Plain & Simple Golden Cake

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Yield: one 9" round single layer or 8" square cake

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Sometimes simplicity isn't as simple as it seems. Striking the perfect balance among flavor, texture, moistness, and appearance can be quite a challenge when you're making a plain yellow cake. But when you do achieve that balance — you're golden!

This cake is light-textured and fine-grained; relatively moist, given its light texture; and not overly sweet, making it a good candidate for any kind of filling or frosting you desire.

Plain & Simple Golden Cake

star rating (2) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: one 9" round single layer or 8" square cake
Published: 04/23/2014


  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour Blend*
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt; your preference
  • 2 tablespoons Cake Enhancer, optional; for improved texture and moistness
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, optional; for flavor
  • *See "tips," below.

Tips from our bakers

  • Can you use King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour in place of the cake flour? Yes. Your cake will be a bit denser/coarser, but just as delicious.
  • Can you double this recipe to make a layer cake? Absolutely. Double all of the ingredients, and bake in two 9" round (or 8" square) pans.
  • The optional lemon juice and almond extract don't add discernible almond or lemon taste; but simply enhance the cake's overall flavor profile.
  • Why the range for salt? Each of us has our own personal "salt tolerance." If you're someone who doesn't bake with a lot of salt, use the lesser amount; if you find you generally prefer things saltier than less so, use the greater amount.
  • This cake is tall enough that you can split it horizontally, to make top and bottom layers; then add filling and topping/icing. It's a good candidate for Boston Cream Pie; simply fill with vanilla pudding and top with chocolate ganache.
  • If you're trying to avoid butter, substitute 1/3 cup vegetable oil for the butter, if desired.


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8" x 2" square pan; or a 9" x 2" round pan. To assure crumble-free removal of the cake from the round pan, line the pan with parchment.

2) Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and Cake Enhancer in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

3) Cut the butter into pats, and add it to the bowl. Mix at low speed until the mixture is evenly crumbly.

4) In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla, and almond.

5) Add half the milk/egg mixture to the flour in the bowl. Beat just to combine, then add the remaining milk/egg mixture, beating just to combine.

6) Stir in the lemon juice.

7) Beat the batter at high speed for 15 seconds, to make sure everything is totally combined.

8) Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.

9) Bake the cake on your oven's middle rack for 35 to 38 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, and the center of the top springs back when pressed lightly with your finger.

10) Remove the cake from the oven, and place it on a rack. After 10 to 15 minutes, loosen its edges with a table knife or spatula; and carefully turn it out onto a rack. Peel off the parchment, and turn it right side up. Let the cake cool completely before serving. Serve plain; sprinkled with confectioners' sugar, or spread with your favorite icing.

Yield: one 9" round single layer or 8" square cake, 12 to 16 servings.

Nutrition information

Serving Size: 1 piece (61g) Servings Per Batch: 12 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200 Calories from Fat: 60 Total Fat: 7g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 45mg Sodium: 125mg Total Carbohydrate: 31g Dietary Fiber: 0g Sugars: 17g Protein: 3g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.


  • star rating 06/08/2014
  • cava1233 from KAF Community
  • As a novice I found this cake very easy to make. The only ingredient I was missing was the cake enhancer. I cut it in half and used a raspberry filling. Great recipe to have on hand for last minute cake needs.
  • star rating 05/25/2014
  • Dianemw from KAF Community
  • Delicious! I was looking for a quick and easy one layer yellow cake for a last minute dessert without a lot of fuss. This cake fit the bill perfectly! I used KA AP flour. Spilt the layer and filled with strawberries and whipped cream for a strawberry shortcake. The cake was firm, not crumbly, moist, and tasted great. Possibilities are endless as it's a great cake for holding up to any variety of fillings and frostings.

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