Yellow Cake Recipe

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Skip the cake mix. Make a perfect Yellow Cake with Double Fudge Frosting from scratch instead! This version of the birthday cake favorite is 100% homemade. Tender, moist crumb with loads of fudgy frosting.

If you haven’t baked a cake in awhile, I highly suggest our Strawberry Layer cake. From scratch and topped with a dreamy strawberry buttercream frosting, it’s the perfect excuse to have dessert!

Two layers of yellow cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles on a cake platter.
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Why this Yellow Layer Cake is Best

When it comes to cake, what’s your favorite flavor?

Since I started this blog, I’ve been working on creating ‘from scratch’ recipes for cakes and cupcakes.

I certainly am not against using a mix, however, once you bake a cake from scratch you’ll have a hard time going back.

I’ve already got a delicious vanilla cake and chocolate cake recipe. But the yellow cake has been a struggle.

I don’t want something dry and crumbly. But I don’t want it so overly moist it can’t hold up to a good thick pile of frosting.

After trial and error you’ll want to make this yellow layer cake for the next birthday party!

  • Buttermilk in the batter which creates a lighter crumb.
  • Butter and sour cream together provides enough fat to make it fluffy and moist.
  • Combination of cake flour and all-purpose flour to create a tender crumb while still giving the cake enough structure to hold ALL THE FUDGY FROSTING!

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make a yellow layer cake.
  • Buttermilk. My Buttermilk Substitute works perfectly too!
  • Cake flour. This is a finer flour with less protein than all purpose. It’s the key to that fluffy tender crumb. Using a combination of cake flour and all-purpose creates the perfect texture. Be sure to measure the flour correctly!
  • Unsalted butter. Using unsalted butter helps control the saltiness of your yellow cake. If you use salted butter, omit 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt from the cake recipe.
  • Sour cream. Plain Greek yogurt can be substituted. Along with the buttermilk, it helps the cake stay moist and soft.
  • Eggs. You’ll need 3 full eggs, plus one extra egg yolk. Save the excess egg white for a batch of meringue cookies.
  • Dark chocolate cocoa powder. The better quality your cocoa, the better your fudge frosting will taste! Ghirardelli and Hershey’s Special Dark are both good choices.

How to Make a Yellow Cake

Step by step photos showing how to make yellow cake with fudge frosting.

To make the cake:

Beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs followed by the sour cream.

Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk in batches. Once combined, transfer the batter to 9 inch cake pans.

Bake and cool completely.

To make the frosting:

Melt chocolate morsels and butter together in the microwave. Whisk the butter and chocolate together completely.

Beat the melted chocolate mixture with the remaining frosting ingredients. The frosting should be light and fluffy!

How to assemble:

Place one cooled cake layer on a cake plate. Spread fudge frosting on top. Add the second cake layer on top. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides.

Yellow birthday cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles on a white cake platter.

Tips and Tricks

Baking pan cheat sheet for cakes.

Recipe FAQs

I don’t have cake flour. Can I use only all purpose flour instead?

You can use all regular flour if needed, but the consistency will be different. The higher gluten content of the all purpose flour will make the cake denser and less soft.

Can your freeze yellow cake?

This cake can be frozen frosted or unfrosted for up to 3 months. Wrap in foil, then place in a freezer bag to preserve freshness.

Slice of yellow layer cake on a stack of white plates.

More Cake Recipes

Easy Cake Ideas

See all Cake recipes

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Yellow Cake

4.82 from 37 votes
By: Aimee
Skip the cake mix. Make a perfect Yellow Cake with Double Fudge Frosting from scratch instead! This version of the birthday cake favorite is 100% homemade. Tender, moist crumb with loads of fudgy frosting.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12 servings


For the cake:

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cup cake flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup milk chocolate morsels
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sprinkles optional
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  • For the Cake, beat butter for 2 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla, continue beating with electric mixer. Add eggs and extra egg yolk, beating well after each addition. Beat in the sour cream.
  • Combine the flours, baking powder and salt in a small bowl using a whisk. Add to mixing bowl, alternating with the buttermilk. Beat 2 minutes after all is added.
  • Pour cake batter into two greased and floured 9-inch cake pans (make sure they have 2 inch sides). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-38 minutes. Remove and cool completely.
  • For the frosting, add milk chocolate morsels and butter into a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, mix and continue heating in 30 second increments (mine took one minute). Be sure to whisk the butter into the melted chocolate completely.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine sour cream, dark cocoa powder, salt and melted chocolate mixture. Mix until blended. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, beat for 3-5 minutes until well blended and fluffy.
  • To assemble cake, lay one layer of cake on a cake platter. Spread frosting over the top. Add second layer of cake. Spread frosting over sides and top of cake.
  • Add sprinkles for decoration. ENJOY.


  • To make a crumb coating with the frosting, spread a very thin layer of frosting over the cake. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Add final layer of frosting and enjoy.
  • To make cupcakes, line a cupcake tin with paper liners. Scoop batter into cupcakes until 2/3 full (makes 24 cupcakes). Bake for about 15-17 minutes. Cool before frosting.
  • Add colorful sprinkles to the frosted cake for some festive flair.
  • Make sure to use cake pans with 2-inch sides.
  • Buttermilk: use store bought or use my homemade buttermilk substitute recipe.
  • Remember to grease and flour your cake pans. Or use my Homemade Cake Release!
  • Swap out the frosting recipe! Use our chocolate sour cream frosting or perfect chocolate buttercream frosting recipes instead if you prefer!
  • Storage: Keep cake in airtight cake saver at room temperature for up to 5 days. Or freeze for up to 3 months.



Serving: 1slice, Calories: 700kcal, Carbohydrates: 105g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 121mg, Sodium: 281mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 72g
Course: Cake
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!

There’s no question about it. Baking from scratch tastes better! This Yellow Cake with double fudge frosting is a delicious centerpiece for any celebration!

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on September 17, 2021

Comments & Reviews

  1. I’m just getting into baking from scratch so far I have done a double chocolate and a vanilla. Today is my mom and nephews birthday so I think this is perfect thank you for sharing. I was attracted because you use cake flour in yours lol. It looks so pretty and delicious. I don’t have chocolate chips and it’s snowing like crazy so I’m going to try your chocolate buttercream frosting with it. 

  2. Oooh i made something very similar a few months ago, and it was delicious! Loved seeing how you had a different take on it. Looks like a great dinner to me, enjoy.

  3. These look beautiful and absolutely perfect! I love baking from scratch…and always feel guilty if I cheat and use a mix. This is a must try 🙂

  4. Chocolate fudge frosting is my favorite thing to eat! I always take the excess from other people’s plates and honestly, I leave the cake parts over and just eat spoonfuls of the frosting!

  5. Ahh this frosting! I have always preferred fudgy over fluffy. I am excited to try this recipe. I love the flavor of boxed yellow cake but have always found it a little dry. Pinned!!

  6. from scratch is pretty much always best! and this cake def. delivers-it’s gorgeous and simply classic and PERFECT! looove that frosting!

  7. This cake is gorgeous Aimee! I love yellow cake too and finding a good scratch recipe is so hard. I can’t wait to try this especially with that glorious frosting – totally my favorite part too! Pinned!

  8. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is my husband’s FAVORITE cake…and his birthday just happens to be next week. I’ll be trying this for his birthday!

4.82 from 37 votes (35 ratings without comment)

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