Amy's Bakery Yellow Cake with Pink Buttercream Frosting & Giveaway WINNER!

Thanks for all of the fun comments about your favorite food memory of summer '09. The winner of a million dollars and the "Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread" cookbook is ... comment #19 (chosen by the random counter) Michelle, who said:
"First I want to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I have tried so many of your recipes and love every one! My favorite summer food memory was sitting at Fisherman's Wharf eating the most incredible clam chowder with three of my favorite boys Mark, Dan and Sam."

Congratulations Michelle! I hope you love Amy's cookbook. For all of the non winners out there, you can still try Amy's recipes, many are found online, or to order a copy of her beautiful book online go to: Amy's Bread .

When we were in NY, we ordered a slice of this yummy cake at lunch. The cakes looked so delicious, it was hard to make a choice. Since we were already toting around a to-go sack from the Little Pie Company (with some of their oh-so-delish sour cream apple walnut streusel pie and a brownie and a Red Velvet cupcake) we decided on some ginger snap cookies and a slice of this yummy "Simply Delicious Yellow Cake with Sweet Pink Buttercream Frosting". We were not disappointed. The frosting is sweet, and goes perfectly with the not too sweet cake. Amy's book recommends using a scale to measure ingredients by weight, instead of volume. I decided to give it a try. Purchased a small inexpensive digital scale, and set out to re-create our NY experience, here in B-town. Goodness. The results were mmmmm. Wouldn't this be the perfect cake for a little (or big) girl's birthday party? So beautiful. Oh and the million dollars? Just wanted to see if you are still paying attention. Happy Friday!

Simply Delicious Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting
adapted from Amy's Bakery
adapted to mountain elevation on 10-1-09 see measurements in ( )
print recipe

Unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted 3 cups or 14.81 oz (3 cups +2 tablespoons)
Baking powder 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon or .71 oz (2 teaspoons)
Kosher salt 3/4 teaspoon 3/4 teaspoon
Milk 1 1/4 cups + 3 tablespoons or 12 oz (1 cup)
Vanilla extract 2 teaspoons
Unsalted butter, slightly softened 1 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons or 11.29 oz.
Sugar 2 3/4 cups + 2 teaspoons or 19.75 oz
Eggs 5 large or 9.17 oz
Sweet Pink Buttercream Frosting

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (325 for mountain elevation). Grease the cake pans. Line the bottoms with rounds of baking parchment then dust them lightly with flour. Shake out the excess. Or use Baker’s Joy baking spray that contains both oil and flour, so you don’t have to flour the pan. With Baker’s Joy, put the parchment liner in after you spray the pan.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk them gently for even distribution. In a separate bowl combine the milk and vanilla.
Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until it is light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs gradually, mixing well after each addition, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl often.
Lower the mixing speed to medium-low and add the flour mixture to the butter in 3 parts, alternating with 2 parts of the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix just until it is evenly incorporated. This is a thick, fluffy batter, resembling whipped cream. There should not be any lumps or dry pockets of flour remaining. If the batter has a curdled appearance it has not been mixed enough. Increase the speed to medium and mix for another minute or until it is thick and fluffy.
Divide the batter equally between the 2 or 3 prepared cake pans. Weighing the batter into the pans is the most accurate way to do this. This ensures that both layers are uniform in size, and finish baking at the same time. You’ll have approximately 930 g/32.8 oz. of batter per pan. The pans should be about ⅔ full. Smooth the batter so it fills the pans evenly. Place the pans on the center rack in the preheated oven. Bake them for about 35 to 40 minutes (40-45 min), or until the cake is almost ready to pull away from the side of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs. Rotate the layers carefully from front to back after 20 minutes, for even baking if pans are unable to bake side by side.
Cool the pans on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert them onto a wire rack that has been sprayed with cooking spray and lift off the pans. To prevent cracking, carefully right each layer so the top side is up and the parchment-lined bottom is down. This is where I use the wrap and freeze method. Wrap all layers in saran wrap and freeze immediately. When cakes are completely frozen, remove from refrigerator, and frost. Cool them on the rack completely. Before frosting, be sure to remove the parchment from the bottom of each layer. While the layers are cooling, prepare the frosting. To assemble the cake:
Place one layer, top side down, on a flat serving plate. Cut several 4-inch-wide strips of parchment or waxed paper to slide under the edge of the layer, to keep the plate clean. Using a thin metal spatula, spread the top of this cake round with a ½-inch thick layer of frosting, leaving a ¼-inch unfrosted border around the edge. Place the second layer top side up on the first, aligning the layers evenly. Spread a generous layer of frosting around the sides of the cake, rotating the plate as you work so you’re not reaching around the cake to frost the other side. Try not to let any loose crumbs get caught in the frosting. Let the frosting extend about ¼ inch above the top of the cake.
Starting in the center of the cake, cover the top with a generous layer of frosting, taking it all the way to the edge and merging it with the frosting on the sides. Try to use a forward-moving, circular motion, not a back-and forth motion to avoid lifting the top skin of the cake. Rotate the plate as necessary. Use the spatula or a spoon to make decorative swirls. Slide the pieces of paper out from under the edge of the cake and discard them. Store the cake at room temperature.

