The BEST Yellow Cake

A deliciously buttery, moist and tender, melt in your mouth Yellow Cake that puts all others including the box to shame!  Make it for every birthday, simple Sunday suppers or family gatherings and enjoy with any frosting you deserve but my fave is this classic chocolate frosting boos!  It literally hits every single time.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy.

A close up of a sliced yellow birthday cake with sprinkles on top

I’ve been told I’m high maintenance. This yellow cake recipe with chocolate frosting was created to prove that idea dead wrong. I’m a simple gal with simple wants and needs. Do I love shopping for new clothes and shoes? Sure! What girl doesn’t. Do I sometimes have a tendency to order the most expensive thing on the menu? Yep, but it really is because I enjoy quality food! 

From time to time, I may be guilty of enjoying the finer things but I love the simple things too, like this cake. This Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting is a traditional, plain-jane cake that I grew up on but adore. I need no other cake in the world; it satisfies me each and every time.

What makes this cake so special is its traditional flavors and staying power.  This is indeed a classic in every possible way.  As a child, if I ever had homemade cake on my birthday, it was a yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  My husband and many of my friends told me they grew up on this cake too. Regardless of race, class or religion, this cake recipe with my homemade chocolate frosting recipe has been around for years and will continue to be made for many years to come!

Perks and Highlights of the Best Yellow Cake Recipe

Cuisine Inspiration: Classic American There’s nothing quite like the nostalgic joy a traditional yellow cake brings. It’s reminiscent of grandma’s kitchen, joyful birthday parties, and the simple pleasures of life coming together in a symphony of taste.

Primary Cooking Method: Baking We’re turning up the heat and baking our way to bliss with this golden beauty. A perfectly preheated oven and your undivided love are all that’s needed.

Dietary Info: Joyful Indulgence This one’s for celebrating the sweet moments, folks! While it’s not for specific dietary restrictions, it’s a heartfelt indulgence that’s meant to be shared.

Key Flavor: Butter & Vanilla Symphony The classic, rich taste of butter paired with the sweet, aromatic whisper of vanilla creates a flavor profile that’s both comforting and exhilarating.

Skill Level: Beginner-Friendly No fancy pastry skills? No problem! If you’re passionate about putting a smile on faces, this recipe is your golden ticket.

Special Perks:

  1. Fluffy Perfection: Achieve bakery-level fluffiness without needing a culinary degree. This cake rises like the morning sun, light and cheerful.
  2. Mix & Match Majesty: This yellow cake is your canvas. From chocolate frosting to fresh berries, it pairs beautifully with a myriad of toppings and fillings.
  3. Celebration-Ready: Whether it’s a birthday bash or a ‘just because’ day, this cake brings the festivity. Its universal appeal makes it a safe bet for any gathering.
  4. Bake and Share: It’s not just a cake; it’s a memory-maker, perfect for family projects, baking with kids, or a sweet gift for a neighbor. The joy is in the sharing.
  5. Stands the Test of Time: This isn’t a flash-in-the-pan trend cake. It’s a timeless classic that you’ll return to over and over again. Because sometimes, the simplest things hold the most magic.
Cake batter in a large mixing bowl before baking

What is Yellow Cake?

You’ve yet to have a yellow cake as good as this one! Rich, moist, and flavorful, this is the perfect sponge to pair with a decadent, yet airy chocolate frosting. It has all the traditional ingredients: unsalted butter, eggs, cake flour, a tiny bit of salt, baking soda and powder, sugar, vanilla and my secret: butter flavored shortening.

To achieve the right flavor and texture, it’s imperative that all the ingredients are at room temperature. Allow the butter, eggs, and buttermilk to sit out for about 90 minutes before baking. 

Be patient throughout the process, a heavy amount of mixing is involved and you’ll need to pay attention closely. Add ingredients slowly, adjust mixer speed when instructed to, and only mix until fully incorporated. Go with your gut and don’t be afraid to get in there and taste the batter (it’s the best part!). 

A yellow cake frosted with chocolate frosting on a white cake stand against a white background


This cake of course depends on several ingredients that truly make it stand out to become such an incredible yellow cake.

