This moist, richly flavorful, classic yellow cake is smothered in a thick layer of Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream and decorated with Chocolate Ganache and loads of sprinkles.
This cake has that buttery moist texture that every classic yellow cake should have. But, it utilizes a technique I've been relying on more and more in my cake recipes, which is not so common in traditional yellow cake recipes: Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Beat the yolks into the batter and whip the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form. Then gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter right before baking.
As with my favorite vanilla cake, red velvet cake, champagne cake, and caramel cake recipes, this technique produces reliably risen cake layers that don't sink in the middle in a wide range of climates. I've had people from all over the world write in with their success, so I feel justified in saying so.
Yellow Cake was made for chocolate buttercream
I mean, can you even frost a yellow cake with anything other than chocolate buttercream? Is it even allowed?
Those of you who've been here before know that my feelings for Italian Meringue Buttercream run deep. Because, until I tasted the stuff, I thought I hated frosting. I was a scrape-off-the-frosting-just-eat-the-cake kind of girl.
But, Italian Meringue Buttercream will make a frosting lover out of even the most determined non-frosting eater. It is just so, SO good. Silky smooth, not too sweet, rich, melt-in-your-mouth, and so easy to work with.
If you've never made Italian Meringue Buttercream before, please don't run away screaming when you see how long the instructions are. It is - cross my heart and hope to die - easy. The length of the instructions are because I so badly want you to succeed and experience the amazingness that is Italian Meringue Buttercream that I've tried to account for everything that might go wrong.
Classic Yellow Cake is a Building Block Recipe
Building block recipes are tried-and-true recipes that I consider foundational to great home baking. They are the kind of recipes I come back to over and over again, sometimes baking them as is, but often using them as a jumping off point to create something new. > Scroll through all Building Block recipes.
- 4 large whole eggs, at room temperature
- 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 cup (2 sticks/ 8 ounces/ 226 grams) butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (107 grams) packed dark or light brown sugar
- 3 ¼ cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (28 grams) cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup (227 gram) buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
To frost and decorate the cake:
- Chocolate Buttercream (See notes)
- Chocolate Ganache for piping borders (optional)
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Grease and flour three 8 or 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with a round of parchment paper that is also slathered with a bit of butter or shortening.
- Separate the whole eggs, placing the yolks in a small bowl and the whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form when you lift the whisk from the beaten egg whites. Scrape the egg whites into another bowl. Rinse and dry the standing mixer bowl.
- Fit the standing mixer with the paddle attachment and cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Stop the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl a time or two.
- Add 3 egg yolks to the butter/ sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Add 2 more egg yolks, beating again until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Repeat with the remaining 2 egg yolks.
- Add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon to a large bowl and mix with a wire whisk to combine.
- In a large measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk and vanilla.
- Beating on low speed, add the dry ingredients, alternating with the liquid, in 4 additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat on low to medium speed, just long enough to incorporate each new addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- With a rubber spatula, gently fold about ⅓ of the beaten egg whites into the batter just until incorporated, to lighten the batter. Fold in the remaining egg whites very gently, just until incorporated.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pans. Bake for 30-40 min. The cake will be golden brown, pulling away from the sides of the pan, and will not jiggle in the center when you shake the pan slightly. To check for doneness, stick a toothpick into the center of one of the layers. Remove the toothpick and look for signs of raw batter. If only cake crumbs stick to the toothpick, the cake is done.
- Let the cakes cool on wire racks for 5 minutes in the pan, then gently turn them out of the pans onto the wire racks to cool completely. If you don't plan on frosting the layers immediately, wrap each tightly with plastic wrap. The layers can be stored at room temperature for 1 day, or frozen for up to 2 months.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1/16th of the cake
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 357Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 468mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 1gSugar: 31gProtein: 5g