Best Birthday Cake

Recipe By Tessa Arias
  |  
April 16th, 2019
4.77 from 73 votes
4.77 from 73 votes

This recipe for the Best Birthday Cake with moist and fluffy cake paired with rich and creamy milk chocolate buttercream is perfect for celebrating!

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: This cake just tastes like a celebration! Vanilla-scented yellow cake combined with perfectly sweet milk chocolate buttercream will have you wishing it was someone’s birthday everyday.
Texture: The cake is light, moist, fluffy, and tender while the buttercream is ultra rich, smooth, and creamy.
Ease: Easy! Just a bit messy and time consuming.
anPros: A go-to birthday cake recipe.
Cons: Lots and lots of butter.
Would I make this again? Oh yes!

Let’s travel back in time to April 2009. I was graduating high school and looking nervously ahead at beginning college. I had no clue what I wanted to study or what I wanted to be when I “grew up.”

It was then that I started Handle the Heat on a whim.

Birthday cake on platter with sprinkles on top

I can’t believe how long it’s been since then. But most of all, I can’t believe how much that one decision has changed the course of my career and my life!

Thank you so much to everyone who has read, subscribed, followed, commented, and made my recipes over the years. I could’ve never dreamed all of this would be possible.

In fact, I recently found my journal from 2009. Here’s an except from an entry that made me both laugh out loud and feel awestruck with gratitude and appreciation for how far HTH has come since:

“I really want to get the ball rolling on my blog and my website idea. I think it could be really successful.”

Then there’s a list of “things to save money for” including

  • Camera
  • Domain & WordPress blog

I truly started with nothing. And I ended up getting a neon blue point and shoot digital camera for my birthday from my grandparents that I used to take the first pictures published here.

I used to look back at those first photos with embarrassment but now I have pride for how far things have come.

Birthday cake on platter with slice taken out

It’s so funny how things can work out a thousand times better than you could’ve ever expected or planned for. IF you keep an open mind about the possibilities and let the adventure take you where it wants to.

I mean, take a peek at what handletheheat.com looked like in 2009 and then in 2011. Since then I’ve gotten to publish a cookbook, go to culinary school, and turn my passion into a full time business that allows me to be financially independent. It’s pretty incredible.

If you’re hesitating to start something or take your life in a new direction I want to say one thing: JUST DO IT. Cliche as it sounds, starting is the hardest part and you never know what amazing things will happen once you do.

How to Make the BEST Birthday Cake

How do I make MOIST cake?

Be sure not to over-measure your flour which can lead to a dry or crumbly cake. I always use my digital kitchen scale to weigh flour, but if you don’t have one use the “spoon and level” method to measure with measuring cups. More on all that here in my Ultimate Guide to Measuring.

Also be sure not to overmix your cake. This can lead it to become rubbery and dense. At the final steps, mix JUST until combined.

Do I have to use whole milk?

Using whole milk will help to create a tender and moist cake as well. You can get away with using 2% if necessary, but don’t use skim milk. Whole milk really works best.

Baking the Cake

Keep a close eye on the cake as it bakes to avoid over baking it. Don’t use dark colored cake pans for this recipe. They tend to overcook and dry out the edges and bottom.

How do I prevent cake layers from sinking?

To prevent your cake from sinking in the center, be sure to do the following things:

  • Use an oven thermometer to ensure the accuracy of your oven. Cakes are delicate and need to be baked at the correct temperature. Bake only on the middle rack.
  • Don’t open your oven door while baking. If you must open, do so towards the end.
  • Bake the cake through completely without overbaking it. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. The tops should spring back with lightly pressed. A digital thermometer inserted into the center should be about 210°F.
  • Use ingredients at a cool room temperature.
  • Use fresh baking powder. If you live above 3,000 feet, you’ll likely need to reduce the baking powder.
  • Beat the butter and sugar very well to incorporate enough air to get a good leavening effect. Make sure the eggs are very well incorporated too. Scrape down the bowl and blade often. Once the flour is added, bake until just barely combined. Overmixing at this stage will result in sunken layers and a dense texture.

Can I use a 9-inch pan instead?

This recipe calls for 8-inch baking pans, which is what will work best. You can also use 9-inch if that’s what you have. Your cake layers will be thinner. Just shave about 5 minutes off the baking time.

Can I make cupcakes with this recipe?

Yes, this recipe will make about 18 standard cupcakes. Bake in lined cupcake pans for about 20 minutes. Check out my full guide on how to convert a cake recipe into cupcakes (and vice versa!).

The Milk Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

This chocolate buttercream recipe is one of my all-time favorites. It’s unbelievably rich, creamy, luscious, smooth, and perfectly sweet. It complements the yellow cake perfectly! If you want more frosting to make decorations, double the recipe.

Why is there a raw egg yolk in this frosting?

The recipe contains a raw egg yolk, not unlike any recipe for homemade mayonnaise or Caesar salad dressing. The fat from the egg yolk not only lends richness and creaminess, it also helps to emulsify the buttercream to make it ultra smooth and silky with no extra work.

Simply make sure to use a very fresh quality egg. I like to use an egg from the farmer’s market.

If you feel too uncomfortable with this or if you plan to serve this cake to infants, the elderly, pregnant women, or someone with a compromised immune system, you can use a pasteurized shell egg or just leave the egg yolk out entirely. You will loose some richness and smoothness.

Can I use a different frosting recipe?

You can also use my Best American Chocolate Buttercream Recipe to frost this cake instead, which contains no raw eggs.

Help! I suck at decorating cakes.