Pink Buttercream Frosting

Confectioner’s sugar 7½ cups or 29.80 oz
Unsalted butter, slightly softened 1⅓ cups or 10.56 oz
*Poured (not rolled) fondant generous ⅓ cup or 4.87 oz
Milk, whole ¼ cup or 2.19 oz
Vanilla extract 1 tablespoon + ¼ teaspoon or .46 oz
Kosher salt ⅛ teaspoon
Red food coloring 1 to 2 drops
In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat 21 oz. or 5½ cups of the confectioner’s sugar, the butter, fondant (if using), milk, vanilla, and salt in the bowl until they are smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes; start out at low speed and increase the speed to medium when the powdery sugar has been moistened. Gradually add the remaining sugar 1 cup at a time until the frosting is of good spreading consistency, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl often. You may not need to use all of the sugar. The frosting should be stiff enough to hold its shape but not so stiff that you’ll be unable to spread it easily on the cake. Add 1 or 2 small drops of red food coloring and continue beating the frosting on medium-low speed until you have a uniform pale pink color. This frosting is heavy but it should still have a fluffy quality.
The frosting can be used immediately or stored in an airtight container at room temperature, but it should be used within 3 days.


-I measured and weighed everything, just to compare the difference. I know serious bakers weigh their ingredients, and swear by it. It was amazing to me to see the difference in the true volume vs weight. Sometimes a whole 1/2 cup difference!
-The recipe yielded more than the 32.8 oz of batter per pan. I believe it was around 40 oz per pan. One pan overflowed just a bit. Not enough to set off the smoke alarm, but just a tad. Next time, I will cut some of the liquid (milk) and baking powder. We are at about 4,300 ft. (elevation) so, normally I adjust cake recipes that are created in other parts of the country. I really wanted to try this recipe just as it was printed. When I experiment to suit mountain elevation, I will add the adjustments to the original recipe with an update. Updated 10-09 see changes for mt. elevation in red ( ). Still sank a little, one more try and we should have this perfect for high altitude!
-*I did not use the poured fondant. Simply made the frosting without the fondant addition.


  1. YIPEEE.... a million dollars plus the cookbook, I can't believe it! All kidding aside, thank you, thank you! I am thrilled to win this cookbook which I am sure will be a favorite. For all you readers of this fabulous recipe blog, you can be even more jealous of my win because the cookbook was accompanied by the absolutely "to die for" yellow cake with buttercream frosting. Who cares if my jeans won't fit me by tomorrow.....it is worth every bite! Thanks again.

  2. Ah Ha, that is where the cake ended up, here I was waiting for a piece of it for myself!

  3. Glory me, that's beautiful! My littlest is turning three in a few weeks and this may well be her birthday cake. I made a double layer classic chocolate cake yesterday (from Cook's Illustrated) for someone and tried the whole "put the top layer top down so that the top of the cake is flat" and ran into some problems. For future reference, since I'll make this pink cake with the same pans, what's the best way to place the cakes before frosting? I've heard of bakers who use a serrated knife and saw off the rounded top. I also thought the inverting would work, but strangely, my sides were uneven (there was an overhang). Suggestions? Maybe a post on this? (Am I pushing my luck?)

  4. This is absolutely beautiful, love it!! gloria

  5. Through the looking glass: First - make sure you are using good quality baking pans. I prefer the type without a handle on the side. I read somewhere that the type of baking pans you purchase in most stores, grocery, discount dept stores, etc usually slope slightly outward on the sides, producing an uneven cake. I like either Wilton pans or the last set I bought were "Chicago Metallic". These pans are exactly the same size, and do not fit inside of each other, making for more difficult stacking in the cupboard, but better finished baking product. Professional grade pans are also substantially heavier. Professional pans are also deeper (a full 2-3 inches), so the batter does not overflow. Craft stores usually have a cake decorating and supply aisle. If you watch for coupons (printed almost every week in the Sunday paper), you can purchase pans for 40 percent off regular price. My other favorite place to buy pans- Ross or TJ Maxx. The last time I bought pans, the manufacture price on the pan was $18 each, and I paid $5-6 a piece at Ross. Love a good bargain. Deb at Smitten Kitchen (google "Smitten Kitchen cake baking tips") did a whole post about cake baking, even layers, frosting etc. very well written, easy to understand. Photo's too! I have used a few of these tips- I first was enlightened by my friend Laurie- See "Laurie and Amy's Chocolate Cake" recipe. Hope this helps!
    PS - Mel - Next time I make this you WILL get a delivery.