  • Butter- I use the best butter I can for this cake because it is essential that the flavor will come through.  I believe in using a higher fat butter (like a European style) because it just really elevates the flavor and has less water.
  • Egg Yolks– To give the cake more yellow coloring and richness, we add additional egg yolks.
  • Butter Flavored Shortening– I love oil based cakes because they are always so moist and incredible.  Using a butter flavored shortening here adds additional tenderness and more of that buttery flavor we love in a yellow butter cake.
  • Buttermilk– Instead of regular milk, buttermilk is used here because it adds additional moistness and a tangy wonderful flavor profile.  
Slices of yellow birthday cake on white plates with chocolate frosting ready to serve

How to Make Yellow Cake

  1. Preheat to Perfection: Start by setting your oven to 350°F. Embrace your inner grease monkey and get those 2 8-inch round cake pans nice and slick with non-stick baking spray.
  2. Sift to Lift: In a mixing bowl, play the flour power game. Sift together the cake flour and baking powder not once, not twice, but three times (trust us, it’s worth it), then set it aside like the treasure it is.
  3. Cream Dream Team: In the grand arena of your mixer’s bowl, let the paddle attachment do the heavy lifting. Combine the butter and shortening at low speed until they’re smoother than a jazz tune. Pause for a scrape-down intermission – both bowl and paddle deserve it.
  4. Sweet Beat: Introduce sugar and salt to the bowl and start the get-together at low speed. After a 30-second mingle, it’s time to party! Crank up to medium-high and let them dance for 4-5 minutes. Mid-party, give the bowl and paddle a twice-over scrape-down to keep the groove smooth.
  5. Eggstravaganza: Once you’ve got that light and fluffy vibe, drop the speed to low. Add the eggs and egg yolks one by one, blending and giving side-scrapes the spotlight as needed.
  6. Vanilla Thrilla: Post-egg party, it’s vanilla extract’s time to shine. In it goes, followed by a medium-high speed beat until things get thick and the color turns a pale, happy yellow (3-4 minutes of beat time should do the trick).
  7. Dry and Fly, Wet and Set: Keeping things on the down-low (speed, that is), it’s time for the dry mixture and buttermilk to join the batter bash. It’s all about balance – start with ⅓ of the dry, then swoop in with ½ of the wet. Post-wet mix-in, give that bowl a good scrape.
  8. Mix and Match: Keep the party popping with another ⅓ of the dry, the last of the wet, and a final flourish of dry. After a final scrape-down of the bowl and paddle, mix at low speed just until the last dry streaks get with the program.
  9. Pan Plan: Divide and conquer – that batter’s ready for its cake pan debut. Share it evenly between your prepped pans and then let the oven work its 30-minute magic (or until a toothpick plays peekaboo and comes out with minimal crumbs).
  10. Cool Rules: Post-oven, those golden beauties need a 10-minute time-out in their pans. Then, it’s flip time – invert them onto cooling racks and let patience do its thing before you launch the frosting fest.

Layer Cake Assembly Tips

Alright y’all, I’m coming in with my 3 hottest tips for creating a layered masterpiece. These work great with this yellow birthday cake recipe.  Don’t sweat it, with these tricks up your sleeve, you’re going to be a professional in no time. 

Don’t Stack Uneven Layers

After your layers have completely cooled (and I mean COMPLETELY) use a sharp serrated knife to trim both the tops and edges. Each layer should be flat, even and a bit crumbly. Be patient and careful; this process is one that takes practice.

Don’t Frost a Warm Cake

Frosting a cake before it has cooled is a recipe for disaster. The moment your frosting hits the cake it will begin to melt and run everywhere. You want your frosting to work like glue, so let it!

If you’re as impatient as I am, it might be a good idea to bake and cool your cakes the day before assembly. 

Don’t Skip the Crumb Coat  

Starting with a crumb coating helps you to avoid a clumpy, messy end result. Once layered, apply a thin, even layer of buttercream to the top and side of the cake. Cover the cake and let refrigerate for about 15 minutes before applying the final coating.

