Yellow Sheet Cake with Fudge Frosting

This is the best yellow cake recipe I've tried! Recipe on

Official long weekend starts RIGHT HERE!

Not only is this my favorite weekend of the year (oh hey, summer!), it’s also my birthday today. So this is like a double whammy of awesomeness right now. My plans for the day include:

This is the best yellow cake recipe I've tried! Recipe on

Absolutely nothing at all.

After a year of seriously kicking my own butt, falling on my butt (I’m the worst skier, ever), traveling the country east to west north to south, hiring a marketing assistant, buying a home, and basically 365 days of NOT having my ducks in a row– I’m ready to close the chapter on 30 years old and begin putting my feet up at age 31.

Pass me a glass of champagne, will ya? Make it a bottle!

How to make yellow sheet cake on

I’m finally feeling like myself again. Remember when I talked about being in a rut? I needed a break. Several, actually. The pressure of being your own boss and having zero boundaries between work and real life is scary. It feels like I need to climb a mountain every single day, but you know what? I’ve learned the fix to it all is to take care of myself. Maybe you can relate? Solutions: Schedule breaks. Close the office door. Go on a walk. Get some rest. Eat healthy. Get back into yoga. Sleep the heck in. Turn off the phone. Take the day off. Like really off. Outsource tasks because I can’t do everything. This is totally not the direction I wanted this yellow cake post to go in, but I’m almost done I swear!

I had the most exciting, crazy, hectic, blessed year yet and I can only imagine what age 31 will bring me. All I know is that I’m starting it with a fresh mind, a new place to call our home, a grateful heart, and two sweet dogs. I’m feeling on top again.

Rainbow Sprinkles on

And with that, let’s eat cake!!

I’ve read many questions and comments about a basic yellow birthday cake recipe lately. And I’m just like “you’re reading my MIND” because is there truly a better birthday cake? Buttery yellow cake topped with smooth, rich, and creamy chocolate frosting that can only be comparable to fudge… this is a birthday essential. And this is how it’s going down because what I’m about to share is truly the best yellow cake I’ve ever made.

All super basic ingredients like eggs, flour, sugar, and milk. Sour cream balances out some sweet flavor and oh-my-heavens! The tender crumb it leaves! Sour cream is the little trick to a super moist, super rich cake– and it really makes a difference here. Make sure you use the full-fat stuff. The fat is what makes it taste good– and that’s what birthday cake is really all about, right? Nonfat sour cream is not invited.

You know the super moist cakes that stick to the fork? That’s what this is!

Perfect chocolate fudge frosting recipe on

Will ya just check out this frosting? It’s the same frosting I use for my piñata cake. (Who I’d invite to any birthday shindig.) What I love most about this particular frosting is that it’s dense and smooth, not whipped or fluffy like I usually make it.

Just pure, glossy, fudgy frosting.

I love sheet cakes because they feed an army, bake up fast, and cool pretty quickly. I use a 12×17 half sheet pan, but this yellow cake batter will fit into a 9×13 too– just bake it longer.

This is the best yellow cake recipe I've tried! Recipe on

Guys, it’s party time!

Seriously, where’s the champagne.


Yellow Sheet Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: serves 25-30
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


The ultimate birthday cake is right here! This yellow sheet cake with chocolate fudge frosting is the only yellow cake recipe you’ll ever need.


  • 2 and 1/4 cups (285g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream, at room temperature*
  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk, at room temperature*

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 and 1/2 cups (540g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 cup (65g) natural unsweetened or dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • optional: rainbow sprinkles


