When Bill’s birthday rolls around, he invariably requests my Best Yellow Cake Recipe paired with a dreamy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting!

Homemade Yellow Cake is tender, moist and so much better than a box mix. It’s perfect for any occasion!

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

Why You Should Make This Yellow Cake 

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  Smitten Kitchen’s moist yellow cake recipe. Her recipes are nearly foolproof.
  • Made with buttermilk, it’s sweet and tender with a fine crumb.
  • Paired with chocolate frosting gave the chocoholics their fix without having to make a chocolate cake.
  • My whole family gave this cake rave reviews!!

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!

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

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the Difference Between a Yellow Cake and a Vanilla or White Cake?

A yellow cake has whole eggs so the yolks give the cake extra richness along with its yellow color. A white cake typically contains only egg whites. Both are flavored with vanilla.

How Do You Make a Super Moist Yellow Cake?

Many ingredients contribute to the moistness of this cake. Besides adding flavor, the butter slows down gluten formation and provides moisture. Sugar also breaks up gluten and helps absorb liquids. Plus, the eggs provide fat which also adds moisture to the cake.

How Do You Store a Yellow Cake?

Once it’s cut, the exposed cake should be covered with plastic wrap so the cake does not dry out. The cake can be kept at room temperature for 3-4 days.

Can You Freeze a Frosted Cake?

Leftover cake slices can be wrapped well or placed in an airtight container and frozen for a month or two. Freezing a whole frosted cake is not advised, as the frosting will most likely not fare well with moving, freezing, and thawing.

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 tops of your 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 fewer 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.
  • Using cake flour and buttermilk both contribute to making this a tender cake.
  • PRO-Tip: If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand add one tablespoon of lemon juice or white or cider vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Fill it to the one-cup mark with whole or 2% milk. Stir it and let rest for a couple of minutes then use in place of store-bought buttermilk in equal amounts.
  • PRO-Tip: If you don’t have any cake flour on hand, measure out a cup of all-purpose flour. Remove 2 tablespoons, then sift together the 14 remaining tablespoons of flour plus 2 tablespoons of cornstarch 3 times. Use this mixture instead of cake flour.
  • 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.

More Recipes for Birthday Cakes You’ll Love:

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Perfect Yellow Cake Recipe with Chocolate Buttercream

Perfect Yellow Cake Recipe with Chocolate Buttercream

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Yield 16 servings

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


For the cake:

  • 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ 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 the frosting:

  • 1 ½ cups butter (3 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


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


Check the expiration date on your baking powder. It usually expires before it is used up.

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

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 547Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 125mgSodium: 620mgCarbohydrates: 65gFiber: 1gSugar: 60gProtein: 4g

Thatskinnychickcanbake.com 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 thatskinnychickcanbake.com 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 thatskinnychickcanbake.com 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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