food 4 tots

Basic butter cake

butter cake, basic butter cake, cake


Butter cake is the first cake I learnt to bake during my high school years. It was also the easiest and fastest cake to bake that I know of at that time. I still remember that I would wait till my mother took her afternoon nap to do the baking as it was the best time to “invade” her kitchen. By the time she woke up, there would be no traces of mess I created and the cake was already inside the oven. . From what I can recall, none of the butter cakes I baked came close to my expectation. Somehow, somewhere, something would surely go wrong. Nevertheless, I still love baking this cake over and over again whenever I had the urge to do baking. Maybe it was the baking process that I enjoyed the most. Since I left home (for both studies and work), I had no opportunity to bake this butter cake anymore.


A couple of years ago, I came to know that my mother-in-law was a big fan for butter cake. I promised myself that I would bake one for her if I got an oven and the right baking utensils. Time passed and nothing was done. Promise still remains a promise. During her recent stay with us last month, I made good my promise and baked this cake for her. It may not be the best butter cake in town, but she loved it so much. Now I can happily strike off this long outstanding item from my to-bake list.


Butter cake, cake


This recipe was adapted from Agnes Chan’s cookbook  (蓝赛珍,轻轻松松学烘焙)which provides photos showing detailed step-by-step procedures in baking this cake. I find it very helpful as it makes my baking much more easier. However, in my first attempt, although the texture was soft, the cake turned out to be a little bit dry. As for its taste, it came out slightly plain as I used unsalted butter and omitted the salt during the process. As what I read from the internet, self-raising flour contained salt. So I suspected the shortage of salt could be the main cause of these two problems.


On my second attempt, I added a bit of salt and reduced the amount of flour used. I also paid extra attention to the mixing and baking process. This time the end product turned out to be very soft and moist. It also got the buttery smell, and yet did not give one a heavy feeling when eaten. However, it tasted slightly sweeter to my liking. What completely surprised me was the feedback I got from my friend whom I gave half of my loaf, as I did in my first attempt. She told me that both her daughters finished the cake in split seconds leaving only one slice for her to taste. Although the cake done in second attempt was sweeter, they found the taste as simply fantastic and suited their taste buds as well. Besides them, my family also enjoyed eating this cake. But I will not consider it as “The Ultimate” butter cake. (Am I setting the bar for my expectation far too high? ). It doesn’t matter anyway as it is still the “best” recipe I had tried and tested so far, and much better compared to the ones I had baked during my high school days.


Butter cake, cake


Well, I shall leave it to you to be the judge of this recipe. Meanwhile, I will continue to “fine tune” it to get closer to my expectation of “The Ultimate” butter cake. So, what’s your favourite butter cake recipe? Please share with me! I love to hear from you.
To all the mothers (including myself) and mother-to-be out there, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!


Who had tried and tested my recipe?

Rasa Malaysia
Bits of Taste
Diary of Faithy, The Baker
Taste of Home
Kurious, Kitteh, Kooks!


>>>> Click on PAGE 2 BELOW for Basic Butter Cake recipe and step-by-step photos…………………..

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  1. jee felicia says:

    Hi dear,

    Thanks for the butter cake recipe. I had try out immediately after reading ur recipe. I had followed step by step, however, it not as what i expected. The cake taste good but it doesn’t rise, when it came out from oven, it’s look amazing, but it sink once it cool down, what happen? My fren told me u have to beat the batter longer in order for it to rise, true? Please advise as i would like to try to make it again.

    • food-4tots says:

      Jee Felicia: Thanks for your kind feedback. If your cake didn’t rise and sank after removing from the oven, then it may be due to underbeating of mixture as what suggested by your friend. Other reasons can be due to the size of cake tin you use (too large) and the position you placed your cake during baking. Did you take a photo of your butter cake? Send me one to take a look if possible. Thanks!! 😉

  2. BC says:

    Hi there,

    Is there a way to derive a lemon butter cake out of this basic butter cake recipe? Reason I ask is because I have loved lemon flavor but could not find a good recipe for it?

    • food-4tots says:

      BC: I haven’t tried to modify this recipe for lemon flavour. So sorry that I can’t help much.

