Post #560 Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting – A Special Request

February 4, 2018 at 4:45 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I don’t usually struggle for topics to write about, and this week wasn’t any exception.  I had two or three good ideas and was ready to plow into it when I read an email I got from the host site of the blog.  They automatically forward any comments on the blog so I can read them immediately and this was from a new reader who asked me to post the recipe for the best yellow cake ever.  As I looked through the blog, I realized the recipe was there, and so was the frosting recipe.  But they weren’t together in one post, and that seems like a crime.  So here it is.

I’m not a cake expert, but the cakes I do I think I do pretty well.  I’ve never had a complaint.  But it didn’t start out that way.  When I decided I wanted to learn how to cook, I approached my mom with the simple request, “Will you teach me how to cook?”  After she stopped spinning cartwheels of delight, and shouting her hallelujahs, she said, “Sure.”  She grabbed her beaten up cookbook and told me to search for a recipe I’d like to make.  After nearly an hour of looking and puzzling, I chose a yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  She made me read through the recipe three times so I’d be familiar with the steps, then made me go to the kitchen and pantry to make certain we had all the ingredients.  Then she made me line everything up and get ready to start.  I didn’t know it at the time, but she was actually teaching me some pretty basic cooking principles.

I started measuring out the ingredients when she stopped me.  “What’s that?”

“It’s a teaspoon.”

“You sure about that?”

“Well, it’s the size you guys use for your coffee and coffee and tea are basically the same thing, so I figured this was a teaspoon.”

“It’s not.”  she said.  “These are your measuring spoons.  The largest is a tablespoon, the next is a teaspoon.  Below that is a 1/2 teaspoon, and then the 1/4 teaspoon.  When you’re baking, you have to be precise with your measurements or things will turn out wrong.”

So I measured everything out into small or larger bowls to make sure we had enough of all the right ingredients.   Then I read through the recipe one more time.

“Mom?  What’s sifting mean?”

“It’s mixing all the dry ingredients together to make sure they’re well combined.  Tear off a large piece of waxed paper and put it on the table.  Put a cup of flour in the sifter and sift it onto the paper, like this.”  She walked me through the process, then left me to get on with it.  I measured out the flour, put the other dry ingredients with it, and sifted the result three times.  Today, I’d just put it all in a bowl and take a medium size whisk and whisk it all together for a couple of minutes.  But that’s what she knew and that’s what she taught me.

I mixed the cake together and poured it into a 13×9 sheet pan.  I didn’t want to attempt a layer cake at that point.  So I sat there watching my cake cook, then cool.  Then made up the frosting from a box mix, and spread it on.  Even though it was only an hour till supper time, I asked if we could have a small piece right then.  She grinned and indulged me and we each took a big bite.

“What did you do wrong?” she asked.

It was the densest cake I’d ever eaten.  “Nothing, I think.  I followed the recipe to the letter.”

“You sifted the flour three times?”

I nodded, reviewing all the steps mentally.  “I can’t think of anything I did wrong?”

“Tell me the steps.”

“I measured out three cups of flour and sifted the other stuff and the flour together.  Then – ”

“You measured out three cups of flour?  In addition to the one I did to show you how?”

I nodded suddenly seeing where it was going.  We both realized the cake had four cups of flour instead of three.

She shrugged.  “Still tastes good.”  And taught me another lesson.  If the results are good, the recipe is merely a guide.

Over the years, and there have been many (nearly 50), I’ve tried many cake recipes looking for that elusive “perfect” cake.  I’ve made cakes french style, italian style, american style, and “Joe” style.  Here’s the recipe I’ve come up with as the perfect yellow cake.  And I’ve included the chocolate frosting recipe this time.

Yellow Cake

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup milk or water
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour (cake flour works best)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2 – 8 inch round pans. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly tapped. Cool 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks.


Chocolate Frosting

  • One pint heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • ½ cup butter (one stick) room temperature
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla, high quality
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 3-4 cups powdered or icing sugar


  1. Cream butter until light and airy. Add vanilla and mix till fully incorporated.
  2. Gently add cocoa to avoid major spillage. Once cocoa is fully combined, beat until fluffy.
  3. Add one cup of sugar and ¼ cup of cream and carefully blend until incorporated, then beat till fluffy. Add another cup of sugar and ¼ cup of cream. Carefully blend, the beat until fluffy. Repeat with one more cup of sugar and ¼ cup of cream.
  4. At this point, there will be a lot of icing, probably more than enough for a standard two layer cake or sheet cake. Add more cream in small amounts and beat into icing to get the desired consistency. If more icing is needed than what is made, add the additional sugar and use the extra cream to blend to spreading consistency.

As always,


1 Comment

  1. The best memories are the ones that bake up sweet moments and recipes to share with loved ones over a lifetime.

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