Every home baker needs this classic recipe for yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting at hand; it's the perfect cake for a birthday or special celebration -- or just to have sitting on the kitchen counter when that need for sweets shows up.
- Yellow Cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup/1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup milk
- Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
- 3 sticks/3/4 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 8 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup whole or low-fat milk (more if needed)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Lightly grease two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans. Line the pan bottoms with waxed paper.
Make the Cake
- In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well-blended.
- Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the beater when necessary.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly.
- Bake the cake layers until they pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Set the cakes in the pans on wire racks to cool for about 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the racks and remove the waxed paper. Turn the cakes right side up and cool completely.
Make the Frosting
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and cocoa powder until smooth.
- Gradually beat in 2 cups of powdered sugar until blended.
- Gradually beat in the milk and vanilla until well-blended.
- Gradually beat in the remaining 6 cups of powdered sugar. If necessary, beat in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach a desired spreading consistency.
Assemble the Cake
- Trim the top of the cake layers with a long serrated knife, cutting off any raised areas.
- Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate.
- Spread 1/2 cup of the frosting evenly over the layer. Top with the remaining cake layer. Frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting.
• Store the frosted cake at cool room temperature until ready to serve, then refrigerate loosely covered for up to two days.
• The unfrosted cake layers can be wrapped well and refrigerated up to three days or frozen up to three months.
• Be sure all ingredients are at room temperature, especially eggs. If eggs are cold, immerse them in warm water before you crack them.
• To avoid disasters and infinite frustrations, don't experiment with pan size.
Use what the recipe calls for.
• Be sure to preheat the oven.
• Bake the cakes in the center of the oven on one rack. Allow at least 2 inches of space around the sides of the oven for good heat circulation.
• Keep freshly baked cakes from sticking to wire cooling racks by spraying the racks with nonstick cooking spray.