Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Karen Shinto
Total Time
35 Mins
Makes one 8-in. cake, serving 16

This recipe for buttery cake layers can be used with a variety of frostings. For an impressive presentation, slice each layer horizontally to make a beautiful four-layer dessert.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat sugar and 1/2 cup butter until creamy. Crack eggs into a small dish (do not beat) and add vanilla. Add eggs to the butter mixture 1 at a time, scraping down the inside of the bowl as needed. Beat in flour mixture and milk in alternating batches, starting and ending with the flour and making sure each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next.

Step 2

Butter and flour 2 round 8-in. cake pans. Divide batter evenly between pans.

Step 3

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

Step 4

Cool cakes 5 minutes. Invert onto a rack, remove pans, and let cool to room temperature, at least 40 minutes.

Step 5

Make ahead: Up to 2 days, wrapped in plastic wrap and chilled.

Step 6

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Chef's Notes

Total time does not include 40 minutes cooling time.

Ratings & Reviews

Charlottesmtms's Review

July 31, 2014
The reason that I raised it to 4 stars is because I added 1/3c extra milk, and 1 extra egg, which makes a huge difference in the texture. Delightful flavor (I do double-up on the vanilla); I like using this recipe as a base for spiced apple upsidedown cake! :-D

pdiamond917's Review

October 04, 2013
my family and I thought this cake was a little dry. I had made it with Caramel filling and the Fudge Frosting.

fatema's Review

October 15, 2010
this cake is outstanding! it is really fast and easy and looked great with a chocolate and vanilla frosting!

portland's Review

June 09, 2010
i bake a lot, i found this cake a little too dense and the crumb a little too fine. it was moist, the salt elevated the taste, without it it would have been disappointing. it was easy to make. i used strawberry jam as a filling, halving the layers to make four. i iced it with a chocolate ganache, all put together the it was flavorful, which leads me to the thought that this cake needs a strong filling and/or frosting to heighten the flavor.

DoriJ59's Review

August 24, 2009
I made this cake for my son's birthday and it fell in the middle and made a big hole. I made the lemon version. I smothered it in raspberries to cover it up. My only guess is that our elevation of 5000ft may have caused this? Very disappointing!

JBsFromGoleta's Review

June 27, 2009
Outstanding! My daughter was just married, 6/20/09, and we made 36 cakes for the guest's tables and what a hit these cakes were. The recipe is simple, fast and easy. We drapped the cakes with a Butter/Lemon Juice Frosting

RoniRaulwing's Review

June 25, 2009
I love this recipe! It was fantastic and great with the fudge frosting!! I will definitely do variations of this by using fruits and maybe a strawberry frosting.

peeperjay's Review

June 08, 2009
FANTASTIC recipe!!! I bake A LOT, and this cake is moist and rich. I made the lemon meringue cake recipe from the magazine, and it looked just like the picture and it truly was delicious. I followed the recipe but the next time, I would just use 1 cup of sugar instead of the 1 1/4 cups. I too had to keep it baking for about 5-6 minutes past the recommended time, but all in all, simply delicious. I would highly recommend this recipe.

lisaebrewer's Review

May 27, 2009
i baked this cake for the Strawberry Tallcake treatment and it was simply spectacular (see my review there). Needed an extra 10 minutes to bake (35 minuts total) but the results were perfect. Will definitely do again!

carlasm72's Review

May 24, 2009
Something went wrong here. I think I followed this recipe to the letter but the resulting cake was not yellow and moist like the picture but an ever-so-slightly off-white (not even close to yellow), dry, crumbly and tasteless cake that couldn't even be saved by the yummy fudgy frosting. I used the correct amount of butter and eggs, so I can't figure out where my yellow went. I would not make this cake again.