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. OMG this cake is soon good! It’s so moist! I’m making in now for Father’s day. It’s the second time this week. I will be using homemade whipped cream and top it off with glazed fresh strawberries since my dad is diabetic so will be skipping the frosting. This will be my only recipe that I will use from now on!!!

  2. I have love-love-loved every recipe of yours that I have tried (and there are A LOT of them) but this one just fell apart… I don’t know what I did wrong. Seems like the simplest things are the hardest to get right… 

    1. Hey Terri! What do you mean– the cake was crumbly? Did you use a different size pan or alter the recipe at all?

  3. Hey Sally! Just a quick question. I need to make a large cake for a baby shower and I thought this sheet cake would be good. I wanted to layer it but then saw your note about using the marbled cake recipe for a layered cake. Is there any reason I shouldn’t layer the sheet cake? It’s the right size and would save me from having to figure out how much of the other cake batter I would need.. 🙂

  4. Hi Sally,

    I am planning on making this recipe for a party this weekend, but doing a three layer cake (cutting one of the cakes in half) with chocolate icing. I will be using 9 inch baking pans. I would like to use a classic yellow cake recipe and I saw above that you suggest your marble cake for layering. If you could let me know which recipe you think would work best I would really appreciate the help!

    Thank you!

    1. I honestly think either would be fantastic for your layer cake. Either wouldn’t be quite enough for a 3 layer cake, so I would make 1.5x the recipe. And I think this sheet cake would be the easiest to 1.5x.

  5. Very nice yellow cake. I have made this recipe both as sheet cake and as cupcake. The only thing is the cupcakes baked with a flat top. Keep the nice recipes flowing.

  6. Hey Sally, 
    I’m making this cake in a 9×13 dish so I can cut it into a pattern I found for a jet (bc my almost two year old loves airplanes and shouts at the top of his lungs every time he sees one). I plan on trying to make the frosting as smooth as possible (with a paper towel and back of a spatula after refrigerating). Will this frosting work similarly to buttercream or should I use this one 
    Thanks! Lindsey 
    PS you’re my go to baking guru. Anytime I want to try so,etching new I just look at your site!

  7. Instead of sour cream can you use Greek honey yogurt? That is all I have in the refrigerator and hate to go into town just to buy sour cream : )

  8. I made this last weekend as the niece and nephew were coming for a last summer blast before going back to school. Yes including a bonfire in the yard with smores and the neighbors joining in on the fun. My Kevin made special logs for the fire for them to play with which turned out well. Anyway, the is the first time that i have made one of your recipe’s that it tanked on me. i was so shocked. All of your’s have been wonderful and made me a hit. This one however was not so good. The icing however was wonderful. It saved it. And i followed the recipe. I am anal about that. I even made sure to get whole milk. I went to toss out the last two pieces as my husband said “leave i will eat it” but enough was enough. I had to scrap off the icing though as he would not let it go. He will put it on graham crackers. So sad this one tanked. But i will not give up. I will continue to use him and others as genuie pigs.

    1. Let me know what was wrong with it! Maybe I can help troubleshoot what happened. This is my go-to yellow cake right now, I even made it yesterday in a 9×13 pan!

      1. Good morning Sally,
        Well it was dry and dense and not very sweet. My husband and I are used to cake being a little sweeter. And i made it in a metal 9 x 13 pan. When i am doing a new recipe a take a pencil and mark off at the side as i am putting things in so i dont get lost. haha. Seems to work. I did use whole milk. As far as i know of i dont think i left anything out. I tried not to over mix and i dont think i did. But i have an older stand mixer. Poor thing has a rubber band on it as the controls have slippage issues. We call it My Boyfriend! He tried to take it apart one time to fix it and it didnt work when Kevin put it back together. i balled my eyes out. He tried agian and it was okay. So as you can see i am rather attached to my Boyfriend. haha. Oh sorry TMI but i thought you would get a kick out of that story. By the way your Triple Chocolate Cake was THE CHOCOATE CAKE or darn near close. The family drooled over it. I put mini chocolate chips all over the top and at the bottom edge. I was not successful in getting the side all covered as i about lost my religion just doing the bottom edge with the mini’s. My nephew said “You could just pick it up and roll the whole side with them”! What nut. I was left with two pieces only when we left. So you are so awesome.

  9. Hi Sally.
    I am glad to find you here very helping. I am from Pakistan and new in baking. I really want to learn and explore dis world.
    I wanted to ask u something about this cake of urs that can I cook in a Pressure Cooker too ?
    As i don’t have the Oven.
    Thank you.

  10. Hi Sally, I love your recipes!!
    I’ll be attempting to make this cake for my little guys second birthday tomorrow. I read through the marble cake recipe as well and noticed you said to use cake flour for that recipe, should I use cake flour for this recipe? Thanks for the help! 

      1. Perfecto! Thanks so much. One other question,  could I make this recipe in 2 9×9 circle pans, or would you suggest sticking to a 12×17? 

  11. I just made this recipe and it turned out so well! I’m very self-critical of my baking and even I thought it was good. My partner’s favorite cake is vanilla with chocolate icing. I keep making different versions of this cake and am never satisfied. I’m happy to finally have found my go to for the future. The icing spread so easily and looked amazing. Thanks Sally!!!