    • Daphne Bartlett says:

      Hi BC,
      You can try grating zest( just the thin yellow outer layer) of 1- 2 lemons and add to the recipe. To make a lemon drizzle cake squeeze out juice of the lemons and add 4-6 tbsp of sugar and stir it dissolves. Remove cake from the oven and pour the lemon syrup over it and leave it to cool before removing the lined paper. Have fun trying

  3. Kelly says:

    hello.. sorry i have alot of questions.. ;p
    for this cake, can i bake it in a loaf tin? and can i add dried mixed fruits and it’ll become like the fruit cake we see in many cake shops? i feel like baking one myself as i find those outside ones very sweet. thanks!

    • food-4tots says:

      Kelly: Don’t worry. That’s nothing wrong for asking questions. Tell you a secret, I love to ask questions too. ;). I haven’t tried using a loaf tin but it sounds possible to me. Perhaps you can do a google search to find out how to get the best size of loaf tin for this recipe. As for the addition of mixed fruits, I do not recommend it as the mixed fruits may create extra loads to the whole batter and not produce the best results as per the original recipe. 😉

  4. Greenedge says:

    Thanks for the recipe! It turn out fine, except for bumps on the surface. Could be the way I pour in the mixture into the baking tin.

  5. Jolene says:


    your buttercake looks yummy, basic is always e best.. will try out e recipe.. 🙂

    I love to eat buttercake, but those sold at bakery are not rich enough in taste & are so expensive.. when my hubby found out, he told me my mother-in-law had a simple & nice recipe so he got e recipe from her.. Since then, it has been always on my bakelist when im in e mood for baking.. Hubby will request for me to bake as well.. in return for e recipe, whenever i bake, i will bring some for my MIL & e family doggy who love to eat cake…

    • food-4tots says:

      Jolene: Thanks for your sweet comment. I’m sure your mother-in-law’s butter cake is very delicious too. Hope my recipe will meet your expectation. 😉

  6. anne says:

    Hi Dear, I was looking for a basic butter cake recipe,and luckily found your detailed recipe.thanks a lot, it came out so well and I was very pleased and all enjoyed.

  7. Hui says:

    The first time I tried out the butter cake it turned out very well and yesterday I attempted to do it again but it turned out that it is wet inside and the cake also sink. May I have your advice what went wrong in my second attempt? I followed the same step as the first attempt. Thanks

    • food-4tots says:

      Hui: Assuming you had followed all the steps correctly, it could be the temperature of your oven. For preheating, try 15 minutes. Make sure the gap between the preheating and the actual baking is not too long. Another reason could be the cake was not cooked long enough. Let me know if you have further queries. 😉

      • Hui says:

        thanks for your advise. I try the third time n the result is the same as the second time :(. I bake for nearly 2 hrs and it is still not fluffy inside but clump together. It is definitely cook but inside not fluffly. Could you kindly advise what’s wrong? Thanks

        • food-4tots says:

          Hui: Sorry to hear about your current outcome. May I know what type of oven (and the brand name) do you have? Do you face the same problem when baking other things eg muffins? Do you mind to me send me a photo of your cake? It’s very different for me to troubleshoot based on the information you provide.

  8. Sharol says:

    Hiya! I’d been baking cupcakes using all kinds of recipe. Butter I used is Anchor or SCS. All Failed. I can’t figure put the reason why. Finally when I used your recipe it turns out Puuurfect! Would u like to see the photo? Btw, I made cuppy n a loaf too with the same mixture to try it out. It works!! Thank you so much for posting!

  9. Jo says:

    hi hi, the cake tastes good but mine kind of “rise” at the center. is it because of the oven heat?

    • food-4tots says:

      Jo: How significant is the “rise”? It’s quite common for cake to have a normal rise. I had included a tip on how to level your cake at note (5). Give it a try! 😉

  10. chai says:

    hi I tried your butter cake recipe, it was turn out great ! I was so happy and my kids all enjoyed , thank you for sharing .

  11. […] am pleased with it, but it’s a tad dry. I love my butter cake really buttery. So, when I read this post on Food-4Tots, I knew that I had to give the recipe a try. It was adapted from a Chinese baking […]

  12. Winnie says:

    Hi! Thanks for the recipe, I baked this twice and it taste great! However, the top of my cake crack at both attempts 🙁 I baked at 180 degree for 45 minutes. Could you please advise how to prevent the cracking? Thanks!

  13. Winnie says:

    Hey! Thanks for ur reply 🙂 Sorry, my tin size is smaller… I used a 18cm square tin. I am using Techno electric oven TEO3400. Placed my tin at middle rack. So do u think it’s my tin size that cause the crack? The crack is not very serous, it’s just on the center top part of the cake, where it peaks.

