Sunday, October 4, 2015

Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

This morning, I went out for no other reason than to buy a pink rose for a photo shoot of another cake.  Because when you have your heart set on a pink rose, then a pink rose it has to be.

It felt like fall, the breeze stirring the leaves and chilling my skin, and it excited me for the season to come.  I love it all - pumpkins and sweaters, hot tea and fuzzy socks, lazy Saturdays at home, warm fires, blankets and lots of baking.  Maybe I should have brought home a pumpkin for our front porch instead of a pink rose.

Still continuing my series of classic from-scratch cake recipes, today's recipe is for butter cake, also known as yellow cake in the world of box mixes.  You may think that oil and butter are interchangeable in cake recipes, and in a sense, they are.  Both add moisture to cakes, but oil generally results in a lighter cake, while butter will yield a slightly more dense, richer cake.  And of course, there's nothing better than the flavor of butter in a cake.

The classic choice of frosting to pair with a yellow cake is chocolate buttercream.  It's a flavor combination that everyone loves, and one that our mothers and grandmothers must have made over and over for family birthday parties.

I was inspired by the lovely design of this cake, and it was too pretty not to try.  I think they might have done theirs better, but I still like how mine looks.

Previous Post in this Series:  Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Buttercream
Next Post in this Series:  Dark Chocolate Chocolate Cake

Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened special-dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons cream or milk, if needed
Preheat the oven to 350 and grease three 8-inch pans with non-stick spray.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar for several minutes until smooth.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla, and scrape the bowl down.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Combine the buttermilk with the sour cream.  With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk/sour cream, starting and ending with the flour, just until moistened.

Divide the batter between the pans and bake for 25-28 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Set the pans on wire racks, cover them loosely with a clean kitchen towel and cool completely.

For the buttercream, beat the butter for 1 minute with the whisk attachment until smooth.  In a bowl, combine the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, meringue powder, espresso powder and salt.  With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients by spoonfuls until combined.  Add the cream or milk, and whip on medium high speed for 5 minutes until very light and fluffy.  Frost the cooled cakes with the buttercream.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen


  1. I think you did a beautiful job..looks very baroque and elegant..Marie-Antoinette would have loved it.
    Pretty kitchen shot too!

  2. Baroque - that's exactly the word I was looking for!

  3. I dabbled into cake decorating when my son's 3rd birthday cake was a fail. I determined it would never happen again. However, to simply work on the art of decorating cakes was not enough for my husband & his family. They are cake FREAKS! So...I tried a recipe. And then another. And then another. None were quite good enough...until I stumbled upon your white cake on Pinterest. My husband smiled and said, "THIS is the one." Whew! Well, you can imagine my panic when my MIL asked for a YELLOW cake on her birthday. My husband goes, "Why don't you see if that same 'white cake lady' has a yellow cake?" Good point. This cake was hands down the biggest crowd pleaser for some of the biggest cake critics around. The LOVED it!! Since then, I have tried your plain vanilla cake (with orange cream buttercream) & chocolate blueberry cake which were both amazing as well. To recap, all your cakes are phenomenal - I'm a big fan! But there's something about this cake that just makes you feel as though you're eating your great-grandma's. Love it!!

    1. Sarah, I think this is the nicest comment I've ever gotten! Thank you so much for your feedback. I'm curious where you live - since I'm at high-altitude and all my recipes are tested at high altitude, I always wonder if they work equally well for people who don't live in the mountains. Would love to know!

    2. I live in 3 feet above sea level. LOL It has depended on the cake, to be honest. This cake (and your chocolate) were right around 30 minutes at 325 degrees convection. Your plain vanilla cake took about 8 extra minutes on convection. I'm not really sure why that would be! If they aren't done by the time stated in your recipe, I add about 2-3 minutes and check each time. But I assure you that your cakes are equally loved on the beach as well as the mountains! LOL

  4. I plan to make a two layer cake. I would like to put in a flavored filling like orange or almond. The recipients are allergic to chocolate. I'm using buttercream frosting. What would you suggest? Thank-you.


I love comments, and I read and appreciate every single one. Please review my comment policy under my Baking & Blog FAQs page.