If you’re looking for the perfect celebratory cake, this Yellow Cake from Scratch is a tender, buttery cake with glossy, decadent frosting. It fits the bill for any special occasion!

Baked up for my daughter’s birthday, this Yellow Cake Recipe is doing double duty as part of an online baby shower for a sweet blogger friend, Angie of Big Bear’s Wife.

Classic Yellow Butter Cake with chocolate Icing on a white plate with a red handled fork

Why You’ll Must Make

  • The combination of yellow cake and chocolate frosting is classic!
  • The cake is moist, tender with a fine crumb.
  • A double dose of chocolate (a pound of chocolate plus Dutch-process cocoa powder) makes a dreamy, glossy chocolate frosting!

This combination of the best yellow cake recipe and fudgy chocolate icing is a frequent birthday request around here. Last time, I tried to dissuade the hubby when he yet again suggested this combo (I am a food blogger for Pete’s sake, who cannot be making the same recipe again and again!).

I was then told I would get a chainsaw for my next birthday if he didn’t get his cake! After a bit of back and forth and a case of hiccups from hysterical laughter on my part, I gave in.

Classic Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Icing on a cake platter

Expert Tips

There are a few tips that will help make a beautiful layer cake. You want a fine, tender crumb, even layers, and a marvelous frosting. 

  • Start by prepping your pans correctly, so your cakes won’t stick. Butter your pans, then line with a round of parchment paper and butter the top of the parchment, too.
  • Use a kitchen scale to divide the batter evenly between the pans, so your layers will be the same depth.
  • When mixing the batter, use the paddle attachment. That prevents excess gluten formation which can make a less tender cake, plus prevents the aeration of the batter and helps to make a finer crumb.
  • The wet and dry ingredients are alternately added. This allows the flour to envelop the fat particles, making a more tender cake.
  • Bake just until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Baking too long will dry out the cake so start checking a few minutes before the timer goes off.
  • Let the cakes cool for about 10 minutes, then release them onto cooling racks. Peel off the parchment, then let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

Best Menu for a Baby Shower

My blogger friend, Angie, gave birth to a precious baby on Wednesday. Her adorable son was welcomed to the world by her parents with much joy. Some blogger friends and I are celebrating with a surprise virtual baby shower. Here is the menu:

Appetizers & Salads:

Appetizers & Salads:



You’ll also love this Yellow Cupcakes Recipe for a more portable dessert!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Flavor is Yellow Cake?

With the flavorings of butter and vanilla, a yellow cake has a mild, almost neutral taste as far as cakes go. The eggs make it richer than a white cake and may give it a subtle vanilla custard flavor. This is why it pairs so well with chocolate frosting!

When Was the Yellow Cake Invented?

The first known yellow cake came to be in the 1800s after baking powder and baking soda were introduced as alternatives to yeast and eggs to help cakes rise. First called a celebration cake, it may have been based on the British pound cake.

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Classic Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Icing | Perfect cake for any celebration!

Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Icing

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield 12

The classic combination of yellow butter cake with chocolate icing! Perfect for birthdays!


For Cake:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature plus more for greasing pans
  • 1 1/2 cups flour, plus more for dusting pans
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

For Frosting:

  • 1 pound semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa
  • 6 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Butter two 9 inch cake pans, line bottoms with parchment. Butter parchment, then dust with flour; set aside. In a bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer fit with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then mix in vanilla.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until combined after each addition.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pans, and smooth tops with an offset spatula.
  6. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.
  7. Let cool on racks for about 10 minutes, then remove from pans, peel off parchment and allow to cool completely.
  8. Make icing when the cake has cooled.
  9. Gently melt chocolate in the microwave, stopping and stirring at 30-second increments till melted and smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
  10. Stir together cocoa and boiling water till cocoa is dissolved.
  11. Put butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of mixer fit with a paddle attachment. Beat till fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  12. Add vanilla and mix. Add cooled chocolate and mix till well combined.
  13. Add cocoa mixture and beat into frosting.
  14. Frost cake while frosting if fresh for the best results.


Adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 821Total Fat: 52gSaturated Fat: 32gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 166mgSodium: 557mgCarbohydrates: 87gFiber: 3gSugar: 55gProtein: 8g

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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