Turn any night into a celebration with this yellow birthday cake with fluffy chocolate ganache frosting – a celebration cake to end all celebrations!
yellow birthday cake with fluffy chocolate ganache frosting

I think I made it safely out of The Birthday Zone.

You know, the three weeks spanning from the last week in February to the third week in March that contain my birthday, the.boy’s birthday, our anniversary, my sister’s birthday, the.boy’s grandmother’s birthday, and approximately thirty-five layer cakes.

All made by me.

It’s exhausting.

And it’s going to beย an annual occurrence. Which means you will get to hear me complain about it every year, ever and anon!

Would it be totally irrational for me to start freezing cake layers now in preparation for next year?

Please say no.


The.Boy actually got cheated out of a cake this year because it was only going to be the two of us, and we have negligible self control.

We would have eaten it. All of it. Without any outside assistance. Don’t judge us.

So I made cupcakes instead and then gave away the extras to my coworkers. But (and don’t tell the.boy this, because he’s under the impression that they were GREAT)…I didn’t really like them. The recipe I used described them as CHOCOLATE chocolate cupcakes, and I just kind of felt like they were lowercase, subscript kind of chocolate. Like, barely chocolate at all.

And what exactly is a cupcake like that doing in this world?!


Anyway, I really regretted not just sucking it up (and in) and making this cake again for him.

Originally, I made it for my sister’s birthday (hence why there is not a photo of a cut slice) and it is definitely what you think of when you think of a celebration cake. With a rich, moist yellow cake surrounded by decadent chocolate ganache frosting, it is every birthday boy or girl’sย dream.

I mean, no one ever says, “hey, I’d really love mediocre tasteless chocolate on my birthday”.

But everyone says “BEST CAKE EVER. WANT.”

Peer pressure is such a force for good sometimes.


Yellow Birthday Cake with Fluffy Chocolate Ganache Frosting
Turn any night into a celebration with this yellow birthday cake with chocolate ganache frosting - a celebration cake to end all celebrations!
Yield: 8-12 servings
For the cake
  • 1½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup lowfat buttermilk
For the frosting
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  1. Heat oven to 350. Line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and grease.
  2. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes, until fluffy. Scape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla. Pour this into the stand mixer bowl and mix together on low speed, until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat again for 30 seconds.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Alternating with the buttermilk, add the flour in 3 additions, with the buttermilk added in-between each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition and make sure to mix until just combined.
  5. Give the batter one more mix by hand, folding it carefully. Divide evenly between the cake pans.
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 20 minutes and then remove from the pans to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. For the frosting, put the chocolate in a medium bowl. Scald the heavy cream in a small saucepan (when bubbles start to form around the sides of the pan), and then pour over the chocolate. Allow to sit for 1 minute and then stir the chocolate into the cream until totally smooth and melted. Let sit at room temperature until cool, about an hour.
  8. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until fluffy, about 15 seconds on medium-low speed. Add the confectioner's sugar, salt and vanilla and continue to beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again for a few seconds. Add in the ganache and beat for about 2 minutes, until completely combined. Scrape the bowl and beat on medium-high for 1 minute or until the frosting starts to thicken.
  9. Use a serrated knife to trim the top of the cakes so that they are even. Place one cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Spread 1 cup of frosting over the top of the cake, using an offset spatula to spread it evenly. Place the second cake layer on top of the first, top-down. Spoon about 1 cup of the frosting over the top of the cake and spread it on the top and sides, covering with a thin crumb coat. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to set. Frost with remaining frosting, spreading it evenly all over the cake. Decorate as desired.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 slice

For more absolutely fabulous celebration cakes, check out these:

Southern Coconut Cake by Completely Delicious

Chocolate Stout Celebration Cake by Keep It Sweet Desserts

Spring Celebration Cake by I Am Baker

Chocolate Birthday Cake by Recipe Girl

Salted Caramel Vanilla Bean Cake by The Baker Chick

Strawberry-Rhubarb Dream Cake by Eats Well With Others

Pistachio Cake with Honey-Vanilla Buttercream by Eats Well With Others


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82 Responses to Yellow Birthday Cake with Fluffy Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  1. debbie says:

    This is exactly my type of cake. Gorgeous and chocolate! Thanks for posting the other celebration cake links. I will check them out….I can already feel a few pounds being added to my thighs!

