August 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Cake

August rolled in and I didn't even realize that it was the first anniversary of this blog.  Boy how time flies.    Happy Birthday Treats!   Here's to many more years....

My nephew Christian's birthday is also this month.   He's turning 8 this year and his favorite cake is yellow, from the box, with chocolate frosting, from the tub.  Funny, it's the exact same thing  my siblings and I would get on our birthday when we were kids.

Making the cake from a box mix was not much of a challenge.  Isn't it about time this quintessential cake was elevated from its humble supermarket aisle beginnings? 

This recipe is all things a birthday cake recipe should be: really easy to make.  You'd be surprised how quickly it comes together and the cake is moist and delicious.  Sure, it takes more time than the box mix, but trust me, the end result is so much more satisfying.

Yellow Layer Cake (adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cups sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk , room temperature
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks , room temperature
3 large egg whites , room temperature

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray  two 9-inch-wide by 2-inch-high round cake pans with cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment paper.  Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar together in large bowl. In 4-cup liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and yolks.  

In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With machine running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; continue to beat until stiff peaks just form, 30 to 60 seconds (whites should hold peak but mixture should appear moist). Transfer to bowl and set aside.

Add flour mixture to now-empty mixing bowl fitted with whisk attachment. With mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated (a few streaks of dry flour will remain), about 15 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape whisk and sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium-low speed and beat until smooth and fully incorporated, 10 to 15 seconds.

Using rubber spatula, stir 1/3 of whites into batter to lighten, then add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans.

Bake until cake layers begin to pull away from sides of pans and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides of pans with small knife, then invert onto greased wire rack and peel off parchment. Invert cakes again and cool completely on rack, about 1 1/2 hours.

Chocolate Frosting

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
 7 oz milk chocolate (I used Cadbury's Dairy Milk), melted and cooled slightly

In food processor, process butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add corn syrup and vanilla and process until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl, then add chocolate and pulse until smooth and creamy, 10 to 15 seconds.

* For the polka dot decorations I rolled and cut out fondant .


  1. Heather Sabra8/09/2010

    Happy anniversary Truc.This is my first comment but I've been following your blog for some time now.I espcially love your macarons and the iced sugar cookies.I am looking forward your second year So keep the good work.

  2. happy birthday treats!!
    this is my first comment as well.. your blog is FANTASTIC! you are one great baker, truc!
    congrats on your fabulous decorating skills

  3. Happy birthday Treats! :) That frosting, mmm i can taste it in my mouth,hehe :)