If you need help frosting and decorating a cake so it looks nice a pretty, check out my Easy Cake Decorating video in this post. The biggest tip I can give you is to freeze your cake layers before frosting so you can avoid crumbs or tears.

What sprinkles did you use in these photos?

We used Wilton Sprinkles in the “Rainbow Star Medley” design from Michael’s. If you can’t find those, check out Sweetapolita’s sprinkles here.

How can I make this cake ahead of time?

Wrap unfrosted cooled cake layers completely in several layers of plastic wrap. Place inside a freezer bag. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge (do not defrost at room temperature or you will end up with mushy cake).

The buttercream can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Let come to room temperature and re-whip in the stand mixer until light and fluffy again.

How do I store this cake?

Cover with a cake keeper and store at room temperature for up to 8 hours then refrigerate. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

I need to serve this outside. How can I prevent it from melting?

Keep the cake refrigerated until your party starts or until you head to the park or outdoor location. This will allow the cake to come to room temperature gradually as it sits outside, but not get too warm that it begins to melt.

Favorite Cake Tools:

Slice of birthday cake with a piece on a fork

More Happy Birthday Cake Recipes:

April Baking Challenge

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April 2021 Baking Challenge

4.77 from 73 votes

How to make
Best Birthday Cake

Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
This recipe for the Best Birthday Cake with moist and fluffy cake paired with rich and creamy milk chocolate buttercream is perfect for celebrating!

Ingredients

For the yellow cake:

  • 2 1/3 cups (296 grams) bleached all-purpose flour, measured correctly(*1)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder(*2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (170 grams) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at cool room temperature and separated
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk

For the milk chocolate buttercream:

  • 2 sticks (227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large very fresh egg yolk, at room temperature(*3)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups (156 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) milk chocolate, melted and cooled

Directions

Make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter, flour, and line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment circles.

  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add two egg yolks and the vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until combined.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the whole milk, beginning and ending with the flour, mixing just until combined. Do not overmix.
  5. In a separate clean bowl with an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the 2 egg whites until they hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes. Gently fold into the cake batter. Do not overmix.

  6. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 20 minutes in pans before turning out onto a cooling rack. For easier frosting, freeze the cake layers until firm.

Make the buttercream:

  1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add the powdered sugar then salt. Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth and creamy.

  2. On low speed, add the melted cooled chocolate and mix until just combined. Don't whip! Fill and spread immediately on the frozen cake. Serve or let stand covered at room temperature for up to 8 hours.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  1. Be sure to measure the flour correctly using a kitchen scale or spoon & level. Too much flour will make for a dry / dense cake. For best results, use bleached flour.
  2. If you live at a high altitude, you'll likely need to reduce the baking powder by half or more.
  3. Use a very fresh egg yolk. If worried about food safety, use a pasteurized shell egg or omit the egg yolk completely.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: birthday cake, chocolate buttercream

This post was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2019 with new photos, recipe improvements, and more tips. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating




  1. #
    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness — March 30, 2015 at 4:41 am

    Happy Birthday to you! Thank you for all the work you do, and being an inspiration to me! I hope you have such a wonderful day! 🙂
    In other news, I want to devour this WHOLE CAKE! White cake with chocolate frosting is my favorite, so you picked a winner of a dessert to celebrate today! Pinned!

  2. #
    Liz S. — March 30, 2015 at 4:59 am

    Wishing you a VERY happy birthday! Fellow Aries here 😀

  3. #
    Bunny Bars — March 30, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Wow! You’re only 24 and so accomplished?! Wow! Good for you ! I would like to thank you for all the wonderful yummy stuff you share! Have yourself a fantastic awesome (or whatever you kids call it these days) birthday!
    All the best:)

  4. #
    Jen @ Baked by an Introvert — March 30, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Happy Birthday! I love your blog and all of the wonderful tips you bring to the table. White cake with chocolate frosting is so clean and classy! It’s perfect for your birthday!

  5. #
    Emilie — March 30, 2015 at 6:52 am

    Happy birthday from Madagascar Tessa. 🙂 You’re so inspiring. (y)
    Wishing you all the best!

  6. #
    Diana — March 30, 2015 at 9:10 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!!! Thanks for all that you put out there in blogland for us cyber readers to read and do !

  7. #
    Amy — March 30, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Happy Birthday Tessa! Thank you so much for all your Recipes, I love your Blog.

  8. #
    Nancy Miles — March 30, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Happy Birthday!! Thank you so much for your wonderful recipes. Thanks for all of your time. I really like when you compare different ways of cooking or baking things and show how they turn out. Hope you have a wonderful birthday and get all you ask for.

  9. #
    Auntiepatch — March 30, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Happy Birthday! May you have many more! The best is yet to come!

  10. #
    Clara — March 30, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    I’m so impressed that you are only 24. You are such an accomplished woman! It’s really inspiring. I’ve been lacking cake inspiration lately, and then I saw this. I love how simple it is. I guess sometimes less is more.. Thanks for sharing!

  11. #
    Jack L — March 30, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Looks great!

    What is the reason for the egg yolk? Really, leave the uncooked egg frosting out for eight hours? I realize it is just one yolk, but…

    Is the cake stiff enough to carve into a shape?

    Thanks!

    jack

  12. #
    Robin — March 30, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Happy Birthday! The cake looks great! Thanks for all the recipes!

  13. #
    Debbie Caraballo — March 30, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Happy Birthday, Tessa! Hope you’re having a wonderful day. This cake and frosting look so delicious – pinned for later!

