Yellow Cake

Quick Summary

Yellow Cake- this classic yellow cake is tender, moist, and covered with silky-smooth chocolate frosting! The perfect cake for birthdays or any celebration!

yellow cake with chocolate frosting

Yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting is the PERFECT cake for birthdays or any celebration. The yellow cake and chocolate combo is CLASSIC! If you haven’t tried this traditional party cake, you are in for a treat!

The yellow cake is buttery, tender, moist, light, fluffy…everything you want in a piece of cake. Yellow cake is flavored with vanilla but has a mild custard flavor because of the egg yolks. So if you like vanilla cake, you are going to LOVE yellow cake.

And now for my favorite part, the chocolate frosting! The cake layers get covered in a silky-smooth chocolate frosting. The creamy, decadent frosting pairs so nicely with the rich, yellow cake! A match made in heaven!

This is the BEST yellow cake recipe because it is my good friend Courtney’s recipe. She is the cake QUEEN and all of her cake recipes are amazing. If you like cake, you NEED her new cookbook, Cake, by Courtney. It is filled with gorgeous pictures, how-tos, and 170 recipes for cake layers, fillings, buttercreams, and toppings. It is the ultimate cake book, hurry and get a copy. I know you will love it!

I have tasted a lot of Courtney’s cakes (lucky me) and they are ALL amazing. Our family especially loves this yellow cake, it really is the perfect party cake! It just makes me happy; when I am baking it AND eating it!

yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting and a candle

Cake Ingredients

Make sure you have all of the ingredients before you get started!

  • Cake flour– make sure you use cake flour, it has a lower protein content and will create lighter, fluffier, tender cake layers. You can find cake flour at most grocery stores in the baking aisle.
  • Baking powder– make sure it is fresh, not older than 6 months.
  • Salt– salt enhances all of the flavors in the cake.
  • Butter– use unsalted butter that is at room temperature. You want the butter to be soft to the touch, but not melted or too greasy.
  • Granulated sugar– sugar is a must in cake:)
  • Grapeseed oil– to keep the cake super moist.
  • Eggs– you will need 5 large eggs and 2 egg yolks. Make sure they are at room temperature.
  • Vanilla extract– use pure vanilla extract for the best vanilla flavor.
  • Butter extract– to enhance the buttery flavor. Look for it by the vanilla extract at the grocery store or you can buy it online here.
  • Sour cream– use room temperature, full fat sour cream so the cake is nice and rich!
yellow cake with chocolate frosting on a cake stand

How to Make Yellow Cake

Let’s get this cake party started!

  • Preheat the oven and spray three 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray, line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper and spray again. Don’t skip the parchment paper, you want to make sure your cakes come out of the pans easily!
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, oil, and sugar on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy.
  • With the mixer on medium speed, add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions. Continue to beat on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the extracts; stir to combine.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add in intervals, blending after each addition: ⅓ dry ingredients, ½ sour cream, ⅓ dry ingredients, ½ sour cream, ⅓ dry ingredients.
  • Scrape down the bowl and mix again.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. You can use a digital food scale to weigh each pan to make sure they are exactly even.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a just a few moist crumbs on it. Bonus, your house will smell oh, so sweet!
  • Remove the cake pans from the oven and let the layers cool in pans for 15 minutes before inverting onto cooling racks to cool completely.
chocolate buttercream frosting in a bowl for yellow cake

Chocolate Frosting

While the cake layers are cooling, make the chocolate frosting. You will need the following ingredients.

  • Butter– for the buttercream frosting, you want the butter to be slightly cold so it holds to the cake layers better.
  • Confectioner’s sugar– measured, then sifted!
  • Vanilla extract– again, use pure vanilla extract!
  • Chocolate chips– semi-sweet or dark chocolate, Guittard is my favorite brand!
  • Heavy whipping cream– to make the frosting super creamy and rich!
  • Salt– always a little salt to balance out the sweetness!

The chocolate frosting is so luxurious and really is THE icing on the cake:)

  • First, you make a chocolate ganache with the heavy cream and chocolate chips.
  • Use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment so you can really beat the butter to create a smooth, light, and fluffy frosting.
  • Beat the ganache into the butter.
  • Gradually add the powdered sugar so you don’t make a mess, ha! Add the vanilla and salt.
  • Make sure you beat the frosting really well, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary. The buttercream should be lighter in color and silky-smooth. If the buttercream is too soft, refrigerate it for 15 to 20 minutes before using.
layered yellow cake with chocolate frosting

Assembling the Cake

Now, it’s time for some fun! I love assembling the cake, it means we are one step closer to eating cake:)

  • Place the first cake layer, top side up, centered on your cake board or cake plate. Evenly spread 1 cup of buttercream over the cake layer, getting eye level with the cake to ensure the buttercream is level.
  • Place the second cake layer, top side up, on the buttercream. Repeat previous steps.
  • Place the final cake layer, top side down, on the second layer of buttercream.
  • Spread a thin coat of buttercream around the entire cake to lock in the crumbs. Freeze for 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t skip this step! Freezing the cake will make it SO much easier to frost!
  • Once the crumb coat is set, frost and decorate the cake with remaining buttercream.
  • I like to pipe some pretty frosting swirls on top and finish with some fun sprinkles, but decorate the cake however you wish! If you are going to do a lot of extra fancy decorating, you will need to make more frosting.

