Yellow Layer Cake with Rich Chocolate Cream Frosting

Yellow Layer Cake with Rich Chocolate Cream Frosting

Recently I purchased the cookbook Baking Illustrated.  I love Cook’s Illustrated cookbooks because they are chock-full of helpful information, and they are a great resource to have in the kitchen.  There are so many recipes in this book that I can’t wait to try!

The first recipe I made from this book was a Yellow Layer Cake with Rich Chocolate Cream Frosting.  It turned out really well!  The cake was soft, buttery, and delicious.  It tasted similar to pound cake to me.  This frosting was really good too—it was rich, chocolaty, and creamy.  It was very different from my other chocolate frosting recipe—both recipes are great, but this one was much richer and thicker whereas the other one is fluffier and sweeter.

The cake recipe posted below serves 8-10 people and makes a 9-inch two-layer cake.  Because I was just making this cake for Eric and me, I halved the recipe.  Instead of using two 9-inch cake pans, I used two 6.5-inch round cake pans, which worked perfectly.  I purchased these little 6.5 inch cake pans at Sur la Table last week, which was a genius idea if you ask me.  I rarely bake cakes because I end up with way too much leftover cake.  And as much as I like cake, there’s only so much a household of two can eat.  These little cake pans solved that problem- now we can indulge in dessert, but not have too many leftovers (or too many calories).  Enjoy!

Yellow Layer Cake


  • 1 ¾ cups (7 ounces) plain cake flour, sifted, plus more for dusting the pans
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups (10 ½ ounces) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 16 pieces (Note: Adding the butter pieces to the mixing bowl one at a time prevents the dry ingredients from flying up and out of the bowl).


  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Generously grease two 9-inch round cake pans and cover the pan bottoms with rounds of parchment paper.  Then grease the parchment rounds and dust the cake pans with flour, tapping out the excess.
  2. Beat the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract with a fork in a small bowl (a glass pyrex measuring cup worked well for me).  Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer.  Beat the mixture at the lowest speed to blend, about 30 seconds.  With the mixer still running at the lowest speed, add the butter 1 piece at a time; mix until the butter and flour begin to clump together and look sandy and pebble, with pieces about the size of peas, 30-40 seconds after all the butter is added.  Add 1 cup of the egg mixture and mix at the lowest speed until incorporated, 5-10 seconds.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Then add the remaining egg mixture (about ½ cup) in a slow steady stream, taking about 30 seconds.  Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Beat at medium-high speed until thoroughly combined and the batter looks slightly curdled, about 15 seconds.
  3. Divide the batter equally between the prepared cake pans.  Then spread it to the sides of the pans and smooth with a rubber spatula.  Bake until the cake tops are light gold and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the pan perimeters to loosen.  Invert one cake onto a large plate, peel off the parchment, and then reinvert onto a wire rack.  Repeat with the other cake.
  4. Once the cake has completely cooled, assemble and frost the cake.  Then cut the cake into slices and serve.

Yield: 9-inch, 2 layer cake;  Serves 8-10 (Note: To make a 6.5-inch, 2 layer cake, halve the recipe)

Rich Chocolate Cream Frosting


  • 16 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; pour over the chocolate.  Add the corn syrup and let stand 3 minutes.  Whisk gently until smooth; stir in the vanilla.
  2. Refrigerate 1 to 1 ½ hours, stirring every 15 minutes, until the mixture reaches a spreadable consistency.  (Note: This frosting does not keep well, so it should be served within a day).

Yield: About 3 cups (enough to ice one 8 or 9-inch layer cake)

Source: Baking Illustrated Cookbook (Pgs. 347 & 351)

Tip (from Cook’s Illustrated on TV): Slide pieces of parchment paper under the cake before frosting & decorating to keep the cake plate clean. Once you are finished decorating the cake, pull out the parchment paper, and voila! – clean plate and perfectly frosted cake!


2 Responses to “Yellow Layer Cake with Rich Chocolate Cream Frosting”

  1. 1 kristineskitchen July 12, 2010 at 8:12 PM

    Mmmm… cake with chocolate frosting. Your cake looks so pretty! I am impressed. Thanks for the parchment paper frosting tip.

  2. 2 cake recipes July 13, 2010 at 1:55 AM

    That looks really pretty, you do have a steady hand. I love baking, too, and I found out that you do need a steady hand (and a lot of practice) to come up with a really neat frosting. Your cake is really pretty, this is the kind of cake my kids will go crazy about. For them, it’s not cake without the frosting! lol!

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