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Yellow snack cake slice on a white plate with a red handle fork

One Layer Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

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A One Layer Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting is perfect for family birthdays or picnics! Moist cake and rich frosting are a winning combo.

The ultra-creamy and decadent frosting made this Yellow Cake Recipe worthy of a celebration!

A square of one layer yellow cake on a round white dessert plate with a red handle fork

Why You Should Make this Yellow Snack Cake

  • It’s less work to make compared to a traditional 2 layer, frosted cake so it’s easy on the baker!
  • There are fewer calories per serving since the portions are smaller.
  • It’s perfect for parties, picnics, and potlucks as squares of cake are easier to serve compared to layer cakes! Plus, it’s easy to transport in the baking pan.
  • My friend, Danielle, said it’s the perfect Copycat Entenmann’s Fudge Iced Golden Cake!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Flavor is Yellow Cake?

Both yellow cakes and white cakes are vanilla flavored. They also have some buttery undertones. The major difference is that the addition of egg yolks gives the yellow cake its color. White cakes are made without yolks.

What Makes a Moist Yellow Cake?

When you look at the ingredients in this recipe, there are a few standouts that contribute to a nice moist tender cake. The first is the addition of buttermilk. The acidity in buttermilk helps break down long strands of gluten. Also, adding oil in addition to butter adds moisture. Plus, using cake flour, with a lower gluten content is another key to this tender, moist cake recipe.

What is a Snack Cake or Snacking Cake?

There is a debate as to whether these two terms are interchangable, but for now, let’s say they are. Both of these are one-layer cakes that are easy to make and are served in squares instead of wedges. They’re perfect for afternoon snacks.

Overhead shot of a square of yellow snack cake on a square white dessert plate

How to Make Yellow Cake

This cake is not made in the traditional way of making cakes. The technique is from Cook’s Country and really does result in a tender, moist, fine crumb cake. Here’s the process:

  1. Prep the pan and preheat the oven.
  2. Whisk together the liquids, including the eggs and excluding the oil.
  3. Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the whisk attachment to combine. This replaces sifting.
  4. With the paddle attachment, add butter and oil to the dry ingredients, mix on low to combine, then increase speed until light and fluffy.
  5. Decrease speed and mix in the egg mixture. Once mixed in, beat for about 3 minutes until the mixture thickens.
  6. Pour into pan, smooth the top, and rap the pan on the counter a couple of times to help any trapped air escape.
  7. Bake as directed.
  8. Use a toothpick to check for doneness. It should come out clean or with a few crumbs attached.
  9. Once baked and cooled, make the frosting, chill until it’s thick enough to spread, then frost.
Yellow snack cake slice on a white plate with a red handle fork

Ingredient Notes:

  • Eggs – Large eggs are the standard in recipes unless noted otherwise. Have them at room temperature for the best incorporation.
  • Buttermilk – If you forget to purchase, make your own with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, white or cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup, then fill to the 1 cup mark with milk. Let rest a few minutes, stir, and use. Double, triple, etc. using this formula as needed.
  • Vanilla Extract – Never use imitation, look for real vanilla extract on the label.
  • Cake Flour – Has less gluten than All-Purpose Flour so will make a more tender cake. You can also make cake flour at home by adding 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to a 1 cup measuring cup. Add enough all-purpose flour to fill the cup. Whisk to combine. Double, triple, etc. using this formula as needed.
  • Sugar – regular granulated sugar
  • Baking Powder – Often expires before you use it all. Check the expiration date. To test, put 1/2 teaspoon in 1/4 cup boiling water. If it’s still fresh, it will bubble furiously.
  • Baking Soda – Has a longer shelf life than baking powder. Check the expiration date. If unsure, mix 1/2 teaspoon with 2 teaspoons of vinegar. Fresh soda will also bubble furiously when fresh.
  • Table Salt – I prefer this fine salt over kosher salt for baking
  • Butter – Should be at room temperature for both the cake and the frosting. I used salted butter unless otherwise specified.
  • Vegetable Oil – Makes for a very moist cake
  • Powdered sugar – I usually sift for a smooth frosting, but this is whisked in the mixer instead.
  • Cocoa Powder – Not cocoa mix, which is sweetened and used to make hot chocolate.
  • Semisweet Chocolate – Chop and gently melt in the microwave or in a double boiler.

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Yellow snack cake slice on a white plate with a red handle fork

The Recipe: One Layer Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

A one-layer yellow cake with rich chocolate frosting! Perfect for picnics and family dinners when you don't need a frosted layer cake.



  • 4 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 

Frosting (make another half batch if you love chocolate frosting!)

  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature (I use salted butter)
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted


To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with a flour and oil baking spray.

Whisk together the eggs and yolks, buttermilk, and vanilla. Set aside.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk the mixture together. Then insert the paddle attachment.

Add butter and oil and mix at low speed to combine, then increase the speed and mix until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and slowly add the egg mixture.

When the eggs are incorporated, scrape down the bottom of the mixer bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until the batter lightens in color and thickens about 3 minutes. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Rap the pan on the counter 2-3 times to bring up any big air bubbles trapped in the batter.

Bake for 28 to 32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with only a few crumbs. Cool completely on a rack.

To make the frosting, put the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, butter and hot water in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment. Mix on low to combine, then increase the speed to medium. Mix about a minute until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, mix briefly, then add the chocolate.

Mix on low until combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, then let the frosting sit at room temperature until spreadable, about 30-40 minutes.

Frost cake, then chill to let the frosting firm up.


I doubled the frosting which was way too thick for me, but the family loved it. The frosting recipe is not doubled.

Recipe adapted from Cook's Country.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 352Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 207mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 1gSugar: 32gProtein: 4g occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe. Also, many recipes on recommend toppings, which may or may not be listed as optional and nutritional information for these added toppings is not listed. Other factors may change the nutritional information such as when the salt amount is listed “to taste,” it is not calculated into the recipe as the amount will vary. Also, different online calculators can provide different results. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate.


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9 comments on “One Layer Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting”

  1. We love a simple cake like this when we’re so busy. Guess what I’m going to be baking this afternoon? Your awesome cake. Can I double the frosting? Therein lies my foodie addiction bliss!

    • I doubled the frosting but I thought it was too much—I’d recommend another half batch. Bill was fine when there was a massive amount of frosting, LOL, so maybe your Bill will like that, too! xo

  2. Is it wrong that i just want to make a bowl of your chocolate frosting and grab a spoon!?!? YUM! 🙂 ~Valentina

  3. This cake looks delicious and I love the simplicity of it!

  4. While I prefer layered cakes, as you’ve noted, there are quite a few reasons when a one layer cake would be more convenient / appropriate. Besides, you can always infuse the butter with additions like zest or spices to make it even more delicious!

  5. You’re right about it being nice to have a one-layer snacking cake hanging around your kitchen. It will be strange to have people coming in and out of my condo now (hooray) but they will be expecting treats. I know that for sure.

  6. The cake looks so very tender and smooth. I love vanilla flavour. And the chocolate frosting makes it even more irresistible.

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