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. emily b says

    I use food coloring the first time i made it and added some sprinkles for fun it didnt rise that much i would make it regular next time

  2. Rose says

    I made this last night. It’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever had. My husband and two cats enjoyed it as well!

      • Cj says

        This recipe sounds delicious!! Will it make a good sheet cake size for an over the hill cake I plan on making?

      • Reeni says

        Hi Cj! I don’t see why not! I also recommend you use King Arthur Flour to make it – people have had the best results with it.

  3. Andrea says

    Would cake flour give this a lighter consistency? Also, would it stand up to being baked in a Bundt pan? It looks delicious!

    • Reeni says

      You can try cake flour Andrea! I think that would work out fine! I don’t know about the bundt pan – it’s a delicate cake – I’m afraid it might break when you turn it out.

  4. Margaret says

    I love old cookbooks! Can I ask the name of the 1910 McCall’s cookbook this recipe came out of?

    • Reeni says

      Hi Margaret! It’s a like a very thin paperback – a little smaller than a magazine and probably thinner than your average – I don’t have the exact name right now because it’s my Moms. From my memory I think it said McCall’s Cakes and Frostings on it or something similar.

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