Moist Yellow Butter Cake

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1 (8- or 9-inch) layer cake, or 8 to 10 servings Medium
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Ingredients (15)

For the chocolate chip butter cake layers:

  • 3 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting the pans
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for coating the pans
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the whipped cream filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

To assemble:

  • 2 (11-ounce) jars dulce de leche or thick caramel sauce
  • 3 ripe yet firm bananas, peeled and sliced on a slight diagonal, about 1/4 inch thick


Layer cakes for birthdays—or pretty much any occasion—should be extravagant and over the top. This one is both. Chocolate chips are a (semi)sweet surprise inside rich, moist layers of butter cake enriched with sour cream, sandwiching a filling of dulce de leche, sliced bananas, and softly whipped vanilla cream. Since you don’t have to frost the sides, this cake is a good choice for beginners, and if it looks a little messy, well, what’s a party without some controlled chaos?

Game plan: Store-bought dulce de leche or thick caramel sauce works beautifully for this recipe, or you can make your own. You can prepare the cake layers up to a day in advance; just wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. The whipped cream is best used right away.


For the chocolate chip butter cake layers:
  1. 1Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously coat three 8-inch-by-2-inch or 9-inch-by-2-inch round cake pans with butter (you can also use two 9-inch pans to make thicker cakes, which you can split into four layers total). Line the bottoms of the cake pans with a circle of parchment paper. Lightly butter the parchment and dust with flour; tap the side of the pans on the countertop to dislodge any excess flour.
  2. 2Onto a sheet of parchment, sift together the measured flour and baking powder.
  3. 3In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the measured butter, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until lightened and fluffy. Add the eggs and yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times while beating.
  4. 4On low speed, add half of the sifted dry ingredients and beat until combined. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla. Add the remaining dry ingredients and the chocolate chips, beating until combined.
  5. 5Divide the batter among the prepared pans (you can make sure they are divided evenly by using a scale to weigh them). Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in the pans on wire racks for about 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks, peel off the parchment, and let cool before frosting.

For the whipped cream filling:

  1. 1Using a whisk or an electric mixer with the whip attachment, beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla to medium peaks (when you lift the beater, it should look like a Dairy Queen soft-serve curl). Be careful not to overwhip or it will become grainy and, eventually, turn to butter.

To assemble:

  1. 1Place a cooled cake layer on a stand or presentation platter. Spread with a third of the dulce de leche or caramel sauce. Cover evenly with a layer of banana slices. Carefully spread with a third of the whipped cream filling.
  2. 2Place the second cake layer on top; repeat the layers of dulce de leche, bananas, and whipped cream filling.
  3. 3Repeat with the third cake layer, decorating the very top with just a few banana slices or a sprinkle of chocolate chips (or both).
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