Hot Milk Cake

slice of hot milk cake from above
It’s yet another stupidly hot day in Chicago.  There’s an alligator in the lagoon in Humboldt Park, aka our neighborhood park.  Taste of Chicago is only a mere four days this year.  

Crazy times.  Crazy times.

I could swear I heard it was going to be a cooler than average summer here but man, someone did not get that memo.  As soon as June 21 hit, bam, through the roof with the mercury.  Whooie.

You’d think that would stop me from baking but no.  No, it does not.  Crazy times.

It should.  Our a/c electric bill gets outta hand quick despite attempts to keep it low.   And despite my efforts, our house is still a sieve.  Sigh.  Old buildings, bad flippers….


So this cake. 

close up of hot milk cake slice
Yes, it really is that moist.  And soft.  And fluffy.  And delicious.
Sounds very odd, doesn’t it?  Hot milk?  Cake?  Hot Milk Cake?  How would that even work?

Well it does, and lemme tell you a thing or two, it does very, very well.

Every scratch baker (I imagine, I’m assuming, or so I’ve read about) struggles to find that spot-on, everything-you-want-it-to-be vanilla/yellow cake.  The struggle is real, man.  I’ve got six different recipes (currently) not including this one, in folders on the ol’ computer with photos tagged “needs work” or “nope.”

Sometimes even when a hit is discovered, as I’ve mentioned before, I stubbornly keep on keepin’ on with the quest, eternally spelunking the vast caverns of Recipeland, seeking.  I can’t stop, probably because different recipes satisfy different cake needs.

Aw man, ok, that’s weird.  No but wait, bear with me here….

Kinda like the myriad of chocolate cakes I have on glorious display for you.  Each cake is good and right and perfect but each in their own special ways.

See?  Ok.  Now it makes sense, right?  Just needed the chocolate cake analogy.

This cake was a surprise, quite honestly.  Mostly because I had tried a different recipe at first, hahaha. 

That particular one came out rubbery, the crumb was weird and coarse, and overall it was a letdown.  We ate it though.  Sorta.

hot milk cake ingredients prepped
It doesn’t take much to be happy.
Then one day I came across this version from King Arthur Flour and wow!  Wow!  It blew me right outta the water.  Pun related to the alligator, ah, ok, look at me.

What a relief this version was though as I shared half the cake with our neighbors Anne and Renee for Renee’s birthday, before tasting.  Wheeewww!!

This thing is soft and light like a pillow, a spring day, a bunny….ok, I, uh, it must be the heat, sorry.  But it is so dang fluffy and soft and delicate and tasty yet moist and sproingy, all highly critical components to conform to my personal yellow cake stipulations.  Plus Mike liked it, like really really really liked it.

Plus, a sheet cake, yeahhh, feeds a group!  Handy for entertaining.  Or just yourself, that’s totally fine too because it is that good.

Very very easy recipe to assemble.  

If you’re caught last minute, absolutely no worries as there’s no butter to remove the chill from.  Eggs, yes, but that’s easy — just place them in a bowl of warm water for few minutes and voila, room temp eggs!  Cha-ching, you’re welcome.

creamed sugar with eggs in mixer
The creamed eggs and sugar. I started adding the oil and realized I forgot to photograph this for you.
So yeah, there’s lots weird about this recipe but hopefully I have not steered you wrong and you’ll go along with me here.

Cream the eggs and the sugar together (uhhh?  ….I know) with a mixer.While that’s creaming, drop the butter into the milk and heat it in the microwave for about a minute and a half or so, until the milk is hot, the butter mostly melted.

Add the oil to the eggs and sugar, then the dry ingredients.

dry ingredients mixed in
Here’s the moment just before the hot milk goes in…
Now, the KAF version says weigh the flour, or lightly scoop by hand and measure.  I usually don’t do either but they’re so insistent so I scooped two cups lightly then weighed what I scooped, ya know, curiosity.  I ended up with 40 grams more flour than their 241 called for by light scooping.  

Considering I made the recipe previously super successfully by light scooping, I went with that as it’s safer to assume most folks don’t have a scale.  Do get one* though, they are amazingly handy.

Mmk, with the mixer on stir, slowly stream in that heated milk and butter….But wait Becky, eggs…hot milk….curdle-y cooked, right?, you’re asking.  Somehow, nope.  Go slow with the streaming and you’re good.

The batter is quite thin, FYI.  Pour it into your lightly greased 9×13-ish pan and bake.

hot milk batter in baking pan
Ready to hit the oven!
I say -ish as today I discovered the two 9×13 glass pans I have are two different sizes.  And neither are exactly 9×13.  Huh.  Odd.  

So take note of yours, just as a mental note kind a’ thing.  Promptly I ordered a 9×13 metal pan by USA* as I love love love their muffin tin so.  Surely I am (over)due for a present to myself.  Testing forthwith, aw boo hoo, heh heh heh.

Ok, out pops this magnificent cake and you’re gonna be pleased as punch.

baked hot milk cake cooling in pan
Yeeoowza, lookie at that cake!  I wanna stick my face in there all Cookie Monster style.
While the frosting I made the first go was not a hit in my book, I can’t even remember what it was now oops, you could try nearly any frosting.  Whatever you choose, pick something light as it will fully compliment how serenely cloud-like soft and fluffy this Hot Milk Cake is.

view of sliced hot milk cake on plate
What a winner this cake is so be sure to add it to your must-bake list. Scratch that, bake it today.
Happy cake eating!  Good luck stopping yourself!

hot milk cake slice
Hot Milk Cake!  Yum.
Note:  This content originally appeared on Flaky Bakers.

Hot Milk Cake

Hot Milk Cake

12 slices
Prep time
10 Min
Cook time
45 Min
Total time
55 Min
A sensationally easy, soft and delicious, light and fluffy, moist vanilla sheet cake made with hot milk.


  • 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour, scooped lightly
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons (5.5 g) fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons (57 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (237 ml) milk, closer to whole is preferred
  • 2 cups (396 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temp
  • 1/3 cup (79 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons (10 g) vanilla extract


  1. Begin preheating the oven to 325° F (160° C) and grease a 9x13 by 2+” deep pan lightly.
  2. Lightly scoop the flour into a one cup measuring cup using a spoon, sweep the top level, place the flour in a small bowl then repeat for the second cup. Avoid shaking the cup or packing the flour in any way. Add the salt and baking powder to the bowl.
  3. In a two cup glass measuring cup, measure the milk, slice the butter into pats and add it to the milk. Microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes or so, until the milk is hot. Stir the butter around until it has melted.
  4. In the bowl of a mixer, add the eggs and sugar then beat them on medium speed until they are lightened, airy, and pale yellow, about 2 minutes.
  5. Turn the mixer to low and stream in the vegetable oil.
  6. Add the dry ingredients while continuing on low and stir until mostly mixed. Add the vanilla. Scrape down the bowl then return the mixer to low speed.
  7. On a slow stream, add the hot milk/butter mixture into the cake batter. Once combined, scrape the bowl and mix by hand with a spatula a few turns then add the batter to the pan.
  8. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick tester comes clean with a few soft crumbs.
  9. Cool in the pan on a rack and serve.


Adapted from King Arthur Flour.

Nutrition Facts



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Please see the "info" section for nutrition details and information about gram weights.

cake, vanilla cake, hot milk

*The mixers, USA Bakeware pans and kitchen scales are Amazon affiliate links.  Happy baking, thanks!  Please see the "info" tab for more, well, info.

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