Classic Yellow Cake


Nov 15

Tender yellow cake layers with chocolate buttercream.

Is there anything more classic than a yellow cake with chocolate frosting? I continue to hear that it’s a favorite for so many people, especially the box mix. And while I said goodbye to box mixes years ago, I’ll admit, there’s something pretty alluring about the flavor and texture of a yellow cake mix: rich butter and vanilla extracts in a moist and fluffy cake… you just can’t go wrong (except for the fact that it’s not homemade).

I’ve tried a couple yellow cake recipes in the past but was never impressed enough to save them or send myself on a mission to find the best yellow cake recipe – until now, that is. This new mission started  when I offered to make my friend, Brooke from FemaleFoodie.com, a cake for her review. I told her she could pick any cake she wanted, and without hesitation she said a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. 

Of course, I immediately threw out every yellow cake recipe I had, knowing they weren’t nearly good enough, and started my research from scratch. I scoured Pinterest, cookbooks and my go-to cake blogs, selected a handful of recipes and started comparing ingredients. I wanted something that screamed flavorful and moist, so when I saw Grandbaby Cakes recipe with a full cup of sour cream, seven whole eggs and butter extract, I knew I had to give it a try. (Taste of the South Magazine also loved this cake.)

I had high hopes that it would meet my expectations for flavor and texture, but I have to admit, I was slightly let down. It’s a good cake but it was a little too dense for my taste and didn’t resemble any of the flavor from a box mix that I was looking for. 

I was about to try a completely new recipe, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this recipe could be a keeper… with a few tweaks. Since I was going from a slightly artificial flavor, I decided to substitute clear vanilla extract from the pure vanilla extract. I also liked Sweetapolita’s idea of using egg yolks in addition to the whole eggs, so instead of seven whole eggs, I used five whole eggs and two yolks the second time around, hoping to get a slightly more yellow color and richer flavor. (The color didn’t change but I was happy with the flavor.) The other change I made was adding more baking powder to get the cakes to raise a little more and feel a bit more fluffy.

After making my revisions, I gave the first slice to my toughest critic, Westin. I literally sat next to him as he ate, staring at his face for a glimpse of his first, initial, most honest reaction. Luckily, it was a good one. Two thumbs up. (Phew!)

As for the frosting, I first tried the recipe Grandbaby Cakes provided with her yellow cake, but I found it hard to spread and didn’t love the dense texture, so I’ve included my favorite chocolate frosting recipe below.

The real test will be tomorrow night (11/17) when Brooke and I get together for a live Periscope broadcast about this cake, some tips and tricks, and her taste test. Brooke will also be showing us how to make one of my favorite desserts: peanut butter ice cream. I’m so excited! I hope you’ll join us. Check my Instagram for reminders about when we’ll broadcast. 

 

Enjoy!

Photography by Brooke Liason, Female Foodie

Classic Yellow Cake

Yield One 3-layer, 8-inch cake

Tender yellow cake layers with chocolate buttercream.

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 2 eggs yolks, room temperature
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract 
  • 1 teaspoon butter extract

For the Chocolate Frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 5 cups powdered sugar, measured and then sifted
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 10 oz. good quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions

For the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 8" round cake pans with butter or non-stick spray, parchment and another coat of spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium size bowl, sift the cake flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, canola oil, salt and sugar on high until fluffy and smooth, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time to the bowl and beat on medium until well incorporated.
  5. Turn the mixer on low and add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture until fully incorporated. Then add half of the sour cream and blend well, and lastly, add the remaining flour mixture and mix until incorporated.
  6. Add the clear vanilla extract and butter extract and beat on low until incorporated. SCrape down the sides of the bowl and mix on low for another 30 seconds.
  7. Evenly distribute the cake batter among the three pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean or with just a few crumbs. Make sure not to over bake.
  8. Remove cakes from the oven and let cool in pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto cooling racks.
  9. Once completely cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the freezer or refrigerator to chill before frosting.

For the Frosting

  1. In a bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the confectioners' sugar and butter. Beat on low speed for one minute.
  2. Add vanilla and salt and beat until combined.
  3. Add the melted, cooled chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth, about two minutes.
  4.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the whipping cream. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for another 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Assembly
  1. After leveling each cake layer, place the first cake layer (top side/crumbly side up) on a cake board that has a little frosting on it (which acts like glue to hold the cake in place).
  2. Spread about 1 cup of the frosting over the cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top and add another cup of frosting. Make sure to get eye level with the cake to check that your frosting is spread evenly across each cake layer. 
  3. When you get the final cake layer, place it top side down on the second layer of frosting. Spread a thin coat of frosting around the entire cake to lock in the crumbs. Freeze the cake for 10 minutes to set the crumb coat.
  4. Continue to frost and decorate the cake with the remaining frosting.

6 thoughts on “Classic Yellow Cake

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  1. Hello! Just wanted to let you know – you don’t ever say to include the last half of the sour cream. I assume it’s after the 2nd half of the flour mixture.

  2. I was hoping you can help me out. I’ve attempted this cake a few times and it keeps falling and I fallow your recipe to a tee. Any suggestions?

  3. Help!!! I’ve attempted this cake a few times, fallowing the recipe perfectly, and it keeps falling. I’m mixing everything on low after step 3, everything is room temp… I cant figure out what I’m doing wrong. I also live not to far from you so altitude shouldn’t be a problem.

    1. You may want to check the internal temperature of your oven to make sure it’s reading inside what the outside tells you. I’m actually using the yellow cake as a base for a new cake and I took out half cup of sugar and added 3 tablespoons flour and it’s rising beautifully. Sugar often weighs cakes down, so it may have been too much originally on my part.

      1. Thank you so much! I fallowed your advice and checked the temp of my oven and it was 15 degrees off! I also changed the sugar and flour amounts and the cakes turned out beautiful. Thanks again!