Yellow Sheet Cake with Fudge Frosting

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

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

Guys, it’s party time!

Seriously, where’s the champagne.

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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

Description

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.


Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Notes

  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.

Franklin

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

292 Comments

  1. Hi sally,
    I made cupcakes using this recipe, I did not alter it and for some reason my cupcakes sunk. They had a Very good flavor and texture. 

  2. Sprinkles, Sprinkles, where does Sally get all her sprinkles? Do you go to a magical land of sprinkles to order and are they delivered by Unicorns? Or do you have several supply sources you like. I am falling in love with Sprinkles because of “SBA”. Sprinkles spread miles of smiles across the world from one reader to the next, I have found. Sprinkle’s spread happiness with every word you write about them, every photo you include using them, and every bite we enjoy because of them. SBA is a magical land of baking goodness dusted in sprinkles that takes us away to a world of pure happiness. An escape from real world events, you might say. I mean, if you are following your SBA recipe and thinking about sprinkles there is no room for any thing else. Sprinkles, sprinkles; where does Sally get her sprinkles?

      1. Unrelated to sprinkles…

        How would one make this into a zebra sheet cake?

        Thank you!

  3. I made this last night and it was the best cake I’d made in a long time. For the frosting, I cut the recipe in half and left out the corn syrup. It was plenty and just as good. This will be my go-to dessert for family get togethers. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I just made this cake and it was the best yellow cake I have ever tasted!  I used buttermilk as suggested and it could not have turned out better. I will be making this one again!

  5. Just made this as my birthday cake today! (Yes – I prefer to bake my own birthday cakes!). Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful tasting cake that screams birthday!! Oh and your dog is beautiful!

  6. Hi Sally!
    Would this be a good cake to do a 3 layer cake? Making this for a friends graduation cake. Do you also think a dark chocolate frosting might work well for this? I know the grad loves dark chocolate and yellow cake!

    1. For a yellow layer cake, I suggest a similar recipe: my marble cake. (Leave out the chocolate and skip the marbling part.) And yes, dark chocolate frosting would be delicious!

  7. I experimented and made this cake as well as a different yellow cake from another website.
    This is the clear winner. Absolutely delicious. I ate even the crumbs.

  8. Currently have this in the oven for my birthday! So exicted to try it. Been craving it for weeks. What’s even better is I stumbled upon some super cute sweetapolita sprinkles at the bulk barn this week!

  9. This cake is delicious! I made 2 cakes and 2 batches of frosting for a 2 layer sheet cake for my son’s 1st birthday construction-themed party. It fed around 30 people with some left overs. In case anyone is interested, here is what I did – I did a trial run a few weeks before the party and realized it wasn’t easy to get this cake out of the pan intact, so when I baked the cakes for the party, I sprayed the pans, lined them with parchment, sprayed again then baked. After the cakes had cooled, I popped them in the freezer for a couple of hours while still in their pans. When frozen, I was able to easily remove them from the pans – I then wrapped them tightly with the parchment and plastic wrap and back into the freezer until the day of the party. I made the frosting and stacked and decorated the cakes while frozen. I always find that’s the best way to decorate cakes. During my trial run I found the cakes were a little too sweet for our tastes so I cut back the sugar in both the cakes and the frostings for the party. That’s the only thing I changed and they were absolutely perfect! Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. I am making this for my sons first birthday also with a similar theme. Did you ice the cake the day before or the day of the party?

      1. I find it easiest to frost my cakes when they’re frozen. So I frost on the morning of the party and leave it out on display and it defrosts slowly. It is always perfect and delicious by the time we eat it!

  10. I made this cake recipe yesterday night,
    I love it!
    Nice & fluffy, not too much of a rise, & moist! I did add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder though.
    For the frosting, I melted semi sweet chocolate chips instead of using cocoa powder to make quicker frosting lol. I wanted to eat the cake!
    It delivered.
    Thanks!

  11. This cake is delicious!!! I made it in a 9 x 13, cut the frosting recipe in half and froze it! If course I remembered the sprinkles!!!!

