Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

The little girl looked around in bewilderment

A treat too heavenly upon which to feast

She took a bite, then two, until her tummy was full

"How could it be that this is all for me?," she asked in disbelief,

taking in yet another spoonfull of bliss.


Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is the first kind of American cake I remember having as a child. Basic and unpretentious, it's still one of my favorites. I have a vivid memory of walking into the school cafeteria as a 2nd-grader and seeing sheets upon sheets of yellow cake topped with chocolate and vanilla frosting being served by the line cooks. The world seemed so large and magical then. 


Yes, the cake mix and frosting were surely from Betty Crocker, but really, who could be bothered with such thoughts back then? The worry-free, blooming version of me could care less. I hope you enjoy this homemade take on moist yellow cake with chocolate frosting.


Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Makes one four-layered cake, about 8-10 servings. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Pre-Baking Notes:

- This recipe is offered in grams. Therefore, you will need a scale if you choose to follow the recipe.

- Please read recipe carefully before starting it to see what tools you'll need for the procedure.

- You can cut the recipe in half to end up with a double-layered cake as opposed to a four-layered cake, as shown in the last picture above. 

- Covering cake in ganache is optional. You can eliminate this step all-together if you rather cover the cake in more chocolate frosting instead of ganache, as shown in the last picture show above.


  • 657 grams cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 226 grams butter, room temperature
  • 274 grams sugar
  • 92 grams light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 292 grams milk, room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Set prepared cake pans aside for later use.

2. Sift flour and baking powder into a medium bowl. Add salt to dry ingredients and stir to combine.

3. Add softened butter, sugar, and light brown sugar into a large bowl. With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar mixture until pale and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla. Scrape down sides of bowl once more. 

4. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until combined after each addition without over-mixing.

5. Divide batter between prepared pans and smooth the each top with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until tops are golden brown and a cake tester that has been inserted in the middle of each cake comes out clean, about 30-32 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Place cakes in the freezer for about 20 minutes, while you work on the chocolate frosting.

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 454 grams semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 40 grams cocoa powder
  • 104 grams boiling water
  • 408 grams butter, softened
  • 100 grams confectioner's sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

1. Bring water to a boil in a small pot and set aside. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set bowl over pot of steaming water. Stir chocolate occasionally until completely melted, about 15-20 minutes. Remove bowl of melted chocolate from heat and place in the fridge. Let cool until chocolate reaches room temperature, about 25 minutes.  

2. Meanwhile, beat butter and confectioner's sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. With the electric mixer on low speed, add melted chocolate and beat until fully combined. Scrape down sides of bowl. Beat in cocoa mixture and scrape down sides of bowl once more. Continue beating until all ingredients are fully incorporated. 


  • two yellow cakes
  • chocolate frosting
  • 258 grams 65% dark chocolate, finely chopped (optional)
  • 258 grams heavy cream (optional)

1. Remove cakes from freezer. Run a small knife around the edges of cakes to loosen and turn cakes onto working surface, top sides up.

2. Place first cake on over a cake board and onto a cake stand. Using a serrated knife, trim top of cake (cake should be firm, but not frozen). Split cake horizontally to end up with two even layers total. Set cake layers aside and repeat cutting procedure with second cake to end up with a total of four even cake layers.

3. Place one of the bottom cake layers on the cake stand and spread about half a cup of chocolate frosting until it reaches the edges. Place another cake layer on top and spread with frosting. Repeat with another cake layer and more frosting. Place remaining cake layer on top. Spread entire cake with a thin layer of frosting and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

4. At this point you can either cover cake with one more layer of chocolate frosting or with chocolate ganache icing. If you want to cover it with chocolate frosting, spread a final layer of chocolate frosting in a swirling fashion. If covering the cake in chocolate ganache, place cake in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place finely chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan until it comes to a simmer. Pour simmering cream over chocolate. Let heavy cream and chocolate stand for 3 minutes, then stir until smooth, starting in the center and working your way outwards until cream and chocolate fully emulsify. Pull cake out of the freezer and place over a rack that's placed over a large sheet tray. Pour ganache over the center of the cake, using a spatula to help guide the icing and cover all of the surface and sides of cake. (Optional: Collect all of the leftover ganache that has dripped onto the tray and place it into a bowl to chill. Chilled ganache can be placed into a piping bag and piped into swirls onto cake if desired. Decorate cake with flowers or additional chocolate if desired). Refrigerate cake for at least 1 hour before slicing it. Serve at room temperature.