Yellow Birthday Cake with Vanilla Frosting

Celebrate someone special with a soft, fluffy homemade yellow cake covered in vanilla frosting and sprinkles. Hands down the best cake I’ve ever baked and eaten. You have to bake it to believe it!

Yellow Birthday Cake with Vanilla Frosting – Hands down the best cake I've ever baked and eaten. You have to bake it to believe it! |

The art of creating a delicious, good lookin’ cake has always intimidated me. I often end up with one and not the other – usually fluffy and delicious, but not so pretty. I’ve tried countless times and ended up with sunken centers, curdled frostings, and slices that even sprinkles can’t save. In a word, my past layer cakes have been… pitiful.

However, in honor of our baby-to-be’s upcoming birthday, I thought a little challenge was in order. After all, though nothing intimidates me more than bringing a baby into this world, cake baking isn’t far behind. This month, I’m tackling both!

But first, her cake…

Yellow Birthday Cake with Vanilla Frosting – Hands down the best cake I've ever baked and eaten. You have to bake it to believe it! |

Yellow Birthday Cake with Vanilla Frosting – Hands down the best cake I've ever baked and eaten. You have to bake it to believe it! |

This super moist, fluffy homemade yellow cake is worthy of a celebration alone. Every slice is buttery soft and full of vanilla flavor – It wasn’t just the best cake I’ve ever made, it was one of the best I’ve ever eaten. Judging by her kicks and flips after my celebratory slice, I think baby enjoyed it, too!

Along with many more of Mel’s helpful tips, I found that using room temperature ingredients is very important in this recipe. It certainly made all the difference between this cake and my past cakes… plus maybe a little added patience. Definitely a necessary skill with a baby on the way!

Yellow Birthday Cake with Vanilla Frosting – Hands down the best cake I've ever baked and eaten. You have to bake it to believe it! |

Yellow Birthday Cake with Vanilla Frosting – Hands down the best cake I've ever baked and eaten. You have to bake it to believe it! |

A pure white vanilla frosting and heaps of confetti sprinkles were just the finishing touch to an already fantastic cake. As I trimmed the top with a cake leveler to make it extra flat for frosting, we devoured the scraps in seconds. If you follow the recipe exactly, you will love the heavenly soft, rich yellow cake that results.

Buh-bye, boxed mix!

Yellow Birthday Cake with Vanilla Frosting – Hands down the best cake I've ever baked and eaten. You have to bake it to believe it! |

Now, make a wish…

Yellow Birthday Cake with Vanilla Frosting

Yellow Birthday Cake with Vanilla Frosting

Yield: 1 (8- or 9-inch) layer cake


For the Yellow Cake:

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk, 1% or above, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, light or regular, room temperature

For the Vanilla Frosting:

  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half


  1. For the Yellow Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Set oven rack in the lower third of oven.
  2. Over a large bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt with a fine mesh strainer. Set aside.
  3. In the large bowl of an electric stand mixer or with a handheld electric mixer, whip butter on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Add granulated sugar and beat for 4-5 minutes on medium speed. Mix in vanilla. One at a time, add eggs and egg yolks, mixing just until combined in between additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the batter and mix just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Whisk milk and sour cream together. Mix in 1/2 of the milk mixture. Mix in another 1/3 of flour mixture, followed by the milk mixture, and the remaining flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Stir batter to make sure all ingredients are well combined.
  5. Grease cake pans (I use nonstick cooking spray) and line bottoms with a parchment round. Grease parchment and sides of pan again. If your pans are prone to sticking, consider flouring them as well.
  6. Divide batter evenly between the two pans. Drop each pan from about 3 inches onto the counter to minimize air bubbles while baking.
  7. Bake for 25-28 minutes, until lightly golden around edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.
  8. Let cakes rest in the pans for 10 minutes before gently inverting them onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
  9. For the Vanilla Frosting: In the large bowl of an electric stand mixer or with a handheld electric mixer, add butter. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, or until smooth and lightened in color.
  10. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. After each addition, gradually turn mixer to the highest speed setting and beat for 10 seconds to lighten the frosting. Mix in vanilla.
  11. Add milk, heavy cream or half-and-half until the frosting has reached the preferred consistency. For a firmer frosting, add more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time). For a softer frosting, add more milk or cream (1 Tbsp. at a time).
  12. Frost your cake as desired. I love this video tutorial with helpful tips.
  13. Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

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Join the Conversation

  1. This cake looks mouth-watering; it’s beautiful!
    Enjoy your time with baby, it’s extremely special!

  2. This looks flawless! You’ve really done it :D I wish you all the best for the days to come, and your baby girl will be the luckiest baby in the world with such amazing parents :D And one day – she will get to try this cake too, lucky! x

  3. Such a pretty cake! Love it!

  4. What a lovely classic cake!

  5. Oh my goodness, Georgia! This cake looks absolutely amazing! I’m glad I came across this recipe even if it’s your last one for the meantime. Goodluck with the bun in the oven! ;)

  6. What a beautiful, perfect cake!

  7. It is so beautiful!! Perfect last post and way to welcome the new addition!

  8. This cake is so perfectly beautiful!

  9. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY GIRL! Georgia, this layer cake is B-E-A-utiful. Come teach me to slice cake please. I feel like I end up with a mess every time, lol.
    In all seriousness, enjoy your maternity leave and this special time with your family. So happy for you, and we’ll be here when you get back <3

  10. I know, it can be tough to get a perfect slice! I like to refrigerate or freeze a cake for 30 minutes or so before cutting. Helps with getting clean slices!

