Perfect Yellow Cake

March 29th, 2009 by katie

This is what birthday cakes look like at our house: no artfully composed designs of chocolate curls or Wilton roses.  No perfectly constructed characters and scenes; just globs and globs of frosting, sprinkles, colored sugars, and more frosting and sprinkles and sugar, until Mommy has to step in and stop the madness.

Yes, when your birthday is celebrated at the chaos house your cake will be constructed with all the love and excess embodied by boundlessly energetic children.  How can you say no to little hands and little faces who want only to bestow their wishes of love and fun onto the birthday boy or girl?  I mean who is the cake really for anyway? Any kid can see this cake, dripping in colors and sparkles, screams FUN TO BE HAD.  What adult gets that kind of real joy out of a beautifully crafted cake scene?  Besides, I think cake greatness should focus on taste not necessarily appearance.  Luckily, this yellow cake delivers in that regard.

I have been trying different yellow cake recipes over the last year because I think yellow cake paired with fudgy chocolate frosting is the quintessential combination for kids and parties.  Most of the recipes I tried suffer from the same problems: too dry, too dense, not sweet enough.  I have finally found one I really thought was moist and fluffy and tasted great.  I love food loves writing and I am so glad she posted this cake recipe from The Washington Post.  I did have a little trouble with my cakes sticking in the pans so I would use parchment paper cut-out next time-not that I care much about broken of hole-ly cakes, I just spackle them with more frosting.

Restaurant Eve’s Cake

makes a nine-inch layer cakes with two layers, prep 10 min, cook 35 min, adapted from The Washington Post
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter melted, at room temperature
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Heat oven to 350°F and prepare cake pans with grease and parchment paper.
  2. Combine dry ingredients (sugar through salt) in a mixing bowl.
  3. Beat in melted butter for about 2 minutes and until mixture resembles cornmeal.
  4. Combine eggs, vanilla, and milk in a bowl.
  5. Add liquid mixture to dry mixture, beating constantly for 2 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl mid-way.
  6. Pour batter into pans and bake for about 35 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
  7. Remove cakes to a rack and allow to cool before frosting.

My instruction for how to frost a layer cake are here.  My favorite chocolate butter cream frosting is here.

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Posted in Cooking with Kids, Desserts

12 Responses

  1. Steph

    I’m glad you found the yellow cake for you. I know exactly how you feel. I think I’ve thrown out way more cupcakes than i’ve eaten because they always turn out too dry. Did you used all purpose or cake flour?

    Steph, I used all purpose flour with the spoon and level method of measuring. You won’t catch me throwing away any cupcakes, dry or not! -Katie

  2. Shannalee

    You are a frosting queen – your cake looks beyond amazing, and I mean that. Gorgeous!

    (And so glad you liked the cake!)

  3. Memoria

    Doesn’t 1/2 cup of butter equal 1 stick? Or is this referring to 1/2 cup of melted butter? So, melting two sticks (1 cup) of butter = 1/2 cup??

    Ack! Sorry, you are right. I fixed it above. It is 2 sticks or 1 cup or 8 oz of butter. Thanks Memoria! -Katie

  4. krysta

    i made a birthday cake for my brother last night and it was dry and not as good as some of the others i have made for him… i wanted to throw it out. i’m like you i want a birthday cake to be yellow cake and fudgey type frosting so this recipe is bookmarked for next time!

  5. Michele

    There is nothing better than a cake made with lots of love. When you put love into something you make it never matters what it looks like. I would really enjoy a slice of that birthday cake with the cup of coffee I’m having right now.

  6. noble pig

    That does look better than perfection cake…that frosting…yum!

  7. Nicole

    I have to say, this was the most delicious, moist home made yellow cake I have ever had!
    Thanks for posting this fabulous recipe!

  8. Helen

    Oh my goodness, I just made this cake for the first time and I have to say THANK YOU. I’ve only tasted a little bit as I was straightening up the top but this is definitely the best cake I’ve tasted.

  9. dan

    This cake looks awesome, I was wondering what frosting recipe you used

  10. Kathi

    I’ve been on a quest for the perfect yellow cake for years because they’ve all turned out too dry. Cooks Illustrated has a couple recipes that are designed to produce the fluffy cake mix result. The one which I am going to try this week uses buttermilk and a combo of butter and oil for moistness.

  11. dan

    What’s the frosting recipe??? Please!!!
    It looks so good!!1

  12. Deese

    This cake is awesome. I love the way it comes together, the batter is so fluffy and thick! It also has a great flavor. I did add 1 Tablespoon Vanilla, instead of 1 Teaspoon but I love a lot of vanilla flavor. The cake is a bit sweet for me, but everyone else loved it. I paired it with my Chocolate Malt Cream Cheese Icing…totally delicious!

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About chaos

cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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