake Recipe

This is a charming one-bowl yellow cake recipe that I imagine my Grandma might have made. The recipe comes out of a McCall’s book published 100 years ago in 1910. A recipe that’s stood the test of time.

Old-fashioned cake recipes have a special appeal. They produce outstanding results without relying on bells or whistles. This cake doesn’t rise real high, but has a soft and fluffy texture with a divine flavor that almost doesn’t need frosting.

You can’t go wrong with this one-bowl cake for it’s ease, quickness and impressive outcome. It’s a keeper. I believe everyone should have a good cake recipe at their fingertips they can count on should the need arise. This is mine.

Typically yellow cakes are frosted with chocolate frosting, but being out of chocolate a cream cheese frosting was used, and very lightly.

It’s a well- known fact that I love frosting more than cake but for once I didn’t mind the sparse amount of frosting. It just doesn’t need it. The cake is truly the shining star, tender and billowy like soft, fluffy clouds, and perfectly moist even the next day.

It is packed with flavor and just the right amount of sweetness. The fragrant scent of it alone made me swoon.

Being anywhere in the vicinity of it will draw you like a spider to it’s lair and keep you there enthralled. Totally delectable, completely irresistible and unforgettably delicious, it’ll live in memory as the cake we ate devoured in record no time.

My Mom and I both agreed that whip cream frosting would compliment it beautifully so I’ve included the recipe for that along with the cream cheese frosting.

One-Bowl Yellow Cake (100 year old recipe)

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 1 (8-inch) cake

 One-Bowl Yellow Cake (100 year old recipe)

This is a charming one-bowl yellow cake recipe that I imagine my Grandma might have made.


2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, sifted after measuring
1 + 1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus extra if needed
Whipped Cream Frosting:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add butter, milk and vanilla. Beat with a hand mixer on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, occasionally scraping sides of bowl. Add eggs, beat for 3 more minutes.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally among both. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Turn out and cool thoroughly on wire racks. Frost with cream cheese or whip cream frosting. If using whip cream frosting the cake must be refrigerated.
  6. Cream Cheese Frosting:
  7. In a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese on low until light and fluffy, gradually beating in the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.
  8. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat until well blended and fluffy. Add more confectioners’ sugar if needed to get it to the right spreading consistency.
  9. Whipped Cream Frosting:
  10. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, cover and chill in refrigerator 30 minutes with the beaters.
  11. Beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form.


  1. MB says

    Hi! Do you think this recipe would work well for cupcakes? How many do you think it would make following the recipe as is?

    • Reeni says

      Hi MB! Some of my readers have made them into cupcakes! If you look back through the old comments you can see what they said about them and maybe find some tips. I’m guessing because I haven’t had a chance to make cupcakes out of them you should get anywhere from 12 – 15!? It isn’t a real big/high cake. Good luck!

  2. JuneC says

    The top of the recipe says that it makes one 8 inch cake but the instructions say to grease two pans,

  3. J. Haynes says

    Made this recipe for our son-in-law’s birthday, it was to be for an extra special occasion. Total flop, we had to throw it in the garbage. I am in my sixties and have never had a failed cake. This was so disappointing to me as this was for a very special person in our lives. Would the reason be that I baked this in a Tube Pan (which is what I bake all my cakes in)? Cake raised, when I took it out of the oven, it went down to about 2″ high while it cooled. I frosted it and took it with me to the supper. Cake was like it wasn’t even baked. I was devestated!

    • Reeni says

      I’m sorry about your cake fail! Thanks for making it! If it was “like it wasn’t even baked” then maybe it needed to cook a little longer? Usually cakes fall flat when they haven’t been cooked enough although I can’t say for certain what went wrong without actually being there. I’ve never tried baking it in any other pan before.

  4. Natalie says

    Hi there, I just made this cake and it turned out absolutely wonderful! For the filling I used a milk chocolate ganache and for the frosting I used a chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream. The cake, filling, and frosting make an absolutely ravishing triple threat of a dessert :) Thanks for sharing your cake recipe, I will be making again!

    • Reeni says

      Hi Natalie! I’m so happy it turned out well! The filling and buttercream sound absolutely delicious! Thanks a lot for making it! :-)

  5. Namrata says

    Hi Reeni,

    I had a Q for the above recipe. Do you sift the flour first and the measure 2 cups or take 2 cups of flour and then sift it?


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