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Perfect Yellow Cake Recipe with Chocolate Buttercream

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When Bill’s birthday rolls around, he invariably requests this Perfect Yellow Cake Recipe and I love icing it with a dreamy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting!

Perfect Yellow Cake Recipe with Chocolate Buttercream | An exquisite, tender yellow cake topped with dreamy chocolate frosting!

Perfect Yellow Cake Recipe

This Perfect Yellow Cake Recipe with Chocolate Buttercream was hubby’s birthday cake again this year. Even though he is a chocoholic through and through, he picks a cake he knows Miss Katie would love.  It’s no wonder she has a sign above her bed that reads “The Queen’s Bed” in curlicued calligraphy.  I used the exquisite Smitten Kitchen’s yellow cake recipe. Made with buttermilk, it’s sweet and tender with a fine crumb. The whole family gave this rave reviews!!

Perfect Yellow Cake Recipe with Chocolate Buttercream on a white cake plate with a slice removed

Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Whenever I make a yellow cake, it must be paired with a rich, chocolate buttercream frosting! Chocolate rules for the majority of the family and, to tell the truth, this is a magical pairing. So if you have a birthday celebration on the horizon, I recommend this terrific combination, the perfect yellow cake recipe with a fudgy frosting!

Slice of Perfect Yellow Cake Recipe with Chocolate Buttercream on a white cake with a red handled fork

Tips for Making a Layer Cake

Making a layer cake can be daunting.  First there’s dividing the batter in half, then hoping the layers bake up flat, and finally trying to frost it so it looks like it came out of a bakery! Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • PRO-Tip: I like using a kitchen scale to divide my cake batter so that the layers are even.
  • If the layers are rounded, trim the tops off so you’ll have a flat surface to frost.
  • If you trim the cakes, put the bottom side up so you’ll have less crumbs to deal with as you frost.
  • You can also do a crumb coat, which is a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of each layer. Chill so the frosting hardens a bit, then frost as desired.
  • Make sure your layers are completely cooled before frosting.
  • I place the bottom layer of the cake on the serving plate, then I like to tuck little strips of parchment or wax paper around the perimeter to catch any frosting drips that might land on the cake plate.
Perfect Yellow Cake pinterest collage

More Recipes for Birthday Cakes You’ll Love:

Perfect Yellow Cake Recipe with Chocolate Buttercream

Perfect Yellow Cake Recipe with Chocolate Buttercream

A classic combination of a fine crumb yellow cake and dreamy chocolate frosting! Perfect for any celebration!

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Yield 12 servings


For cake:

  • 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups buttermilk

For frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment (I use an oil/flour cooking spray like Bakers Joy)
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In your stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, then mix in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Mix in buttermilk until just combined (will not be smooth). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix as this will toughen cake and cause big air bubbles.
  3. Spread batter evenly in cake pan. Drop the cake pans onto the counter from a few inches up to release any air bubbles, 2 or 3 times. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then invert, remove cakes from pan and let finish cooling.
  4. To make frosting, place the cocoa in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix with whisk attachment to remove lumps. Add the butter and cream until smooth.
  5. Alternate the powdered sugar and milk by adding about a cup of powdered sugar and a tablespoon of milk, mixing, then repeating until all is incorporated.
  6. Add vanilla and mix to combine. You may adjust the powdered sugar and milk if you need a thicker or thinner frosting.


Cake adapted from Smitten Kitchen. Frosting adapted from Add a Pinch.


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