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BAKEAWAY 2020 Week 4: Classic Yellow Cake and Buttercream Roses

  • Author: Joy the Baker


A classic yellow cake recipe with American buttercream roses. 


  • For the Cake
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or another neutral oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • For the Frosting
  • 6 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 6 1/2 cups powdered sugar, plus more for making roses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 57 tablespoons whole milk, warm
  • Pinch of kosher salt


  1. To make the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees; position the rack in the middle. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat on medium the butter, oil and sugar together until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on medium for 1 minute between each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  5. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and beat on low speed while slowly streaming in the milk. Add the remaining dry ingredients and beat on low until just combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes more to aerate the batter.
  6. Evenly divide the batter between the pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out with only a few crumbs, and the top springs back when gently pressed.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool in the pans for 15 minutes before running a butter knife along the perimeter and inverting onto wire racks. Cool completely before frosting. You can also wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before frosting for best results.
  8. To make the frosting, first make sure your butter and shortening is in the right temperature range. I leave my butter and shortening out overnight to soften it thoroughly. The fats should be room temperature, about 70-74 degrees. You should be able to press your finger into the stick of butter easily.
  9. In a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, first mix the shortening for 30 seconds or so just to ensure it’s softened. Add the butter and vanilla paste and slowly mix together just until combined. Add the powdered sugar slowly while the mixer is set to its lowest setting.
  10. As soon as the butter and powdered sugar are mixed, add the warm or room temperature whole milk and pinch of salt. Mix using the lowest speed for 10 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix on low for another 10 seconds.
  11. Lift the standing mixer. The frosting should easily separate from the paddle. If it’s still too firm, add 1 additional tablespoon of warm milk and mix until combined.
  12. With a rubber spatula, press the frosting against the sides of the bowl to eliminate any air bubbles.
  13. Keep at room temperature until ready to frost your cake.