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! Feliz Cumpleaños! Bon anniversaire! 祝你生日快乐! (zhù nī shēng ri kuài lè!) For the last 5 years, I bake my own cake for my birthday and each year I start to think about it like three months in advance!

  2. Happy Birthday!! I hope you had a special day, and that you were reminded of how much Jesus loves you–which He showed in giving His life to save us from our sins if we put our trust in Him.
    Your puppy is soooo cute, and I love your blog! I can’t even count how many recipes I have made from it.

  3. Happy birthday Sally❤ I think each period in our lives is associated with certain feelings. Right now that I’m in my 20s I feel very confused about life but I’m learning more and more about myself. I hear the 30s are better in that you don’t have the same worries about your self. Please never hesitate to prioritize your health and well-being

    1. Thanks so much Melanie. And remember that you don’t need to have it all figured out in your 20s, even though others might. I certainly didn’t!

  4. Happy Happy Birthday, Sally! Hope you have the best day! This cake is the perfect way to celebrate! 🙂 It’s gorgeous!

  5. Happy Birthday to you Sally!!! To celebrate your birthday I decided to make this cake and I’m so glad I did!!! This cake is superb to say the least!!! The frosting is out of this world good. I made this in a 9 x 13″ pan . Thank you Sally for everything you do!!! Have a great weekend!!!

    1. YAY! Happy you made and loved it. It’s wonderful as a thicker cake in that 9×13. Love it all. Thanks Wendy!

  6. Hope you enjoyed your birthday.  Franklin is precious.  Your cake is mouth-watering (actually all your posts are).  I’ll definitely be making this one.

  7. Yay, Sally! It’s your birthday!? Happy Birthday! I hope you do a lot of relaxing and enjoying some treats. What a great weekend to have a birthday on! 

  8. I’m a little late, but happy birthday, Sally. Hope the upcoming year is full of more wonderful things for you. Raising a margarita glass and watching Ross Gellar clips in your honor! haha.

  9. Happy birthday Sally! I’ve enjoyed these past few years with you, can’t wai to see what else you come out with. Take a break celebrate your day!

  10. Happy Birthday, Sally!  May this year bring you lots of happiness in every way! Franklin is lucky to join your family! It must smell so good at your house! 

  11. Happy Birthday!!!! Franklin is so adorable and this cake too! Can I get both?? But seriously, this cake looks amazing! 

  12. Hello Sally,

    Please advise whether these sheet cakes can be baked in regular baking pans of dimension 10″x15″? Also, will the baking time variate as i am not using sheet pan?

  13. Omg! I made this cake yesterday and it’s the best yellow cake I’ve ever had so moist and light just amazing!!!! 

  14. Happy Birthday Sally!!!! 
    I hope you’re having the most amazing, fun, relaxing & delicious birthday weekend. 🙂
    I’ve been really wanting to make & eat some cake lately & this yellow cake looks like perfection! Cannot wait to make it!!
    Also, i am completely obsessed with Franklin!!!! Congratulations on the new addition to the family.  He is absolute perfection! And i’m sure Jude & Franklin will be bff’s in no time.  Thank you for sharing them with us.  I look forward to seeing many pics of BOTH of them on instagram!  🙂

    1. Thanks Austria! The weekend’s been amazing. Just what I wanted! I’ve been posting a TON of both pups over on their Instagram page. (nerd dog mom over here)

  15. Wishing you a wonderful birthday!! Here’s to 31! Thanks for all your great tips and recipes and all of your help when I have questions, you rock. Take some time to enjoy yourself and relax!

  16. Sally, Happy belated birthday. I just made your oatmeal cookies today. They are one of my favorites. What a great picture of Franklin. If you are looking for an outing with the kids you can take them to Iron Hill Brewery. I was there the other night for dinner and people had their dogs on the patio with them. The staff was very accommodating as well. 

    1. Hi Mardi! We had baked beans, BBQ chicken from the grill, and a strawberry salad. All simple recipes that I don’t have at the moment. My mother made the baked beans and the recipe was a lot like this (though she added ground beef):

  17. Happy belated birthday Sally!!!  I hope you had a wonderful birthday!  I made this cake today and it was absolutely fabulous 🙂

  18. I have tried your marble cake and it was so good. I will try this one too. Franklin is so adorable. I could cuddle with him. Give him a hug and rub for me. Thanks for the photo.

  19. Happy belated!! 🙂 If there’s one perfect way to celebrate, it’s with a cake like this. I LOOVE myself a good yellow cake, and this one looks like one of the best! Can’t wait to try it!

  20. Ok, I just had to come back & let you know that I made this cake last night (start to finish, 1hour!). I’m always looking for a good scratch yellow cake recipe that tastes like a boxed cake mix. They seem to always turn out dry, and rather tasteless. Oh my Gosh– this cake! So moist & tender (I’m thinking the sour cream). Frosting– amazing! I think it may taste even better today! (My husband had some for breakfast!) I made a half recipe & baked it in a 9×9 pan — mostly because we just didn’t need that big of a cake for 3 of us. Only thing I didn’t have was the cute sprinkles (I live in a family of boys & they don’t appreciate sprinkles!!) this will be my go to from scratch yellow cake from now on. Next time I will use it as the base for my fresh strawberry cake — top it w/ strawberries, frost w/ whipped cream & put sliced toasted almonds around the edges ( I’ll do that one as a layer cake) Thanks for another great one Sally!!

    1. Your strawberry version sounds incredible! This yellow cake is definitely my new favorite and I’m already dreaming up different versions too!

  21. Happy belated! How are you enjoying your new age so far? Also, I love the sprinkles you used; they’re gorgeous! 

  22. Sally, wish you a very happy belated birthday.  God’s choicest blessings remain on you always.  You are an awesome baker. Love yellow sheet cake. Will bake it for my son in law’s b’day on 19/6. We are blessed to receive your marvellous recipes. Thank you so much.

  23. This cake was delicious and super moist!  Thanks so much, I’ve been looking for a long time to find a yellow box cake mix alternative.  

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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