Layer cakes can be super intimidating, but with practice they can become like second nature! This classic yellow cake recipe is so perfect for birthdays, holidays, special occasions, etc., and I can bet that you already have the ingredients in your pantry.
This cake can be made two ways - with 6-inch or 8-inch pans. The only thing you need to watch is the baking time. With 6-inch pans, your cake will be thinner and taller. With 8-inch pans, your cake will be wider and shorter. Either works, and both options are just as delicious! If you are baking with 6-inch pans, the bake time will be around 25-28 minutes depending on your oven. For 8-inch pans, the bake time will be around 20-23 minutes depending on your oven.
My favorite part of this recipe, personally, is the chocolate buttercream. I am one of those people that can literally eat an entire pound of frosting with a spoon. If I had to choose between just eating the cake and just eating the frosting, I would choose frosting day after day.
Some tips for this classic yellow cake recipe:
- Do not rush through the creaming process of your butter and sugar. This is so important for it to rise appropriately. When creaming them together, the sugar aerates the butter - it fills it with bubbles which will capture gases when your leavening agent activates (in this case, baking powder) and enlarge them. The more bubbles you have, the more your cake will rise and the lighter and more airy your cake will be
- Bang your pans a couple of times on a flat surface after you fill it with batter. This will get rid of any air bubbles in the batter
- Wait until your cakes are completely cool before removing them from the pans. Carefully run a knife in between the pan and the cake to ensure that no edges are sticking to the pan
- If your cake forms a dome during baking, use a serrated knife and carefully cut off the dome to flatten out the top. This will make it easier for stacking/frosting
- Make sure the buttercream is chilled a bit before frosting - if it is too warm your cake will be slipping and sliding all over the place. Additionally, make sure your cakes are completely cool before frosting. Otherwise your cake will melt the buttercream and you will have the same cake sliding problem
- Sprinkle with any desired toppings! I used sprinkles here, but you can do Oreos, drizzled chocolate, etc.! The options are endless with cakes.
Enjoy, and please leave a comment if you give it a try!
Classic Yellow Layer Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 2 egg yolks room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups all purpose flour spooned and leveled
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 2 cups unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 ¼ cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease three 6-inch or 8-inch cake pans with spray, or line with parchment paper. Using a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed, for approximately three minutes until light and fluffy. At medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well in between each addition. Do the same with the egg yolks. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl if necessary. Add vanilla extract and beat on high speed until combined. Turn the mixer to low speed and add half of the dry ingredients. When the dry ingredients are just incorporated, add ALL of the buttermilk, continuing to mix on low speed. When the buttermilk is just incorporated, mix in the other half of the dry ingredients until just combined. Divide the batter evenly amongst the three pans. For 6-inch cakes, bake for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. For 8-inch pans, bake for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. When the cake is done, the edges will begin to peel away from the sides of the pan and the top of the cake will be springy to the touch.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and mix until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. If the frosting is too thick, add milk tablespoon by tablespoon until you reach the desired consistency. Once the cakes are finished baking and they are cool, frost & enjoy!