Cakes/ Dessert/ Recipes

All Occasion Yellow Cake

All week long I’ve been hearing about yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

“Yellow cake,” Adam said, licking his lips and grinning as the ambulance sped down the icy mountain road. “With rich chocolate frosting. Please, dear. It’s all I want!”

“What’d he just say?” the medic asked me, clearly confused by the conversation.

I tried to explain that this was normal—not the getting hurt part—but the talking about cake part. When he had a kidney stone last September, I sat by his bedside meticulously writing down all the different foods he wanted when it was gone. Cake being the first.

Would it be wrong to say cake is the crux of our relationship? Or that our relationship is based on cake?

Nevermind. Don’t answer that.

I finally made “the” cake yesterday and I’m happy to report it was apparently everything Adam had hoped and dreamed. In fact, he couldn’t stop talking about it all night long and now today, we only have three slices left.

I have no idea how that happened.

It’s just a simple vanilla cake, really. Made even simpler by the fact that I frosted it with this:

Oh no I didn’t.

Oh yes I did.

And I wanted to hate it….really. Actually I did hate it for about three seconds. But then by the fourth second, the sweetness won me over and I ended up licking the spoon.

I felt dirty in the best way possible.

All Occasion Yellow Cake

yields one 8-inch (or 9-inch square) cake

Print this recipe!


1 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup + 2 T sugar

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup milk

chocolate frosting

rainbow sprinkles


Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat until combined. Add the vanilla extract and beat again.

Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until smooth.

Scoop batter into a greased cake pan (or nine inch pan) and bake for 25 minutes, or until light, springy and golden.

When cool, frost with chocolate frosting and douse with rainbow sprinkles. Guaranteed to heal almost anything.


35 minutes

**This cake is also wonderful made into cupcakes. Just mix and bake as directed in greased cupcake tins. You could also double the recipe and make two cake layers for a yellow layer birthday cake.

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  • megan @ blackberries for jam
    February 21, 2011 at 5:02 am

    Ain’t nothing wrong with a little Betty Crocker every now and then! I will forever love her strawberry frosting.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    February 21, 2011 at 5:02 am

    sometimes store-bought is the best way to go because it’s the easiest…and the cake’s from scratch! totally counts.

  • Kristen @ That Hoosier Girl
    February 21, 2011 at 5:03 am

    That cake reminds me of every single birthday of my brother growing up. Boxed yellow cake with straight from the can icing. His wife got it easy. Wait…no, I still feel for that poor girl.

  • Christie {Nourishing Eats}
    February 21, 2011 at 5:05 am

    Oh man, I have such fond memories of yellow cake with chocolate frosting from being a kid. I remember that my grandma used to make the best ones and they always had toothpicks in them and I could never ever figure out why. I still to this day have no idea why.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet
    February 21, 2011 at 5:09 am

    That is our favorite canned frosting! My mom makes the best homemade chocolate cake and tops it with that. It is seriously sinful. I have been known to eat it by the spoonful out of the container. I recreated it once and it still wasn’t as delicious.

  • Laura
    February 21, 2011 at 5:17 am

    Hope he’s feeling better, cake can work wonders!! πŸ™‚

  • megan @ whatmegansmaking
    February 21, 2011 at 5:29 am

    Jenna, this cake looks wonderful! I have to ask though, is it as good as a boxed cake mix? Somehow, boxed cake mixes always seem to taste better than my homemade cakes. It’s really an embarrassment to me … πŸ™‚

  • Lisa (Dishes of Mrs. Fish)
    February 21, 2011 at 5:33 am

    So excited about this cake mix recipe! My husband loves yellow cake! πŸ™‚

  • Bethany @Bridezilla Bakes
    February 21, 2011 at 5:33 am

    I’ve never made yellow cake, except from the box! And Betty’s frosting is just necessary, when it comes to yellow cake — if you’re going for that classic, nostalgic taste! At least for me, since that’s what I grew up with.

  • cathyb.@brightbakes
    February 21, 2011 at 5:33 am

    I love your refreshingly honest perspective πŸ™‚ Of course homemade is best. But sometimes…well, we know how life goes πŸ™‚ And the sprinkles will fix anything of course!
    Best to you and Adam…
    cathy b.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    February 21, 2011 at 5:37 am

    That’s my usual icing too! I’m ashamed to admit it but my go-to yellow cake in the past has always been the boxed Betty Crocker kind but I am now replacing that with your recipe. πŸ™‚

  • Amy
    February 21, 2011 at 5:41 am

    I’ve been needing a little cake in my life lately– this will work splendidly! Yellow cake + chocolate frosting is my husband’s favorite combo (EVER), so I’m sure he’ll be only too glad to help me eat it πŸ™‚

  • Jil @ Big City, Lil' Kitchen
    February 21, 2011 at 5:41 am

    Ahaha – well, you can’t say that Adam doesn’t know what he wants!! πŸ™‚

  • mary (sisters running the kitchen)
    February 21, 2011 at 5:46 am

    My mom has always (and still does!) makes the classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting for me and my sisters birthdays. She of course uses the boxed mix and betty’s chocolate frosting! How do you think this recipe for yellow cake compares to the boxed mix?