  14. #
    Helen Maitland — March 30, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Wishing you a very Happy Birthday, you always have lovely recipes. This cake is too die for.xxxx

  15. #
    Julia @ Sprinkled With Jules — March 30, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Happy Birthday! The layers of this cake look so soft and delicious, I wish I had a piece!

  16. #
    Denisse | Le Petit Eats — March 30, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    I love the simplicity! So nostalgic…hope your birthday is awesome!

  17. #
    Gaby — March 30, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Happy Birthday! This cake looks delicious!!!

  18. #
    Kay — March 30, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    Happy Birthday Tessa! The cake looks yummy 🙂

  19. #
    Anand — March 31, 2015 at 1:16 am

    Happy Birthday Tessa, love your recipes , have a wonderful day and a great tasty year ahead. you make our lives rock with your recipes. They are just beautiful and YUM !!!!, Happy Birthday .

  20. #
    Angelina — March 31, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Muchas felicidades por un año más y que sigan los exitos!!! Un saludo y un abrazo, desde Chihuahua, Mexico.

  21. #
    Clara — March 31, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    I know I already commented, but I just made this cake, with a few changes, and it is mouth-wateringly good. Instead of chocolate buttercream, I used a mix of dulce de leche and lemon juice and in the middle I also put canned peaches. Because the dulce de leche is so sweet I halved the amount of sugar in the yellow cake, but it still turned out perfectly sweet. What a great recipe, and so adaptable! Will be making this again 🙂

    • #
      Tessa — April 2, 2015 at 12:08 pm

      Wonderful Clara! Thanks for sharing your version, sounds delicious 🙂

  22. #
    Natalia — March 31, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Happy belated birthday to you! I’m gonna try this recipe on my father’s birthday, thank you.

  23. #
    Annalise @ Completely Delicious — March 31, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    Oh how I wish it was my birthday, or that I at least had a slice of this cake! Hope you had a fabulous day!!

  24. #
    Marly — April 2, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Happy, Happy Birthday! Looks like you’re celebrating in style with a super delicious cake! I mean, what other way is there to celebrate anyway?? 🙂

  25. #
    Greg — April 5, 2015 at 7:06 am

    Happy belated birthday! This is my wife’s favorite cake/icing combination. I will make this for her birthday in September. Thank you!!!

  26. #
    Suzie — April 24, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Help! I made this cake twice today and while it is DELICIOUS, both times it totally collapsed in the center. I live at an altitude of a little over 9200 and the first time made the recipe as written and the second I made my usual high altitude adjustments with no change. What am I doing wrong? I love the flavor and can see this being my go-to cake if only I can get it to rise!

    • #
      Tessa — April 26, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      Hi Suzie! I’m so sorry but I have absolutely zero personal experience with high altitude baking as I’ve never lived far above sea level. I know that my friends who live at high altitudes often have to experiment with adjustments to make recipes work for them. Hopefully you can figure it out – good luck!

  27. #
    Anand — April 30, 2015 at 4:16 am

    Belated Birthday Wishes to you Tessa.

  28. #
    Linda Gardepe — June 26, 2015 at 11:28 am

    First I have to say that I love your blog, your recipes are wonderful. I do have a question about the yellow cake. Can it be baked in a 9×13 pan and if yes about how long. Thank you.

  29. #
    Brady515 — April 4, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Tessa I am very new to baking my first question is baking cake and frosting’s is it necessary to use a mixer with a paddle attachment Ness are I made a buttercream frosting that didn’t do so well not sure if I mixed it to much it was grainy and looked like whipped topping probably didn’t post this in the right place and also happy birthday to you

  30. #
    Stephanie — May 16, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    Hi Tessa, I made this cake for my son’s 1st
    Birthday party and everyone loved it and devoured it! They thought I had catered it! (partly because it was also decorated super cute). I have a question, is it possible to use cake flour instead of all purpose flour? I ask this because I felt like my cake tasted a little too floury. Could it be the type of flour I’m using? Any other recommendations to fix this? Of course no one else commented on this, but I always feel like cakes I make from scratch have a significant flour taste.

    The buttercream was superb btw! I’ve never made my own and this was so easy! I was a little weary using it as it has a raw egg in it, but it turned out amazing!

    Thank you for any help! I look forward to using more of your recipes!

    • #
      Tessa — May 16, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      Wonderful, Stephanie! What a compliment to your decorating skills 🙂 Are you measuring the flour with measuring cups or by weight? I’d suggest investing in a kitchen scale if you don’t already have one and measure by weight because it’s SO much more accurate. It’s really easy to overpack flour into a measuring cup and end up adding more in than the recipe calls for, which might be contributing to that floury taste you’re experiencing. Here’s my measuring guide: https://handletheheat.com/ultimate-guide-measuring/

  31. #
    BakingLover13 — August 24, 2016 at 6:44 am

    Hey Tessa, happy birthday!!!! I just have to say how much I love your recipe, Its so amazing and I’ve baked twice now, Though I have a question do I really have whip the egg white at the end of the baking, because for me that adds a lot of dishes to do. Thanks ; )

  32. #
    Tara — September 17, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    This cake is exactly what I’ve been searching for!! It’s absolutely perfect!! Thanks so much!! I made cupcakes instead of the layered cake.

    • #
      Tessa — September 18, 2016 at 12:41 pm

      So glad to hear that, Tara!

  33. #
    BakingLover13 — September 26, 2016 at 7:22 am

    Oh my Tessa I literally just baked an hour ago and I love it. Though instead of 30 it took 45 minutes until i thought it was done otherwise it was superb. Well done and happy BELATED birthday!!