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Generously grease and lightly flour a 12×17 inch half sheet/jelly roll pan. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy – about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 3 full minutes until creamed together fairly well. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. On medium-high speed, add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition until both are mixed in. On high speed, beat in the vanilla extract and sour cream. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  3. With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients alternating with the milk. Mix each addition just until incorporated. Do not overmix this batter. The batter will be smooth, velvety, and slightly thick.
  4. Spread the cake batter into the prepared pan. Smooth it out into a thin, even layer. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Make sure you rotate the cake pan once or twice during bake time if your oven has hot spots. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan placed on a wire rack. As the cake is cooling, make the frosting.
  5. Make the frosting: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until pale, smooth, and creamy – about 4 full minutes. Sift the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa together. On low speed, gradually add the sugar/cocoa mixture, followed by the milk, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt. Beat for 1 minute. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. If the frosting is too thick, add a splash more of milk.
  6. Frost cooled cake and top with sprinkles. Slice and serve. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Cake can be made 1 day in advance, covered tightly at room temperature, and then frosted before serving. Frosting can also be made 1 day ahead of time– cover tightly and keep in the refrigerator. Frosted or unfrosted cake can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  2. Sour Cream: Full-fat sour cream lends the best flavor! You can use plain yogurt instead. I suggest a full-fat variety.
  3. Milk: Whole milk is best– the fat is what gives this cake it’s wonderfully rich texture. You can use 2% instead– or even buttermilk!
  4. Corn Syrup: This tiny bit of corn syrup makes the frosting uniquely glossy and shiny. You can leave it out if you’d like.
  5. Different Size Cakes & Cupcakes: you can use this recipe to make a 9×13 cake. Same oven temperature, just bake for about 35-40 minutes. You can also use this recipe to make about 18-20 cupcakes. Fill cupcake liners halfway. About 20 minutes bake time, same oven temperature. For a yellow layer cake, I suggest a similar recipe: zebra cake. (Skip the chocolate batter/marbling part.)
  6. Special Tools: 12×17 half sheet pan (I love these pans!)

Keywords: yellow sheet cake, yellow cake with chocolate frosting

And another Franklin picture just because you asked or just because I’m too obsessed with him. You decide.


What I love most about this perfect yellow cake is that it's EASY! Quick, simple, buttery, and rich! Recipe on


  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SALLY !!! Hope you have a wonderful day and many happy returns. I’m a little obsessed with that Franklin baby right now. He is so dang cute! Please keep posting pictures, but don’t leave Jude out. We love seeing him, too! He’s going to be a great big brother! Hope you’ll post us some pictures of your new house soon. Nosy little bunch, aren’t we? Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication. Yours is ALWAYS the first blog I visit every day!

    1. I could never leave out Mr Jude! He’s been showing Franklin the ropes the past week or so. I’ll be sure to post house pictures too! Thanks so much Marijac 🙂

  2. Happy birthday Sally and congrats on all you’ve accomplished so far. As a fitness enthusiast and fellow food-lover, I’ve enjoyed following you  through the years. Starting a new business and blog myself, it’s an inspiration to see how you’ve grown. Thank you for sharing your struggles as well as your success…I think that makes you all the more loved by your fans. 

  3. Happy birthday, Sally! I hope you have a fabulous long weekend celebrating. May 31 be even better than 30 (tough to beat, I think). The cake looks divine! I’ll take the frosting straight from the bowl, thank you! 

  4. Happy Birthday Sally! I hope you have the best day ever. And what luck that it falls on the Friday before a long weekend??? Enjoy your day and your dogs, and hopefully a big fat slice of this classic cake. Thanks so much for all your baking and all your recipes, I get at least 3/4 of all my baking recipes from your site. So take the resr of the day (weekend?) off, you deserve it 🙂

  5. Happy Birthday, Sally!!! 31 is totally the age to put your feet up. Especially when you’ve been kicking so many butts (beside your own) for THREE whole decades! 
    Sally, you’ve built such a wonderful life and business for yourself. And honestly, my favorite part is the community you’ve created. You’ve done such a fantastic job of bringing all of us bakers, food fanatics, dessert lovers and kitchen scientists together. 🙂 You made baking fun and approachable again.
    Best of all, you never fail to be such a truly kind and generous person. <3 Let's pop like 10 cases of champagne bottles to celebrate! Happy, happy birthday Sally. Here's to 31 and on being many years of having your ducks in a row, bobbing at a slower pace, and having some fun. 😉

  6. Happy Birthday! I hope you are getting spoiled!

    This recipe looks like perfection. I know what I am making for the picnic tomorrow. You da best!