  11. For the THREE YEARS I have been following your blog, I have never failed in following one of your recipes, they are always perfect! As always, this recipe looks awesome and I must try it sometime soon.
    Good luck to you and your hubby as your lives will be forever changed with the addition of your little love bug. Thanks for being great and making this blog, I love ya! And I will never forget how much you brightened my Spring 2013 quarter when I found out I won the Sucre giveaway. No kidding it was such a stressful quarter as it was my last quarter at UCR!
    Thanks for being an awesome blogger <3

  12. Gorgeous Cake Georgia! Love the fluffy and light texture!
    All the very best to you – hoping your delivery and baby are fine and yall enjoy some time together – my daughter is a teen now and it is true – they grow up way way too fast!

  13. Aw, I love that you baked a cake for her upcoming arrival!! And it’s a gorgeous one for sure! Vanilla is my favorite so I would certainly help you eat this : ) haha Enjoy the time with your soon-to-be expanding family Georgia!!

  14. What a gorgeous cake! Good luck with the little one and enjoy your break, it goes by so fast! :)

  15. This cake is beautiful!! Congratulations to you on your new addition! Sit back and enjoy the blessings of your precious little one!! :)

  16. Happy maternity leave Georgia! I can’t wait to hear news of your little one’s arrival : )

  17. Yaaaaay! Congratulations a million times over on starting your family!!! I know you’re going to enjoy your time off, meeting your new love muffins and showering her with affection. Just so happy for you, lady!

    This cake – it’s perfect!!! So beautiful, and the perfect way to say happy birthday to a brand new baby!

  18. So excited for your family! Beautiful cake, so perfect!

  19. The cake looks beautiful!
    Enjoy your break, Georgia, and all the best with the little one!

  20. This cake looks absolutely incredible!! So classic and beautiful and it looks so moist!

  21. Thanks for another great recipe, looks calorie worthy.. Enjoy your time away bonding with your new baby, what an exciting time for you and hubby!

  22. We’ll miss you while you’re gone, but so, so excited for you! And what a clever idea to bake a birthday cake as your last post before, well, your new child’s birthday! This looks great — the perfect cake. Thanks for this.

  23. What a gorgeous cake! It looks perfect! Enjoy the time with your soon expanding family! Can’t wait to see pictures!

  24. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate your new addition. You made her such a pretty and absolutely beautiful cake. I hope you have the most amazing experience becoming a new mommy. Also, I think it’s wonderful that you’re taking some time off. That’s the way it should be! Happy (early) Birthday to your baby girl!

  25. This cake is gorgeous! Enjoy your time off with your new little one. I’ll miss your lovely posts but I know it’s only for a short time.

  26. That is one beautiful cake! And I wish you luck on your break too! :)

  27. This cake looks so perfect! I feel the same about cakes and always end with tasty but not pretty looking cakes. Still working on those skills! This is such a beautiful looking cake and best wishes for your new journey as a mother!

  28. happy (almost) birthday baby!! what a wonderful cake!!

  29. What a beautiful birthday cake! You’ll be making many many more in the near future. :) I’ll miss your posts coming into my mail… BUT I’m also super excited to see your baby girl! I cannot wait!! Good luck with everything and enjoy every second with her. They grow way too fast… :)

  30. I am so far behind on all my blogger friends posts due to out of town guest… but I had to come by today and wish you ALL the best on the new baby coming soon!! I hope everything goes smoothly and you are soon holding your beloved pink bundle of joy in your arms. :)

    What a perfect post to end things with before maternity leave…. Birthday Cake!! I am a cake box queen… but recently I have been in search of a perfect butter/yellow cake from scratch. I think you have given me the recipe I need to try next!!

    Now get plenty of rest and enjoy every moment with your little one. Happy Birthday to your new family that will soon grow by two new feet :)

  31. This is gorrrrgeous, I have such a weakness for good, classic birthday cake! Enjoy your maternity and all the best as you welcome baby and settle into new routines!! xoxo

  32. Beautiful!! Can’t wait to follow along on your new baby adventure!!

  33. Georgia! The cake looks perfect. I can’t even believe how beautiful it is – I love the white frosting and sprinkles. So lovely! I am so, so happy it worked out for you. I felt that same sense of euphoria when it finally came out perfect. I’m so excited for this new adventure of parenthood. Snuggle that baby for as long as you can and enjoy your time off!