    • #
      Tessa — September 26, 2016 at 10:11 am

      Thank you! So happy to hear that 🙂

  34. #
    Marcela — November 4, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    Hi Tessa!! I love this recipe so much! Is it possible to freeze the dough to bake it any time any day on a craving emergency?

  35. #
    Maye — December 10, 2016 at 3:27 am

    Hi Tessa, I have one question normally when I bake cakes, it grow basically in the center and are not leveled like the ones in your photo. do you have any tip for this? or maybe is the oven?

  36. #
    Laura — May 23, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Is the best birthday cake recipe missing the baking soda? I used it for cupcakes and they collapsed too and were flat and a mess.

  37. #
    Viviane — July 6, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Hello, i’m looking to buy a round cake pan and I’m curious to know why you prefer 8 inch cake instead if 9 inch. Is it because it’s bigger and easier to work?
    Thank you 🙂
    Viviane

  38. #
    Gloria — January 9, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Hi Tessa,

    When using a larger pan such as the 9″ wouldn’t it take LESS time rather than 5-10 minutes more since the batter will be thinner due to the pan being larger? I don’t want to over bake. Wasn’t sure if that was a typo and should have said 5-10 minutes less. Curious as to why it would take longer.

  39. #
    Michelle — April 16, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    Congratulations on 10 years of Handle the Heat! I love your blog and recipes. Also, I just want to say thank you for sharing your journey and the encouragement to go after your dreams! It’s definitely inspiring to see how far you have come!

    • #
      Tessa — April 22, 2019 at 3:47 pm

      Thanks so much, Michelle!

  40. #
    Cake fiend — September 10, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    Hi, cute cake. May I know what piping tip you used for frosting the edges of the cake? You piped out 2 strips around the border? Thanks!

  41. #
    Divya Malhotra — September 15, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    I love the way you have written everything so precisely. Left with no single doubt. This birthday cake I will try for my my bae

  42. #
    Akansha — October 24, 2019 at 3:27 am

    Best cake I’ve ever made

    Three times now I have made this recipe and everyone loves this cake. My favorite cake recipe ever. Thanks for sharing such a delicious recipe.

  43. #
    eatfrysmith — November 18, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    what is the purpose of unsalted butter? Why should it be used?

    • #
      Lisa W — April 3, 2021 at 4:55 pm

      The reason she recommends unsalted is because salt is not very well regulated in butter. And different brands have different amounts, So when using salted butter then adding the salt she recommends in the recipe you could end up with a salty cake.

  44. #
    Haasiya — November 19, 2019 at 1:55 am

    Love it

  45. #
    Jack Watsion — January 3, 2020 at 4:06 am

    Wish you a very happy birthday dear. What a great list, and such perfect timing. I think a few of them are the perfect gifts for the awesome father of my kids. Thanks for the ideas!

  46. #
    Sakshi Arya — January 3, 2020 at 4:15 am

    Happiest birthday to you dear.
    may this year you bring your happiness

  47. #
    Will Robinson — January 13, 2020 at 9:16 am

    Wish you a very happy birthday dear… may god balsas u.

  48. #
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  49. #
    Gorge More — January 13, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    Wish U Very Happy Birthday…..

    long life very years

  50. #
    checkwalmartgiftcardbalance — January 13, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    Let yourself do everything that you like most in life, may your Big Day be cheerful and happy! Wishing you the abundance of fun and glory, Happy Birthday! May this day be so happy that smile never fades away from your face. On your birthday friends wish you many things, but I will wish you only two: always and never.

  51. #
    checkwalmartgiftcardbalance — January 13, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    Let yourself do everything that you like most in life, may your Big Day be cheerful and happy! Wishing you the abundance of fun and glory, Happy Birthday! May this day be so happy that smile never fades away from your face. On your birthday friends wish you many things, but I will wish you only two: always and never.

  52. #
    checkwalmartgiftbalance — January 13, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    Let yourself do everything that you like most in life, may your Big Day be cheerful and happy! Wishing you the abundance of fun and glory, Happy Birthday! May this day be so happy that smile never fades away from your face. On your birthday friends wish you many things, but I will wish you only two: always and never.

  53. #
    Erica Holm — January 15, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    This cake is delicious! I’m not a big fan of milk chocolate frosting, and when I tasted it on it’s own I thought it was okay. On the cake, it’s perfect! I did make it for a friend’s birthday, and everyone loved it.

  54. #
    James Smith — February 10, 2020 at 10:43 am

    Wish you a very happy birthday dear… may god balsas u.

  55. #
    Chanel — March 9, 2020 at 9:40 pm

    Love the cake, but my frosting turned out on the thinner side. Can’t figure out where I went wrong 🙁

  56. #
    Susan Dubose — April 20, 2020 at 12:03 am

    Soft and creamy! Most of all delicious! Easy to do recipe.

  57. #
    Gautam Sutradhar — May 13, 2020 at 1:11 am

    wow awesome cake dear. i love to eat birthday cake

  58. #
    Ashok — May 20, 2020 at 6:24 am

    I am vegetarian.

  59. #
    lucy — June 16, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    Can you use buttermilk for this recipe? Any substitutions, or reasons why it wouldn’t work?

    Thank you!

  60. #
    Divya Malhotra — June 25, 2020 at 5:03 am

    Glad I found the comment section. Tried out this cake for my mom’s birthday and to my surprise it turned out so well.