  12. I just tried this last nite and the cake is yummy. I used 3 eggs and 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk and a tsp of baking powder. I baked it in a 9×13 pan for about 40 minutes. Will use this recipe again.

  13. Hi, Sally! I would like to make this cake in a 12×17 pan, but have it thicker. Can this recipe be doubled, or would you recommend making two separate batches and combining them at the end? Thank you

  14. Made this cake for work and it was gone before lunch! I made it in a 9×13 pan and baked it for 35 mins. I’m at high altitude (5500 ft) so I added 2 tbsp flour and used about 1/8 tsp less baking soda and it turned out perfect!

  15. I was looking through my pins for a sheet cake I had all the ingredients for & this one fit the bill. I used plain full fat Greek yogurt & buttermilk, baked it in a half sheet pan & this was hands down the best yellow cake I’ve mad from scratch. Simple deliciousness!

  16. It looks amazing! Just a question, why do you use all purpose flour and not cake flour in this recipe, what would be the difference? Xo

    1. Hi Marynes! This cake is pretty thin and cake flour would just make a very flimsy cake. Stronger flour works best for this recipe. 🙂

  17. Hi Sally! I made this cake last year at this time for my daughter’s birthday and it was a delicious hit! I made it again last night for her party tonight, and my frosting doesn’t look quite right. It looks very whipped, and not thick and fudgy. Perhaps I mixed it for too long? (I am pretty sure I had the same issue last year but I can’t find my comments here 🙂 ). It is currently in the fridge, waiting to go on the cake, so any suggestions you may have to “fix” it would be great! It still tastes awesome, by the way, but it doesn’t look like yours. Thank you!

    1. Hi Erika! So glad you love this recipe to make it again! If you notice air bubbles in the frosting (a common problem!) vigorously stir the frosting with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, whipping it into the sides of the bowl. This will rid extra air bubbles. Add a little more milk if needed too.

  18. Hello Sally, I have a order for a yellow cake with whipped cream frosting full sheet. I will be using a 18 by 26″ pan. Want to know do I need to double your yellow cake recipe for two layer full sheet?

  19. Hi Sally I forgot to ask should I used your yellow sheet cake or marble recipe for my yellow 2 layer full sheet cake? I’m using 18×26″ pam and I will be tort. Just wondering cause I read in comments you suggested using your marble cake recipe for two layer.

    1. I suggest the marble cake for a round layer cake because the batter is already in the right proportions for that 🙂 I haven’t tested either recipe in a full 18×26 inch sheet pan. I would suggest doubling this recipe for that size pan. Let me know if you try it!

      1. I tried a practice cake in a smaller pan and cake came out very heavy? What could I did wrong? Have you tried this cake with cake flour?

  20. Do you have any tips or tricks for baking this in an 18 x 24 x 2 cake pan – I know that I’d have to double the recipe, but was wondering about oven temp and baking time.
    TIA

  21. About how tall does this bake in a 9×13 pan? Tall enough to cut horizontally in half and fill the middle?? 🙂

    1. Hi Tara! I’m unsure of the exact height in a 9×13 inch pan, but I know it’s tall enough to slice in half horizontally because I’ve done it before!

  22. The fudge frosting is DELICIOUS!!!! I used it to ice a German Chocolate Cake & not only did it taste amazing, it worked beautifully piped on a cake. The tastiest chocolate frosting I’ve ever had!! This is my go to chocolate frosting from now on. Everyone who ate the cake, RAVED about it!!

  23. How many cups of frosting does this recipe make?
    Actually I use this frosting for your marble cupcakes too and i’m making a huge batch so i want to know.

  24. This is an excellent yellow cake, in spite of an adjustment I had to make. For instance, I had only 6 eggs on hand, so added 3 whole eggs and 3 egg yolks, which seemed to work fine. Also, minus buttermilk, I used the amount called for in plain yogurt. For the frosting, rather than cream cheese recipe, I used the choco frosting recipe on the back of the Hershey’s box–made just the right amount. This is rather a lot of batter for a 9″ pan; I think a 11 would be better as a sheet cake, or three 8″ or 9″ round pans, too. So, it’s a versatile recipe that yields a delicious, moist cake of tender crumb!

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