Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting


A little while ago one of our commenters asked if we had a recipe for a yellow cake from scratch with chocolate frosting. I was reminded of the recipe I got from my high school home economics class that I had not made in a few years.  I remember the teacher being big on sifting and sifting again before measuring the flour. She wasn't a fan of vanilla extract, but I think real vanilla extract is a must. She also taught us how to make our own cake flour that I will share with you in step 5 in the instructions. This recipe makes a two 9 inch layer cakes, or 24 cupcakes, or one 9x13 inch cake pan.
This cake or cupcakes are moist and not too sweet, neither is the icing. I prefer to make cupcakes over a cake so I can freeze them easily and pull out only as many as needed.

  • 3 cups cake flour *(check #5 in the directions)
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 cup full-fat milk (use whatever you have) room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. With a mixer beat the butter until light and fluffy for two minutes
  2. Add the sugar and beat for another two minutes
  3. Beat in the egg yolks three at a time (in two additions) to incorporate the eggs into the butter sugar mixture better. It is the egg yolks that give this cake the yellow color, so use free range eggs or Omega 3 eggs with the deep yellow color if possible. 
  4. Add the pure vanilla.
  5. *Sift 3 cups of regular flour, remove 6 level tablespoons, and replace it with 6 level tablespoons of cornstarch to make the cake flour replacement. Add the baking powder and salt, if using.
  6. Add the 1/3 of the sifted dry ingredients to the wet mix, mixing it in well. Add in half the milk, again mixing it in well, followed by another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by the rest of the milk and the last of the remaining flour. 
  7. Bake in two well greased and floured 9-inch cake pans for 25 - 28 minutes at 350 F for a double 9-inch cake, or in 24 regular muffin tins for 20 minutes or in a 9x13 inch pan for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Each oven temperature varies slightly so check yours at the lower time. You don't want to dry out your cupcakes by over baking them.
  8. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool the cake completely on wire racks before frosting.
Chocolate Frosting:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups sifted icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6  1 ounce squares of unsweetened chocolate melted* (I used unsweetened)
*If you don't want dark chocolate frosting you can use semi-sweet or milk chocolate. However, if you use milk chocolate the icing becomes sweeter. (too sweet for me)
  1. In a heatproof glass or stainless steel bowl, place your coarsely chopped chocolate over a simmering pot of water to melt, stirring often. Cool completely to room temperature before adding it to the butter mixture.
  2. Beat the butter until creamy for about a minute. Add the sifted icing sugar and vanilla. Beat another three minutes.
  3. Add the chocolate and beat until smooth, about two minutes. 
  4. Frost the cake or cupcakes as desired. 

5 comments:

  1. Some of those "old" home-ec recipes are the best!! I still refer to many of my worn and splattered pages too. Your cake looks wonderful and delicious.

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  2. Oh thank you! I don't like to buy box mixes for my kids birthdays.

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  3. I have never even thought of making my own cake flour. Thank you for this wonderful hint. I did not know it was that easy. And yellow cake and chocolate frosting...does it get any more natural or better? Thanks.

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  4. Thank you so much for finding this for me. I was the person who suspected that you would have a yellow cake recipe that is moist! I make everything from scratch. It taste so much better. I have all of my mother's and grandmother's recipes, even one for a raisin pie! But neither made yellow cake. Odd. Thank you again and I am going to make this this coming weekend!!! Karen in NC

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  5. Wow, this is lovely! Thank you!

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