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. Laura says

    Reeni, I wanted to let you know that I used your awesome recipe for a 3rd time last weekend. We made a double batch for cupcakes for my son’s 9th birthday party and added Martha Stewart’s chocolate cream cheese frosting, then decorated them like monsters! Picture here: They were a huge hit at the party, so good and light, not too sweet, just perfect. I’ve read some of the mixed reviews and all I can suggest is bake with King Arthur flour because I was never much of a baker until I switched. (I’ve even made this cake with their White whole wheat flour and it came out great!). Thanks for sharing a new family fave.

    • Reeni says

      The monster cupcakes are so cute Laura! I love them! I use King Arthur Flour a lot – I love the stuff especially their bread flour. I’m thrilled to hear that you made this with white whole wheat too! I’m glad the cake is such a big hit! It is my Mom’s go-to cake and we all love it too. We haven’t made cupcakes out of it yet – I’m totally inspired to whip some up this week. Thank-you Laura! Enjoy the rest of your weekend! {I’m going to add a little note on the recipe about the King Arthur Flour as soon as I get a chance.}

  2. Catherine says

    This recipe was great! I used it as a base recipe to make an almond cake. I added 1 extra egg, subbed 1/2 cup of flour and used almond meal. I also used 1T of vanilla and 1/2 t of almond extract. I did not make the icing, I made a warm custard and drizzled it over the cake.

  3. CJ at Food Stories says

    Hope you don’t mind – I loved your recipe & food photo so I added it to my food photo site (Food Foto Gallery dot com) for all to see. Attribution was given to you and I hope that you gain a few new visitors, as well.

  4. Mary Ann says

    Reeni – Your one bowl yellow cake recipe was excellent. It was very easy to make and my husband loved it. He kept saying is it ready yet?? I made it a 13x9x2 baking pan cooked at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. I did make your cream cheese frosting and put some Heath bits on for a little color and my husband’s sweet tooth. Thanks again, I’m a fan.

    • Reeni says

      You’re welcome and thank-you Mary Ann! I’m so glad it turned out well for you! The heath bits in the frosting sound scrumptious! I will have give it a try.

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