Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Perfect Birthday Cake

Last week marked the first birthday of A Thyme To Eat. Suzie and I have enjoyed sharing our kitchens and culinary adventures with you all and look forward to another great year. I was recently asked to bake a yellow cake with chocolate frosting for a friend's birthday party and thought that this would be the perfect post for the occasion.

This was actually my first time baking this type of cake so I ended up doing quite a bit of research before settling on a recipe. Several blogs that I respect listed Martha Stewarts recipe as being the best, and I have to say that I agree. This cake managed to be light and rich all at once. And the frosting absolutely made this cake. If you only have time to make one thing from scratch, make this frosting! It is so worth it and will literally melt in your mouth.

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Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

For the cake
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups whole milk

For the frosting
1 lb semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons Ghiradelli cocoa powder
6 tablespoons boiling water
3 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of two round cake pans with parchment paper and grease the pans with either butter and dusted with flour or the Crisco baking spray.
 In the bowl of your electric mixer with the paddle attachment, add the 2 sticks of butter and sugar. Cream on medium speed until fluffy.
 While the butter and sugar is creaming, combine the flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
 Once the butter and sugar is ready, add the eggs one at a time, blending on medium speed fully until adding the next egg.

 Add in the vanilla and blend in.
 With the mixer on low speed, add in a third of the flour followed by a third of the milk and blend in fully. Repeat two more times until all the milk and flour is blended in.
 Pour the batter evenly between the two cake pans. Place in the oven and bake, rotating halfway through until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes.
 When ready, remove the pans from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes.
 After 20 minutes, remove from the pan and return to the wire rack until the cakes are completely cooled to room temperature.
Meanwhile, chop the chocolate and place into a heat resistant bowl.

 Place a top of a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is fully melted and smooth.

 When smooth, remove the chocolate from the heat and let cool for about 25 minutes until it reaches room temperature.
 While the chocolate is cooling, combine the boiling water and baking powder in a small bowl and stir until fully blended.

 When the chocolate is ready, cream the 3 sticks of butter and confectioner's sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.

 Pour in the melted chocolate and beat on low speed until completely blended.
 Pour in the water and cocoa powder mixture and beat until mixed in. If you want your frosting at a thicker consistency, let sit in the fridge for an hour or so. I thought it was just right and put it right on the cake.
 Scoop about a cup of frosting onto the bottom cake, you may want to level the top off to remove the rounded top.
 Smooth out the frosting then place the second layer on top.
Add another cup of frosting on top of that layer and smooth it out and add more onto the sides until fully frosted.
The birthday boy, making a wish.
 Enjoy with coffee or milk.
Source: The Martha Stewart Baking Handbook

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