  2. Yay! I love simple birthday cakes with chocolate frosting and sprinkles! Great way to start the weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. You can never go wrong with a classic yellow cake and chocolate frosting! And sprinkles just make EVERYTHING better ๐Ÿ™‚ This is a beautiful cake!!

  4. It’s never too early to start baking cakes:-) Um not-so-chocolatey cupcakes sound so sad and disappointing. This cake on the other hand…. looks like perfection.

  5. Julia says:

    Those photos. That cake. I’m blown away! Can I fly you across the country in June to make my bday cake for me? HOL LEE MACK REL. For reals sister. !!

  6. You are too kind… but we should plan a trip for you to visit me around my birthday!!! I want any kind of Joanne cake. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. That chocolate cupcake sounds so sad :(. This cake on the other hand is what birthday cakes should look like! Beautiful with sprinkles!!

  8. Monique says:

    My first and only experience making yellow cake yielded results similar to cornbread. it was strange. I think I need to revisit.
    I LOVE your frosting abilities! Please teach me master!

  9. This cake looks beyond amazing. Simple cakes are always the best!! Wish you were my birthday cake creator ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. SallyBR says:

    I read the end of your post as “beer pressure” – I guess I need more coffee…

    beautiful cake! I love the sprinkles, I think deep inside I am still a child. What is all the gray hair doing on top of my head?

  11. SallyBR says:

    Heck, Happy Belated Birthday, I am also a March person, and also a preemie. See how cool we both are?

  12. Love your celebration birthday cake Joanne – that frosting sounds divine!

  13. Megan says:

    That cake is gorgeous and looks like it makes up for the chocolate-lacking cupcakes!

  14. Cassie says:

    Oh goodness, that many birthdays is exhausting. But this cake is perfect for celebrating. I love white cake with chocolate frosting!

  15. Lynn says:

    That’s why I can never have a whole cake in my house. It would be gone like the wind. ๐Ÿ™‚ Looks good, my friend.

  16. I want to cut into it because it looks amazing- so funny… Faith from Edible Mosaic posted a yellow cake with choc frosting today too. Great minds!

  17. Kathryn says:

    I can’t believe you make cakes for all of those occasions! I’m pretty darn impressed… This cake looks absolutely perfect though, you can’t beat a proper yellow cake.

  18. I’ll have a slice or three! What a perfect way to start the weekend!

  19. Heather says:

    Yum, this sounds kind of perfect for my son’s 2nd birthday – a definite classic!

  20. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is one of my favorite layer cakes ever. So perfect for birthdays. Happy celebrating to you all!

  21. elizabeth e says:

    well, now i want cake. this looks delicious! i’m making a cake tonight for a friend – chocolate with white icing, per her request – and i only hope its looks 40% as tasty as this one!

  22. sandra says:

    hmmm – 35 layer cakes. Do you mean 35 layers? I count 5 cakes. That’d be 7 layers per cake. Or was it hyperbole? In any case it WAS a lot of cake. You certainly have a chance for practice. I wish I had so many events. I just end up eating them all myself. I’ve begun to remedy this by offering homemade cookies to strangers at the playground – this is a surprisingly successful operation.

  23. OMG this looks so delicious! Wish I could see the fluffy inside. I need cake, like now for lunch!

  24. Hey a “CHOCOLATE chocolate cupcakes…(with)…barely (any) chocolate at all is better than a chocolate cake with salt instead of sugar! Yup – I did that!
    I need a slice of THIS cake to help me forget….:)

  25. Even though I am the designated baker for birthdays as well, my friends and family have accepted the fact that every cake will have a slice cut out in order to take the photo. I always put it back in and try to mask it ever being removed but they really don’t care as long as it tastes good!