    • food-4tots says:

      Winnie: Since your baking tin is 4cm shorter than the required size, then your batter will be thicker. Thus, I suspect that the surface is closer to the heat source which may lead to a crack. Btw, was your cake fully cooked as your cake is thicker and only baked at 180°C for 45 minutes?

  14. Winnie says:

    And thanks for the link 😉 It’s very informative!

  15. Winnie says:

    Hi! My 1st try was ok, cake was cooked well. For my 2nd try, a small part was not fully cooked, it was at the peak where it cracked 🙁

    Could I trouble u to advise if I can adjust this recipe for my 18cm tin? Thanks.

  16. Winnie says:

    Appreciate it, thank u!

  17. Felicia Ng says:

    Hi there, thanks so much for your recipe. I tried it yesterday and it turned out perfectly fine. This is the best butter cake I have ever baked. However, here is the only difference I made:

    Instead of 4 tbsp of fresh milk, I put in 3 tbsp of fresh milk and 1 tbsp of Vodka ;o).

    For those who failed, I would like to encourage you to try again because this recipe quantity is perfect.

    Oh… omit salt if you are using salted butter ;o).

    Happy trying to all!

  18. Charlene says:

    Hi there, I have a big family and would like to know if I can double the ingredients to get a bigger cake? Will it affect the texture of the cake? Pls advise, tq.

  19. patricia says:

    I would like yr recipe for the basic butter cake.

  20. chloe says:

    where is the recipie?

  21. Sahm chew says:

    Hi, can i use cake flour in this recipe?

  22. Marie lim says:

    will give it a try..,maybe will modified a bit..add in cocoa or grated orange in the butter cake recipe..;D

  23. Kelly says:

    Hi, thanks for this basic butter cake recipe. Will give it a try tomorrow. Can I check with you, for the 2 teaspoon double action baking powder, can I substitute with 4 teaspoon normal baking powder? I only have normal baking powder and was thinking yours is double action so for normal one is it double of the 2 teaspoon? Thanks. Kelly

  24. Pey says:

    Hello I just tried this recipe .. But I substitute the butter to 200grm margerine … Hopefully it taste ok …

  25. mei says:

    Hi! thanks for the wonderful recipe. would like to find out what are the possible causes of my problems:
    1) the crust shrank away from the side of the cake pan by quite a far bit and the crust was hard. Is it over baked? how to prevent it?

    2) there were pockets of air that rise to the surface when the cake was put inside the oven. I did try to shake the mixture which was inside the tin.


    • food-4tots says:

      Mei: I suspect that you didn’t bake it long enough and the heat in the oven could be on the high side. Is it a new oven? First, make sure the tray is not too close to your heat source. Second, experiment by adjusting the heat slightly down and extend the baking time. Third, as what Felicia’s suggestion, cover with an aluminium foil towards the last 5-10 minutes. As for the pockets of air, you can follow Felicia’s suggestion too. For me, I usually lifted the cake pan 2-3 inches above the table surface and dropped it down once or twice. It will help to release the air bubbles. Shaking the cake pan is more to level the surface. Hope it helps!! Give it another go and share your outcome with me. I’m sure you will “pass with flying colour” too like the rest of my readers. 😉

  26. Felicia Ng says:

    Hi Mei,
    I suspect it may be your oven. Need to pre-heat the over before you put in your cake. If your cake is still uncooked but the top layer is getting darker, put a aluminium foil over it. To remove the pockets of air, bang your baking tray onto the table a few times “level” the mixture on the tray.
    Don’t give up, try again and again and you will love this recipe ;o).

  27. Mei says:

    Thank you ladies for your advice!
    I pre heat the oven, maybe it was still too hot. Will try the lower temperature coupled with the longer baking time plus the aluminum foil method the next time.
    Nevertheless the cake (I cut away the crust) was still nice and well received by others though it doesnt look as pretty as the one you have posted in the picture.

  28. […] though the pound cake is really good, I still think that this butter cake recipe I learned from Food-4Tots is slightly better. The two recipes are very similar, but the butter cake recipe is richer with […]

  29. joanne khoo says:

    thanks, best butter cake recipe, i use as a base for all

  30. […] What you need (adapted from Food4tots) […]

  31. Jenny Oh says:

    Your recipe is wonderful. I made some last sunday for my son n family, they loved it so much. And again i made for my colleagues yesterday, lots of compliments again. Fyi i used those aluminium loaf tin to make the cake, this recipe can make 2 of it. Also i use baking powder instead of double-acting baking powder, cause just want to make use of the ingredients available at home at that moments. Glad the cake turns out still nice abd tasty, just not so fluffy. Thanks.

