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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
  • 2 sticks butter, 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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48 comments on “Perfect Yellow Cake Recipe with Chocolate Buttercream”

  1. yum! Love your beautiful glass cake stand.

  2. This looks great! Such a classic dessert!

  3. Lizzy this cake sounds wonderful! Especially for a Birthday! The frosting looks so fudgy, and would be perfect with that delicious butter cake! Happy Birthday to your husband! I’ll bet he loved the cake :)!

  4. Cake looks amazing! Cake is so soft and icing so chocolaty.. 🙂 great combination. Happy Bday to your husband and he is really lucky that he has got a great wife who is baking such treats for him 🙂

  5. Lizzy,

    Yum! Yum! Yum! Bill is a lucky man 🙂

    I showed Alex this post as he was leaving for work and he said, “Your birthday is coming up, that looks like a good cake for the occasion!!!”

    I wonder if I should make a copy of the recipe, so he can surprise me 😉


  6. two perfect combinations of flavor this cake looks fabulous~

  7. An amazing looking cake, so gorgeous!

  8. I’m new at blogging and first of all love the title of your blog. Second, this cake looks perfect to me. I’m your newest follower.

  9. Lizzy – it looks beautiful – as do all of your creations! I know I would love this cake too. Yellow cake and chocolate frosting just go together perfect in my book. It was sweet of your hubby to think of what his “little queen” would

  10. Happy Birthday to you hubby, Lizzy!
    You’re the best! There is such a great satisfaction making dessert for our loved ones, especially a home made yummy yellow cake with chocolate fudge home made frosting. Nothing better than a yummy delicious home made cake. Would love to have a slice of that cake:D

    Thank you for all your kind caring and support at this difficult time with Lora’s surgery. It meant a lot to us. Yes, Lora is still my baby…and always will be. She is such a good daughter…when she’s in pain, I wish I could take that pain away:-(

  11. Oh my gosh, that icing…wow, it’s picture perfect! Lucky Hubz!

    Happy Birthday, hubby!!

  12. Tjhis cake look amazing and delicious, perfect! gloria

  13. Happy Birthday to your husband…Looks amazing…My mom used to make this cake for all of our birthdays, but she made the fudge icing with only cocoa powder.

  14. One of my favorite combinations, leftovers – please send them this way.

  15. This is such a classic cake and perfect for a birthday. It looks beautiful to me. Happy Birthday to your husband!

  16. This looks really, really good. I’d love to have a piece of it with my coffee this afternoon. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  17. I love yellow cake and this looks perfect! Will definitely be trying this recipe. Thanks!

  18. Hi Lizzy,
    Oh I hope this cake will make me skinny cause I love yellow cake.. I am your newest follower.- Marelie

  19. That cake looks delightful! I love 3 layer cakes and yellow cake with chocolate icing is one of my favorite combos too. It just says “birthday” to me! Hope your hubby had a great day!

  20. I’m a chocoholic too, but sometimes I love a simple yellow cake with chocolate frosting. A nice balance, the best of both worlds. Happy birthday to your hubby!! April babies are the best 😉 I’m one too!! haha

  21. this is a fabulous looking cake lovely icing

  22. Happy birthday to your husband.
    the cake is so beautiful. love the chocolate fudge frosting.
    have to check the yellow cake, love the sound of a buttermilk cake.
    Thanks for sharing Lizzy

  23. This is the birthday cake of choice in my family! We are all about the yellow cake and chocolate frosting. Thank you so much for sharing with me tonight. I always know I will find something that will make me smile! Your sweet and creative spirit brings me such happiness. I hope you have a great day tomorrow full of hope and love.

  24. Birthday wishes to your husband….cake looks perfect and yum….love that icing….looks drool worthy….

  25. I can see myself eating that frosting with a spoon! And your pictures are very nice.

  26. Out of all the desserts I make, yellow cake is my favorite! This looks so delicious and the fudge icing sounds incredible!

  27. What a beautiful classic cake! The frosting sounds so decadent with all that cream. Who wouldn’t want to eat it by the spoonful?

  28. This is such a classic flavor combo.

  29. It doesn’t get much better than classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting. It definitely screams birthday!

  30. Happy Birthday to Bill and how sweet that he picks a cake that your daughter loves.

  31. WIth this cake (with regard to consistency), do you recommend doing a crumb-coat, refrigerating and then doing the actual frosting layer? Thanks!
    PS: Skinny chick? Do you eat your own baked goods?

    • Hi, Monika,
      I did not do a crumb coat, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. I usually just sample a sliver. For the most part, I have pretty good will power, but if I don’t, I just make sure to get on the treadmill that day 🙂 Hope you enjoy the cake!

  32. I love scented cakes like these, dear! xoxo

  33. I made this cake for my husband and little ones today and it was a big hit!!! So delicious, moist and fluffy, just everything that you would want out of a yellow cake! I have been trying to find a good yellow cake recipe and this one was perfect! I didn’t try the chocolate buttercream as I had another recipe in mind, but looks delicious and will definitely try next time. Thank you so much for sharing! ☺️

  34. I would be licking the spoon for both the frosting and this cake! YUM!

  35. Do you use unsalted butter?

  36. The BEST birthday cake ever!

  37. The perfect pairing! Delicious.

  38. The perfect yellow cake + chocolate buttercream combo!

  39. Such a great recipe to have on hand. I love the chocolate buttercream too. Great pairing for sure. Thanks for sharing.

  40. My kids loved this! Such an amazing cake recipe!

  41. Yellow cake is my fave- this is a great recipe!

  42. It’s the most delicious cake, I love making it.

  43. I can’t wait to make it again!

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