  34. This is so cute! A birthday cake for a literal BIRTH DAY! Best of luck with your delivery!

  35. Soooo excited for the arrival of your little one and this cake is definitely the best way to celebrate it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 <3 *-*

  36. I’m so excited for you and you KNOW I’ll be stalking…I mean “following” along on social media! Can’t wait to meet baby!

    This cake is the perfect way to celebrate her arrival. What a beauty!

  37. Georgia, good luck with the welcoming of your baby girl! I so remember those days! You look like you have everything under control! The nursery is beautiful.

    I have been searching for scratch cake recipes, and none have been just like a cake mix. I def going to try this recipe…it sounds delicious!

  38. What a beauty of a cake! Great way to anticipate the arrival of your little girl. All the best and take care!

  39. This cake looks perfect, Georgia. I basically want to leap into my screen and take a bite! Wishing you all the best for the arrival of your little girl! Enjoy your time together, they grow in the blink of an eye :)

  40. Enjoy your maternity leave! Best wishes for the first few weeks of being a mommy :)

    This cake looks like PERFECTION!

  41. I am so excited for you! It is very important for you to take the time off. ts going to be amazing! And what an amazingly perfect cake. So pretty! I want a big slice right now!

  42. What a truly beautiful cake, perfect way to start maternity leave! Congrats, congrats congrats again! I’ll definitely be following you on social media to see the bundle of joy :)

  43. My wish is that you have a healthy, happy baby and that you enjoy her to the max.

  44. awwwww so sweet that you made this cake for your baby girl! We’ll miss you but enjoy your leave-take it all in, try to relax, and have as much fun as you can!

    This cake looks so beautiful and classic and just simply perfect!

  45. You rocked this homemade cake, Georgia! It’s so gorgeous and looks so moist and incredible. I want a great big slice!! Best of luck with your delivery. :)

  46. I am SO excited for you, Georgia! Glad you are taking a maternity leave and able to have some time with your new family of three. Thinking of you upon baby’s arrival!!

  47. I’m so excited for you, and take as much time as you need, I’m sure everyone understands that your new baby is so much more important! I will definitely miss your recipes, but I’m glad you are leaving us with this beautiful moist delicious looking birthday cake. I wish I had a slice right now!

  48. So pretty, this cake is perfection! Hope you enjoy your time bonding with your new girl :).

  49. Aaw, that is so sweet that you made your baby girl a cake, it looks so beautiful:) All the best to you and your expanding family! Enjoy your time off and soak in every minute – the first few weeks go by so fast :) Can’t wait to hear when your sweet lil lady makes her arrival :)

  50. That’s so perfect! Such anticipation. We’re all thinking about the two of you.

  51. Yum! This cakes looks perfect! Congratulations! I wish you a very easy delivery :D Enjoy every moment!

  52. Challenge complete! This cake looks both delicious and gorgeous. What a great way to celebrate your wee one’s birth.

  53. Aww! So cute that you made her a birthday cake in advance. :)

    And this is one of the most perfect looking cakes I’ve ever seen! It’s just so darn cute and gorgeous.

  54. Hello :) this cake looks perfect. I’m definetly gonna try it. But I have a question; Is it 11/2 teaspoons baking powder or 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder? I know it’s a ridiculous question, but I’m from turkey and our measurement system is a little bit different here :) Thanks :) By the way happy birthday to your little girl :))

  55. Hi Theeva – Thanks for your kind comment. The measurement is 1 and 1/2 teaspoons. I hope you enjoy this cake!

  56. 5 stars
    I made this for my son’s 5th birthday and the impending arrival of our daughter (due any minute now…) and it turned out perfectly! I followed the recipe to the letter. The buttercream is the best I’ve ever tasted! Thank you so much for this delicious, comforting and easy to follow classic birthday cake recipe. I know I’ll be coming back to it again and again.

    Quick tip: I made the frosting with 3 1/2 c of powered sugar and it yielded exactly enough to frost 2 9″ rounds. Those who like to do piping around the top or like to have extra frosting on hand to cover crumbly spots may want to make a little more. Otherwise don’t deviate from the recipe – it’s perfect the way it is!

  57. 5 stars
    I made this recipe but had nowhere near enough frosting! I would double it for sure – I had enough for the layer (a thin layer) and for the top – I saw what I had left and piped around edge to finish… Double icing needed for sure!

  58. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! Turned out great and the instructions were easy to follow. I have been searching for a recipe for my daughters 1st birthday cake and this is a winner. I just put my second batch in the oven.

  59. 5 stars
    If you find this cake dry you are probably packing your flour, just fyi. I just realized I measured it wrong for years. This cake is awesome if prepared correctly.

  60. 5 stars
    I use this recipe for my son’s birthday cake. It tasted great! All the adults and kids loved it.


  61. 5 stars
    This vanilla cake is by far the most tastiest cake I ever tried making! Thank you for the recipe, it was absolutely tasty for the whole family to enjoy yesterday on my son’s second birthday!! This recipe will definitely forever be part of our family! Thank you again for sharing!!

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