Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting (22nd Birthday Cake!)

The past week has been a bit of a whirlwind. I started classes for the semester, began a new internship, and celebrated my 22nd birthday. I also played in the still-falling snow with my roommates at 2am (best. idea. ever.), went to hockey game, and hosted a fiesta of sorts. It has been a really great first week back at SLU, but I'm beginning to process that this is my last semester here ever, which is simultaneously scary, exciting, and bittersweet. While I'm hopeful about the possibilities of the future, I can't deny that I'm also nervous.

My apprehension about the future has made me want to focus on enjoying the time that I do have left at SLU as much as possible. And since my 22nd birthday conveniently fell on the first weekend of this semester, I made the most of it by spending the weekend with some of my favorite people doing some of my favorite things. As one of my favorite things is baking, I made this cake to eat with my friends before we went out Saturday night. Because, yes, I am the kind of girl who likes making her own birthday cake. (Although my roommate also chipped in and made chocolate crinkle cookies--thanks, Kate!).

I love other people's birthdays because they give me an excuse to bake things that I wouldn't normally try, and my own birthday was no exception.  I debated for way too long about what kind of cake to make since I could choose anything, and ultimately settled on a classic: yellow cake with chocolate frosting. As much as I love chocolate on top of chocolate on top of chocolate, this cake is a one that I've always loved. It was actually the first layer cake I've ever made, and I couldn't have been happier with how it turned out. Here's to celebrating what will hopefully be the best year yet!

Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting
from Annie's Eats

For the cake:
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pans
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pans
1½ cups cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1¾ cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups milk

For the frosting:
1 lb. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tbsp. Dutch-process cocoa powder
6 tbsp. boiling water
3 sticks (1½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt

To make the cakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line the bottoms of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.  Butter and flour the edges of the pans, tapping out the excess; set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk together to blend well and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk.  Beat each addition just until incorporated.

Divide the batter between the prepared baking pans.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until the cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.
Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool 20 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of the pans to help remove the cakes.  Invert the cakes onto the rack and peel off the parchment.  Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.  Level the cakes if necessary.

To make the frosting, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has melted.  Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, about 25-30 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine the cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until the cocoa is dissolved.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.  Add the melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1-2 minutes.  Beat in the cocoa mixture until well blended.

To assemble the cake, place one of the cake layers on a serving platter.  Top with 1 cup of the chocolate frosting and smooth over the top of the cake.  Top with the remaining cake layer.  Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting as desired.  Refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days.  Let come to room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.

1 comment:

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