a little old-fashioned

There’s nothing more classic than yellow cake. It has always been a birthday party staple- and for a good reason. It’s the perfect combination of chocolate + not chocolate which unites chocolate lovers and non-chocolate lovers…its a like a peace treaty in the dessert world.

The occasion for this cake is my brother-in-law’s birthday. He’s having a dude-only poker night to celebrate, so this cake is sure to please a bunch of guys in between grilling & several hands of poker.

Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting


{CAKE} makes two 9-inch rounds

  • 2 ½ cup cake flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 stick + 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted & cooled
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3 large egg whites

{FROSTING} makes about 3 ½ cups frosting

  • ¾ cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 5 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract


1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°. Grease two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Grease the paper rounds, dust the pans with flour, and knock out the excess. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1½ cups (10.5 ounces) sugar together in a large bowl. In a 4-cup liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and yolks.

{Here’s a trick I learned from my brother that has revolutionized my baking life! Check out this trick for removing egg yolks! All you need is a water bottle!}

2. In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With the machine running, gradually add the remaining ¼ cup sugar; continue to beat until stiff peaks just form, 30 to 60 seconds (whites should hold peak but mixture should appear moist). Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

3. Add the flour mixture to the now-empty mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment. With the mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in the butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated (a few streaks of dry flour will remain), about 15 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape the whisk and sides of the bowl. Return the mixer to medium-low speed and beat until smooth and fully incorporated, 10 to 15 seconds.

4. Using rubber spatula, stir ⅓ of the whites into the batter to lighten, then add the remaining whites and gently fold into the batter until no white streaks remain. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Lightly tap the pans against the counter 2 or 3 times to dislodge any large air bubbles.Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

5. Bake until the cake layers begin to pull away from sides of pans and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20-22 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the cakes from the sides of the pan with a small knife, then invert onto a greased wire rack and peel off the parchment. Invert the cakes again and cool completely on rack, about 1½ hours.

Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

6. To frost cake: Stir melted butter into cocoa and alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add a small amount of additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. Frost cake when completely cooled, as desired.

Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

I apologize for the hideous plastic cake plate, but it had to be transported. Practicatily is a man’s best friend. That’s also why I am lacking a picture of the beautiful inside of the cake…it would be against the rules to cut into the cake before the party!

Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

There goes the cake with my cute husband!:)

…and I’ve heard it was a HIT with the guys!


cake recipe from cooks illustrated & frosting recipe adapted from hershey’s


4 thoughts on “a little old-fashioned

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