    • jenna
      February 21, 2011 at 8:11 am

      I really liked it! It’s moist and soft…and really, just as easy as making it from a box!

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    February 21, 2011 at 5:47 am

    There’s nothing better than a slice of old fashioned yellow cake!
    Looks delicious πŸ™‚

  • Becky
    February 21, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Yellow cake + chocolate frosting is truly a match made in heaven. One of my favorites.

  • sofia
    February 21, 2011 at 5:53 am

    the day my boyfriend calls me “dear,” i’m throwing a pie – whipped cream and all – in his face.


    i jest. and digress. but this looks like the (apple?) cake of my eye as a kid. i LOVED simple yellow cake, nothing else. simplicity always wins, huh?

  • sonia
    February 21, 2011 at 5:54 am

    looks greak! i will be making this tonight for the hubster sans frosting (whaaaa? you say…nope the unenlightened fellow does not like frosting!!) so just wanted to check- is eggless? didn’t see it in the ingredient list, but i may be blinded by the chocolate frosting and just didn’t see it!

    • sonia
      February 21, 2011 at 5:57 am

      wow..*great* not greak. my fingers are faster than my brain…

  • Katrina
    February 21, 2011 at 5:56 am

    This is such a yummy looking yellow cake! Great recipe!

  • VeggieGirl
    February 21, 2011 at 6:03 am

    Now THAT’S a cake πŸ™‚

  • Lauren at KeepItSweet
    February 21, 2011 at 6:05 am

    My husband loves boxed yellow cake with chocolate frosting. i can get behind the box cake mix, but I really am not a fan of canned frosting. I’d probably do the opposite of yours!

  • my little celebration
    February 21, 2011 at 6:07 am

    I guess if the boy wants plain, give him plain. That sounds exactly like my husband.

  • Blog is the New Black
    February 21, 2011 at 6:38 am

    All cake is all-occasion! πŸ˜‰

  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing
    February 21, 2011 at 6:38 am

    We had funfetti cupcakes for my bday this weekend. Like frosting from a can, it may not be classy but sometimes that’s all you want and need :).

  • Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food
    February 21, 2011 at 6:50 am

    Nothing beats classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting! And sprinkles! πŸ™‚

    • jenna
      February 21, 2011 at 7:55 am

      sprinkles make everything better!

  • Krystina (Organically Me)
    February 21, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is my favorite! I actually don’t really like chocolate cake or vanilla frosting.

  • Baking 'n' Books
    February 21, 2011 at 7:00 am

    There is no shame in using that frosting – ever. I too partake.

    I had no idea they made Triple Chocolate Fudge Chip though…oh my…

  • Justeen @ Blissful Baking
    February 21, 2011 at 7:01 am

    I’ve actually never made a yellow cake from scratch – only from a mix. I’ve made practically every kind of cake from scratch, but not yellow cake. This has got to change!!

  • Michelle
    February 21, 2011 at 7:07 am

    Sooooo much better than funfetti cake.

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    February 21, 2011 at 7:12 am

    I’m starting to think Adam is getting sick just so you’ll whip up some amazing dessert…

    Smart guy.

  • RhodeyGirl
    February 21, 2011 at 7:27 am

    I hoped you topped a piece with vanilla ice cream!


  • Shawna
    February 21, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Oh my gosh! Today is my 25th birthday and yellow cake with chocolate frosting is my favorite! I’m printing this recipe out for my boyfriend to make for me as I write πŸ™‚ Thanks Jenna!

  • Daisy
    February 21, 2011 at 7:35 am

    oo jenna you are such a good (bad?!) GF.

  • Maria
    February 21, 2011 at 7:55 am

    I will take a piece with a big scoop of ice cream too:) Love this cake!

  • Jena
    February 21, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Have you seen running off the reese’s? She mentions how your food is her favorite!

  • Moni'sMeals
    February 21, 2011 at 8:14 am

    I don’t think I have ever made yellow cake with out the box! What a lucky guy!

  • Stephanie Rose
    February 21, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Glad Adam’s feeling good enough to eat cake! I’ve been trying to find a go to yellow cake recipe, so I’ll have to try this one out! Have you ever heard that by whipping store bought frosting, you can actually double it’s size? I’ve never tried it before though.

  • Sana
    February 21, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Food is the way to a man’s heart!

  • kate
    February 21, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Sometimes you just need frosting from a jar.

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    February 21, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is one of my favorite cakes. It’s a classic! Plus, since you’re saying it’s “all occasion” I’m now counting it as part of the “breakfast” food groups. You don’t mind, right? πŸ˜‰

  • Gillian G.
    February 21, 2011 at 9:23 am

    I just did the same thing – velvet marble cupcakes from scratch….betty for the frosting. i’m telling you, girlfriend KNOWS her buttercream!