  26. Deena kakaya says:

    You made 35 cakes? You are a hero. Happy birthday to all your loved ones…and if I could dip my finger into your pics and take a good lick of that gorgeously smooth and creamy looking cake, I would be very happy indeed x

  27. Erika says:

    Cake for dayz and sprinkles.. yes please!

  28. Pam says:

    Your cake is gorgeous and I can imagine how delicious! Lucky birthday people!

  29. gloria says:

    Look georgeous Joanne !! I love this cake, I want an slice lol

  30. I would give up everything to be your neighbor during The Birthday Zone. It could be like my own personal wedding cake tasting for a WHOLE month.

  31. That cake just screams birthday, Joanne — and I LOVE your photos!

  32. Kate says:

    In about 2 weeks you’re going to be thinking, “man, I could really use some cake about now.”

  33. michael says:

    Lovely cake, love chocolate!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. I love simple flavors like this! Wish I were enjoying a slice right now!

  35. grace says:

    it’s a beautifully decorated cake, joanne! you’re a superstar.

  36. this is the classic cake combo my mom always made us growing up. I have made smitten kitchen’s version of yellow cake but yours sounds awesome as well! I would love to give it a try. Very nice job decorating…it looks beautiful and delicious! I can totally relate to having no self-control around cake…been there, done that. It’s good at the time but then afterwards you’re left not feeling so good about yourself! ha Sometimes it is necessary though!

  37. cheri says:

    Love this cake Joanne, it’s so beautiful! you sound like a cake making machine.

  38. Shannon says:

    this looks amazing! and i’m sure your sister wouldn’t have minded you taking a slice… you know, for the good of the blog, of course ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. Eileen says:

    Dude, we have two birthdays in one week, and that is PLENTY for us. I don’t think I could handle this amount of birthday cake baking once, let alone every year! But still, CAKE. This looks fantastic!

  40. Monica says:

    This cake. I just love it so much.

  41. Veronica says:

    LOL, my birthday zone is December – my husband, my sisters, and Jesus (OK so he wasn’t really born in December but we celebrate it then) – drives me crazy! So yeah, I can relate. Oh this cake. I’m kind of glad I can’t see the inside right now b/c I’m hungry and I’m pretty sure I’d have a food orgasm and that seems really inappropriate now that I’m a mom…or something.

  42. I have a daughter that loves yellow cake with chocolate frosting for her birthday. I have to admit that I too love yellow cake with chocolate cake. This one looks like a winner.

  43. Judit & Corina |Wine Dine Daily says:

    This is one classy birthday cake Joanne! Love the photos ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. Daniela says:

    So many reasons to celebrate and a perfect cake for the occasion.
    Love the rich , decadent chocolate frosting, simply irresistible.

  45. Anything that says chocolate must be Chocolate for sure. And I would start baking and freezing now ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. Johanna GGG says:

    if we must have vanilla cake (I always prefer chocolate), it is always better with chocolate frosting – I really wanted to see a slice – was it really yellow? The chocolate frosting looks rich and scrumptious

  47. This looks so pretty … I would be so happy to receive this on my birthday! It’s great to have a recipe stashed away for a classic birthday cake. You’ve actually just reminded me that I’ve never made one. I guess that will change if I ever have any children so I should start learning now!

  48. Gosh this cake is gorgeous, girl! I wish I could make a cake that’s half as pretty as the ones you whip up. And yup, I have minimal self control if there’s a whole cake in the house, lol…get it out quick is my motto!

  49. This is definitely an amazing cake! But not liking the cupcakes that much just gives you an excuse to make another random cake in the future and call it ‘making up for the cupcakes’…even if the.boy liked them ๐Ÿ™‚

  50. Looks fabulous. I would say you need to start thinking about freezing layers next January……

  51. P says:

    I was just thinking about the freezing cake layers idea, haha. The Birthday Zone sounds like it would be a fun time of year…at least for those who are given the cakes made by you :P!

    My sister is so picky when it comes to chocolate. On her 16th, I made two kinds of cakes for her birthday, a “real” chocolate cake and low-fat chocolate cupcakes just to see if she could detect the difference. Her taste is so sharp because within the first bite of a cupcake, she almost gagged. Haha…glad there was back-up!

