Feather Cake - Brenda Gantt (2024)

  • Cake
  • By recipeshub_R
  • September 1, 2023

Feather cake, also known as “featherlight cake,” is a classic dessert that harks back to the rich culinary traditions of the 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States. It is aptly named for its light and tender texture, akin to the softness of a feather. Feather cake is characterized by its simplicity, using basic ingredients such as flour, sugar, eggs, and butter to create a delicate, moist, and subtly sweet cake. This timeless treat has been a favorite for generations, often served at family gatherings, tea parties, and as an everyday indulgence.

Feather cake is part of the broader tradition of American butter cakes, which includes pound cakes, sponge cakes, and angel food cakes. Its origins can be traced back to the 19th century when baking was heavily influenced by European techniques and recipes brought to the United States by immigrants.

The concept of a featherlight cake likely evolved from earlier recipes for sponge cakes and lighter variations of butter cakes. These cakes were made using eggs for leavening and were known for their delicate crumb and soft texture.

The first documented mention of feather cake can be found in American cookbooks from the mid-19th century. These early recipes often used simple ingredients and relied on the airiness achieved by beating eggs until fluffy. Over time, variations of feather cake emerged, with regional influences and personal adaptations.

Feather cake remained a popular choice for home bakers throughout the 20th century, and its enduring appeal is a testament to its delicious simplicity and the nostalgia it evokes.

Feather cake is a beloved dessert that has graced countless tables across America for over a century. Its enduring popularity can be attributed to its delightful texture, mild sweetness, and versatility.

This cake’s charm lies in its simplicity. It starts with creaming butter and sugar together, creating a light and fluffy mixture. Eggs are then beaten into the batter, one at a time, to add structure and richness. Flour is carefully folded in, and sometimes a touch of milk or buttermilk is added for moisture and tenderness.

The result is a cake that is tender, moist, and subtly sweet, with a crumb that resembles the softness of a feather. Feather cake is often enjoyed plain, dusted with powdered sugar, or served with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh berries. It pairs wonderfully with a cup of tea or coffee and is a delightful treat for afternoon gatherings or as a comforting dessert after a family meal.

Feather cake recipes have been passed down through generations, cherished by home bakers and professional pastry chefs alike. The cake’s enduring popularity is a testament to its timeless appeal and its ability to evoke warm memories of simpler times.


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour a 9×13-inch baking pan or two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Cream Butter and Sugar:
    • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, which should take about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add Eggs:
    • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Combine Dry Ingredients:
    • In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Alternate Additions:
    • Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined after each addition. Be careful not to overmix; stop as soon as the batter is smooth.
  6. Add Vanilla Extract:
    • Stir in the pure vanilla extract.
  7. Bake:
    • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan(s).
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes for a 9×13-inch pan or 20-25 minutes for round cake pans, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool:
    • Allow the cake(s) to cool in the pan(s) for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.


  • Once cooled, you can frost or decorate your feather cake as desired, or simply enjoy it plain with a dusting of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream. This classic dessert is a delightful taste of nostalgia and an enduring favorite for cake lovers of all ages.

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Feather Cake - Brenda Gantt (2024)


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