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Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

A fluffy yellow (3 layered) cake with the creamiest chocolate frosting, is a classic made from scratch that tastes just like the Betty Crocker boxed cake mix made as a kid!

Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting | URBAN BAKESToday’s recipe has a bit of a personal story behind it showing you a slice of how I first started baking.

A foodie friend of mine, Colleen from Souffle Bombay, was thinking about what cookbook was it that made her fall in love with cooking.  She then decided to ask the same question to a number of her foodie friends, myself included and #CookbooksandCalphalon was born!  Below this post, you can find 17 food bloggers share their stories as well as their recipes that go along with them as we celebrate our love of cooking, baking, and the perfect pairing of #CookbooksandCalphalon!

*Bummer!  This giveaway is over.  Subscribe via email to see more fun giveaways and more.*

This wouldn’t be complete without a fun giveaway for you to enter… you can’t cook/bake without cookware and you can’t use cookware unless you can cook…right?  So take a moment to enter our awesome #CookbooksandCalphalon Giveaway below the recipe!

Cookbooks and Caphalon GIVEAWAY | URBAN BAKES

And…Cookbooks and Caphalon GIVEAWAY | URBAN BAKES

Now if you ask me, “what made you start baking?” I could tell you this, it started well before I began this food blog.  It was when I was young, very young!  I want to say, 12 years old?

This may be a bit of a repeat from my first blog entry but I’ll say it again, this time a little more in depth.

Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting | URBAN BAKES

Baking to me, was an outlet.  It was calmness, fulfillment, excitement and joy all-in-one that I yearned for in the kitchen.  In general, baking was my therapy.  I would often bake at night when the house I grew up in was quieter and while the rest of my family gathered in the living room to watch movies or the normal chit chat around the coffee table.

I would grab my younger sister, Tiffany, and ask her join me in making a cake from one of the boxed cake mixes found in the pantry.  More often than not, her response was usually a “Yes!” with excitement.  This later turned into a play fight on who’s turn it was to lick the bowl followed by a light bickering about when it was time to frost the cooling 13×9-inch cake.  We were both very impatient and even though I would try to push off frosting the cake just a little bit longer because I knew if done too early it would make it crumble, many times I simply caved.

How to make a Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting | URBAN BAKES

Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting | URBAN BAKES

Baking these cake mixes when I was younger was my therapy.  Many unexpected changes happened in my family when I was a kid so turning to the kitchen just felt right.  Maybe it’s hard for me to explain or maybe I’m already explaining it right but I somehow found extreme fulfillment and joy in baking.  Those times getting into the kitchen, reading the directions on the back of one of the Betty Crocker or Pillsbury boxes with my sister gave me such a positive memorable experience.

It wasn’t until I moved out of the house by age 17, that I later discovered Tiffany doesn’t even like cake!  She stuck by my side to bake, I believe, to share the same joy that I had which truly touches my heart in such a way I can’t even explain.

Many years later while shopping at BJ’s here in Queens, I stumbled across a Betty Crocker book called The Big Book of Cakes.  Immediately, I knew I had to buy it!  And till this day, it has become my number 1 resource in making many of my cakes you find here on URBAN BAKES.  This book is one I cherish the most.

Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting | URBAN BAKES


Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: 8-inch 3 layered cake


  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour 3 8-inch round baking pans; set aside.
  2. In large bowl, using a hand mixer on low setting, mix all CAKE ingredients for about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high and continue to beat batter until blended. Pour about 1/3 high into each pan.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  4. Allow cakes to cool in pans for 15 to 20 minutes. Place a plate over the pan and invert to release cake onto the plate. Allow cakes to continue cooling to room temperature before wrapping in plastic wrap and chilling in the refrigerator.
  5. Frosting
  6. In large bowl, beat butter and chocolate until blended. Mix in vanilla and milk.
  7. Gradually add confectioner's sugar and beat until completely blended. Note: for thicker consistency, add more confectioner's sugar by 1/2 cup at a time; for thinner consistency, increase milk by 1/2 tablespoon at a time.
  8. Assembly
  9. Remove cakes from fridge, discard plastic wrapping and set cakes above a flat leveled surface. Using a long serrated knife, at eye level to the cake, cut the dome-shaped tops of each cake to create an even flat surface; discard scraps.
  10. Generously place about 1 cup of frosting onto cake #1. Using an angled spatula, spread frosting evenly across the surface. Stack cake #2 above cake #1 and repeat frosting the top. Repeat process for cake #3. Note: frosting may spill over the sides of the cakes, it will be used.
  11. Using the angled spatula, evenly frosting around the sides of the cake and generously apply more frosting on the top. Use the back of a tablespoon to whisk frosting creating peaks and waves. This technique can be applied onto the sides of the cake or for a straight edge surface, use a bench scraper to glide along the sides of the cake to remove excess frosting.


