Easy Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting

When yellow bakery cakes are done right, I’d rather have yellow cake over chocolate. Really.

This is the easiest, from-scratch yellow cake and it tastes like a million bucks. Who needs the bakery?

Easy Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting - If you've never made a scratch cake, try this one!! Fast, easy, foolproof, one bowl, and tastes so good! It's a keeper!!

It’s a whisk-together cake batter that’s adapted my favorite buttermilk cake base that I’ve used for so many cakes including Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter GlazeEasy Homemade Funfetti CakeLemon Buttermilk Cake with Lemon GlazeBlueberry Muffin and Buttermilk Pancakes CakeThe Best Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, and Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake, and many more.

I love the cake base because it’s a cinch to make, and the cakes always turn out supremely moist, springy, soft and fluffy thanks to buttermilk, sour cream, and oil. That trifecta of moisturizing and tenderizing ingredients makes it impossible to have a dry cake.

MY OTHER RECIPES


Easy Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting - If you've never made a scratch cake, try this one!! Fast, easy, foolproof, one bowl, and tastes so good! It's a keeper!!

I frosted the cake with white and then pink buttercream in honor of all the springtime holidays and events coming up like Easter, Mother’s Day, bridal and baby showers.

Easy Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting - If you've never made a scratch cake, try this one!! Fast, easy, foolproof, one bowl, and tastes so good! It's a keeper!!

I used McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract in both the cake and buttercream and McCormick Red Food Coloring to softly tint the buttercream.

McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract

The cake is small enough that you don’t have to worry that you’ll be eating cake for days and days, not that that would be a huge problem.

Between the soft, fluffy cake and the sweet, creamy, rich buttercream it’ll disappear very quickly.

Easy Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting - If you've never made a scratch cake, try this one!! Fast, easy, foolproof, one bowl, and tastes so good! It's a keeper!!

Easy Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting

This is the easiest, from-scratch yellow cake and it tastes like a million bucks. It’s a whisk-together cake batter that’s adapted my favorite buttermilk cake base. I love the cake base because it’s a cinch to make, and the cakes always turn out supremely moist, springy, soft and fluffy. The cake is small enough that you don’t have to worry that you’ll be eating cake for days and days, not that that would be a huge problem. Between the soft, fluffy cake and the sweet, creamy, rich buttercream it’ll disappear very quickly.

Ingredients:

  • Cake
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, lite is okay (plain Greek yogurt may be substituted)
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Buttercream Frosting
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste (helps offset the sweetness)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (I use 2 cups)
  • 2 to 4+ drops McCormick Red Food Coloring, or as necessary to achieve desired color

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Cake – In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, optional salt; set aside.
  3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, sour cream, oil, and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry, mixing lightly with a spoon or folding with a spatula until just combined. Small lumps will be present, don’t overmix or try to stir them smooth.
  5. Turn batter out into prepared pan and bake for about 29 to 32 minutes, or until center is set and not jiggly, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
  6. Place pan on a wire rack and allow cake to cool. After cake has cool completely, make the buttercream.
  7. Buttercream Frosting – To a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large bowl and handheld electric mixer), add the butter, vanilla, optional salt, confectioners’ sugar, and beat on low speed for about 1 minute so you don’t spray sugar everywhere. After sugar has incorporated some, increase to medium-high speed and continue to beat until very smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  8. Turn all but 1/3 cup frosting out onto cake and spread evenly with a spatula or offset knife to create an even, smooth flat layer of white frosting; set cake aside.
  9. To the remaining 1/3 cup frosting in the mixing bowl, I added 2 drops red food coloring, beat momentarily to incorporate, and added the pink frosting on top of the white to create a two-toned layer of frosting. However, for ease you can tint all of the frosting pink. Cake will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days (I’m comfortable storing frosted cakes at room temp, if you’re not store in the fridge).

Cake base adapted from Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze

Only Eats

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Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze – You won’t miss chocolate at all after trying this cake! The glaze is just heavenly!

Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze - You won't miss chocolate at all after trying this cake! The glaze is just heavenly!!!

Easy Homemade Funfetti Cake –  Move over storebought cake mix!! This easy cake only takes minutes to make and tastes wayyyy better!!

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Post is brought to you by McCormick. The recipe, text, images, and opinions expressed are my own.

112 comments on “Easy Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting”

  1. Made this cake and frosting for my sons birthday this weekend, I used blue dye instead of pink. It was a delicious moist yellow cake. Easy and enough for the 3 of us to enjoy. We pretty much ate the whole cake in one day, it’s that good!

