Did you know that I’m a compulsive list maker? I keep lists for everything. When I get really bored, I get the urge to update a list or come up with a reason to make a new one. I’m sure all you psychologists out there can tell me why this makes me particularly crazy. I don’t know the reason. I just know I’ve lost my mind.
I have long lists on my computer of books I want to read, movies I want to watch, recipes I want to try, things I could make for dinner in the next week or two, not to mention Pinterest, which is basically just a massive hoard of lists. Then I carry around a notebook with me everywhere I go that contains no less than 13 lists.
One of those lists is of old recipes that I’ve shared with you that have devastatingly horrible photos. Currently, my food photography skills are around a 3 out of 10, but when I first started blogging, I was hovering around minus 9. So even if I can’t make my food look as good as it really is, I can make it look a lot better than I did in 2013. You might have noticed some of these classics coming back. Here’s to growth.
Today’s re-envisioned recipe is Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting. This cake is fluffy and buttery and so nostalgic. This is definitely the type of cake (though probably from a box and in a 13×9 pan) that my mom would have made when I was a kid. And the frosting is so fluffy and chocolaty. I could take a bath in this. I definitely ended up eating way too much of this as I was making this cake. I just couldn’t help myself.
If you’re nervous about baking a cake from scratch, you needn’t be. This cake uses a simple reverse creaming method, but you don’t even need to know what that means. You just need to know that it’s really easy. You just need a good mixture. A kitchen scale also helps to make sure that your cake layers are roughly even. Then add to that a bit of patience and an offset spatula, and you’re good to go. I promise you can do it.
Bring a classic cake into your kitchen, and bring a smile to the face of everyone who eats it. And sneak as much chocolate frosting as you want. They’ll never know.
- 4 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1-1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups (360 grams) cake flour
- 2 cups (400 grams) sugar
- 1 Tbsp plus 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 sticks (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temp, cut into small pieces
- 6 oz unsweetened chocolate (the baking kind, not the kind you eat) melted and cooled
- 4-1/2 cups (563 grams) powdered sugar
- 3 sticks (340 grams) unsalted butter, room temp
- 6 Tbsp half and half (any dairy will do, but skim milk won’t be as rich)
- 1Tbsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Butter and flour 3 20 centimeter round cake pans. If you have it, line the bottom of each pan with parchment, just to be safe. I skipped the parchment this time out of laziness, and everything was fine.
- Crack the eggs and yolks into a separate bowl, then add ONLY 1/4 cup of the buttermilk, and all the vanilla. Whisk to blend.
- Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl and use your lowest setting on your electric mixer to combine. This will only take a few seconds.
- Add the butter and remaining 1 cup buttermilk to the dry ingredients and mix on low until combined.
- Turn your mixer up to medium for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be light and fluffy.
- Turn your mixer back down to low. Add the egg mixture slowly. Scrape down your bowl and give it one more mix, just until everything is incorporated.
- Divide the batter between your waiting pans. If you have a kitchen scale, you can weigh them to make sure they're roughly equal.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until your cake tester comes out clean and the sides have started to pull away from the edge.
- Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning them out. Use wire racks if you have them. Allow cake to cool completely. If you're waiting until the next day to frost your cake, wrap your layers on plastic wrap. Storing them in the fridge will make your cake decorating even easier.
- Make sure the first thing you do is melt your chocolate so that it can cool a bit before adding it to the butter.
- Sift the powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add your butter and mix on slow just until the powder sugar stops flying all over the place. Add in the chocolate, half and half, and vanilla. Mix on medium until everything is combined. If you want your frosting to be more on the fluffy side, allow it to mix on medium for about five minutes.
- I assembled my cake by placing the first cake layer onto my plate, then slapping on about 1/3 of the frosting. Spread it evenly, then place another cake layer on the top and do the same. Place some frosting on the top and work it over the edges, then frost the top. Get as creative as you like.
- I smooth the frosting around the edges with an offset spatula as best as I could, then used my rotating cake stand to make a little swirl on the top. I also used a small star tip to add a border around the bottom just to make it look a bit tidier. And since sprinkles make everything better, I tossed a few colorful sprinkles on the top of the cake. Why not?
- You can make your cake look as fancy or as homemade as you like. Just have fun with it. It will taste awesome no matter what.