The Silver Palate’s Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

This deceptively simple layer cake tastes more sophisticated than it looks with those slightly melted organic lollipops (or are they balloon emoji?) sticking out of the top. It’s The Silver Palate’s yellow cake recipe, and there is wine in the batter, which makes all the difference for both taste and texture. No one would guess the secret ingredient, but everyone will know it’s a little bit special.


A full cup of dry white wine imparts a sophisticated (but not too sophisticated!) flavor to this deceptively simple yellow cake.

All about that cake

Recently this blog has been All About That Cake (No Vegetables). I couldn’t really say why — or why I thought it was a good idea to start this post with a line that Meghan Trainor, or your average 11 year old, or MY average 11 year old, might murder me for in the night. Still, it’s true. Cake.

Yin yang yuck

In addition to baking cakes, one thing I’ve been doing a lot of recently is insisting I’m way more into statistics than astrology but then saying things like this anyway:

So many of my favorite people have birthdays in interesting clusters. Four of my best ladies have consecutive birthdays a direct six month leap across the calendar from mine, and they’re all kinda the yang to my yin (although watch me expunge those terms from my vocabulary now that I’ve seen yin described as “feminine/passive/negative”).

Cake and truth

Three other MVPs share the birthday that I made this cake to celebrate. Granted, only one is local, so the others had to subsist on a cheeky text and a photo of the cake, which means it’s lucky they’ve already liked me for a while.

We brought the actual cake to the local, and she and I and our kids decided to dig in while her poor husband was out. She’s an excellent sculptor, and though cake and truth aren’t her usual media, that day she sliced off a perfect ring of cake edges for us to eat, leaving a smaller but totally legit-looking round layer cake behind for a family celebration later in the evening.

If I tried something like that it would instantly start trending as a Pinterest fail, but in her case no one suspected a thing.


Significance isn't always statistical

Birthday clusters are one of those life events/non-events that seem meaningful even though maybe technically they aren’t. But then, the more birthdays my friends and I have, the more I realize that meaning exists where you make it — and statistical significance isn’t always the best measure of importance.

The Silver Palate's Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

This cake is so unfussy that you won't believe how well it turns out. The wine gives it both a beautiful, tender crumb and a gently elevated flavor. The light and fluffy frosting is heavily adapted from The Silver Palate's chocolate icing. The sour cream lends just the right touch of tang to balance out the sweetness.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Serves One 9-inch layer cake (serves 12)


For the yellow cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the chocolate frosting

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate (chips are fine)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the sugar and eggs for 30 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat for one minute more.
  3. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the cake has slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan.
  4. Cool in pans for five minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

For the frosting

  1. Melt the butter and chocolate together until just smooth, either in a double boiler or in a microwave-safe bowl in bursts of about 30 seconds.
  2. Transfer butter-chocolate mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk or a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients. Whip until perfectly smooth and fluffy.
  3. Spread onto completely cooled cake.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 547 Total Fat:: 27.9g Carbohydrates:: 66.5g Fiber:: 1.4g Protein:: 6.2g