  61. #
    Joann — July 12, 2020 at 6:09 am

    I realize I’m the odd man out here, but I found this cake rather underwhelming. Too dry and not a lot of flavor. I made this cake for a birthday dinner. I followed the recipe exactly, changing nothing. In the end, almost everyone had cake left on their plates. Too much work for too little payoff. I won’t be using this recipe again.

  62. #
    Emily Stimpson — August 10, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    it’s so beautiful and cute!

  63. #
    Lisa — August 10, 2020 at 11:28 pm

    So sweet, Wishing you all the best!

  64. #
    Kat — August 11, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    Looks great!

  65. #
    Kat — August 11, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    Looks great! This cake looks delicious!

  66. #
    Emily — August 21, 2020 at 4:39 am

    Misleading because I searched for the best yellow cake recipe and found this recipe. While it was titled Best Birthday Cake, it looked yellow and stated moist and fluffy yellow cake.

    Since yellow is my husband’s favorite cake, I decided to make one for him for his Birthday yesterday. IT WAS WHITE; NOT YELLOW.

    The cake was a failure in flavor, texture and completely dry. It is a white cake and not yellow also.

  67. #
    Emily — September 22, 2020 at 2:46 am

    It is such a pretty cake, and I really love that this recipe can also apply to cupcakes as well! Can’t wait to try it!

  68. #
    Noah — October 27, 2020 at 4:30 am

    Very good I loved it but the icing was a bit hot so I suggest u cool it in fridge for 5 mins as I did on the sencond time I made this

    Thx

  69. #
    Crystel prunes — October 30, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    It’s nice

  70. #
    Techwhippet — November 19, 2020 at 6:51 am

    Hello there,
    This is so delicious food. That’s a great article about Best Birthday Cake.
    Keep your good job.

  71. #
    Cake Lover — February 4, 2021 at 5:48 am

    I love the recipe! My mom loved the cake!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — February 4, 2021 at 2:04 pm

      So glad this birthday cake recipe was a hit! Yay!

  72. #
    AltapRaja — February 4, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    Veri nice

  73. #
    Brianna Newsom — February 12, 2021 at 8:41 am

    Really great cake, it has the best frosting i have ever had! Ive been making this regularly at my house ever since I came across this recipe! So good!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — February 12, 2021 at 9:31 am

      So glad you tried this cake out!

  74. #
    KARA — March 14, 2021 at 4:54 pm

    I made this for my cousin’s birthday and it turned out perfectly. It came together very easily and was so delicious. This will be my go-to birthday cake from now on!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — March 15, 2021 at 2:04 pm

      I’m so thrilled to hear that, Kara!

  75. #
    Mary Jane Balindes — March 30, 2021 at 7:12 am

    So looks yummy

  76. #
    Pat — April 1, 2021 at 3:27 pm

    Do you sift the flour before or after weighing???

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 2, 2021 at 10:06 am

      You don’t need to sift the flour in this recipe, just make sure it’s measured correctly (link in ingredient list). The only sifted ingredient is the powdered sugar in the frosting 🙂

  77. #
    Sedicka — April 1, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    If I wanted to make this in a loaf baking tin.
    Will the batter be suffice for one or two layers

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 2, 2021 at 9:53 am

      I haven’t tried making this in a loaf tin, so I can’t say for sure. Sorry!

  78. #
    Sara Lawrence — April 2, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    The frosting recipe didn’t make nearly enough, but it tasted good! Also I think I overbaked the cake which was just unfortunate 🙁

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 5, 2021 at 1:33 pm

      Weird! Normally with this recipe I have leftover frosting! And yes, overbaking a cake can definitely ruin the texture and flavor. I’m sorry to hear that!

  79. #
    Haider Tahir — April 3, 2021 at 2:55 am

    Amazing! Such moist cake.

  80. #
    Michael Gilson — April 3, 2021 at 10:20 am

    This came out really well! I had never made a cake from scratch before, and this recipe and the video were super helpful and easy to follow. The tips from the buttercream cheatsheet allowed me to make a delicious strawberry buttercream to go with it. I made the mistake of eating the leftover buttercream before eating the first slice of the cake, and was overwhlemed with the rich sweetness. lol

    I experimented with the two layers–one pan I used a PAM flour spray and the other pan I did the butter and flour method. I did spray the parchment round and that one stuck to the cake and pulled a small amount out of the middle, but was more golden in color than the butter/flour version.

    But great recipe, which I foresee making again! Tessa is right in that it is a bit time consuming and messy though…My kitchen has never been messier after a baking session. 🙂

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 5, 2021 at 1:19 pm

      I’m SO excited that you made this cake, Mike! I love hearing how cakes go, especially for a first time, and I LOVE your experimentation with the spray/butter (especially the visual on Facebook!). I’m glad you pushed through the messiness lol, and am absolutely thrilled at how your cake turned out!

  81. #
    Mike Gilson — April 3, 2021 at 10:25 am

    Fantastic recipe! And Happy birthday, Handle The Heat! 🙂

  82. #
    Mary jo — April 3, 2021 at 2:26 pm

    How do I use this recipe for a white cake instead of yellow?

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 5, 2021 at 12:55 pm

      Hi Mary Jo, there is a huge difference between white and yellow cake. White cake only uses egg whites whereas yellow cake uses the entire egg, sometimes with extra yolk. Because of this, white cakes are lighter and spongier and yellow cakes are thicker and more moist. Considering this is supposed to be a yellow cake, I don’t recommend changing the recipe around. I wouldn’t be able to help with amount of ingredients or be able to guarantee the results as that is not what I extensively tested. Sorry!

  83. #
    Jill — April 3, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    The cake and frosting combination was wonderful! Loved it!

