There are some days when only a BIG slice of buttery homemade Yellow Cake will do. Preferably, slathered in a generous coat of rich chocolate buttercream, but I’m not picky!
If you’ve been searching for the perfect scratch Yellow Cake recipe, look no further. Today we’re excited to share a perfectly fluffy, moist and flavor-packed scratch Yellow Cake recipe with you.
Just look at this beautiful Yellow Cake!! Ahhhhh….
The BEST Yellow Layer Cake- So versatile!
Everyone needs a go-to homemade yellow layer cake recipe, and this one deserves a place in your recipe file of favorites. It’s our go-to. This recipe is not only delicious, but it’s so versatile!
This moist scratch yellow cake recipe also works perfectly for yellow cupcakes! The cake layers are very moist and soft, but sturdy enough for fondant, and it makes a great base cake recipe for adding extracts and flavorings.
The Mixing Method for this Yellow Cake
The mixing method for this recipe is somewhat of a cross between the reverse creaming method of mixing and the traditional method.
As with our other reverse creaming method recipes, the dry ingredients are combined in the beginning, followed by butter until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
The difference is that the eggs are then added one by one, as with the traditional method. Then, the wet ingredients are added at the end.
The final result is an ultra moist cake with tons of flavor and a finer crumb.
How to Make Yellow Cake from Scratch
You can find the full, printable cake recipe further down in this post- but here is a quick rundown of our steps!
First, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour three 8×2 inch round cake pans. I also like to place a piece of parchment in the bottom of each pan.
Next, add the first five ingredients to a large mixing bowl for your stand mixer. Mix on low speed for at least 30 seconds to combine.
Add the slightly softened unsalted butter to the bowl in slices and mix on low speed just until it looks like coarse sand. This is caused by the dry ingredients being coated by the butter. Don’t over-mix or it will turn into a large dough-like ball.
Next, add the room temperature eggs one at a time, mixing until blended.
Add the vanilla extract to the 1 cup buttermilk. With the mixer on lowest speed gradually pour into the mixer. Increase the speed to #2 or # 3 (on a KitchenAid mixer). Mix for two minutes. Batter will be fluffy and smooth. If you are using a hand mixer rather than a stand mixer, you will need to mix a bit longer.
Finally, divide the yellow cake batter evenly between your three prepared 8-inch round pans.
Bake at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow the cake layers to cool still in the pans on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before turning them out.
FOR THE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
This is a simple American buttercream, meaning it is very easy to put together- butter, confectioners sugar, a little salt, vanilla, milk, and in this case, cocoa powder to make it chocolatey. It is delicious and pipes perfectly! Find the full, printable recipe further down in this post.
- First, add the softened unsalted butter and mix on low to medium speed until smooth. Add vanilla and blend into the butter. Add powdered sugar, salt, and unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Add most of the milk. Begin mixing at low speed so you won’t have a cloud of powdered sugar in your kitchen.
- Continue to mix adding remaining milk as needed. It may take 5 to 6 minutes to reach the smoothness and consistency you like.
- As you mix, the chocolate frosting will become very smooth. You can add additional milk (1 Tablespoon at a time) if the frosting is too thick or additional powdered sugar if too soft.
What Gives a Yellow Cake it’s Yellow Color?
Yellow layer cakes like this recipe have a lovely light shade of yellow thanks to the eggs and butter. Not only do these ingredients add richness and flavor, they add color as well!
There can be some color variation when comparing some yellow cakes to others– depending on the amount of eggs & butter used, as well as the brand. Some brands of butter have a brighter yellow shade, and some egg yolks are brighter than others also.
However, no matter what brand/variety of eggs or butter, your yellow cake is going to have a deeper color than most white cakes (which often omit the egg yolks), as well as recipes that call for oil or shortening rather than butter.
This yellow cake is wonderful- definitely a keeper!
