Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

by Mary & Christina on March 3, 2012 · 6 comments

Happy Birthday Mom!!!!  My Mom’s birthday was yesterday, March 2nd.  To celebrate, my family had a small dinner party at my parents house with our Aunt and Uncle.  For dinner, I made a filet mignon roast, roasted brussels sprouts, baked potatoes, and a salad.  We had a really great time and it was nice to be together with everyone for the night.

Mom golfing in Cancun

Growing up, the Duncan Hines Yellow Cake mix with canned Chocolate Frosting was a staple for most of our birthday celebrations.  However, in the summer months, for me and my Dad’s birthdays, my Mom would make her Strawberry Shortcake with fresh Jersey berries.  When I asked my Mom earlier this week what kind of cake she wanted I knew that she would request yellow cake with chocolate frosting as she always does.  I decided that instead of making the Duncan Hines cake that I would make a yellow cake from scratch.  It didn’t take me long to settle on a recipe that I came across on Smitten Kitchen.  The cake had rave reviews and hundreds of wonderful comments from people who have tried the recipe.  The frosting that she made with her yellow cake did not really sound so great to me and also did not get the best reviews so I decided to use a different chocolate frosting recipe from Savory Sweet Life (I also made her Classic Vanilla Buttercream frosting earlier this year and it rocked).

I was a little nervous that the cake wouldn’t turn out since I had never tried this recipe before.  However, I had high hopes from the taste of the cake batter…which I may have had a little too much of.  The cake turned out to be perfect and much, much better than the Duncan Hines boxed mix.  This Yellow Cake recipe was honestly very simple and does not require much more work than a boxed mix.  My family is done with buying the Duncan Hines boxed mix…it doesn’t even compare to how great this cake is.  Everyone loved the cake and it was hard to just eat one slice.  In fact, I may have just had two slices as a mid-morning snack.

Yellow Birthday Layer Cake (from Smitten Kitchen)


  • 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (480 grams) cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup, 1/2 pound or 225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (400 grams) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups buttermilk (475 ml), well-shaken


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.)
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated.
  3. Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. (I like to drop mine a few times from two inches up, making a great big noisy fuss.) Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (from Savory Sweet Life)


  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!)
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract (I used Vanilla Extract)
  • 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream (I used Heavy Cream)


  1. Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

the cake batter all ready to go.


the cakes cooling in their pans on racks.



{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nicole @ Sugar Coated Sisters March 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Aww the cake looks awesome! My mom’s birthday was yesterday, March 2nd also! I didn’t get to see her though because I’m down at college :(

Happy bday to your mom!


2 Jenni April 11, 2012 at 11:40 am

Great information here. Some people say chocolate is better then anything. We have to agree 100%.


3 AJ September 1, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Delicious frosting!! I didn’t make your cake because I had already started baking a mix. The frosting is perfect. Better than my mom’s!!


4 December 18, 2012 at 8:22 pm

This specific posting Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream
Frosting, has genuinely great advice and I actually discovered exactly what I
had been researching for. Thank you.


5 Mary & Christina December 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm

you are quite welcome :)


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