  84. #
    Lisa W — April 4, 2021 at 1:41 am

    Love it… Thank you.

  85. #
    Lauri Rottmayer — April 4, 2021 at 7:48 am

    OMG so yummy! I was worried about the texture of the cake while I was making it but I absolutely love the finished texture and taste! It’s delicious! I made it for my half birthday. 1/2 cake equals 4 layers.

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 5, 2021 at 1:07 pm

      I’m so happy you enjoyed this cake AND that you celebrate half birthdays 🙂

    • #
      Clair — April 12, 2021 at 7:22 pm

      I made this cake into cupcakes. They sunk in the middle And overflowed I used your best buttercream on top to cover..flavor was okay but not Amazing. Not sure if my oven caused them to deflate but I probably won’t be making these again due to the underwhelming turnout and amount of work and mess.

      • #
        Handle the Heat — April 13, 2021 at 1:57 pm

        Oh no, Clair, I’m sorry after all your hard work that your cupcakes didn’t turn out the way they should have! It sounds to me like you possibly overmixed your batter. I talk about overmixing in the pink box above the recipe: “Beat the butter and sugar very well to incorporate enough air to get a good leavening effect. Make sure the eggs are very well incorporated too. Scrape down the bowl and blade often. Once the flour is added, bake until just barely combined. Overmixing at this stage will result in sunken layers and a dense texture.”

  86. #
    Melissa L. — April 4, 2021 at 10:20 am

    Yummy! I made this cake into cupcake form for my sister’s birthday and it was a hit! It’s moist and Goldilocks sweet!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 5, 2021 at 10:35 am

      I’m absolutely thrilled you loved this recipe 🙂

  87. #
    Bonnie Cabrera — April 4, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    Easy and fun to make. My mother in law and son loved the cake and my son said I have to make it again.

  88. #
    Kiersten Kilczewski — April 4, 2021 at 4:31 pm

    This was a good recipe and way to follow. The cake was a bit more dense then I expected it to be but the flavor was great!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 5, 2021 at 10:16 am

      So glad you loved this recipe, Kiersten! This cake shouldn’t be dense though, I’m wondering if you may have overmixed your ingredients! At the final steps, mix JUST until combined. Hopefully that helps next time 🙂

  89. #
    Joanne — April 4, 2021 at 6:22 pm

    I love the smell of this cake when it comes out of the oven. Tasty too!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 5, 2021 at 10:15 am

      I agree, it smells SO good!! Happy you enjoyed it!

  90. #
    Kim Sysa — April 4, 2021 at 7:57 pm

    Best Birthday Cake has great flavour and texture. My family loved it!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 5, 2021 at 10:14 am

      Oh yay! I’m so happy everyone loved it!!

  91. #
    Emma — April 4, 2021 at 9:53 pm

    Really, really good. Highly recommend it, we’ll be using this for all future birthday cakes.

  92. #
    Isabel — April 5, 2021 at 12:19 am

    Soooooooo good! The sponge comes out so light and fluffy and it pairs perfectly with the sweet milk chocolate buttercream, I struggled not to eat the whole thing at once!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 5, 2021 at 10:07 am

      Yum! Thrilled you loved this recipe!!

  93. #
    Wareesha Mansoor — April 5, 2021 at 7:07 am

    it was so good. i made it for my cousin’s birthday and everyone loved it.

  94. #
    Rachel Krasnansky — April 5, 2021 at 8:43 am

    BEST vanilla cake I have ever had! I made a cake for Easter and the whole family LOVED IT! This recipe is going in my Rachel’s Baking Binder for sure! Thank you so much for sharing!!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 5, 2021 at 9:54 am

      Oh YAY!! I’m so happy you loved this recipe!

  95. #
    Leena — April 5, 2021 at 9:17 am

    It was very good

  96. #
    Lauren — April 5, 2021 at 10:10 am

    So delicious and love all the helpful tips!

  97. #
    Sarah T — April 5, 2021 at 10:39 am

    So delicious and moist!! Loved this for a birthday cake!

  98. #
    Marie G — April 5, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    Delicious

  99. #
    Tori Berdux — April 5, 2021 at 6:32 pm

    The flavor was great! I made the cake and chocolate buttercream frosting for my husband’s 39th birthday.
    I think I may have over mixed a bit, as my cake didn’t turn out as fluffy or tall and I omitted the raw egg in the icing since I’m pregnant. My husband really enjoyed and I’d definitely make again!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 6, 2021 at 8:28 am

      Oh yay! I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe! Make sure you enter our April baking challenge if you haven’t already!

  100. #
    Ella Carlson — April 6, 2021 at 2:01 pm

    Such a good recipe! The cake was absolutely delicious and I noticed it didn’t dry out as fast as other cakes I have made have after you cut into them. Very happy with the results! The whipping of the eggs whites was an extra step but again, the cake didn’t dry out as fast and was nice and fluffy do it was all worth it!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 7, 2021 at 9:26 am

      Hooray! I’m so happy you had such wonderful success, Ella!

  101. #
    Jessica — April 6, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    For the frosting, do we need to use a milk chocolate baking bar or is it fine to use chocolate chips?

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 7, 2021 at 9:24 am

      You can use chocolate chips; however, I don’t normally recommend chocolate chips in general because they have added ingredients that help them maintain their chip shape when exposed to heat, and they won’t melt down as smoothly as a chopped baking bar.

