Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Classic Birthday Cake

Summer is the hardest time of year to bake. After walking around in 90 degree weather all day, the absolute last thing anyone wants to do is hang out in a 100 degree kitchen. That being said, it takes a lot for me to actually bake during the months of June, July and August (which explains my recent lack of posts).

Anyway, with yesterday being Dan's 26th birthday, I decided to brave the heat and make him a birthday cake from scratch. My apartment only has one tiny window air conditioner in it, so when I say my blood, sweat and tears went into this cake, I mean it... with a big emphasis on the sweat.

Moist Yellow Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting
adapted from here and here

For the cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (12 tablespoons)
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a small bowl and whisk to get ready of any lumps or chunks.

Place butter into a bowl and mix on a medium or high speed until fluffy and light in color. Add in sugar and vanilla, and beat until thoroughly creamed and mixed in. Add egg yolks one at a time, letting each egg yolk mix fully in before adding the next. Add the whole eggs one at a time as well, allowing 1 minute of mixing between additions. The mixture should be very pale in color at this point.

Add 1/3 of the dry ingredient mixture and mix until incorporated. Add in half of the milk and mix until incorporated. Continue to alternate adding in the dry ingredient mixture and milk until all ingredients are thoroghly mixed in and the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter between two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans. Be sure to butter them thoroughly before filling with batter! Bake until the cake edges slightly pull away from the pans and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out dry with just a few crumbs, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove the pans from the overn and let cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:
3 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature
2 2/3 cups of powdered sugar, sifted (VERY IMPORTANT!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and slightly cooled

Beat the butter with a mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy.

Stop the mixer and add the powdered sugar in stages until it is fully incorporated. Add in the vanilla and chocolate and beat on a medium high sped until the frosting is light and airy.

To frost:
Make sure the cake is thoroughly cooled before frosting. The frosting should be at room temperature for frosting, but don't let it get too soft or else it will become runny and won't hold on the cake.

I assume most of you know how to frost a cake, but if you don't, click THIS fantastic link for a video tutorial.

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