  2. This is in the oven! Will comment when done!

  3. Made this cake for a friend’s birthday – came out great! So, so moist and light! YUM! I doubled the batter and used two 9″ round pans. I also used coconut oil, which added a nice subtle flavor.  Thanks for the recipe! Will definitely make it again! 

  4. Would you recommend this for cupcakes (and how many do you think it’d make)? Or should I try your Classic Yellow Cupcakes recipe? :) I’m intrigued by the buttermilk and sour cream, sounds like the cake is super moist and delicious! 

    • I haven’t tried this recipe as cupcakes so can’t say for sure how many it will make. I think it would make great cupcakes but again, haven’t personally tried. The yellow cupcake recipe that I have made are the classic yellow ones that you referred to. Your call what you feel like making. Enjoy!

  5. This cake is absolutely wonderful! My 10 year old wanted to make a from scratch cake by herself. She choose this one (because of the cute frosting). With minimal assistance (mostly with the folding technique at the end) she did it by herself. Had to wait till morning to try it. I was a little nervous because we use a 9″ pan, and at 25 minutes, the toothpick came out with minimal crumbs. But we frosted it, and had a bite this morning and OH MY GOD!!! So moist, sweet totally yummy! She did a great job and I’m so proud of her! This cake is totally delish, and I’m sure we will have to make another because I really don’t see it lasting very long. Would be great at a layer cake with fresh strawberries in the middle… MMMMMMMMM….

  6. Can you use regular sugar?  What would be the difference between the powdered sugar and granulated sugar?

  7. What can you use in place of the powdered sugar?  Are there alternatives?

  8. I made this (doubled so I could layer 2 round cakes) for my little’s birthday last month and it was so easy and yummy that I have made it for two more functions in the last month! Thanks for a great (and not dry!) cake recipe!

  9. Just made this cake. I used a 9×9 high sided pan and made 1 1/2 times the recipe. It turned out PERFECTLY. I baked it for 36 minutes. This cake is absolutely lovely and very easy to out together. Thanks for sharing it😊

  10. Hi Averie! I’m a fellow food blogger and long-time fan of your site 😀
    I tried this cake tonight and fell in love… so moist and tender! My family wants me to make a cake for a big event (where I’ll have to make a half sheet cake), so do you think I could quadruple the recipe and have it turn out?

    • Hi Amanda, I know who you are and I pin your stuff often, love it! :)

      While I haven’t tried to double/triple/quad this recipe, I think you’d be fine in doing so. But…since I haven’t tried it personally AND that it’s for a big event, I just am cautiously saying ‘you’d be fine’ since I don’t have personal experience. If you try it, LMK how it goes!

  11. Hey Averie :) Just wanted to pop in an let you know how the half sheet cake turned out…. ahhhh-mazing!! I ended up tripling the recipe (twice to make 2 layers), and frosting it with a creamy chocolate frosting (birthday boy’s favorite), for a half sheet layer cake. Everyone kept raving about it!! I even ran out of sour cream for the second layer, so I did half sour cream and half mayo (didn’t have any greek yogurt on hand) and it still turned out amazingly well :) I didn’t even have to adjust the baking time :) Thanks for such a great recipe!

    • I am so glad to hear this came out so wonderfully and got rave reviews! Good to know tripling it will yield a double-layer half sheet cake. And I’ve added mayo to cakes/muffins etc. if I’m out of sour cream or Greek yogurt since it’s basically just eggs/oil (fat) it always seems to work in a pinch!

  12. Would it be fine to use cake flour instead of AP?

  13. Too bad you didn’t show the actual WHOLE cake. Wanted to see how ‘yellow’ it was. Looking for an easy recipe for a yellow cake without all the egg-yolk-separation drama. Hopefully this is it.

    • It comes out as yellow as any other yellow cake I’ve made with the egg separation, minus the hassle. It’s a very easy cake to whip up in case you’re wanting to trial it for an event or special occasion.

  14. I’m planning to make this delicious looking cake to serve at a party on Sunday and wondered whether it can be made a day in advance and if so, should it be frosted the day of or could the entire thing be made the day before and still look/taste fabulous?
    Thank you so much for all of your awesome recipes…can’t wait to make this one for a very special 6-year-old’s birthday!
    xo

  15. Made this for my hubby’s birthday today and the cake came out perfectly. Moist and delicious. I followed the recipe exactly. Thanks a lot for this one.

  16. Can i substitute more milk for sour cream?

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