  52. eeesh that sounds stressful! So glad you survived! This cake is gorgeeeeous, and it looks SUPER classic and delicious!!!

    (and oh man…subpar chocolate cupcakes…the worst.)

  53. This cake is gorgeous!!!! I am obsessed with all of the close-up sprinkle shots. Having a serious cake craving at the moment.

    Also-laughed out loud at your “hey, i’d really like a mediocre tasteless chocolate cake”…. haha!!!

  54. I am inspired by your post. I have never baked a cake at home for anyone’s birthday in the family. I love this cake and I think I will try it out soon.

  55. I hate when any recipe doesn’t turn out as well as I hoped, but when it’s a birthday recipe, it’s temper tantrum time. This cake is gorgeous. Why couldn’t you have given the cake leftovers to your coworkers? That’s what I always do, or freeze it.

  56. Susan says:

    That’s how March and April are in our family! Happy belated birthday and gorgeous cake!

  57. Such a gorgeous cake recipe my friend, lovely looking frosting, it looks so smooth and delicious ๐Ÿ˜€
    Each slice would be heaven ๐Ÿ™‚

    Choc Chip Uru

  58. Girl this cake is gorgeous! Loving all the photos too. Now I just need a slice and I’ll be on my way.

  59. This cake is gorgeous! Man, I always know where to go when I want a great cake recipe. Yum!

  60. Hotly Spiced says:

    That’s a really pretty cake and you have decorated superbly. You certainly have a lot of celebrations on at the moment! I love the sprinkles over the chocolate – so simple but effective and celebratory xx

  61. Kathy says:

    Simply beautiful cake, Joanne! You have such a knack for cake decorating!

  62. I want this for my birthday too… ahhh is it ok if I start taste-trying recipes right now? Because my birthday in in July but I need to find a perfect one so… mmm this one needs to happen soon. I mean, don’t I need to find a flawless recipe before July? ;–)

  63. Going to start to email my husband this cake recipe every single week until it’s my birthday. Maybe he will take the hint.

  64. Wow, you have quite an intense birthday zone – that is crazy! Your family is so lucky to have you baking for them – this cake looks so perfect!!

  65. Melissa says:

    I can tell that frosting tastes amazing just by looking at it! I think I’ll save this for my next birthday cake baking needs!

  66. Danguole says:

    You’re right. That cupcake needs to take a good, hard look at itself and step up or step out! I’m loving the simplicity of this–so perfect! So festive!

  67. tigerfish says:

    SO many birthdays in the same period. That REALLY IS a birthday cake ๐Ÿ™‚

  68. Rebecca says:

    this looks delicious! I haven’t had a homemade cake in a very long time this is making me have cravvvvings!!!! Looks deelish, and now you have to bake yourself a celabratory no-more-cake-cake?

  69. This cake is so gorgeous! I don’t want to think up an excuse to make this quite yet, but it’s pinned for future reference! Yum!

  70. Wow, that’s a lot of cakes to be baking! I’d totally take this one for my bday ๐Ÿ™‚

  71. Haha. You can complain about it forever, as long as I get to complain about December birthdays – mine, Paul’s, my Dad, his Dad, my SIL, my grandfather, and grandmother. HELLO. Frozen cake? I say totally acceptable!

  72. Haha. You can complain about it forever, as long as I get to complain about December birthdays – mine, Paul’s, my Dad, his Dad, my SIL, my grandfather, and grandmother. HELLO. Frozen cake? I say totally acceptable!

  73. that first photo NEEDS a “scratch & sniff” sticker and functionality.

  74. I love birthday cakes, this one looks stunning.

  75. Kath the Cook says:

    no – bad idea.

  76. […] yummy yellow cakeย sounds perfect for when you just want a delectible, classic […]

  77. […] worked well, the Bobโ€™s 1:1 blend yielded a narrowly superior cupcake. *Frosting inspiration from Eats Well with Others*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 cupcake very generously frosted. Nutrition […]

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