  12. Sally Ive tried literally all your recipes and of course every single one was amazing. THIS recipe however by far is the most perfect cake recipe! ♡♡♡ im in love with how moist this cake is, i made it couple days ago and my husband devoured it all in just 2 days! This is now my go to cake recipe

  13. Hi Sally,  I have made several of your recipes and loved them all and had no problems.  I made the yellow cake and icing and it tastes wonderful. The cake itself didn’t seem to rise much and is a little dense.  It’s not much taller than your pictures in the half sheet pan and I used a 13×9. Any thoughts on what I may have done wrong?  Maybe beat it too much??  I’ll be sure to try again – just thought I would see what you thought.

    1. Hi Nancy! So much batter to not rise at all, I wonder what could be the issue. Overmixing could play a part into it. Are you at high altitude at all? Or is your baking soda expired? I like to replace mine every 3 months. Anything you changed about the recipe?

      1. We are at sea level.  I’ll buy new baking soda before I try it again.  And try not to over mix!  Thanks. 

  14. Hi Sally!!
    Can I substitute the butter with oil? And how much oil for that amount of butter? My 2 year old is lactose intolerant so he can’t have butter and the quality of the lactose free “butter” isn’t good, is more like margarine. 

    1. Hi Francisca! Subbing oil for creamed butter never typically works out. Especially this amount. What about creaming coconut oil? The cake won’t taste the same but it could work.

  15. I made this today and while it looked done (bottom and top) and the tester came out clean and all seemed right in the cooling and icing stage, it was a little underdone and dense in the center. I even cooked it for an additional 5-10 minutes. Nice taste and looked as in the photo but “meh”. The ends were better than the center as they cooked properly. I did not over- mix and my ingredients were all up-to-date. Not sure why. Enjoyed it anyway but in general disappointing.

  16. Wishing you a very Happy B-day with many good things to, happen i”am totally impressed by all those at dishes that sprout from your kitchen. All the best for 2o17, Rita Heathcote Barcelona,Spain.

  17. Excellent recipe for a simple, basic cake. I made this for my daughter’s first birthday and it was great in a 9×13 pan at the bake times suggested. I used a 9% plain yogurt and three medium eggs – turned out moist and lovely! I made the cake and the frosting the night before, and everything came together perfectly the following morning. Very quick and easy recipe, thank you so much for sharing it!

  18. Just made this recipe. My only concern was the amount of frosting the recipe made. I made the cake as a 9×13 sine I didn’t have an appropriately sized sheet pan and there’s SO MUCH FROSTING. Not that it’s a bad thing, I will just probably halve the frosting next time. (The batter is delicious, fyi. I couldn’t help myself.

  19. Hi Sally, 

    I’m planning using this recipe this Saturday for a friends birthday but I’m planning on making a 3 layer 9″ round cake. I see you mentioned above to double this recipe for this size cake is that correct? How long would you advise baking and what temperature? Thanks! I love all your recipes

    1. For a layer cake, I suggest this one.
      You can skip the chocolate and marbling part. I don’t have a 3 layer yellow cake recipe, sorry!

  20. I made this cake last weekend and it was amazing! I believe I overbeat the frosting as it was much more like a whipped frosting than a nice dense frosting. However, the cake was extremely moist (even two days later!). Great directions–easy to follow. Super happy. Not sure where I went wrong with the frosting as I followed the directions exactly but it was a hit! Thank you!

  21. This is the first cake I have ever made from scratch. I made it for my son’s fourth birthday and it was perfect.  I will definitely use this again, everyone loved it and asked where the recipe was from. Thank you!

  22. Hi, can this cake (unfrosted) be frozen?

    thank you for this wonderful recipe! been looking a long time for such.

  23. Thank you for your response.  One more question…would you suggest lowering the temp by 25 degrees because it would have to cook it longer in a 11×15 pan?  I have never made a sheet cake before.  I also don’t have a hearing core and not sure if that is needed.  I am making this for my twins’ birthday party.  This looks delicious and I am eager to try it.  Thank you! 

  24. Sally, congratulations on your pregnancy! I’ve been following your blog for years and even though I don’t know you, I am SO happy for you! I just made this cake and I’m happy to report it came out great! I live in Denver so I added two tbsp flour, one tbsp milk, and decreased the baking soda to 3/4 tsp. It baked up perfectly in a 9×13 pan in 32 minutes. The cake has great flavor and it’s super moist, it’s the first yellow cake I’ve made that I’ve been happy with, so thank you! I’m going to frost it with storebought rainbow chip frosting and I’m not sorry ;). Just wanted to share my high altitude results in case it helps anyone! Thanks for perfecting such a difficult recipe!

  25. Hi Sally, I made this cake for a friend’s birthday and I was disappointed because it didn’t rise hardly at all. It was going to be shared with a lot of people we bowl with and I didn’t want to be embarrassed so I bought him a cake at the last minute. It baked uneven for one thing and it only rose about a half inch on the ends and an inch in the middle. I thought it was because it needed more baking soda. I did taste it after I bought one and it was good. The icing was terrific. Can you tell me what I did wrong?

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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