    February 21, 2011 at 9:26 am

    I love yellow cake, surely can be enjoyed at any time of the day. This cake looks fantastic and delicious, will shortly try your recipe…

  • Meghan @ StruggleMuffins
    February 21, 2011 at 9:36 am

    I’m fully convinced that store bought frosting is good, if not necessary, for the soul. And the yellow cake/ chocolate frosting combo is pretty much just God’s gift to taste buds. Period. Can’t wait to try your yellow cake recipe πŸ™‚

  • Kati @ Living Well
    February 21, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is my hubby’s favorite too! I tried to make him one (it was even a box mix!) a few years ago and didn’t let it bake long enough. Sunk in the middle, soggy cake wasn’t exactly what he was looking forward to but oh well :>

  • Cara
    February 21, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Yellow cake and chocolate icing is such a timeless classic! Great combination! And now I’m craving it! Frosting from the jar is needed at times, and licking the spoon really is the best way to go.

  • Cat @ YoungHungryFoolish
    February 21, 2011 at 10:47 am

    My bf loves yellow cake with chocolate frosting too! What is with that combo?!

  • Amanda
    February 21, 2011 at 10:58 am

    I worship the alter of the yellow cake! Jar frosting is delicious…. really just delicious. Plus it saves you so many dishes! Making frosting from scratch is a messy (though delicious) process.

  • Emily @ Savory and Savage
    February 21, 2011 at 11:28 am

    That is my ultimate favorite cake – Yellow cake with chocolate frosting, mmmmm.

    I have asked for it for my birthday as soon as I could talk πŸ™‚

  • Kristen @ Change of Pace
    February 21, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Oh no! Now I want cake… I hate that haha! πŸ™‚

  • Deva (Voracious Vorilee)
    February 21, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I love yellow cake with chocolate frosting – it’s delicious and decadent in a way that chocolate cake cannot be for me. The rich frosting and the golden cake play off of each other for sinfully amazing flavor combination that cannot be rivaled.

  • Elizabeth@The Sweet Life
    February 21, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Oh my–it looks so delicious in the mixer!

  • Brooke @ Bittersweetb
    February 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Oh my, how I love cake!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    February 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Nothing wrong with Duncan Hines, baby!

    Or that cake!

    Or Adam’s judgment and priorities. I would love to be nursed back to health with that cake πŸ™‚

  • Mary (what's cookin' with mary)
    February 21, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    The fact that you used pre-made frosting kind of makes me smile… not exactly sure why, but I love it !! I’ve never had homemade yellow cake and this version looks divine! Hope the patient is feeling better soon! From one person with metal holding their body together to another πŸ˜€

  • ingrid
    February 21, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    NOM NOM NOM! one of the best combos ever! same goes for chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

  • Alison @ Hospitality Haven
    February 21, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Ugh. I’m now stuck in class wanting cake. Not fair!!!

  • karen
    February 21, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    love yellow cake with sprinkles. You must dream about the different layers that will be on your wedding cake one day…

  • katie
    February 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    I love that frosting, no shame there ; ) grew up with my mom making cakes and slathering that yummness on, and me spooning the rest of the frosting with my finger out of the tub : )

    The cake looks so delish!

    Hope Adam is feeling better!!

  • Rachel @ Healthy Teacher
    February 21, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    My husband loves yellow cake. This may be my go-to cheer up cake.

  • Angharad
    February 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Adam has his priorities in check, clearly. I hope that if I’m ever hurtling down a mountain in an ambulance, in pain, someone will be there taking notes on what kind of food I want (steak and ale pie. carrot cake). You’re obviously a keeper!

  • Alex
    February 21, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Yum!! I could practically smell this cake looking through the pictures. Yum!

  • sherri
    February 21, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    you are awesome!!

  • notyet100
    February 22, 2011 at 2:15 am

    name says it all,…;-)

  • Katrina (gluten free gidget)
    February 22, 2011 at 3:49 am

    You know… I don’t think I’ve ever made a yellow cake! That’s weird!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    February 22, 2011 at 4:28 am

    I love how you felt dirty for using Betty Crocker – I completely understand.

  • courtney
    February 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Yellow cake with chocolate frosting and SPRINKLES is my favorite thing ever… and since I am home sick and you say this cake heals everything, I think I know what I will be doing with my afternoon! Now I just have to devise some sort of face shield so I don’t sneeze into it… Thank you Jenna, and thank you Adam πŸ˜›

  • Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef
    February 22, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    is it bad that i knew before reading this post that you’d top it with sprinkles?? i need me some rainbow sprinkles in my life!

  • simple cake recipe
    February 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Looks great with the sprinkles! Using milk chocolate chips or white chocolate chips would also be delightful:)

  • Clizia
    February 24, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Jenna, you’re not alone. I am in a relationship based on cake as well; isn’t it wonderful?!

  • Jenny D.
    March 8, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    True Story – yesterday my status read: I really just want to eat some cupcakes and call it a night.
    Tonight, my status reads: someone send cupcakes and wine… stat.

    Taking matters into my own hand, I’m making this cake (cupcakes) and they are phenomenal!! Thank you for restoring my sanity in this moment:)

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  • Melissa Dunham
    August 27, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Made this cake but added one egg yolk and two more tablespoons butter. Literally best cake ever!!

  • Linda Z
    April 1, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Made a fabulous pineapple upside down cake using your recipe. Thanks.