One Layer Cake recipe that’s SO EASY and is perfectly moist and tender every time. No stand mixer required and your cake is ready in about 45 minutes start to finish!
I am so excited to bring y’all this recipe. I have dreamed about this one layer cake. And I mean that literally, because the first time I made it, we weren’t crazy about it and so I dreamed about revisions that night.
This one layer cake is almost as easy as Cake Mix Chocolate Chip Cookies!
I’ve made this small cake recipe several more times since then, and I believe it’s perfect now. And can I just repeat: ONE BOWL. ONE LAYER.
Why One Layer Cake?
This could be life-changing. You’re sitting at your desk at work, thinking about what you’re having for supper and you think to yourself, “Wouldn’t a cake be good? But I don’t have a box mix and I don’t want to go to the store and I don’t want to drag out the mixer and two or three bowls anyway. But it sure would have been good.”
Well, honey child, this is the recipe for you.
Because you do NOT need the stand mixer. You do NOT need more than one bowl. You do NOT have to do any of the things you think you have to do to make this small cake recipe.
This is the cake of simplicity. It wants you to have fun.
This cake wants you to be like Emeril and when you’re done putting it together—for all of about 8 minutes—you say, “BAM! Take that, cake gods! BAM!”
This one layer cake is your friend.
I told David I was going to call this cake The Love Cake because you’re going to love how easy it is to make…whomever you feed it to is going to love how delicious it is…and you’re going to love the quick cleanup BECAUSE YOU ONLY USED ONE BOWL AND A HAND MIXER!
He got excited because he thought I meant something else.
But no. Just cake.
This one layer cake recipe is basically the same as my Moist Yellow Cake Recipe, but on a smaller scale. You need the following ingredients:
- Vegetable Oil
- Vanilla and almond extract
- Cake flour
- Leaveners: baking powder, baking soda, and salt
Tools for this Easy Layer Cake
If you don’t have a good cake pan and baking strips then I strongly encourage you to get some.
They are not expensive and they can make a world of difference in your baking results. I love these cake strips by Rose Levy Beranbaum.
How to Make a One Layer Cake
Put everything in one bowl. Mix. Put in cake pan. Bake. Frost. Or don’t frost. Eat.
Ok, disclaimer: I didn’t actually put everything in one bowl all at the same time, but I put most everything in at the same time. One day I think I’ll just dump it all in the bowl and see what happens. Maybe you can’t mess up this one layer cake no matter how hard you try.
Step 1. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan, then line the pan with parchment paper. Spray and flour the parchment paper, shaking out the excess flour.
Cook’s Tip: Sift your flour onto parchment paper and it’s easy to pour into the mixing bowl!
Step 2. Using a hand-mixer, blend the sifted flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt on low for about 30 seconds.
Step 3. In a large measuring cup, add the buttermilk, eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla and beat with a fork until blended. Set aside.
Step 4. Keep the mixer running on low and add the butter, one piece at a time. Pour in the vegetable oil. Mix until the flour and butter clump together and appear pebbly, about 30 seconds after the vegetable oil has been added.
Step 5. Pour in a little more than half of the buttermilk-egg mixture and mix on the lowest speed until blended, about 10 seconds. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until starting to appear light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Without turning off the mixer, add the remaining buttermilk mixture in a slow stream.
Step 6. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then beat at medium-high speed for about 15 seconds until well-mixed.
Step 7. Pour batter evenly into the prepared cake pan and bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.
Step 8. Cool the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to loosen. Invert the cake onto a plate, peel off the parchment, then invert back onto the wire rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Tips for One Layer Cake
- Don’t use a dark or non-stick cake pan. Regular aluminum cake pans distribute heat evenly and are best for baking.
- Watch your cake carefully and don’t over-bake as that can lead to dry cake. You want just a nice golden brown on the top.
- Use quality ingredients—no store-brand butter in this cake!
Serving Suggestions with a Small Cake
This small cake is perfect for weeknight family dinners at home (unless your family is as big as The Duggars!) or even when you have just a couple of friends over.
You can keep it simple and just sprinkle some powdered sugar on top or you can frost with the chocolate frosting recipe that’s included below.
You could also fancy it up and top the one layer cake with whipped cream and strawberries and call it One Layer Strawberry Shortcake Cake!
How to Freeze Cake
You can easily make this one layer cake ahead of time and stick it in the freezer for when you’re ready to serve it. If doing so, don’t frost the cake. Here’s the best way freeze cake:
- Wrap the cake layer in plastic wrap and then wrap in plastic wrap again.
- Next, wrap the plastic-covered cake layer in tin foil to give it more protection against freezer burn and odors.
- Lay the cake layer on a baking sheet and place it in the freezer. Once the cake is frozen you can remove the baking sheet.
- To thaw, simply lay the cake layer on the counter for an hour or two.
- 1 cup cake flour, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
- 2 whole large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Butter and flour one 9-inch cake pan, then line the pan with parchment paper. Spray and flour the parchment paper, shaking out the excess flour.
- In a large measuring cup, add the buttermilk, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla and beat with a fork until blended. Set aside.
- Place the sifted cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and blend on low using a hand mixer for about 30 seconds.
- With the mixer running on low, add the butter, one piece at a time. Pour in the vegetable oil. Mix until the flour and butter clump together and appear pebbly, about 30 seconds after the vegetable oil has been added.
- Pour in a little more than half of the buttermilk-egg mixture and mix on the lowest speed until blended, about 10 seconds. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until starting to appear light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Without turning off the mixer, add the remaining buttermilk mixture in a slow stream.
- Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then beat at medium-high speed for about 15 seconds until well-mixed.
- Pour batter evenly into the prepared cake pan and bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.
- Cool pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to loosen. Invert the cake onto a plate, peel off the parchment, then invert back onto the wire rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 8 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 232 Saturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 81mg Sodium: 147mg Carbohydrates: 29g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 17g Protein: 4g
Update Notes: This post was originally published March 31, 2017, and on August 1, 2019, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.