  6. Yumm.....Michelle shared a bite with me. I might be a loser....but I still got some cake!

  7. I made this cake last week, in my never ending attempt to bake a from scratch Yellow Cake that did resemble that corn bread flavor.
    It over flowed on me for sure, even with the adjustments, but honestly, I could have cut back on the milk a little more. I just was so set on not having a cake on the dry side.

    Even with the overflow issues, and the sunken tops from my constant opening of the oven(worried about the burning cake batter), the flavor was great! My family commented on how it tasted like a cake donut. Not a bad thing. I think I will try again, with less batter in the pans. OH, and it was by far the thickest cakes I have made. Very fluffy, yet dense! Thanks Si!

  8. I'm searching for cake recipes for 12 inch round pans for a party. What size pans did you use and how do I figure out the difference in baking time?

  9. This is one of the better yellow cake recipes I have tried. I did add a full table spoon of vanilla. I whipped the heck out of the eggs and butter. I also mixed the flour way less than recommended and by hand. My cake did not turn out dense or heavy! It was fluffy and very moist. My husband describes it as a fluffy cloud of deliciousness.

  10. Jackie, I used 9 inch cake pans for this recipe. If you are using 12 inch rounds, I would cut the baking time, because the cake will be substantially less thick. Look at the link on my home page to baking 911 for answers to questions about cake sizes and bake times. thanks for reading!
    Sophia, glad this cake worked for you! And glad your hub loved it too!

  11. if i wanted to make this as cupcakes how would i do so?

    1. hi anon,
      just our into cupcake liners, i believe this recipe will yield about 36 cupcakes.

  12. Can this cake be made in a 9 x 13" pan and split/filled?

    1. I believe you want to use a pan a little larger than a 9x13. Pyrex makes one that is slightly larger. Or you can purchase disposable pans that at higher rimmed and close to the 9x13 size. You will have to increase the baking time a bit too. Alternately, You may watch the cake closely to make sure it doesn't overflow. I know removing it from the oven and tapping it on the counter then returning it to the oven will prevent overflow. This should be done at about the 25-30 minute mark. The cake will not be as light as if baked without forcing it to settle, but you will not have an overflow problem. i know a person who does this almost every time she bakes a cake that is slightly too big for the pan. Let us know your result!

  13. I made this recipe for my 3yr old daughter's babysitter in honor of her birthday. I loved the history of the recipe as she is a native New Yorker that retired down south and thought it would be a delicious homage to her and hometown. I cut the whole recipe in half, including the frosting (skipped fondant ingredient), followed prep and baking directions exactly but weighed nothing. To halve 5 eggs i used 2 large eggs and my smallest backyard hens egg, which is pretty darn little so an easy way on that. It came out SCRUMPTIOUS! Half of the reciped yielded 12 cupcakes and one pan of whoopie pies, which is 12 single layers. I frosted the whoopie pies and served them as single layer mini-cakes for the kids. Cupcakes for moms, take-aways, and left overs. A total hit! This could be the answer to my best yellow cake quest! A total keeper. Due to my gas oven I did have to rotate mid-way and watch for doneness like a hawk. Did not overbake which is why they were so perfect.

  14. Hi! I have made this cake a few times and was actually searching for an answer to a few problems that maybe you have come across.
    First off, the flavor and texture of this cake is delicious. I usually make it with chocolate frosting. The problem that I have run into the last two times that I have made it is that when I invert it, it cracks. It's a very delicate cake. The last time that I made it, this Saturday, I couldn't even piece together the side it cracked so badly. My kids didn't mind because they scarfed it down warm and broken!
    Another problem that I find is that it does make a very thick cake and I use the 9" Chicago Metallic cake pan. I find that it doesn't cook in the middle unless I use a Wilton Nail in the center while I bake it. It also needs to be cooked a lot longer than the specified time and i usually turn the oven down to 325* during the last 10 mins or so.
    Maybe a larger pan would be better?

  15. WARNING: This cake requires THREE regular sized cake pans. The directions say to prepare two OR three pans. I figured since Amy's Bread's cake always has two layers, two would be fine. The batter overflowed, causing my oven to smoke and burn. I was left with two overflowed, half cooked, half raw cakes, and although they were absolutely delicious (ate my feelings via the cooked parts) be warned that you need at least three pans to prevent a disaster.


Tell us how you really feel...