*5/9/2019: We updated our old Yellow Layer Cake in favor of this new version which incorporates even more butter, as well as buttermilk for a softer crumb and extra boost of moistness! As an added bonus, this new yellow cake yields more batter (about 8 cups vs. 6.5). The final cake stands just over 4 inches. If you are attached to our OLDER Version of Yellow Cake from Scratch- you still can find it here!
What Frostings Pair Well with Yellow Cake?
Now that you have the BEST scratch Yellow Cake, you’re going to some frosting options! The good news is that everything goes with yellow cake, which makes this a great go-to recipe for all sorts of occasions.
There’s really no wrong answer here, whether you’re craving chocolate or something fruity! Here are a few favorites to keep in mind.
Chocolate Buttercream (of course!)
- 3 cups (342g) cake flour
- 2 cups (400g) sugar
- 2 teaspoons (8g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (3g) baking soda
- ½ teaspoon (3g) salt
- 2 sticks (226g) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 large eggs
- 1 ¼ cup (299g) buttermilk — **if you do not have buttermilk see note below
- 1 Tablespoon (12g) vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Buttercream
- 3 sticks (339g) unsalted butter, softened (do not soften butter in the microwave)
- 8 cups powdered sugar (icing sugar in UK) (920g) more if needed. ** For cupcakes, I like to use 7c. (805g) for a softer frosting
- 1 cup (82g) unsweeteded cocoa (not Dutch processed, measure then sift
- ¾ (180g) milk plus 2 Tablespoons or more if needed to reach the spreading consistency you like
- 2 teaspoons vanilla (12 grams)
- 1 teaspoon salt (6g) we like the finer grain of plain popcorn salt, to cut the sweetness
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour three 8x2 inch round cake pans. Place a piece of parchment in the bottom of each pan.
- Put the first 5 ingredients into the bowl of your mixer. Mix on low speed for at least 30 seconds to combine.
- Add the softened butter (cut into pieces) mix on low speed just until it looks like coarse sand. The dry ingredients will be moistened/coated by the butter and will stick to together if you press some between two fingers. Don't over-mix or it will turn into a large dough-like ball.
- Add the eggs 1 at a time, mixing until blended.
- Add the vanilla to the 1 ¼ cup buttermilk. With the mixer on lowest speed gradually pour into the mixer. Increase the speed to #2 or # 3 (on a KitchenAid mixer). Mix for 2 minutes. Batter will be fluffy and smooth. If you are using a hand mixer rather than a stand mixer, you will need to mix a bit longer.
- Divide batter evenly between your three prepared (8 inch) pans.
- Bake at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and turn out of pans.
For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Add butter and mix on low to medium speed until smooth. Add vanilla and blend into the butter. Add powdered sugar, salt, and cocoa powder.
- Add most of the milk. Begin mixing at low speed so you won't have a cloud of powdered sugar in your kitchen.
- Continue to mix adding remaining milk as needed. It may take 5 to 6 minutes to reach the smoothness and consistency you like. It will take longer if using a hand mixer. As you mix the frosting will become very smooth. You can add additional milk (1 Tablespoon at a time) if the frosting is too thick or additional powdered sugar if too soft.
This is my favorite chocolate frosting! Recipe can easily be doubled or halved. This recipe makes approximately 7 cups of frosting.
** Buttermilk Substitute: In a measuring cup add 1 Tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice. Fill the cup with milk to the 1 ¼ cup mark, stir and let sit for 5 minutes.
Delicious Yellow Cake- Full Video Tutorial
As mentioned above, we are also sharing our FAVORITE Classic Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe! Don’t even think about canned chocolate frosting. I promise, this creamy chocolate buttercream tastes a million times better and is SO easy to make!
Here’s a link to this chocolatey, flavorful, pipeable frosting: Classic Chocolate Buttercream
Finally, if you would like to become a member of MyCakeSchool.com, we would love to have you!! Members have access to our entire cake video tutorial library, which includes hundreds of cake video tutorials!
No matter what your cake decorating skill level, there is always something exciting and new to learn! You can find all of the information here: Join MyCakeSchool.com!