Birthday Cake Recipe

filed under: White Cakes on January 31, 2018

Ever wanted to make the perfect Birthday Cake? I have the recipe for you! Classic yellow cake paired with rich chocolate frosting. You can’t go wrong with this timeless birthday treat!

Birthday Cake

How to Bake the Perfect Birthday Cake

First, you want to start with a great recipe. The yellow cake recipe listed below is a classic, but some folks also like chocolate cake or white cake. Next, pair that classic with the best homemade chocolate buttercream! Once you have made your cake and covered it in buttercream, top with some festive rainbow jimmies. The final touch can be personalizing it with a handwritten “Happy Birthday” or you can also fill the center of the cake with candles. No matter what you decide to do, the birthday boy/girl is sure to love it!

How to Make Birthday Cake

To make this birthday cake you will need:

yellow cake recipe (below)

chocolate buttercream (below)

small offset spatula

piping bag and #32 tip

rainbow jimmies

green buttercream, piping bag, and piping tip #5 for writing a message

Birthday Cake Recipe

Birthday Cake Recipe

When you are creating a cake for someone special on their birthday, you want to make sure the recipe you are using is NO FAIL. This is that recipe! It works every time and tastes amazing! My no-fail Birthday Cake Recipe is perfect for everyone of all ages!

If you happen to watch the video of me making this cake you will see that I did not spend 1 second fussing over perfection.  When I was a child I never noticed things like ripples in the frosting or uneven edges or less-than-perfect writing. All I could see what a cake covered in brightly lit candles being walked slowly towards me as friends and family sang loudly. There is nothing quite as magical as that special moment when you see a cake made just for you!

No one ever wanted to sit back and admire the cake… everyone just wanted to dig in! My mom was never a master cake decorator, but I will never love another cake as much as I loved her birthday cakes, made special for me.

Birthday Cake Recipe Ideas

How to Decorate a Birthday Cake

Birthday cake decorations don’t need to be fancy or over the top! Don’t let the decorating part of making a birthday cake be stressful at all. I used a small offset spatula to spread the frosting on my cake, but you could just as easily use a butter knife.

One fun trick is adding the piped dollops along the edges of the cake. This technique requires no special skills and the supplies are often carried at your local grocery store! Drop the tip in a piping bag (can also use a plastic sandwich bag, just be sure to make a very small hole as plastic bags tend to stretch more) and then add your frosting. The shell border on most birthday cakes is a “swooping” motion. Apply pressure to the piping bag, allow a little frosting to come out, then swoop down. Repeat the around the entire cake on the bottom edge and top edge. (Once you master this technique you can explore new ways to decorate!)

Tips, Tricks, Variations

For this recipe, I like to have my ingredients at room temperature. If that is not possible the cake will still turn out! You just need to make sure you give it enough time in the stand mixer for that the ingredients can fully incorporate and mix together. What if you don’t have a stand mixer? Using a hand-held mixer is a great option. Or maybe you are SuperMom and are using a whisk and some elbow grease! 🙂 No matter what method you use, this sturdy recipe should hold up and still taste delicious.

Ever wondered how to write on a cake? The very best thing you can do it practice. Get a piece of wax or parchment paper and your tip and frosting out. Try writing different words in cursive, block letters, capitols letters, etc. The more you can practice the easier it becomes. Pretty soon everyone will be asking you to make their birthday cake!

Want to make this a smash cake? You can cut the ingredients in half and bake the layers in 6-inch round pans. (Baking times may vary, make sure an inserted toothpick is removed clean) You will end up with a small 2-layer cake perfect for baby’s 1st birthday!

The BEST Birthday Cake!

Popular Birthday Cake Recipes

My newest addition to the search for the PERFECT Birthday Cake… Funfetti Cake!!!

Chocolate Cake

White Cake

White Cake (easy boxed mix version)

Pink Velvet Cake

Ribbons & Rosettes Birthday Cake

4.61 from 23 votes
Happy Birthday Cake
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins

Ever wanted to make the perfect Birthday Cake? I have the recipe for you! Classic yellow cake paired with rich chocolate frosting. You can’t go wrong with this timeless birthday treat!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: birthday cake
Servings: 12
Author: Amanda Rettke
Yellow Cake
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 113g) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup (300g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup (307g) whole milk
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cup (281g) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt if using table salt use 1/2 tsp
Chocolate Frosting
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks or 340g) butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups (500g) powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup (94g) cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp. (60ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. (10ml) vanilla extract
  • pinch table salt
Yellow Cake
  1. Place softened butter and granulated sugar into stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add milk, oil, vanilla, and eggs and mix on medium for one minute or until ingredients are fully incorporated.
  3. Place dry ingredients into stand mixer and mix on low until fully combined about 1 minute.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pans 8-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350°F for 18-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
Chocolate Frosting
  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with whisk attachment whisk butter and sugar on medium-high speed until very pale and fluffy or about five minutes.
  2. Be sure to stop at least once and scrape the bowl.
  3. With the mixer off, add cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt.
  4. Turn mixer on low and blend for about 30 seconds.
  5. One tablespoon at a time, add in heavy cream.
  6. Once all cream has been added and the mixture is mostly combined, turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  7. Now turn the mixer onto medium-high to high and whisk for 3-5 minutes or until mixture is lighter and fluffier. The frosting will be shiny and seem to have many large air bubbles throughout and this is exactly what we are going for. (You can smooth those out on the cake if so desired.)

