yellow buttercake with fudge frosting

Nik Sharma

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

yellow buttercake  with fudge frosting | A Brown Table

First things first, the winner of the Wolf Gourmet giveaway is Angela Fields. Congratulations!!! Angela, please send me an email so I can have your shiny new cookware sent out to you. 

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

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 it’s 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 (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!

yellow buttercake  with fudge frosting | A Brown Table

yellow buttercake  with fudge frosting | A Brown Table

yellow buttercake  with fudge frosting | A Brown Table

yellow buttercake  with fudge frosting | A Brown Table

yellow buttercake  with fudge frosting | A Brown Table

yellow buttercake  with fudge frosting | A Brown Table

yellow buttercake  with fudge frosting | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this cake;

  • Note that I made a two layer cake instead of four. 
  • I used dark unsweetened cocoa powder for the frosting to give it a deeper chocolate flavor.
  • When making a chocolate based fudge frosting you should end up with a frosting that is soft and smooth. 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.

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yellow butter cake with fudge frosting (from the book Layered by Tessa Huff)

yields: makes 4-layer or two-layer 8 inch cake


yellow cake

butter/non-stick cooking spray for pans

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

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (225gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups (400gm) finegrain sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

6 large egg yolks

1 1/2 cups (360mL) whole milk

for the fudge frosting

1 1/2 cups (340gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature

5 1/2 cups (690gm) confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup (50g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon finegrain salt

1/4 cup (60mL) heavy cream

8 ounces (225gm) semisweet chocolate melted and cooled

1 teaspoon maldon salt flakes (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and butter two 8 inch 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 on medium-high until the butter is light and fluffy. Add the sugar and mix on 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 out 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 high 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: Once the cakes have completely cooled, carefully halve them horizontally (I didn’t do this) to create four even layers of cake. 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 maldon salt flakes if desired.

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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