  102. #
    Esther Chow — April 6, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    This cake recipe yielded 21 cupcakes for me. They were unbelievably light, airy, fluffy and soft. I loved the texture of these cupcakes! I’ve never had any cake with this texture before. These were so delicious! Thank you Tessa for this wonderful recipe! 🙂

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 7, 2021 at 9:18 am

      YAY! I’m so happy you loved this recipe, Esther!

  103. #
    Erica H — April 7, 2021 at 10:49 am

    Easy and super tasty! Definitely a great one!

  104. #
    Mayline Arnold — April 7, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    Delicious moist flavorful cake yes there are extra steps but all easy to follow. Tessa might call herself a cookie queen but really she should be a frosting queen woah delicious buttercream and I hate buttercream frosting and this was so good! I did spoon the leftover frosting into my mouth. I didn’t use the raw egg yolk because I have an 11 month old and it was still creamy and dreamy. The smell of this cake baking was like heaven that alone should make you want to make it ASAP!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 8, 2021 at 9:19 am

      Awe, thank you SO much Mayline, for calling me a frosting queen haha! I am absolutely thrilled you love not only the cake but the frosting as well 🙂

  105. #
    Monica P — April 8, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    I am not a huge fan of cake in general, and it is rarely my first choice of dessert. However, as yellow cakes go, this one was light, fluffy, and buttery, and I did enjoy it. This is definitely a good choice for a party. I highly recommend refrigerating for an hour or so before serving – the frosting was quite wet when I initially made it and it was much tastier once it had set some. I did use 9″ cake pans but the cake still cooked beautifully.

    And happy birthday to Handle the Heat! Congrats on your success!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 9, 2021 at 10:16 am

      Oh YAY! I’m so happy you made this birthday cake, Monica! And thank you so much!

  106. #
    Lizzy — April 9, 2021 at 8:50 am

    The layers came out flat – something I have never been able to accomplish! Yay! To cut calories in the frosting, I substituted yogurt cheese for the butter. It was too soft to pipe but otherwise delicious. Thanks for the great recipe.

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 9, 2021 at 9:25 am

      YAY! I’m so happy your layers turned out perfectly!! Woohoo!

  107. #
    MARGUERITE Theresa STERLING — April 9, 2021 at 10:29 am

    Perhaps a silly question….Do you butter and flour the pans then put in the parchment circles, or put the parchment in and then butter and flour?

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 9, 2021 at 1:11 pm

      The directions are to butter and flour, then line with parchment, but honestly, you’re welcome to do both! It won’t hurt, if anything, it’ll make it that much easier to come out! Make sure you do the sides as well 🙂 The parchment insures that your cake bottom is nice and even and flat, and the butter coats the pan, with the layer of flour adhering to the butter and the parchment. It just insures a nice release from the pan.

  108. #
    Michael Fiume — April 9, 2021 at 10:42 am

    This was soooo delicious! turned out amazing!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 9, 2021 at 1:19 pm

      Thrilled you loved this cake, Michael!

  109. #
    Tara Wendell — April 9, 2021 at 5:39 pm

    Easy and so good!

  110. #
    Brittney h — April 9, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    10x better than boxed cake!!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 12, 2021 at 10:10 am

      So happy you loved this cake!

  111. #
    Victoria C. — April 10, 2021 at 11:47 am

    I’m not generally a big fan of cakes,but this was definitely the best yellow birthday cake I’ve ever had! Undoubtedly deserving of its name. And though I’m a cream cheese frosting only kind of girl, this buttercream just may have converted me, even though I ommited the yolk!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 12, 2021 at 9:58 am

      Your comment just made my day, Victoria!! I’m so happy you loved this cake AND put your faith in me and tried the frosting too! You can definitely make this cake with your favorite cream cheese frosting as well 🙂

  112. #
    Izzy — April 10, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    Such a wonderful recipe! So beautiful and tasty!

  113. #
    Jenifer Jagnow — April 10, 2021 at 10:29 pm

    Best yellow cake ever!

  114. #
    Mariah Cooper — April 11, 2021 at 7:04 am

    This cake recipe was easy to follow and not too complicated, but it ended up turning out dry and crusted on the outsides. I had to bake it longer than I instructed in order to get the center to bake fully, so it might have been an oven issue on my part. The frosting was delicious, and I added brown butter to bump it up a notch. I would try again in hopes that I have better results next time.

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 12, 2021 at 9:48 am

      Hi Mariah, two questions come to mind: what type of pan did you use and do you have an oven thermometer? I don’t recommend using dark colored cake pans as they cook too aggressively and will scorch the edges of your cake! This is the pan that I use. I hope you try this cake again!

  115. #
    Michael Dwyer — April 11, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    Cupcakes fit our needs better, and the recipe yielded 22! But, I used 15 silicone cupcake liners and they seem smaller than paper. The flavor and texture of the cake was 5-star-worthy. So was the smooth and creamy texture of the buttercream. If I learn nothing from HTH but how to make buttercream it will be worth all the effort.

    But no salt in the buttercream.

    My gut said leave it out, and my mind said cut it to 1/8 teaspoon, but I trusted the recipe and used the full 1/4 t. I wish I hadn’t. But I did conclude after eating most of those cupcakes (I bake primarily for myself!) that the salt wasn’t *that* bad. Still – 1/8t ought to be plenty. When I treat someone with the cake version, there’ll be no salt in the frosting.

    Notes on altitude adjustment, which is still a learning experience. Mostly learning what “done” looks like. My adds and subtractions – for 7,500′ – resulted in: 328 grams flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 322 grams sugar, 1 1/2 cups milk. Use the egg *white* discarded from the buttercream. Bake at 370° for 25-ish minutes (adjusting for cupcakes as well as altitude). The King Arthur Flour high-altitude guide Tessa links to is quite helpful.

