Chocolate Frosted Southern Yellow Cake

My grandma used to make the best Southern Yellow Cake with the most delicious creamy chocolate frosting. As delicious as hers was, she did not make it entirely from scratch. She would always use Duncan Hines box cake mix. She always made it with lots of LOVE. I have tried to emulate her recipe for years using box cake mix, but to no avail. 

Recently, when planning my family’s Easter meal, my wheels started turning and I decided to make the southern yellow cake with chocolate frosting…from scratch. It was the perfect dessert for Easter Dinner. The taste was the closest that I have ever gotten to my grandma’s yellow cake and chocolate frosting. The yellow batter was fluffy and buttery. The frosting was thick, but went onto the cake smoothly.

Chocolate Frosted Southern Yellow Cake

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Madison Course: DessertDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • For the Yellow Cake:
  • 2 sticks 2 unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 tablespoon 1 shortening, room temperature

  • 2 cups 2 granulated sugar

  • 4 large 4 eggs, room temperature

  • 3 cups 3 cake flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 baking soda

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons 1 1/2 baking powder

  • 1 cup 1 buttermilk, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon 1 vanilla extract

  • For the Chocolate Frosting:
  • 1 stick 1 butter

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 cocoa powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 salt

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 milk

  • 16 ounces 16 confectioners’ sugar


  • For the Yellow Cake:
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
  • In a large bowl, using either a whisk or a hand mixer, combine the butter, shortening and sugar until it is light and fluffy.
  • Next, beat in the eggs.
  • Fold in the cake flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder until just combined.
  • Stir in the milk and vanilla.
  • Pour the batter into a 9×13 inch pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Allow to cool completely before frosting with chocolate frosting.
  • For the Chocolate Frosting:
  • In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, mix together the butter, cocoa powder, salt and milk.
  • Stir continuously until smooth and without lumps.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in sugar.
  • Frost cake when the cake is cooled.


  • This recipe can make a thick sheet cake, a 2-layer cake, or a 3-layer cake with thinner cake layers. However you choose to serve it, make it beautiful and make it with love!
  • Sifting flour is optional.

Whenever my grandma made this, she always made a two-layer cake and added a bit of food coloring for that pop of yellow. I decided to make this recipe as a sheet cake instead. I did not need to use any yellow food coloring. And, I am so glad that I did not have to use any!

Since I had to start from scratch, planning this recipe took some work. Let me tell you honestly that it took a lot of trial and error. I first had to decide what kind of milk I wanted to use. I decided on buttermilk which was a great choice for this cake. If you do not have buttermilk, then whole milk works too! I am proud of this one and am proud to be able to share with you this delicious Southern Yellow Cake with Creamy Chocolate Frosting. I am even prouder to say that it is just like grandma used to make it. That’s right, just like my grandma used to make it. 

Before you get started, let me give you a few pieces of advice so you do not get too overwhelmed. The goal here is to keep the cake light and fluffy. You achieve this by mixing the wet ingredients together really well, but when you add the flour, you need to gently fold with a spatula or whisk until everything is just combined. Over mixing will cause the batter to get too tight and will result in a dry cake. Trust me, I am guilty of having over mixed my cake batter one too many times and have certainly regretted it. 

I made the chocolate frosting from scratch as shown in the recipe directions. However, you can surely use a container of your favorite store bought frosting.  To really perfect this cake, you are going to need to have a lot of patience. This is not something that you can simply just make on a whim. No, you must make this with love and care for it to truly turn out great. I am proud of my southern style cake creation and I think grandma would be proud too. 

Upon trying your first slice of this southern yellow cake, you will want to eat more and more. This cake won’t last for very long in your kitchen. Enjoy!!

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