Mom’s Yellow Cake

by Sandra Merville Hart

My mom has been gone for several years. I always miss her but I find myself thinking of my parents more often during the holidays.

After I got married, I loved being invited to dinner at their house—especially when there was no specific reason. “Come to supper on Thursday,” she’d call me to say. “No need to bring anything since you’ll be working all day. I’ll make a cake.”

What a precious invitation! No need to worry about supper. My mom was cooking. And she’d make dessert. She often made yellow cake because the ingredients were readily available. I got nostalgic for that cake and recently made it.

Here’s her recipe:

(Makes 2 9-inch layers)

2 ½ cups sifted cake flour

1 tsp. salt

3 ½ tsp. double-acting baking powder

1 2/3 cups sugar

2/3 cup shortening (I use butter)

¾ cup milk

Blend all these ingredients thoroughly by hand or mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add:

½ cup milk

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

Blend by hand or mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Spray cake pans with cooking spray and pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees about 35 minutes or until lightly browned. If using self-rising flour omit baking powder and salt. Cool and frost.

Just reading the recipe took me back in time to my mom’s kitchen where she blended everything together in her stand mixer. We’d get a spoon of leftover batter from the bowl. Yum!

Hint: I didn’t have cake flour but this is easily remedied. Remove 2 tablespoons of flour per cup of all-purpose flour and replace with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

This makes a nice, creamy batter. Remember to sift the flour—it removes any clumps and lightens the batter.

We usually ate unfrosted cakes because we didn’t have confectioners powdered sugar to make the icing. When my mom did make icing, it was either vanilla or chocolate. I no longer have her icing recipe. I made chocolate buttercream frosting.

Delicious! It’s a basic yellow cake yet the flavor took me back to my childhood when desserts were a rare treat. It was my mom’s “go-to” cake when guests arrived unexpectedly.

I hope you enjoy the cake!


“Chocolate Buttercream Frosting,” Live Well Bake Often, 2020/12/13