This yellow cake from scratch is the perfect birthday cake for your favorite person! Topped with a swath of chocolate frosting, it’s a delicious treat! Plus, it’s a one-bowl cake, so there are hardly any dishes to wash! So easy and tasty!
When I got married, I wanted nothing more than for my husband to think I was the best cook ever. Watching Nigella Bites on The Style Network, I saw Nigella baking decadent looking cakes and had visions dancing in my head of baking huge, amazing layer cakes bathed in chocolate frosting that I would cut gigantic chunks from and I would never gain an ounce from these amazing cakes.
But my kitchen is tiny and slowing metabolism is a thing and layer cakes are a pain in the tail. I mean, so pretty…but who wants to prep and stack multiple cakes? Not me.
Plus, I am married to a man who once declared to his enthusiastic home-baker of a wife that he would really rather have a boxed cake (yellow cake with chocolate frosting) than a homemade one. And while I obliged that craving for a while, eventually it was necessary for me to rebel.
Easy Yellow Cake from Scratch
Not that I don’t get it. Boxed cakes are impossibly fluffy and moist (yes, I used that word, sorry if that offends you?) and there is just something about how creamy canned frosting is. But what is the challenge in buying a yellow cake mix when you could make a yellow cake from scratch??
The key to making this easy yellow cake well, easy, is nixing the layers and making a sheet cake. I combine the ingredients in one bowl just like a cake mix…no creaming butter and sugar or mixing dry ingredients in a separate bowl. You just serve the cake out of the pan and when you are done cover the leftovers with foil. No carrier needed!
Why is This Easy Yellow Cake Recipe So Great?
- Cake mixes use oil and so does this cake. Because oil does not contain water as butter does, the moisture does not evaporate and it helps the cake to stay moist!
- BUT I include butter because butter = flavor.
- Using oil + melted butter allows you to skip the creaming step that most butter cake recipes require, which allows you to mix the cake dry ingredients first and avoid having the use a separate bowl for wet and dry ingredients.
- Buttermilk or whole milk infuse the cake with even more richness.
- The real chocolate (not cocoa powder) in the frosting (from Smitten Kitchen Everyday) makes it so rich!
- Prepping the cake pan with my easy cake release keeps the cake from sticking to the pan!
Mary // Chattavore
Yield: 24 servings
20 minPrep Time:
35 minCook Time:
55 minTotal Time:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature (I just put them in warm water for 10-15 minutes)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk or whole milk
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
- 2 tablespoons cream or whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep a 9x13 rectangular baking pan with cake release, butter, or cooking spray.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
- Using a stand mixer or hand mixer on low speed, blend in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then, while mixing on low speed, slowly pour in the butter, oil, and buttermilk or whole mix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and make sure that all ingredients have been fully incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (begin checking at 25 minutes to make sure that the cake does not overbake).
- Cool the cake completely on a cooling rack.
- To make the frosting: beat the butter, powdered sugar, and salt with a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer (start on low speed and gradually increase the speed) until fluffy. Add the chocolate, cream or milk, and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Beat for another minute to make it more fluffy. Spread the frosting on the cooled cake.
The cake recipe is adapted from Marsha's Baking Addiction and the frosting is from the book Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman.