The Best Yellow Cake with Fudge Frosting


Nik Sharma

Hey Friends, I’m a multi-award-winning and best-selling cookbook author and photographer.

When Tessa Huff (a cake maven) asked me to share a recipe from her new book Layered, I immediately went with her birthday cake. If you aren’t familiar with it, Tessa’s blog contains delicious cakes and treats with unique flavors and styles. There’s a cake to bake for every occasion and plenty of tasty ones. You will have a blast going through the book and cooking from it, from rhubarb to zucchini to tea-infused cakes.  

A yellow layer cake frosted with chocolate buttercream fudge frosting. It’s simple yet decadent and delightful, everything a birthday cake should be! I’ve added a light sprinkling of Maldon salt flakes for color and flavor. Make sure you use good-quality chocolate and cocoa for the frosting; it makes a huge difference in flavor. Yellow layer cakes are made with egg yolks, which give the cake its color and name. The crumb is soft and delicate, and a spoonful with a layer of chocolate fudge frosting goes a deliciously long way! 

Tessa is also giving away a copy of her book to one lucky reader (the contest is open to US and Canadian readers only) from here. The giveaway is open for a week and ends on April 29th, 2016. I’ll pick a random winner; all you need to do is leave a comment below and share the name of your favorite birthday cake. Please don’t forget to leave your email address so I can contact you. Good luck and happy baking!

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The Best yellow cake with fudge frosting

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This classic yellow buttercake from Tessa Huff’s marvelous book, Layered, is topped with a creamy, luscious chocolate fudge frosting, and there’s a reason it remains a popular request for birthdays. It satisfies all chocolate cravings. I like to top it off with a gentle sprinkling of flaky salt

  • Yield: Makes one 8 in/20 cm cake


For the Yellow Cake

butter/non-stick cooking spray for pans

3 1/4 cups/425 g cake flour plus a little extra for dusting the pans

1 Tbsp baking powder

3/4 tsp fine sea salt

1 cup/225 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups/400 g sugar

2 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

6 large egg yolks

1 1/2 cups/360 ml whole milk

For the Fudge Frosting

1 1/2 cups/340 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

5 1/2 cups/690 g confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup /50 g unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/8 tsp fine sea salt

1/4 cup/60 ml heavy cream

8 oz/ 225 g semisweet chocolate melted and cooled

1 tsp salt flakes (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Grease and butter two 8 in/20 cm cake pans and set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and mix over medium-high until the butter is light and fluffy. Add the sugar and mix over medium-high until the butter is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
  4. Turn the mixer to medium-low and add the vanilla and egg yolks, one at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
  5. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on medium for no more than 30 seconds after the last streaks of the dry ingredients are combined.
  6. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes clean. Let them cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.

For the Fudge Frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. With the mixer on low, gradually add the confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. Pour in the cream and mix until incorporated. Turn the mixer to the high speed and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Add the chocolate and mix until smooth.
  2. To assemble the cake: After completely cooling the cakes, carefully halve them horizontally to create four even cake layers (I skipped this and did two layers instead). Level the cakes and choose which layer will be at the bottom. Place it on a plate or serving dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the frosting with an offset spatula. Place the next layer of cake on the top and repeat. Frost with remaining fudge frosting. Sprinkle the top of the frosted cake with a little salt flakes if desired.


  • I made a two-layer cake instead of four, as instructed in the book.
  • I used dark, unsweetened cocoa powder for the frosting to give it a deeper chocolate flavor.
  • You should have a soft and smooth frosting when making a chocolate-based fudge frosting. This is important when you frost the cake, or it will rip the cake as you move against the grain of the cake with the offset spatula.  I usually add more heavy cream (1 tablespoon at a time) to the frosting until it feels smooth and silky. It should be thick enough to hold its shape yet soft enough to frost.
  • Adding the salt flakes at the end is optional. Since salt is hygroscopic, it will absorb moisture from air, so watch out for that. You could also sprinkle salt flakes on each slice just before serving.

11 Responses

  1. Such a beautiful cake. Looks absolutely delicious! Congrats to the giveaway winner- I’m jealous! xx

  2. This looks like the perfect recipe to make for my boyfriend’s upcoming birthday! In the past, my favorite has been Wanda Thompson’s chocolate cake recipe, which came from an old church cookbook that’s been passed down.


  3. Thank you, Nik! It truly is lovely. Those fudge swirls are amazing!!!! I love the addition of salt, too.

  4. I love fudge frostings! I’m a bit of a chocoholic so I like a really deep, dark chocolate flavor. My favorite birthday cake is my aunt’s chocolate cake – the crumb is delicate and moist and the cake is covered in a rich dark chocolate ganache.

  5. I found your blog through the Bojon Gourmet, as I sit in kitchen reading cooking blogs while waiting for my husband to make supper in a bit, I watching. Outside, rain comes, then sunshine – but only after tremendous lightening hits all round to flush it out. Many blocks away JazzFest is happening, or was, until the thunder out-rumbled the music. I read your post, thought of the caramel cake from The bakery where everyone got a cake, until my mom’s secretary made a chocolate pound cake. One slice, a first taste – from then on we wanted that. – Naomi

  6. Not traditional but I love angel food cake with lemon curd and fresh berries – and topped with whipped cream, of course!

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