  7. Happy Birthday Sally! May this be the best year yet! (and with a slice of that yummy cake with chocolate frosting…I bet it will be the best start of the year yet!! lol)

  8. I’m not sure how I stumbled upon your site, but wow you know what draws people in (Oh wait, chocolate peanut butter’s lovers granola – yup, that was it).
    I have the largest sweet tooth and your recipes fill every SINGLE ONE/TWO/THREE of my cravings.
    I’m also a HUGE dog person, so you’re already in my crowd! Jude & Franklin are adorable.
    This birthday cake looks SO good – have a wonderful 31st birthday party (many more good times to come)!
    Do you think I could substitute gluten free flours for this recipe?
    Thanks and HAPPY BIRTHDAY again.

    1. Thanks so much Tarra! I haven’t made that granola in over a year. THAT needs to change.

      I’ve never tested this recipe with a gluten free flour and I don’t want to steer you in the wrong direction. Worth a try– let me know if you do!

  9. HAPPY FREAKING BIRTHDAY! Oh and CHEERS – we’re clinking bottles here, obviously, not glasses. As a fellow 31-year old, welcome to a year with waaaaay less expectations and pressure than 30. 30th birthdays are all, ugh am I adulting right? 31 is like welp, this is it! Hope you thoroughly enjoy your day and have some cake with that bubbly 🙂

  10. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Sally!!! Hope your day is perfect! This cake looks seriously delicious. And also, Franklin is adorable!

  11. Happy Birthday Sally!  I have been enjoying your blog for a few years now.  What a super busy year you have had!  I hope #31 brings you much joy, continued success and some down time to enjoy your hubby, your two pups and your new home.  
    What a yummy looking cake!
    Hope you make some time to relax!

  12. HaPPY BIRTHDAY SALLY!! Your the best! I have learned a lot about baking from this blog.
    Enjoy your day! Bet it includes playing with that sweet new puppy! (and his big bro)
    Look at Franklin’s eyes….they could melt anyone’s heart!

  13. Happy birthday, Sally!!! You make 31 look so good! Speaking of looking so good–that cake! Those sprinkles! That adorable puppy tongue :P! I hope you have a wonderful weekend filled with great food, champagne, cake and puppy snuggles. 🙂

  14. Happy birthday, birthday buddy! I just turned 31, too, on May 22! This recipe looks amazing (as always). Thanks for all the delicious recipes with thorough instructions. I’ve followed a lot of different food bloggers over the years, and you’re one of the few I continue to follow because I can always depend on your recipes. Have a fantastic birthday!!

  15. Happiest of birthdays to you, Sally! Enjoy your day and the weekend, and keep making the extra effort to care of yourself – it really does work wonders! 🙂

  16. Happy Belated Birthday and your new pup is so adorable 😉

    I’ve been asked to make a mud cake for a friends 70th in a week or so (getting close now). I really wanted to make a sheet cake (well two more than likely) and wanted to know if you knew of any mud cake recipes the size of your sheet cake you have with this recipe? Could I alter the chocolate one at all? 

    Would appreciate any advice you could give!!

    1. Thanks Sarah-Jane! Ok, I did some searching around and found this mud cake. Great reviews, makes a 15×10 inch cake

  17. Happy Birthday to you!!! The cake looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it.  Also wanted to tell you that your new addition to your family, Franklin, is ADORABLE!!!

  18. Happy birthday Sally!!! You’re so lucky to have yours on a Friday. Two things to celebrate……. 😉

    I NEED more of Franklin. One picture is just not enough! I seriously considered making the piñata cake for my own birthday, but stuck with the giant chocolate chip cookie cake instead. With sprinkles! Honestly, I am a little kid at heart.

  19. Hi Sally, your yellow cake topped with chocolate fudge looks so yummy. I would like to make this but may I check whether it is possible to replace the corn syrup? thanks 

  20. Oh, it was so sweet to read about Franklin’s arrival into your family!  I love rescue stories… most of our kitties came to us that way.  It was also sweet to read your reminder awhile back about making time for the most important things in life, and spending time with loved ones… which we’ll do this weekend, and your post today is kind of along those lines, too.  It’s so easy for me to get way too busy with stuff that is legitimately important, and I find it helpful to try to keep aware of what is vital!  Have a wonderful birthday weekend, Sally, and many thanks for all you do!!

  21. Happy Birthday Sally!! I wish I was 31 again =-)
    I am one of your newer followers.  You are such an awesome baker (and photographer to boot!)!  Have a wonderful weekend with family and fur babies!  Your new puppy is too cute!!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally