Is there anything more nostalgic than yellow cake with chocolate frosting? This is the classic birthday cake we all grew up on. A box of yellow cake mix and a container of chocolate frosting. I have a clear memory in my head of being a little girl and going to the grocery store with my mom to buy the ingredients for (if you can call a box mix and a container of frosting ingredients) and being so excited to help her make my birthday cake.
To be honest, as I got older I kind of forgot about this birthday cake as my palate got more sophisticated and I started choosing cakes like “Better Than Sex Cake” or “Tres Leches” which were made from scratch rather than a boring old box mix. I think I was 12 years old when my “food snobbish” tendencies started to emerge and I became too cool for boxed cake mix.
It wasn’t until years later in college, that I came across this nostalgic cake again. It was my birthday and my sweet roommates decided to surprise me with a birthday cake. They asked me what kind I wanted and I think I responded with something fancy and bless their hearts, they didn’t pull that off but instead they made the classic yellow cake from a box mix with a container of pre-made chocolate frosting. It was the thought that counts, right?
I once again dismissed this cake as I went through college and eventually graduated. It wasn’t until several years later when my sister texted me and told me she wanted me to come up with a recipe for, you guessed it, yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I honestly ignored her request and said “yeah maybe someday”. It wasn’t until I visited a bakery a few weeks later in Salt Lake City, The Chocolate, where their specialty was a cake called The Husband. This cake just happened to be yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I decided to give it a try and boy am I glad I did. This homemade cake was 10x better than the box mix I remembered from my childhood and college. I knew I needed to try and recreate this cake at home so to the drawing board I went. Enter my Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting recipe. The best from scratch version, the internet can find (in my most humble opinion).
Tips & Tricks
- It’s super important that you use room temperature ingredients for this cake. Otherwise, your cake will be flat and tough. I like to take my ingredients out about 90 minutes before making the cake.
- You can make this cake using 8 inch cake pans or in a traditional 9×13 cake pan. If you go the 9×13 route, you will only need to make 1/2 batch of chocolate frosting, otherwise you will have A LOT of extra frosting.
- If you make the 9×13 version, I recommend turning your oven down to 330 degrees and you will need to bake the cake for up to 30 minutes longer than normal. Check it every 5 minutes after the 30 minute mark. When moist crumbs on a toothpick, come out clean, the cake is done.
- If you are making the 8 inch, 3 layered version, I like to have 8 inch parchment rounds to line the bottom of my pans. You can find the ones I use here.
- If you are in a hurry and don’t want to go through the process of making the chocolate ganache frosting, this recipe from Cake by Courtney would be a great alternative.
- This cake is best served at room temperature
Yellow Cake With Chocolate Frosting
For the cake:
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp butter extract
- 2 1/2 sticks salted butter (room temperature)
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 4 whole eggs (room temperature)
- 4 egg yolks (room temperature)
- 1 cup buttermilk (room temperature)
- 1/2 cup sour cream (room temperature)
For the frosting:
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream, divided
- 3/4 cup butter, divided
- 24 oz high quality chocolate
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar on medium high for 4 minutes.
- Add oil and beat for 1 minute.
- Add eggs and egg yolks one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between additions. Once all the eggs are added, add extracts and beat mixture for 5 minutes.
- In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- In a small bowl whisk together sour cream and buttermilk.
- To the butter mixture, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk/sour cream mixture. Always starting and ending with the flour mixture.
- Mix until no flour streaks remain, don’t over mix.
- Spray three 8 inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line with parchment paper rounds. Alternatively, spray and grease a 9×13 cake pan.
- Pour batter evenly among pans (or pan). Bake for 24-30 minutes or until a toothpick entered in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs on it. (May need up to 30 minutes longer if baking the 9×13 version. See Tips & Tricks)
- For the frosting: In a medium sized bowl add 24 oz chocolate and set aside.
- In a medium sized sauce pan add 1 3/4 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup butter and 2 tbsp sugar. Whisk together.
- Heat over medium high heat until the mixture comes to a simmer.
- Pour hot cream mixture over top the chocolate.
- Let sit for 5 minutes and then stir together until smooth.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let chill for 2 hours in the fridge.
- Once chilled, add mixture to a large mixing bowl. Whip on medium high speed for 4-5 minutes.
- Add remaining 1/4 cream, 1/2 cup softened butter and 1 cup powdered sugar.
- Whip on medium/high speed until frosting is light and fluffy.
- Frost cake with whipped frosting and serve.