Easy Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Homemade Yellow Cake Recipe — This is the easiest, from-scratch yellow cake and it tastes like a million bucks. This yellow cake recipe always turns out supremely moist, springy, soft and fluffy cake thanks to buttermilk, sour cream, and oil. Who needs the bakery?

Easy Yellow Cake Recipe with buttercream frosting

Easy Yellow Cake from Scratch

This yellow cake recipe is a whisk-together batter that’s adapted my favorite buttermilk cake base that I’ve used for so many cakes including my Blueberry Muffin and Buttermilk Pancakes CakeCaramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake, and many more.

I love this yellow cake recipe because the base is a cinch to make, and the cake always turn out supremely moist, springy, soft and fluffy thanks to the buttermilk, sour cream, and oil. Any moist yellow cake recipe should include those three ingredients — you can’t go wrong with them! That trifecta of moisturizing and tenderizing ingredients makes it impossible to have a dry cake.

I frosted this homemade yellow 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. I used McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract in both the easy yellow cake and the buttercream, and McCormick Red Food Coloring to softly tint the buttercream.

This 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, rich buttercream it’ll disappear very quickly. And because this is such an easy yellow cake recipe, you will be making it time and time again!

slice of yellow cake with buttercream frosting on a plate with a fork

How to Make Cake From Scratch

To make this homemade yellow cake, you simply need to whisk together the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls, then combine the two. The ingredients for this yellow cake are mostly pantry staples, so you shouldn’t have to run out to the store before whipping up this cake recipe!

Once you’ve whisked together the cake batter, pour it into a greased 8-by-8-inch pan and bake until done. You’ll know the cake is ready to come out of the oven when the center is set and it springs back when you press it gently with your finger (you can also stick a toothpick in the center to see if it comes out clean).

While the cake is cooling, prep the homemade vanilla buttercream frosting. To make the buttercream frosting, combine room temperature butter, McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract, powdered sugar, and a pinch of salt. You’ll need to let the mixture whip up for a few minutes, or until the buttercream is light and fluffy.

Once the cake is completely cool, spread half the vanilla buttercream on top. Stir red food coloring into the reserved buttercream and then carefully spread the final layer on top.

So easy, right? This is a great cake recipe to make with kids since it’s so straightforward. 

McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract

Tips for the Best Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting

If you don’t have sour cream on hand, plain Greek yogurt can be used in this moist yellow cake recipe instead. Just make sure it’s Greek yogurt and not regular yogurt — the thicker yogurt better mimics sour cream! 

I don’t recommend using a buttermilk substitute in this cake recipe, though. You want the real thing here, if possible. Buttermilk adds so much moisture to this yellow cake recipe, and since this cake is so simple it’s best to use all the right ingredients. 

I also wanted to note that it’s so important that you wait to frost the cake until it’s completely cool. If you frost the cake while it’s warm, the frosting will run everywhere and you won’t see two distinct layers of vanilla buttercream frosting. 

But speaking of the buttercream frosting, you don’t have to color the top layer pink if you don’t want to! You can keep the frosting white or make it a different color to suit the occasion. If you’re making this cake with kids, you might want to let them add sprinkles to the top of the cake! It’s an easy way for them to get involved with the baking process. 

slice of yellow cake with pink buttercream frosting on a plate

More Easy Cake Recipes: 

  • Strawberry Poke Cake — This cake is incredibly easy and uses only four main ingredients: cake mix, strawberry Jell-O, Cool Whip, and strawberries. Baking shortcuts make this a fast, easy, and foolproof cake! 
  • Triple Chocolate Cherry Cake — A supremely moist cake that’s loaded with cherry chunks, and the chocolate frosting is wonderfully decadent and velvety smooth.
  • Glazed Pound Cake — If you’re looking for that PERFECT pound cake recipe, this is the one! It’s moist and so flavorful! 
  • Six-Banana Banana Chocolate Chip Cake — Six bananas in one cake means it’s super SOFT, moist, and has robust banana flavor with chocolate chips in EVERY bite!
  • Coca-Cola Cake — This is an easy, no-mixer cake that you can make in one bowl and a saucepan. The cake is supremely moist and soft thanks to a can of Coke in the batter! 

Homemade Yellow Cake Recipe — This is the easiest, from-scratch yellow cake and it tastes like a million bucks. This yellow cake recipe always turns out supremely moist, springy, soft and fluffy cake thanks to buttermilk, sour cream, and oil. Who needs the bakery?

Easy Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Easy Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting

This is the easiest homemade yellow cake! It's a supremely moist and fluffy cake thanks to buttermilk, sour cream, and oil. Who needs the bakery?
Yield: 8x8-inch pan (9 to 12 servings)
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes

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

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.

Make the Cake

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, optional salt; set aside.
  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, sour cream, oil, and vanilla.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Place pan on a wire rack and allow cake to cool. After cake has cool completely, make the buttercream.

Make the Buttercream Frosting

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 

Notes

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 435 Total Fat: 17g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 54mg Sodium: 228mg Carbohydrates: 66g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 54g Protein: 5g

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

141 comments on “Easy Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting”

  1. Omg this is freaking DELICIOUS! I intended to use icing but I tried it without and it’s too yummy so I’m just eating it plain with tea! Thank you !

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