Is it too late to wish all you guys a Happy New Year? No?
Ok then, well… Happy New Year!
I know it’s been a while since my last post, but the 12 Days of Christmas series always does sap a lot of energy out of me, and this year I was also doing it while we were in the process of moving to a new place. By the time I put up my most recent post on Christmas Eve, I was pretty exhausted and in much need of a break. So I took one.
I hope your year’s been off to a promising start. Mine certainly has.
Apart from the fact that the new (and sadly, the last) season of Downton Abbey always comes to America the first week in the new year, the beginning of January also marks the birthdays of several people in my family that are clustered together. This includes one particularly important person to me that I’d like to share a few words about in brief snapshots of my memory.
(This is going to get sentimental. Very sentimental. You’ve been warned.)
To the woman who let me and my sisters crowd around her on a bed while she read aloud from “Great Expectations” as our ‘bedtime’ story and made me discover my great and all-consuming love of books and subsequently, writing.
To the woman who would wake us up for school with a chipper rendition of “When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bobbin Along” until we all laughed and forgot how sleepy we were.
To the woman who would pile us all into the backseat of our car and drive to chase sunsets (back in the days when gas was cheap as dirt, of course).
To the woman who when I cried and was sad, was always willing to rock and hold me and sing “You Are My Sunshine” until I felt better.
To the woman/wonderful cook who was nothing but completely encouraging and supportive when I made the hefty decision to start learning to cook for myself.
AND, to the woman who shares my opinion that yellow cake with chocolatey fudge frosting is the BEST type of cake there is.
It was your *bleep*th birthday: so I made you one.
And we both of us thought it tasted pretty awesome.
Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you.
Yellow cake is usually something that people don’t get unless it comes out of a box of cake mix. I’m not gonna knock yellow cake mix too hard; so long as you’re eating it in the first two days after it was made, then it’s actually pretty tasty.
But after making this recipe twice, I really must insist…there’s still NO substitute for yellow cake and chocolate frosting made from scratch. There just isn’t.
Even after running into a momentary setback with the new oven temperature in our new place, this cake recipe proved very forgiving and STILL came out great. The buttery richness that we all love to see in yellow cake really comes through with the 6 egg yolks, while the whites made it plenty moist and fluffy. And the milky, chocolate fudgey frosting…wow. I had to resist the urge to just eat it clear off of a spoon. The folks at ATK prove time and time again that they know what they’re doing.
I’ll be sharing my mom’s birthday cake with you wonderful people at the Fiesta Friday #102 party, co-hosted this week by Elaine @ foodbod and Julie @ Hostess at Heart– both GREAT ladies, with great blogs.
Fluffy Yellow Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting
Recipe Courtesy of The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2015
- 2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) cake flour, plus extra for the pans
- 1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp table salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 10 tbsp. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 6 large egg yolks, plus 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 20 tbsp. (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (4 ounces) confectioner’s sugar
- 3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
- Pinch table salt
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 ounces milk chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
For the Cake:
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour two 9-inch wide by 2-inch high round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, 1 1/2 cups of the granulated sugar, the baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. In a 4-cup liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, oil, vanilla and egg yolks.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With the machine running, gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar; continue to beat until stiff peaks form, about 30 to 60 seconds (the whites should hold a peak but the mixture should still appear moist). Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Add the flour mixture to the now empty mixing bowl. With the mixer till fitted with the whisk attachment and running at low speed, gradually pour in the butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated (a few streaks of dry flour will remain), about 15 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape the whisk and sides of the bowl. Return the mixer to medium-low speed and beat until smooth and fully incorporated, 10 to 15 seconds.
Using a rubber spatula, stir one third of the whites into the batter to lighten, then add the remaining whites and gently fold into the batter until no white streaks remain. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans, smoothing tops with a rubber spatula. Lightly tap the pans against the countertop two or three times to settle the batter. Bake until the cake layers begin to pull away from the sides of the pans and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the cakes, then flip them out onto a wire rack. Peel off the parchment paper, flip the cakes right side up, and cool before frosting, about 2 hours.
For the Frosting:
Using a standing or hand held mixer, cream the butter, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa and salt together until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the corn syrup and vanilla and mix until just combined, about 5 to 10 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the chocolate and mix together until smooth and creamy, about 10-15-seconds.
Line the edges of a cake platter with strips of parchment paper to keep the platter clean while you assemble the cake. Place one (evenly leveled) cake layer on the platter. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the frosting evenly across the top of the cake with a spatula. Place the second cake layer on top, then spread with the remaining frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Remove the parchment strips from the platter before serving.