I just love cake. And having baked a few cakes in my life, I tend to have a few favorite go-to recipes for them. For flourless chocolate cake I use Tyler Florence’s recipe.  For a basic chocolate cake, it’s Ina Garten. For yellow cake, it’s a recipe I found in Bon Appetit, I think, quite a while ago. I’ve had it as a text file on my computer(s) for years, in a folder of hundreds of recipes that I have collected over the years. I just keep moving the folder as I get another computer  and adding recipes to it as I find them – or as they’re given to me.

This is a pretty easy cake to make but it takes a bit of time, because the sugar is added really slowly – mixing with the butter to get a really creamy consistency. Another secret is the buttermilk.

Sugar and butter add the tenderness to a cake. Flour and eggs – the proteins – give it its structure. It’s why trying to make a cake “healthy” by taking out sugar or butter – or eggs or switching out different flours generally fails miserably.

It’s a cake. It’s not health food. Don’t pretend it’s good for you. It’s cake.

I also use 8″x3″ cake pans. They just work better for me. And I line them with parchment paper.



Yellow Cake

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 8″ pans.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Place butter in mixer bowl. Beat for 3 minutes until the butter is light and creamy.

Add the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition, scraping the bowl occasionally. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well before adding the next.

Add vanilla. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Mix just until blended.

Spoon the batter into pans. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


This was one of the two layers I baked. The other went into the freezer.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cube of butter
  • 1 8oz cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 tbsp espresso powder
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Cream butter and cream cheese until light. Add vanilla and mix well. Add cocoa powder, coffee powder, and sugar and mix until very creamy. Scrape down bowl and then add heavy cream until icing is the consistency you want.

I split the one layer into three and frosted. I resisted adding anything else – this time.