    • food-4tots says:

      Jenny Oh: Thanks for sharing your wonderful feedback and wonderful input!! If you get your baking powder from Phoon Huat, it is actually DA baking powder. 😉

  32. Suki says:

    Hi, Thanks for the wonderful recipe as I had bake it consecutive since yesterday and today. My family love to eat butter cake very much. Tomorrow is my hubby birthday and I need your help to solve my problem so that I cana bake a perfect birthday cake for my hubby. My problem is I found the inner cake on the bottom is little wet. And the cake not rise as tall as your one. Thee baking tin using is 20cm springform pan instead of 22cm square pan so I had spoon out to make cupcake for my daughter. I do hope you can help me to solve the problem. Thanks ian advance for your kind assistance…..

    • Felicia Ng says:

      Hi Suki

      I baked this wonderful Butter Cake on Sat too ;o). Super delicious, isn’t it? Thanks to Food 4Tots!
      If you use eggs which are large, then you may want to consider reducing the amount of milk. Usually, I put 2 tbsp milk and 1 tbsp Vodka ;o).

      Give another try!

    • food-4tots says:

      Suki:I think you can try baking the cake slightly longer say another 8 mins by covering the top with an aluminum foil. Did u use double acting baking powder? (P/S: I had sent you a reply via email on Sat. Did you receive it?)

  33. Suki says:

    Felicia :Thank you so much for your reply. Unfortunately I can’t try your method to bake a birthday cake for my hubby on that day as my son was sick. Food-4tots : Sorry these few days I never check my email as my son was sick. I had tried before to cover the top with an aluminium foil once I found the top is slight brown. I use the double acting baking powder too but the cake seem like sink after remove out from the oven Anyway I will try your method to bake it in the longer time and hopefully I can bake a perfect cake for myself too. Thank you.

  34. Hsuan says:

    Hi just wondering if I can still bake this butter cake using the small portable oven?!


  35. Mandy says:

    tks so much for yr butter cake recipe!! i tried so many n yours works perfectly good as per your photo !! tks ya.. 😉 gonna try your other receipes soon…:-) May i ask if you have any good moist chocolate cake receipe ?

  36. Lynn says:

    I attempted 2 times. First time was using the normal baking powder and the cake didn’t turn out to be as fluffy as I expected; I blamed it on the baking powder. Second time, I used the double acting baking powder, the fluffiness looks better than the 1st attempt but way not enough compared to your picture. Now, I have nothing to blame but think that maybe it is related to the butter creaming part. I swore that I have mixed butter and sugar till my arms dropped but knows that it is way short of “light” as described in your recipe. Can you tell me rougly how it took you to make it “light”?

    My son loves it so much that makes me want to perfect it the third time.

  37. Lynn says:

    I just submitted my comments but didn’t find it in the comment list. I shall submit again now.

    I have tried the recipe 2 times, with 1st attempt using the normal baking powder and the 2nd time using double acting powder. Both times I have reduced the sugar to 140g. The end result didn’t look as fluffy as I would like it to be (there were still some part that look densed). I am wondering if the reduction of sugar will affect the creaming of butter/sugar? I swore I have mixed the butter/sugar till my arms dropped and yet the end result is not at all close to the “light” that you described in your recipe.

    They tasted good but the look is not perfect. My son loves it and I would like to perfect it the 3rd time. (p.s. I am in Shanghai now and the weather here is about 7dc at night)

    • food-4tots says:

      Lynn: Thanks for sharing your feedback. Did you cream your butter and sugar with hand whisk or electrical mixer? Before creaming, was the butter at room temperature? If only some parts of the cake are densed, then it may be due to your oven temperature. Here is an article about how to cream butter and sugar that you may be interested – Hope it helps! 😉

      • Lynn says:

        I creamed with electric mixer. I did my best to soften the butter by placing it on top of the table top oven while pre heating the oven. I think it did the work. Thanks for the the recommended website. It has loads of good information. I will try to let it stay 5 mins longer. Will let you know the result. (made the coconut fruit cookies tonight but the colder tan normal weather tonight made the butter creaming especially challenging)

  38. Huiqi says:


    Can I use cake flour to bake this basic butter cake? Thanks you

  39. Bee Yong says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe..:)
    I tried baked it last night by omiting salt as i’m using salted butter.The cake turned out a bit dry and hard. Texture is coarse but the taste is good, just wondering is there any way to make the texture smoother and i think i might need to add more milk to make it more moist.
    Thank you so much! Cheers!

