9 Ingredient Moist Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

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As the Female Foodie team and I decided to work on different dessert recipes this month with 10 ingredients or less, I immediately knew I’d be creating an easy, moist yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. Simply put, because it’s my favorite.

There is nothing, in my mind, better than a moist, double layer yellow cake (almost so moist that it doesn’t keep its “stiff” form quite as well as traditional cakes) with a generous coating of buttery, chocolatey, confectionary deliciousness. As a matter of fact, my wedding cake was just that- yellow cake, chocolate ganache, but topped with a white buttercream because #weddingcolors.

You’re going to absolutely love this moist yellow cake recipe because it’s easy, beautiful, and an absolute crowd pleaser! I took a classic box mix and added a few ingredients to make it more moist and flavorful but still preserve the simplicity of the box approach- melted butter instead of oil, extra eggs, a heaping cup of sour cream, and hot water instead of room temperature (this brings out the chocolate flavor from the cocoa). Just preheat your oven to 350 degrees, mix your ingredients, and pour into 8-inch cake pans.

A few tips (almost *all* of my cake expertise comes from my dear friend Courtney. She’d be sad to see that I’m using a box, so keep this on the DL!):

  • To make sure my batter is even, I weigh the pans as I pour batter into each.
  • Never open your oven during the middle of the baking process- this allows heat to escape the oven at a crucial time and can cause sinking. Heaven forbid.
  • When I’m deciding whether or not my cake is done (before I commit to opening the oven), I make sure that I can smell my cake. If you can smell your cake, it is probably done or very close.
  • Check to see if your cake is done with a toothpick- it should be mostly clean but it’s okay if a crumb or two sticks. You do not want an overcooked cake. Yuck.
  • Let your layers completely cool and freeze before frosting. This makes the cake/layers easier to handle. If you’re in a pinch, you can skip the freezing step and frost after the layers are cooled.
  • Your crumb coat or first coat of frosting should be very thin and just barely cover the outside of your cake and between layers. Apply your crumb coat, freeze the entire cake for 10-15 minutes, and then use remaining frosting to complete the cake.
  • For this cake I used a simple icing spatula for the entire cake, then a cake scraper to create the textured side, and sprinkled on a few colorful sprinkles to make the top look more exciting. Experiment with piping, food coloring, and different toppings to determine which cake decorating style suits you best.
  • I usually like to decorate and frost cakes while using a turn table, but this time I was at my parents house, and instead decorated straight onto the cake stand- this is a good alternative option if you’re willing to take a few extra minutes and are careful to not slop frosting all over your stand.


9 Ingredient Moist Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 1 cake



  • 1 cup sour cream
  • cup melted butter
  • ½ cup hot water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 package yellow cake mix


  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4-8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 8-inch cake pans with cooking spray, line with circular cuts of parchment paper, and spray again. Set aside.
  • Mix all cake ingredients together in electric mixer for 1-2 minutes, until smooth. Distribute the cake batter evenly between the two cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not over bake.
  • While cake is baking, prepare the frosting. Use an electric mixer to whip the butter with powdered sugar and vanilla. Add melted chocolate and use spatula to scrape the sides of mixing bowl to ensure all frosting ingredients are incorporated. Set aside until cake is ready and whip with spatula or whisk just before frosting.
  • Remove parchment paper and allow cakes to cool on wire rack. Frost as desired and serve with vanilla ice cream.

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  1. One of my sons requested a yellow cake with chocolate frosting last year and this year for his birthday. Last year, I used a from scratch recipe from a cookbook I thought I trusted. It turned out to resemble the texture of a dry cornbread. I was so sad even though my son said he didn’t hate it. LOL This year, I used this recipe and IT WAS SO GOOD! I feel like making another this week just for me! When I visit Utah I love to go to The Chocolate and order the husband…it’s my favorite as well. Thanks for a great recipe.