Recipe Video

Perfect birthday cake recipe made of yellow cake and paired with the best homemade chocolate buttercream! Your birthday kid will definitely love it! #birthdaycake #birthday #cake More easy and creative baked desserts on!

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  • Analida's Ethnic Spoon says:

    Your cake looks too perfect. Like something out of a magazine. Luckily, I feel confident that I can whip up a beautiful cake since reading your recipe. My husband’s great grandmother used to make a birthday cake called $200 cake.

  • Katie says:

    Do you use salted or unsalted butter. This looks delicious thanks for sharing!!

  • Lorena says:

    I just tried the recipe, and this cake was so good that I was almost crying eating it
    Thanks. <3

    • Amanda says:


      • Teresa says:

        Do you used salted or unsalted butter? I attend to used unsalted butter for all baking unless it states other wise.

  • Nita says:

    Hello! I am in search of a good yellow cake recipe, would you say this cake is very moist and not dense? I’ve tried some cake recipes so far and never liked the texture….Thanks!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Yes! It is moist and soft and delicious. 🙂

  • anagha says:

    i want to make a sheet cake? will this recipe change if i pour the batter into 1 rectangular pan instead of two round pans?

    • Amanda says:

      You can definitely use a 9×13 pan.

      • Barbara says:

        If I use a 9×13 pan – how long do I bake the cake for. Thank you.

  • Julian says:

    Hi Amanda!

    Hope you’re well : ) .

    So, I’m going to be making this cake this weekend (YAY!) but have a question… Maybe you can help.

    I am pretty sure I have 3 8 inch round pans (hopefully :p). I want to keep the height of the cake (like yours), but feel if I separated into 3 they would be significantly smaller. Any idea on how I could increase the measurements/what they would be to make in 3 8 inch pans as opposed to 2 ?

    Thanks so much!!! 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      I would consider keeping it in 2 pans and then just leveling each cake layer into 2 layers, making a 4 layer cake. 🙂

      • Julian says:

        Thanks, Amanda!

        I made this cake and… COMPLETE success. Pretty darn perfect (staff members thought the same thing… it was gone in a flash!!!) So happy with the turnout! You rock! :D.

        ….. thinking of making this again for my new neighbors… any chance this can be made as cupcakes? : )

        • Amanda says:

          SO SO Happy Julian!!!

  • J says:

    Hello Amanda!

    Question-can this recipe be used to make cupcakes instead??

  • Julz says:

    Hi Amanda I am Julz, leave in Namibia, Africa,I’m a beginner baker who had only bake for family and so fascinated and encouraged by your work and want to learn a lot from your baking skills, ideas and tips.

  • Delia Roman says:

    Which cake would be perfect for sweetsixteen

  • mesulame kuiladra says:

    i really love the recipe and demo video of it. thumps up to this web site

  • Julie defibaugh says:

    I haven’t made the yellow cake with chocolate cream frosting yet wondering if the butter in cake and icing should be margine or real unsalted or salted butter? Thanks for your help in advance!

  • Cb says:

    Wow so good! Thank you for this!

  • Joceline says:

    Hi MY email is

  • Toni says:

    I love your recipes!! How many cupcakes would this recipe make?

  • Ritu says:

    Hi, love your recipes . Pls suggest which product can be used as a replacement for eggs (as we don’t eat eggs).

    Thanks !!

    • Heather says:

      I used Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacement powder for the cake and it came out great! Just follow the preparation instructions on the bag (1 egg = 1 tbsp of egg replacer mixed with 3 tbsp water). I doubled the recipe to make two 9” cakes and still had plenty extra to fill the pans high in case the rise wasn’t as good. I’ll be making this again today and doing the same thing.

      Thank you Amanda for the recipe! So easy to make adjustments and still come out flawless!!

      • Amanda says:

        Thank you, Heather!!

  • Jana says:

    Thank you for posting this recipe! I made it last night for a coworker’s birthday today – it tastes great as has a light but moist texture. A big thumbs up from my coworkers and me.

  • Danny says:

    I just saw your yellow cake recipe online and I was wondering if I can print it?

    Thank you.

  • Janis says:

    AS soon as I added the room temperature milk, the butter clumped and all the liquid separated. Help!!!

  • Steve says:

    The “print” button here is worthless. This recipe printed on TEN little pages.

    • Amanda says:

      That’s an issue with your printer settings, not the recipe.

  • Sania says:

    I’ve been searching for the best go-to vanilla cake recipe – I wanted something buttery, fluffy and tasty all on its own – as I make cream cakes a lot I needed something to shine through and your Birthday Cake recipe is IT!

    Thanks for sharing – I made this today with whipped cream, jam etc and I’m finding it difficult to stop myself from finishing it!

  • Jennifer Mc Mahon says:

    Please can recipes be emailed to me

  • Susan says:

    My 7 year old son and I made this today. Our first attempt at a non-box cake and boy was it super easy and super delicious! It was moist, flavorful and yummy. Bye, bye boxed mix. I will be using this recipe going forward. Thank you for sharing!

  • Sara says:

    Just made this cake and wow, is it amazing. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
    I made it just as you did with the sprinkles. Turned out really cute.

  • Patricia inman says:

    My homemade cakes seem dry,any reason why plain flour has that taste. I just buy the mixes at store.they are moisturer