A close up of a slice of yellow cake with chocolate frosting on a white plate with a fork going through it

How to Store Leftover Layer Cake

Keep your freshly baked cake in a dry, cool area and cover with foil or plastic wrap to keep from drying out. At room temperature, this cake will last for 2-3 days. 

If refrigerating, Yellow Cake will last for up to a week in an airtight container. You can even freeze your cake; wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag.  The freezer will maintain the quality of the cake for 4-6 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter at room temperature for about an hour. 

My Favorite Cake Recipes

If you ask me, no special occasion is required for cake. Whether it’s a birthday or just a regular Thursday afternoon, you and I deserve a fat slice of tender, sugary goodness. 

Have one of these slices with me: 

A close up of a sliced yellow birthday cake with sprinkles on top

Yellow Cake

A deliciously buttery, moist and tender, melt in your mouth Yellow Cake that puts all others including the box to shame! 
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Servings: 36 servings


  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup buttermilk room temperature


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F, then liberally spray 2 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick baking spray.
  • In a mixing bowl, sift together the cake flour and baking powder three times then set aside.
  • In your mixer’s bowl, use the paddle attachment to combine the butter and shortening together, at low speed, until smooth. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and paddle.
    Add the sugar and salt to the bowl and begin blending them with the fats at low speed. After 30 seconds of mixing, increase the speed to medium-high and beat the mixture for 4-5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and paddle twice during this beating stage.
  • Once the mixture is light and fluffy, decrease the speed to low. Begin adding the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time. Blend each in well after and scrape down the sides as needed.
    Once all of the eggs have been added add the vanilla extract, then increase the speed to medium-high. Beat until the mixture is thick and pale yellow in appearance, or for 3-4 minutes.
  • With the mixer on the lowest speed, add dry mixture and the buttermilk to batter in stages. Begin with ⅓ of the flour mixture, followed by ½ of the buttermilk. Scrape down the bowl after the wet ingredients have been incorporated.
    Continue this mixing-in process: ⅓ of the dry, followed by remaining wet ingredients, and lastly the remaining dry ingredients.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and mix, at low speed, just the last of the dry mixture is combined.
  • Divide the batter evenly between your prepared cake pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes with minimal crumbs attached.
    The sides of the cake will pull away from the pan, but the center will be springy and bounce back when pressed lightly.
  • Remove pans from the oven and allow them to rest in pans for 10 minutes. Invert cakes from pans onto cooling racks, then allow them to cool completely before frosting.


Keep your freshly baked cake in a dry, cool area and cover with foil or plastic wrap to keep from drying out. At room temperature, this cake will last for 2-3 days. 
If refrigerating, Yellow Cake will last for up to a week in an airtight container. You can even freeze your cake; wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag.  The freezer will maintain the quality of the cake for 4-6 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter at room temperature for about an hour.


Calories: 138kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 81mg | Potassium: 58mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 128IU | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @GrandbabyCakes or tag #grandbabycakes!
Filed Under:  Cake, Dessert and Baking, Oven


  1. Thank you! I’ve been baking for over 30 years and have searched high and low for a yellow cake recipe to beat a box – THIS IS IT! The crumb is perfection, cake is delicate with structural integrity, and flavor is on point. Couldn’t be happier to add this to my recipe repertoire.

  2. There was literally not a crumb left when my family had this cake. My nephew who doesn’t even like cake had TWO slices.

  3. What is “butter flavoured shortening “. Here in the U.K., we have butter, margarine and lard.
    Could I just use butter for this cake. It looks so gorgeous, I love it.

    1. Use shortening or Crisco and just add a bit of butter extract…..flavoring. I know Wilton makes it but I’m sure others do, too.

    1. Alice, you can actually find a converter on the internet to do that for you. I do it regularly and it’s quite helpful and easy. I’m going to try this recipe soon.

  4. This cake looks gorgeous! My teen is into making cakes so I’m going to ask her to make this for us to enjoy on the weekend!

  5. This sure sounds like a tried and tested recipe! I need to try this with strawberry buttercream for my daughters birthday!

  6. I am hesitant to make layer cakes, but your photos are so beautiful and inspiring! And this cake sounds super moist and delicious! I am going to give it a go!

5 from 12 votes (1 rating without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating