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Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting


This delicious cake recipe was adapted from "Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook."

  • Yield: Makes one 9-inch layer cake

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, Episode 4001


  • 24 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Yellow Butter Cake
  • Colored sprinkles (optional)


  1. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water. Turn off heat; stir occasionally until chocolate has melted completely, about 15 minutes. Set bowl on countertop, and let chocolate cool to room temperature, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until cocoa is dissolved.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in cocoa mixture.

  3. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level; brush off crumbs. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the first layer on the cake plate, and spread top with 3/4 cup of frosting. Place the second layer on top, bottom side up, and spread top with 3/4 cup of frosting; repeat process with the third layer. Place the remaining layer on top of the third layer, bottom-side up; insert a dowel into the center of cakes if necessary. Spread entire cake with remaining frosting. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Reviews Add a comment

  • MS11528677
    18 MAY, 2017
    Beware! There is no place on this recipe that indicates the cake pic turned is actually four layers, that means bake the yellow cake recipe twice. The frosting recipe makes enough for four layers but no where is in indicted you need to bake cakes twice. At the end of the frosting recipe it tells you how to put four layers together. I split my two yellow layers but the results were not lovely. It is a yummy cake and that frosting is pure heaven
  • tredick4icloud
    2 MAR, 2017
    For the yellow cake you sit outside the box you gave nothing at all
  • Huckleberry Fairy
    10 JAN, 2014
    I found Dutch process cocoa at Cost Plus World Market in Southern California. It's Droste brand from Holland.
  • rucker
    19 DEC, 2013
    I have been looking for the Dutch- process cocoa powder to make the chocolate frosting is there another name or can I use Hershey's cocoa?
  • Alunabel
    12 OCT, 2013
    Very nice & not very sweet, I would make it again.
  • mon29
    4 APR, 2013
    This cake turned out amazing! The cake was so moist and fluffy and the frosting was just plain delicious. The icing wasn't too sweet at all and even non chocolate lovers loved it. I only baked the cake for about 24 minutes since my oven is a little more powerful and it was perfect. I made this for my daughter's 4th birthday party and it was a hit. We didn't have any leftovers since people went back for seconds. This is definitely my go to cake and icing recipe now.
  • laurie0222
    7 JUN, 2011
    Yum!! Great recipe... BUT, make sure you use it right after you make it. I made the mistake of making it as the cake baked and cooled. The frosting set and when I stirred it it was lumpy. I fixed it by whipping it with my hand mixer, but still... one less step if you use it right after making it. It's a good frosting!
  • kulwadee
    12 JUN, 2010
    Love this recipe. So decadent and goes well with a sweet yellow cake.
  • DessertFanatic
    4 MAR, 2010
    This is a delicious chocolate frosting. It's rich, chocolaty, and SO creamy! I loved it, and I recommend this recipe.