Basic Yellow Cake

When I went soy-free, one thing I quickly discovered (to my great horror) was that my old stand-by Betty Crocker cake mixes and frosting tubs were out. Oh no!! So I embarked on a quest for a basic from-scratch cake recipe, and this one is the best I’ve found. It’s just as easy as baking from a mix. The original recipe’s reviewers list many suggestions for fine-tuning the texture with more professional techniques, but I just pretend that it’s a cake mix from a box (dump, mix, bake) and it’s always gotten rave reviews. I even found one type of soy-free rainbow sprinkles, so I can still make my favorite Funfetti birthday cake! You can use any frosting you like. (Two of my staples are listed on my frosting page.)

Remember that almost all nonstick sprays contain soy, so be sure to grease your pan using just canola oil or butter. Similar, be sure to bake with canola oil, not “vegetable oil,” which is almost always soy.

This recipe makes a regular two-layer round cake or a 9×13 sheet cake or a bunch of cupcakes. For a small cake, use a half-recipe in a single round cake pan.

This recipe has many variations. For a white cake, use 3 egg whites instead of 2 whole eggs. For chocolate cake, add 1/4 cup cocoa powder with the dry ingredients. For spice cake, add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice with the dry ingredients.


  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • Cake pan(s)
  • Electric mixer or stand mixer


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cake pan(s) and set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  3. Add wet ingredients.
  4. Beat on low then medium speed for about 2-3 minutes, just until everything is well blended.
  5. Pour batter into greased pan(s) and bake until done, probably about 25-30 minutes. It depends on the pans you’re using. The cake is done when it’s golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool completely before frosting.


Adapted from’s recipe for Cake Mixes from Scratch and Variations.