Hot Milk Cake is the easy cake recipe you need. Made with warm milk, this old-fashioned vanilla cake is just like your grandma used to make! It is a rich, fluffy cake with a similar texture to that of a pound cake and is incredibly simple to make.
Other than the holidays, my mom rarely baked. When she did, it was one of two things; Snickerdoodle Cookies or this Hot Milk Cake.
This recipe for Hot Milk Cake was from my great-grandma, who was the known baker in our family. After she passed away, my mom honored her memory by baking this vanilla cake. Not only because we loved this recipe, but it was one of the simplest dessert recipes in my great-grandma's recipe box.
Reasons to Love Hot Milk Cake
- Perfect Texture and Flavor. This cake is perfectly infused with vanilla and a texture that melts in your mouth. It's texture is reminiscent of a rich pound cake.
- Simple Ingredients. Hot Milk Cake is made with ingredients you likely always have on hand. But don't let the simplicity of this old-fashioned cake, fool you. It happens to be one of the best-tasting homemade cakes you can make
- Perfect for Any Occasion. Whether you need a cake for a birthday, holiday, celebration, or just looking to quickly satisfy your sweet tooth, Hot Milk Cake is the perfect cake recipe to turn to.
- Versatile Cake Recipe. This vanilla cake is delicious served plain, iced, or dusted with powdered sugar.
Notes on Ingredients
- Flour: There is no need to use cake flour or pastry flour when making hot milk cake. All-purpose flour works perfectly.
- Baking Powder: The baking powder will help to give the cake its fluffy texture. Always be sure your baking powder is not expired for best results.
- Milk: Whole milk will yield the richest results, but feel free to use any fat percentage of milk you have on hand.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar will work to sweeten the cake batter. I also recommend dusting the cake with powdered sugar if you opt to not ice the cake itself.
- Vanilla Extract: Hot Milk Cake is known for its rich vanilla undertones. Be sure to use pure vanilla extract, not imitation extract for the best results.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter to control the level of salt in your dessert.
- Eggs: The eggs add structure and moisture to the cake batter.
- Gluten-Free Hot Milk Cake: Use 1:1 all-purpose flour in place of the all-purpose flour with great success.
- Dairy-Free Option: It may sound like an oxymoron to make a non-dairy hot milk cake, but I have done so with success. Use unflavored, unsweetened almond or soy milk in place of the milk and your favorite non-dairy stick butter. Because non-dairy butter is typically hard to find unsalted, omit the added salt from the cake batter.
Tips for Making Hot Milk Cake
As I have stated this hot milk cake recipe is extremely easy to make, but the following tips will help yield a soft, tender cake and perfect results. You will find the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Let the eggs come to room temperature. Take the eggs out of the refrigerator 30-60 minutes before baking the cake to allow them to fully come to room temperature before baking this cake, as this helps the cake batter combine more cohesively.
- Sift the ingredients. Sifting the flour with baking powder and salt will help keep this cake light and fluffy.
- Beat eggs until thick. Beating the eggs until thick and bubbly will give this simple cake structure and rise. Once the eggs are thickened, add in the sugar and vanilla and mix again.
- Gently combine the wet and dry ingredients. Use a gentle hand when folding the flour mixture with the egg mixture. This will ensure you don't overwork the cake, which can result in a dense, tough cake.
- Warm the milk with the butter. The hot milk and butter give the cake a distinctive fine-grained texture. You want to warm until the milk is just slightly bubbling and the butter has fully melted.
- Slowly add the warmed milk into the cake batter. To prevent the hot milk mixture from cooking the batter, slowly drizzle the mixture into the batter while the mixer is running or while you are whisking the batter together.
- Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. You will know your cake is done baking when it is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out dry or with just a few small crumbs.
Hot Milk Cake is so rich and buttery that it really can stand alone without any additional frosting or topping. That said, I love dusting the cake with powdered sugar and serving it with homemade whipped cream and berries.
Alternatively, you can drizzle the vanilla cake with hot fudge, chocolate syrup, caramel, or ice with your favorite cake icing.
- At Room Temperature/Refrigerate: Store any leftover cooled cake covered tightly at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: Cool the cake fully, wrap it tightly in two layers of plastic wrap, followed by a layer of foil, or place it in a freezer-safe bag, and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before enjoying
More Simple Homemade Dessert Recipes
- Easy Homemade Fudgy Brownies
- Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Mini Cheesecakes
- Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
- Tapioca Pudding
If you tried my great-grandma's recipe for hot milk cake, I would love for you to leave a review and comment below.
Hot Milk Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter plus more greasing the pan
- 1 cup whole milk
- powdered sugar, whipped cream, and fresh berries for serving
- Take the eggs out of the refrigerator 30-60 minutes before baking the cake to allow them to fully come to room temperature before baking this cake.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 9×13 baking pan with butter and set aside.
- Over a medium mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Whisk together to ensure that everything is evenly combined.
- In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes, until thick and bubbly.
- Gradually add sugar and beat on medium-high speed for another 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and blend until just combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula to combine and fully moisten the flour. Set this mixture aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine the milk with butter. Heat over medium heat and cook until the butter has melted, whisking often. Once the butter has fully melted, remove the pan from the heat.
- While whisking, or with the mixer running on low, slowly drizzle the milk and butter into the cake batter, mixing until fully combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake.
- Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream and berries.