Yellow Cake recipe was adapted from (p.15) of Betty Crocker Big Book of Cakes

Chocolate Frosting recipe was adapted from (p.25) of Betty Crocker Big Book of Cakes

Have you made any of my recipes? I would love to see them. Snap a pic and use the #urbanbakes on your public Instagram and Twitter.

Recipe source:

Have you made any of my recipes?  I would love to see them.  Snap a pic and use the #urbanbakes on your public Instagram and Twitter.


*Bummer!  This giveaway is over.  Subscribe via email to see new giveaways and more.*

Couples Cooking Sweepstakes | URBAN BAKES

Also, now through September 1st, Calphalon is celebrating couples!  From the first meal they create together in their new home to the meal they share on their 25th anniversary, couple cook up memories! The cookware they choose serves as the foundation for which these “Couples Cooking” memories are made.

Calphalon wants to recognize these #CouplesCooking moments by asking couples to share pictures of the meals they cook together for a chance to win $1,000 in Calphalon cookware!

Calphalon is inviting couples to post photos of the meals they prepare with their significant other on Calphalon’s Facebook pageTo enter, couples will be asked to share why the dish is unique or special to them and use the hashtag #CouplesCooking. How fun is THAT??

Follow the #CookbooksandCalphalon fun on social media for great recipes, tips and more and good luck in BOTH giveaways!




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65 Responses to Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

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  1. Hello, I have been on the search for a perfectly moist yellow cake for years now. I want to make this cake next week for my birthday. Do you think I could use buttermilk or should I just stick with regular milk?

    • Hi Lady Baker,
      I have not made this cake with buttermilk and I’m almost certain the substitution of it will change the quality. Too much acid in baked goods may prevent proper browning, texture, and flavor. Because this recipe calls for baking powder (which already has an acidic component), I would recommend to use regular milk. Hope this helps!
      Happy Baking!
      – Connie

    • Hi Stephanie, very good question. I remember using unsweetened baking chocolate because the powdered sugar sweetens the frosting. Sorry that detail wasn’t added to the recipe; I’ll fix this. Thank you!

  2. Just make this cake and frosting for my birthday and it was perfect! The frosting is amazing and the cake was fluffy yet perfectly moist. Thank you!!

  3. Hi,Connie..i baked the cake for my sons birthday and it was delicious…THANKS A LOT,,,,all the kids loved it and so did my son…the cake on its on is also yummy…now i am baking the same cake on my husbands birthday…..thanks

    • Hi Deepti, Yay! I’m so glad it worked out well for you! Which recipe did you use for the frosting? Thanks for sharing your experience and Happy Birthday to your son and husband! :)

      • Hi Connie,sorry for the late reply…i used the same frosting icing as mentioned in the recipe as i managed to lay my hands on baking chocolate….yummy…thanks

  4. hi connie,thanks for your previous reply,just wanted to know how long does the cake keep well…as in if i have to serve the cake on saturday can i bake and ice it on thursday..thanks

    • Hi Deepti! Not a problem; I’m here to answer any of your questions. As for this cake recipe, you can make it on Thursday and cut by Saturday. If possible, it may be best to frost the cake Saturday morning and the only reason I say this is because no matter how much one tries, homemade frostings will not preserve the same texture as the store bought kind. It may “crust” slightly. But if you must prepare this ahead of time, keep this cake well covered and in the fridge. It will hold nicely for a few days. Before serving, allow it to warm to room temperature. Keep in mind, if the cake is exposed to too much air, it can dry out much like a slice of bread. Treat it like sliced bread, keep it covered as much as you can. :)

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