When it comes to cake there as many cakes as there are towns and cities. Each place has its own way of doing things. This recipe for Yankee cake comes from a handwritten note in the back of a railroad log book from 1901 which happened to have quite a few recipes among the other info in its pages.
The basic concept of the cake is a simple, yet rich, yellow cake. It’s quite tasty with just some whipped cream and fruit on top, but it’s also a great cake to use for a layer or birthday cake.
As for the name we don’t know exactly why it’s called a Yankee cake. This type of batter is very similar to the ones used for both the Boston cream pie and the Washington cream pie, so that probably has something to do with the naming of this recipe. Or it may have been copied from a Northerner by a Southerner. We’ll never know for certain.
This cake is really simple to make, with no separating of wet and dry ingredients. There is a hefty amount of cornstarch in the mix and brings this closer to a cake made with cake flour- the type that’s known for having a fabulous texture.
Just mix all the ingredients together and pour into a greased 9″x13″ pan. The original directions, like a lot of recipes at the time, didn’t even give baking times or temperatures. The cook who wrote it down likely had the formula for a general cake recipe already memorized and so never bothered to note the time and temp.
When this comes out of the oven it’s lightly golden and is the perfect base layer for whatever you’d like to put on it.
You can go so many directions with this cake which makes it very versatile – as well as very tasty. Yankees and non-Yankees alike can both appreciate this classic yellow cake recipe.
10m prep time
35m cook time
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- whipped cream and fruit or frosting for topping
- Preheat oven to 325˚F. Combine all ingredients using electric mixer until uniform in color. Pour into greased 9”x13” baking pan. Or use 2 8" greased cake pans instead if making a layer cake.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cover with foil after 20 minutes if browning too much on top.
- Serve with whipped cream, fruit, or vanilla ice cream. Or top with icing like a traditional cake.
Recipe adapted from Reddit.