Make a Cheap Cake

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File:Yellow Cake with Strawberry Frosting 4339.jpg
Yellow cake with strawberry frosting.

With some basic, inexpensive ingredients, you can make a plain yellow cake which can be "dressed" for any occasion by choosing a different flavor of frosting. Making this cake from scratch saves money over buying a cake mix. Plus it tastes great. It's so delicious and moist. Sometimes plain is best!


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F /190 degrees C.
  2. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
  3. Add sugar and butter to mixing bowl and beat well. Mixture will appear dry and crumbly.
  4. Add egg and beat again.
  5. Add vanilla and mix into egg mixture.
  6. Add milk and beat into batter. At this point, the mixture will appear liquidy. (It's traditional to mix the milk in in two or three stages, alternating with the baking powder and flour in the next step.)
  7. Mix together the baking powder and flour and add them gently, taking care not to stir too vigorously at this stage to make a tender cake batter.
  8. Pour into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
  9. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until cake tests done. Insert a toothpick, wooden skewer or cake tester into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean or with only a few small crumbs on it, the cake is done. If not, put it back in the oven for another 4-5 minutes.
  10. Frost as desired. To pair the cake with a fast yet delicious/cheap frosting, read How to Make Simple Five Minute Frosting.


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  • If all else fails, just cover the thing with fruit and yogurt. This is particularly good if you mix the yogurt with equal parts whipped cream.
  • The cake should have about 1/2 tsp of salt added to the ingredients. It seemed to taste better the next day.

Things You'll Need

  • Mixer
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Related Tips and Steps

Sources and Citations

  • Mom's Best Recipes by Shirley McNevich, Volume 3, Internet Archive