Growing up, Duncan Hines' yellow cake was always my benchmark of cake success. Moist, full of flavor, and with a nice crumb, I had found no cake, homemade or out of a box, that could surpass Duncan's. Birthday after birthday, all that I requested was three layers of that perfect cake with chocolate frosting.
When my significant eater's birthday came around, I knew that it would be a great opportunity to attempt to beat Duncan at what he does best and bake the perfect homemade yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Knowing that Duncan had years and years of experience on me, I painstakingly researched recipes to find recipes for both the best yellow cake and the best chocolate icing. I required a cake that would be just as moist Duncan's and was also just as full of flavor. The icing had to be fluffy and rich, but not to sweet. After nearly a week of sugar-obsessed research, I decided upon this recipe from Carol Walters. For the icing, I chose Ina Garten's buttercream frosting.
The two recipes made components that came together to make what I can easily say was the best yellow cake I have ever tasted. The cake was wonderfully moist, an area where I find many homemade cakes to be lacking, and its flavor was full of butter and vanilla. Scharffen Berger chocolate kicked up with a bit of espresso powder and lots of butter made for a sinfully rich frosting. While Duncan Hines was the cake champion of my household for many years, I think I have him beat now.