Cakes and Cupcakes · Desserts

Moist Yellow Butter Cake

Moist Yellow Butter CakeTo me, there is nothing more disappointing than a piece of dry cake.  I’ve been writing this blog for seven years now, and I’ve definitely learned some cake tips along the way.  I’ve learned to make and freeze my layers the night before for ultimate moistness.  I’ve learned to do a crumb layer when frosting.  I’ve learned to level and assemble. I’ve learned never to overbake.  And I’ve perfected the most amazing chocolate cake recipe in the world.

Moist Yellow Butter Cake

But in spite of trying multiple yellow cake recipes over the years, I’ve yet to find one that wasn’t too heavy, or didn’t have the consistency of cornbread.

Moist Yellow Butter Cake

I had some friends over to celebrate the birthday of one of my good friends- and her favorite dessert is yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  I didn’t want to risk another bad cake, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.  Why couldn’t I take my recipe for perfect Moist Chocolate Cake, and adapt it into a yellow cake recipe?

Moist Yellow Butter Cake
Bad, evening, low-light picture of my assembled. Posting so you all can see that the Chocolate Buttermilk frosting is not beautiful when spread- but still extremely delicious.

I did and the rest is history.  This cake was exactly what I was hoping for. Buttery, light, and extremely moist.  My husband’s critique of it was “It was too moist” which, to me, there is no such thing.  So I’m calling this a success.

Moist Yellow Butter Cake

My recipe is adapted using techniques and ingredients right off the classic back of the ol’ Hershey’s cocoa powder can recipe.  Sometimes classic is just best.


For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour.
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sour cream
1 cup boiling water
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs

I filled mine with my very favorite – Grandma’s Fudge Frosting – Click here for my favorite chocolate fudge frosting recipe.

And then I topped it with an Easy Chocolate Buttermilk Frosting, which is not as pretty but sort of soaks in and I love for topping cakes. This frosting is *not* ideal for spreading/filling your cake.

Easy Chocolate Buttermilk Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
6 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans with butter or baking spray. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper and lightly grease the paper.
  2. In a very large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine them well. Add the butter and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the boiling water – splashing may occur if you add it too quickly. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and be sure the batter is well-mixed and no flour bits remain. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.
  3. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes on the same rack, if possible, without the cake pans touching each other, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.(Don’t overbake!! Start testing at 25 mins and as soon as that toothpick comes out with little moist bits on it, pull the cakes out of the oven!)  Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (*If you’re using my freezing tip, wrap them in plastic wrap while they are still warm (but not hot), then foil, and stick them in the freezer still warm)
  4. The next day, remove the cakes from the freezer, let thaw for about 20 minutes, and then assemble with your favorite frosting. If not freezing, let the cakes cool completely to room temperature before frosting and assembling. Enjoy!

Chocololate Buttermilk Frosting:

  1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt your butter and cocoa powder, whisking until butter is melted and all combined.
  2. Once smooth, remove from heat. Add the powdered sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla and whisk until smooth.  Pour immediately over cake and let sit at room temperature until set. Serve.

6 thoughts on “Moist Yellow Butter Cake

  1. I just made this cake today for my father’s birthday. The words, “moist” and “buttery” do not even begin to describe this cake. IT IS DELICIOUS! I wish I could upload a photo— it turned out a beautiful honey golden color. I used DIY baking strips for the pan to ensure an even color and rise. This is my new go-to yellow cake recipe. Thanks so much!

  2. I’m making this right now. Smells good..i don’t have cake pans just a 13×9…so I’m at 26 minutes and it might burn on top and is still liquid

  3. This cake is AMAZING!!! I have made it several times! I use homemade cream cheese icing and do more of the “naked cake” look. You can’t go wrong with this recipe!!!

  4. I baked this cake last year for my husband’s birthday, but I made the mistake of not using your suggested filling and frosting. I got it right for his birthday celebration this year, he LOVED it and my oldest son had two slices:) so tasty!

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