A three layer yellow cake with the most delicious chocolate buttercream frosting is perfect for a birthday cake or any special occasion!
It’s my birthday! It kinda snuck up on me this year. It did not, however, sneak up on me so much that I forgot to make myself a cake. Absolutely not. making myself a birthday cake is a tradition I like to have because for one, I love sharing the recipes. And two, Marc always makes me a cake too, so that just means I get two cakes! This Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting might be hard to top, though!
This three layer yellow cake is such a great standard yellow cake recipe. Even if you want to make vanilla or strawberry frosting, this yellow cake recipe is the way to go!
It starts with butter, sugar, and eggs. I recommend all of these ingredients, along with the buttermilk, to be at room temperature. This helps the ingredients mix more evenly and actually gives the final product more volume. The other “wet” ingredient is pure vanilla extract and since that is the flavor that shines in this cake, I would definitely use the good kind! No imitation vanilla in this recipe.
The remaining cake ingredients are pretty standard – all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
For the frosting, there is (a LOT of) butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, salt, and cocoa powder. It is rich and oh-so-very delicious!
Tips for Making Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
As mentioned above, always start with room temperature ingredients, including butter, eggs, and buttermilk.
When measuring the flour, be sure to fluff it up first and then spoon it into the measuring cup before leveling it off. Don’t pack the flour in, otherwise you might get a dry cake. I actually weighed my flour for this recipe, so if you have a kitchen scale (I have this one), I would highly recommend using it!
Grease your cake pans AND line them with parchment paper. I’ve tried making this without parchment paper on the bottom of my pans and they never come out as well as when there’s parchment paper. I know it’s a pain to do it, but it’s totally worth it!
Don’t over mix! This is the number one cause of tough cake, so stir in the final ingredients until JUST combined and don’t beat it.
To get your eggs to room temperature, put them in a bowl of warm water for 20 minutes.
To make your own buttermilk, combine 1 3/4 cups of milk with 1/4 cup lemon juice and let it sit for 10 minutes.
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Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (500 grams)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups buttermilk at room temperature
- 4 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 7 cups powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease 3 9" cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. To do this, set your cake pan on a sheet of parchment paper and trace it with a marker. Cut it out. Repeat two more times for all three cake pans.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer, add the butter and granulated sugar.
- Beat until well combined, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined.
- Add the vanilla, and beat until combined.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add 1/3 of the flour to the butter mixture. Stir it in with a rubber spatula.
- Add 1/2 of the buttermilk, stirring with the rubber spatula until just combined.
- Repeat with the remaining flour and buttermilk, ending with the flour mixture. Don't over mix!
- Divide the batter among the three pans.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 27-29 minutes, until the tops are slightly golden and a toothpick comes out of the middle clean.
- Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then invert each pan onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Be sure to run a knife around the edges of the cake pans before inverting them.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy.
- Add the cocoa powder and beat until combined.
- Add 1 cup of powdered sugar, followed by 1 tbsp of milk, until all of the powdered sugar and milk have been used. Add the vanilla extract and salt. Add additional tbsp or two of milk, as needed.
- To frost the cake, place the bottom layer on a cake stand. Add one layer of frosting on top of cake.
- Top the frosting with another layer of cake and repeat. Repeat with third cake and layer.
- Finish by frosting the outside with the remaining frosting. Decorate with sprinkles.