Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting — Magnolia Inspired

Yesterday, in need of a little baking therapy, I made the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook yellow cake.

It was excellent — fine crumbed, moist, soft, and kind of a cross between sponge cake and regular yellow cake.  I liked it so much I decided to make a similar recipe and compare the two back to back. I’ll post that one in a little later, but here’s the adapted recipe for the Magnolia cake.

The full recipes makes 2 tall or 3 thinner 9-inch layers, but I halved it and made two rather thin 8 inch layers which gave me a pretty high ratio of frosting to cake. Next time I’ll either make the full recipe or halve it and use 1 9-inch round cake and not bother with the layering.   Overall, this recipe was a solid A because it tasted good, was easy to make, and didn’t require any speciality ingredients other than the self-rising flour.

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (6.75 oz)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (5.65 oz)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk

Chocolate Frosting:
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 oz semisweet chocolate
16 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk plus more if needed
2 teaspoons vanilla
Pinch or two of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray two or three round 9-inch cake pans with flour-added cooking spray. If you use two, bake-time will be longer.

Combine the flours in a small bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat for about 5 minutes.

Add the vanilla, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.

Add the flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour and stirring by hand or using lowest speed of mixer until thoroughly mixed. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.

Divide the batter between the pans and bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes for 3 pans, or about 30 minutes for 2 pans (deeper cake means longer bake time).

Cool in pans for about 10 minutes, then flip from pans and let cool on a rack. Frost with chocolate frosting.

Chocolate Frosting:

Melt both chocolates in microwave or double boiler and set aside to cool.

Beat the butter until creamy. Stir in the cocoa power, about a cup of the powdered sugar, and the cooled melted chocolate. Scrape sides of bowl and beat well. Add remaining powdered sugar, then add milk, vanilla and salt, beating and scraping until you get the consistency you like.

Related posts:


  1. says

    Oh, this cake looks so light and yummy! I just made David’s Yellow Cake off of Allrecipes for my son’s birthday and it turned out far too dense. Sad I missed this recipe! So this really doesn’t require any baking powder on top of the SR flour?

  2. says

    It’s reasons like this that it kind of bothers me that my husband doesn’t like cake and especially frosting! Looks de-lish. I suppose his dislikes are better on my waistline! Nah, I think I make up for in with cookies! 😉

  3. says

    i bet each morning when you wake up you always take out a stick of butter (or two). ha ha. how much butter do you go thru? i think i average about a stick a day.
    i know i always ask you the strangest questions…..

  4. says

    Your cake looks so good. I wish I could have a piece!! I hope the baking therapy did the trick!
    I have another CCC recipe I want to try. I bought David Lebovitz’s new book. Ready for Dessert. The cookies look like they’ll be excellent. Actually just about everything in the book looks amazing. I’m getting the same vibe from the recipes I’ve read from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook, so I suppose I’ll have to add that one to the list too.

  5. says

    Hi Anna! You mentioned a lot of magnolia recipes use self-rising. Maybe you already explained this (if so, sorry!), but do you have an idea why? I don’t think it’s more convenient, especially if you don’t keep it on hand. But does it behave differently in baking? Maybe it tends to have lower protein content. And do you ever notice a difference? Just curious:)

  6. Karen says

    Looks lovely. I am making the “Sweet and Salty” cake from the Baked cookbook today, very anxiously, for my brother’s birthday. I hope it comes out as scrumptious-looking as your cake!

  7. says

    Oooh, yellow cake with chocolate frosting was always my favorite as a kid! I just want to take a big bite out of the page. Thanks for making my mouth water! 🙂

  8. says

    One thing I didn’t point out in my post was that this, plus the other that I’m trying, are just variations on 1-2-3-4 cake, which is a basic cake made with 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour (this is where things get tricky), 4 large eggs, 4 teaspoons baking powder (varies), 1/2 teaspoon of salt and various amounts of vanilla. A lot of famous cake recipes are based on this.

    What’s nice about this one is that the self-rising flour lets you eliminate the baking powder, which if you ask me, tastes unpleasant. I baked a second cake using a tablespoon of baking powder and didn’t like the flavor as much. Also, I think the self-rising flour has a lower protein content and is made from a softer wheat, so you get a cake that’s tender, but holds together better because of the gluten in the all purpose flour. Typically, 1-2-3-4 cakes are made with sifted cake flour. And based on the second one I made and others I’ve tried, are tender but crumble a bit more when you stick a form in them.

    Lisa, I promise you can skip the baking powder! I didn’t even miss the salt, though I don’t think an extra pinch would hurt.

    Dawn, I use at least a stick a day.

    Kathy, if you make the chocolate frosting above, make sure to use a good brand of chocolate. In the past two days I’ve made with “okay” chocolate and “better” chocolate and our whole family noticed a difference.

    Kim, Katrina, and Fallon — thanks for the comments on this grey Sunday. Katrina, what’s that rule that says you have to feed something to kids 5 times to get them to like it? Maybe you have to make Kevin eat cake 5 times and he’ll start to request it. Ha, ha, ha.

    Sue, I need to buy one of his books. He’s a great baker.

    Julie, I suspect it’s because it lets you eliminate some of the baking powder and because the wheat is softer and the protein contest is different (like I said above). However, I’m just speculating. I really only know what I’ve read or experimented with and am not an authority.

    Karen, I brought my Baked book to the apartment and will look that one up. I think I know which one it is.

    Carol, thanks for the compliment on my picture.

  9. says

    Looks so good!
    Is self rising flour readily available in a regular supermarket? I don’t even remember ever seeing it….which brand do you use?

  10. says

    Ha! That’s a good idea. Although, I’m sure he’s had at least that many in our 12+ years of marriage! Actually, he just asked for a piece of cake I made for TWD coming up. But it’s a plain cake with lemon zest and almond extract, no frosting! Strange, but he actually ate it slowly and told me what he thought along the way. Maybe we’re getting somewhere. I’ve teased him for years that he eats so fast he doesn’t even taste his food.
    He LOVED his grandma’s German chocolate cake growing up, maybe I should start there. I’ve never tried making him one of those. (Not sure it can compare to his grandmas!)

  11. says

    Katrina, I think it’s time for a German Chocolate Cake.

    Cheryl, thanks!

    Gina, I will head over there and take a look. Fun!

    Jen, it would make great cupcakes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *