A few weekends ago, a good friend of mine turned the big 3-0, so a Birthday Cake was in order. She requested a classic: yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I debated between a few recipes, but ended up going with this one because the frosting sounded divine, and easy as sin (the directions: throw all ingredients into a food processor and blend. Done).
So I ran into a few snafus while making this cake, to put it lightly.
First snafu: I overcooked the two layers slightly. Which lead to a game-time decision: should I make two new layers, stick with the two sub-par layers, OR...get crazy and make a four layer cake?! The last option was just too tempting, so I went for it, balls out. Pro Tip for next time: Bake a few mins below the recommended time to avoid over-cooking.
Second snafu: the cake layers weren't flat, even though I bought these damn things. After I stacked and frosted the layers, my cake looked like the leaning tower of fail. Sigh. Pro Tips for next time: 1. Drop cake pan(s) several times a few inches above countertop to even out batter and get rid of bubbles. 2. Use cake strips again, but soak them really well in water before applying to pan. 3. Rotate pans halfway through bake time.
Last and certainly not least snafu: the cake decided to play a fun game of slip 'n slide on the cab ride over to the party. Fricken frackin! What used to be "the leaning tower cake," was now "Jenga cake." Once I arrived to the party, I quickly greeted the birthday girl and scrambled to the bathroom to try to take care of my little "situation." With the help of a friend, we slid the cake back into place, touched up the frosting and it became a passable cake again. Luckily, the cake tasted tasty and that's all that matters....right guys? And the frosting...it was so yum, I wanted to take a bath in it. Pro Tip for next time: Let frosting harden by sitting for a few hours before transport (overnight is best) to avoid cake-sliding.
As my mom would say, "this was a good learning experience." My biggest regret is that I didn't snap a friendly pic of my Jenga cake. Que lastima!
Vanilla Buttermilk Cake with Instant Fudge Frosting
Recipe from Sweetapolita
Yield: One 3-layer, 8-inch round cake or one-2-layer. 9-inch round cake
Ingredients – Cake
4 whole eggs, room temperature
2 egg yolks, room temperature
1-1/4 cups (297 ml) buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
3 cups (360 g) cake flour, sifted
2 cups (400 g) sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon (17 g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (4 g) salt
1 cup (2 sticks) (227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Ingredients – Frosting
Yield: Makes about 5 cups
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (no need to sift)
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons half-and-half or whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Directions – Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter the bottoms and sides of cake pans, line bottoms with parchment round, butter the rounds and dust with flour.
2. Put the eggs and yolks in a medium mixing mixing bowl, add 1/4 cup of the buttermilk and the vanilla. Whisk to blend well.
3. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixer bowl; whisk to blend. Add the butter and the remaining 1 cup buttermilk to these dry ingredients and with the mixer on low, blend together. Raise the mixer speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
4. Add the egg mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the side of the bowl and mixing only until thoroughly incorporated.
5. Divide batter evenly among the prepared pan (if you own one, use a kitchen scale to ensure 3 even layers). Bake the cake layers for 28-32 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then carefully turn out onto wire racks, peel of the paper liners, and let cool completely.
Directions – Frosting
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate, then process until the frosting is smooth.