A Classic Yellow Cake Recipe

Meet your new go-to recipe for birthdays, and any other special occasion. A yellow cake with chocolate frosting is a nostalgic classic, perfect for kids or sentimental adults. This yellow cake recipe gets its familiar color and moist crumb from the extra yolks in its batter.

For the ultimate crowd-pleasing finish, we topped off this tender cake with a rich chocolate buttercream. Whip up the frosting while the cake bakes, but make sure you have time for the cakes and the buttercream to cool completely before bringing them together.

For The Yellow Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¾ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1¼ cups buttermilk

1. Preheat the oven and prepare the pans. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the inside of two 9-inch-round cake pans. Cover the bottom of each pan with a parchment paper circle. Lightly grease the parchment and flour the inside of the pans. Invert the pans and tap gently.

2. Combine the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. Cream the butter and sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and butter. Beat the mixture for 4 minutes on medium-high speed, stopping the mixer halfway through to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl (the butter and sugar will be very fluffy and pale yellow).

4. Add the eggs and vanilla. With the mixer running, add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time. Allow each egg to fully incorporate before adding the next. After the last egg yolk is added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and mix for 30 seconds on medium-high speed, until just combined.

5. Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture (about 1 cup). Once mixed, add ⅓ of the buttermilk. Repeat the process, alternating between the remaining flour and buttermilk. After you’ve added the last buttermilk, mix the batter for about 30 seconds, until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Smooth the batter with a spatula. Gently tap the pan against the counter to remove any air bubbles

6. Bake the cake. Bake for about 33 to 37 minutes, until golden brown. (A cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.) Place the pans on a wire rack and let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the wire rack. Remove and discard the parchment circles. Cool completely before icing with the frosting.

7. Make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Turn the mixer to low speed. Add the milk in a slow, steady stream. Add the vanilla and increase the speed to medium. Mix until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 1 week. (Allow the frosting to come to room temperature and stir before using it on a cake.)

8. Frost your cake. After the cakes and frosting have cooled, layer and frost your cakes. Decorate as you see fit, and enjoy.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed), sifted
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

A Classic Yellow Cake Recipe

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