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Fluffy, buttery, and supremely moist, this is the best yellow cake you will ever make! It pairs wonderfully with rich chocolate fudge frosting and is suitable for all your celebrations.
Growing up, my mother always made my birthday cakes. I thought at the time that all I wanted was a bakery cake for my birthday, but as I grew up, I realized what a gift those cakes were.
This fluffy yellow cake recipe though just might be my all-time favorite. Fluffy, tangy, moist vanilla cake covered in classic, creamy chocolate frosting. It’s a beloved flavor combination for a reason.
The cake batter here makes for such a moist, fluffy and light cake – you’ll love it.
To get the cake this fluffy, you’ll need to use a few tricks. For starters, the recipe calls for cake flour, which is extra-fine and silky and makes the batter lighter and fluffier.
The buttermilk in the batter adds not only a subtle tang but also, combined with the oil and the egg yolks in the cake, adds richness and moisture.
Folding whipped egg whites into the batter adds a light and airy texture to the cake. It’s an extra step not called for in many cake batters. And while it’s a bit of additional work, it’s worth it to make a super light and fluffy cake.
The trick is to beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Then gently fold in half the egg whites into the batter before adding the other half. The egg whites add airy lightness to the cake batter.
You won’t want to overbake this cake – so I suggest checking it at around 15 minutes and judging what you need to do from there.
After the cake is fully cooled, smother it in the luscious, sweet, and creamy chocolate frosting.
This is a cake you’ll want to eat at breakfast, lunch, and dinner – I promise!
- TASTE: Yellow cake with chocolate frosting.
- TEXTURE: Fluffy and moist.
- EASE: This is a little more involved than a starter-level cake.
- TIME: About an hour.
What You’ll Need
- Cake flour: Cake flour is more fine than all purpose flour, resulting in a lighter crumb and fluffier texture.
- Leavening: This recipe calls for baking powder
- Salt: To balance flavors and activate the baking powder.
- Buttermilk: Adds tang and moisture to the cake. Should be at room temperature
- Oil: Canola, vegetable or other neutral flavored oil.
- Vanilla extract: Make your own with this recipe or use a natural extract.
- Butter: Unsalted butter, softened, for both the cake and the frosting.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar for the cake, and confectioners’ sugar for the frosting.
- Eggs: 7 large egg yolks and 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- Cocoa: Dutch-processed cocoa powder – from the baking aisle, not the hot chocolate aisle, for the frosting.
- Light corn syrup: Keeps the frosting soft and spreadable.
- Semisweet chocolate: Melted and cooled slightly, for the frosting.
- Cake pans
- Parchment paper
- Bake even strips
How to Make Yellow Cake
This fluffy yellow cake follows a pretty standard cake baking method. Cool the cake completely before frosting.
Preheat the oven to 350°F before baking. To prepare the pans, grease the inside bottom and sides of two 9-inch round pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper cut to fit and lightly grease. Dust the inside bottom and sides of the pan with flour, then tap out any excess. Wrap the pans in wet bake-even strips. Set aside.
Make the Cake
- Mix the dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together until well combined. Set aside.
- Mix the liquids. In a large bowl or measuring cup, whisk the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract together until well combined. Set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add in the egg yolks. Mix in the egg yolks, one at a time, and stop and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add in the dry ingredient mixture. Add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the buttermilk mixture (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients) on low speed. Mix in each addition until just combined, making sure not to overmix the batter.
- Beat the egg whites. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold half of the egg whites into the cake batter until just combined, then fold in the remaining egg whites.
- Bake the cake. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs. Take care to not over-bake.
- Cool. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the Frosting
- Beat the butter. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy and pale in color, about 5 minutes.
- Add cocoa powder and half of the sugar. Add the cocoa powder and 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar, beat on low speed until most of the sugar is moistened then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined. Add remaining powdered sugar and beat on medium-low speed until the sugar is well mixed in.
- Add the liquids. Add the corn syrup, vanilla, and salt. Continue to beat until incorporated.
- Add the melted chocolate. Add the melted and cooled chocolate and beat until smooth and creamy.
To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on a serving plate. Evenly cover the top with about 1 ½ cups of frosting. Repeat with the second layer, covering the top and sides of the cake with frosting. Decorate with sprinkles if desired.
Tips For Success
- Refrigerate the cake for about an hour to make it easier to slice and serve.
- Sift the flour after measuring to remove any clumps. This will allow the flour to blend easily into the batter.
- It is not recommended to use anything other than (full-fat) buttermilk.
- Make sure all cold ingredients are brought to room temperature. Set them out on the counter about 1 hour before you begin making the cake.
- Melt the chocolate in advance so that it is cooled but make sure it doesn’t harden.
Storage & Freezing
- Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- The cake layers and frosting will freeze well for up to 3 months, thaw them to room temperature before assembling the cake.
- You may also freeze the frosted cake (whole or sliced), wrap it tightly with plastic wrap, and store it in a large freezer bag or freezer-safe storage container.
More Cake Recipes
Cakes no longer require a special occasion. They’re great for an afternoon snack, a dinner party dessert, or a celebration of any kind. I’m not above having leftover cake for breakfast – but don’t tell my grandmother!
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