How to Store

  • The frosting acts as a protective barrier and helps keep the cake fresh. To store a frosted cake, I recommend covering it with a cake dome or you can use a large overturned bowl cover the entire cake. A frosted cake can be kept at room temperature on the counter for up to 4 days. I don’t recommend storing this cake in the refrigerator, it will dry the cake layers out.
  • If you have leftover cake, you can cut individual slices, wrap each in plastic wrap, and keep on the counter for up to 4 days. You can also place the slices in an airtight container to freeze for later. The slices will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw and enjoy!
  • If you want to make the cake layers in advance, you can bake the cake layers up to 2 months in advance. Bake and cool the layers completely. Wrap each individual cake layer with two layers of plastic wrap, followed by aluminum foil. Before assembling the cake, let the cake layers sit at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes. Never decorate a frozen cake.
  • You can also freeze an entire decorated cake. Place the cake in the freezer for 30 to 60 minutes or until the buttercream is set. Wrap the entire cake tightly with a few layers of plastic wrap, followed by aluminum foil. Freeze.
  • The night before you want to serve the cake, transfer the cake from the freezer to the refrigerator, keeping the cake covered in plastic and foil. In the morning, transfer the cake to the counter. Carefully remove the plastic and foil and store under a cake dome to keep the cake fresh. The cake will take about 6 to 8 hours to thaw.
piece of yellow cake with chocolate frosting on a plate with a fork

More Cake Recipes

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

This classic yellow cake is tender, moist, and covered with silky-smooth chocolate frosting! The perfect cake for birthdays or any celebration!
4 from 4 votes

Ingredients
  

For the Yellow Cake:

  • 3 cups (345 g) cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (72 g) grapeseed oil
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) butter extract
  • 1 cup (240 g) sour cream, at room temperature

For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter, slightly cold
  • 5 cups (625 g) confectioner's sugar, measured then sifted
  • 1 tablespoon (12 g) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (170 g) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup (57.75 g) heavy whipping cream
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions
 

  • For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray, line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, oil, and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes until light in color and fluffy in texture.
  • With the mixer on medium speed, add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions. Continue to beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes until smooth. Add the vanilla and butter extract; stir to combine.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add in intervals, blending after each addition: ⅓ dry ingredients, ½ sour cream, ⅓ dry ingredients, ½ sour cream, ⅓ dry ingredients.
  • Scrape down the bowl and mix for another 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans (18 to 19 ounces in each). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a just a few moist crumbs on it.
  • Remove the cake pans from the oven and let the layers cool in pans for 15 minutes before inverting onto cooling racks to cool completely.
  • For the Chocolate Frosting: In a microwave safe bowl, heat cream for 1 minute. Pour hot cream over the chocolate chips and stir until smooth. If needed, heat the mixture for an additional 20 to 30 seconds and stir again. Cool slightly.
  • Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
  • With the mixer on medium speed, gradually add ganache to butter and mix until smooth. Scrape down the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add powdered sugar, mixing to combine after each addition. Add vanilla and salt. Stir to combine.
  • Turn the mixture to medium-high speed and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl at least twice during the process. The buttercream should be lighter in color and silky-smooth. If the buttercream is too soft, refrigerate it for 15 to 20 minutes before using.
  • To Assemble the Cake: Place the first cake layer, top side up, centered on your cake board or cake plate. Evenly spread 1 cup of buttercream over the cake layer, getting eye level with the cake to ensure the buttercream is level.
  • Place the second cake layer, top side up, on the buttercream. Repeat previous steps.
  • Place the final cake layer, top side down, on the second layer of buttercream.
  • Spread a thin coat of buttercream around the entire cake to lock in the crumbs. Freeze for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Once the crumb coat is set, frost and decorate the cake with remaining buttercream.

Notes

This buttercream lightens in color quite a bit as you beat it to that silky smooth texture. If you prefer a darker color, cover the mixing bowl and let the buttercream rest for 20 to 30 minutes. The color will darken with time.
Recipe from Cake, by Courtney Cookbook

Nutrition

Calories: 725kcal, Carbohydrates: 82g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 38g, Saturated Fat: 23g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 182mg, Sodium: 540mg, Potassium: 79mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 54g, Vitamin A: 1315IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 73mg, Iron: 1mg

Have you tried this recipe?

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. Happy birthday! I’m right behind you – I turn 60 on Tuesday, and I’m thinking yellow cake with chocolate frosting sounds perfect!!

  2. 5 stars
    Happy Birthday.
    I’ll be joining you in 40s land this July. Here’s to new adventures in a new decade of awesomeness!
    Thanks for all the great recipes through the years. Our family relies heavily on them. Like seriously several days a week on your recipes. ❤️

  3. Happy “40th” Birthday! I would love to be turning 40 but I will be turning 70 instead! Enjoy your 40’s……these are wonderful years! Thanks for all your awesome recipes! I will be trying this one soon.

  4. Hi Maria and Happy Birthday!
    Thank you for all the delicious recipes. I love the combination of yellow cake and chocolate buttercream. Hope you have a wonderful day!!

  5. Happy 40th Maria!!!! I also have a big birthday this year, 50!! Ah!! Enjoy your special day! This classic cake combo looks like the perfect birthday cake! Will have to give it a go for family birthdays. Thank you!

  6. Happy Birthday from Ontario, Canada! That cake looks amazing!!!
    Love your stories. Love your recipes.
    A wonderful help for me decide what to make for dinner.
    Have a FABULOUS day! Cake especially

  7. 1 star
    I made this and followed all of the directions precisely and did not over mix and it turned out very dense. Also, the cake was not that sweet. Very disappointing!