    I think the ingredient adjustments are perfect; if I could only be sure when the cupcakes were properly *done*, as the baking time does not seem to shorten as much as suggested by King Arthur. (And, I also used some of the silicone liners on an open baking tray rather than patiently waiting for the muffin-tin batch to finish. Presumably, the tin around the liners helps the baking process move along, so more time was needed for those.)

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 12, 2021 at 9:33 am

      I’m so happy that you loved this cake! I’m also pleased you were able to figure out what best worked for you in terms of altitude adjusting! I’ve actually got a blog post that details all about converting cake recipes into cupcakes! I think it’d help you out! https://handletheheat.com/how-to-convert-cake-into-cupcakes/

  116. #
    Jessicca Rosario — April 12, 2021 at 4:21 am

    My grandfathers favorite cake is a yellow cake with chocolate frosting.. I was searching the internet for days looking for the perfect recipe and on April 1st, 3 days before I was going to see him, I saw this posted (it was a sign!) everyone loved this cake, especially the frosting!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 12, 2021 at 9:15 am

      Oh, perfect timing! I’m so happy you were able to make this cake for your grandfather!

  117. #
    Maria — April 12, 2021 at 4:51 am

    I baked this for my mom birthday today.
    She loves it. She said it tasty delicious & soft.
    I agreed with her.

    But i have problem with the cake.
    Why did it broken when i removed it from the pan? It have cool down. I didnt use any substitute product & baked with same temperature.

    Btw, why the button “submit your photo” didnt work on your april challenge? I clicked it but nothing happen with the page.

    Please help me.
    Thanks lot tessa

  118. #
    Maria — April 12, 2021 at 4:57 am

    Today i rebaked it for my mom birthday. Its mt 1st time i baked her a birthday cake & decorated cake. I used swiss meringue buttercream with coffee flavour.

    She said it taste delicious & looks beautiful i only agreed with her about the taste

    Could you also please help me :
    1. Why did my cake broken when i removed it from the pan? I have let it cool down.
    I didnt use any substitute to rebaked it.

    2. why i still cannot submit my pic to enter your april challenge?
    The “submit” button dont work when i clicked it because the page dont load anything. I have stable internet connection & able to browse.

    Thanks lot for your help

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 12, 2021 at 9:14 am

      Hi Maria, I responded to you in our Facebook group 🙂 Your cake looked absolutely delicious!

  119. #
    Jennifer Magnuson — April 12, 2021 at 5:26 am

    Very tasty cake! Made it for a birthday party and everyone loved it.

  120. #
    Michelle — April 12, 2021 at 8:32 am

    Deliciously light and fluffy cake and pairs so well with the frosting. I usually prefer dark over milk chocolate, but I’m glad I gave this one a try!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 12, 2021 at 9:13 am

      I’m glad you love this cake, Michelle! Definitely feel free to try your preferred frosting next time with this cake 🙂

  121. #
    Christine Price — April 12, 2021 at 8:43 am

    The recipe is simple to follow, and the results are a thousand times better than any box mix. I used a basic Swiss meringue buttercream instead of the traditional chocolate, and they went together perfectly!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 12, 2021 at 9:12 am

      I’m absolutely thrilled you loved this recipe, Christine!

  122. #
    Cynthia Jarvis — April 12, 2021 at 10:14 am

    The taste was wonderful. But The cake making was a little tricky. I think I’d have to try this again a couple of times to work out the timing before i can say I got it right.

  123. #
    Madeline Rauch — April 12, 2021 at 10:15 am

    I’ve been searching for a new favorite vanilla cake base and this one is perfect! The texture is wonderful! It’s moist and tender, but holds its shape for decorating. And the buttercream is absolutely to die for!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 13, 2021 at 1:37 pm

      I’m absolutely thrilled you loved this cake, Madeline! And I agree, that buttercream is EVERYTHING!

  124. #
    Sarah Carver — April 12, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    As usual, a superb recipe! I can tell a lot of effort (and love) goes into perfecting your recipes. I can’t wait to taste this cake tonight at my grandson’s birthday celebration!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 13, 2021 at 1:48 pm

      Thank you so much, Sarah, for your sweet review! I saw in our Facebook group how happy your grandson was, I’m sure he LOVED the cake you made for him!

  125. #
    Chiara Pierno — April 13, 2021 at 5:37 am

    I am not a huge fan of buttercream and butter in general. I found milk chocolate buttercreams a little bit too sweet, so I added 75 g of dark chocolate to the mixture. On the other hand, I actually loved the sponge cake texture!!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 13, 2021 at 2:41 pm

      Sounds delicious, Chiara! I’m glad you loved the cake! You are definitely welcome to try a different type of buttercream frosting with this cake next time to suit your taste 🙂 Be sure to join our April Baking Challenge if you haven’t already!

  126. #
    Alexa Vagnozzi — April 13, 2021 at 8:57 am

    I made this birthday cake for one of my best friends and she loved it! The buttercream is silky and creamy, and the cake is light and fluffy – so different than boxed cakes! I don’t know how I could ever go back to making a birthday cake out of the box after this. It’s too good!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 13, 2021 at 2:42 pm

      Hooray! You just made my day, Alexa! I’m so glad to hear you’re not going back to a boxed cake after trying this recipe, huge win!!

  127. #
    Kathryn — April 13, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    yummy and fun to make! the directions were easy to follow and the cake baked nicely.

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