    • food-4tots says:

      Bee Yong: So sorry that I don’t know how to modify the recipe to your requirement as my knowledge in baking is quite limited. In regards to the texture, butter cake will never have a smooth texture like sponge cake. However, it’s quite difficult to guess texture of your cake unless I see it myself. 😉

  40. Priscilla says:


    I love this recipe and have baked it a couple of times. Only complaint is that mine didn’t turn out so beautiful like yours. Haha.

    Anyway I would like to know if I can reduce the sugar for this recipe. I am baking a cake for a old folks gathering and I am requested to bake something that is not too sweet. If I am to reduce the sugar to 150 or 160 gm, do you think this will affect the structure of the cake?

    Thanks if you can advise!

    • food-4tots says:

      Priscilla: Thanks for your kind feedback!! I’m sure you will definitely bake a perfect one soon. Sometimes, the problem may be due to the oven setting. As for the sugar, I’m not sure as I have already cut down the sugar from the original recipe. Maybe, to be on the safe side, you can experiment with 170g. 😉

    • Pauline says:

      I have made this cake many times as my family loves it so much.
      Yes u can reduce the sugar. I always use 150g and it’s perfect.

  41. Saeran says:

    Hello! I tried making this and it turned out delicious! However it seems to be too soft ( breaka easily) and dense. Is it supposed to be this way?

  42. Qifa says:

    I just bake this today. Love it 😀 So delicious! Never knew I can make a cake like this! I tweaked the recipe a bit according to the ingredients in my house. I used yogurt instead of milk, and reduce the amount of sugar. And I creamed the sugar and butter with hands only! So tired but so worth it. Thanks for the recipes:D

  43. Jessica Wong says:

    Hi there

    I just used your recipe and made the butter cake yesterday.
    Loved the texture, taste and everything..
    Want to do it again!!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe!!

  44. Carrin says:

    Hi there,

    I just baked this cake and it tastes ‘superlicious’.
    Was actually quite worried if it turns out well cos I didn’t use the electric mixer. Now my arm is so tired..hahaha.. But worth it…

    Thanks for the detailed recipe.

  45. Aeris says:

    Hi, I wanted to try this recipe very much! I do not have any castor sugar at the moment. Do you think I can substitute castor sugar with brown sugar and how much brown sugar should I use?

    • food-4tots says:

      Aeris: Glad you like it! 🙂 You can try with the same amount but it will give you a different result in term of flavour, sweetness and texture. According to this link (, substituting brown sugar for castor sugar in a recipe will produce a baked good that is a little moister with a slight butterscotch flavor. I personally think that since this is your first attempt, it would be great to stick to my recipe to get the desired results. Hope it helps! 🙂

  46. Pam says:


    Can I use this recipe to bake a banana walnut cake? I love how buttery and moist this recipe produces in my butter cake which I tried baking 🙂

    If so, at which stage should I add the mashed bananas?



  47. Pam says:

    If I used a loaf pan for this recipe, will it affect it’s texture?

    I thought of adding some orange flavor to it, could I substitute two tablespoons of milk with orange juice?

  48. Elaine says:

    Hi! I just tried this recipe tonight and it didn’t rise. I followed everything step by step… I did notice that when I was mixing the butter/sugar in the beginning that it was clumping a lot. Is that normal? The mixture did not look as creamy as your photos, and a lot more yellow. Any help would be great! 🙂


  49. chloe says:

    Hi there. I just baked this cake and it is now cooling on my rack. Baked at 180 but only for 35 minutes as it was already browned (I used aluminium foil to lightly cover it after 25 minutes baking). The toothpick came out clean, but I noticed it cracked and sinked slightly. I wonder what went wrong.

    • food-4tots says:

      Chloe: I think the cake is not fully baked. If you cut it out later, the bottom part may still look wet (looks very oily). (Just my wild guess. Hehe! Please let me know the actual outcome after you cut it.) If the cake is browned after 35 minutes, cover the top with a piece of aluminum foil and continue baking for another 8-10 minutes. 🙂

  50. eco says:


    I have few questions about this butter cake:
    1) can i replace 200g plain flour/ all purpose flour with self-raising flour? Last week I used baking powder it doesn’t raise much, inside is clump. I used Pacific over, made cupcake, 190C 20mins.

    2) what is the difference between double action baking powder and baking powder? I got my baking powder from bake with yen shop.


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