Birthday Cake… yum!

29 Aug

Happy Birthday Susan! My mother-in-law had her birthday today. I won’t reveal her age as she was not too happy my sister-in-law spilled the beans via facebook earlier today. But let’s be honest, at any age the best part of having a birthday is the cake. Whether your favorite is vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, or funfetti, you know that one that one special day of the year, you can have whatever you want.

My dilemma was that the cake was to be a surprise. I think I know my mother-in-law pretty well, but this one was tough. How fancy should I go? I know she likes lemon, but would everyone else like lemon? I know she likes Elvis, but would a banana and peanut butter cake go over well? My solution was to play it safe. Yellow IMG_0774butter cake with milk chocolate buttercream icing.

Here’s the recipe:

Yellow butter cake, care of Martha Stewart

Makes two 9-inch cake layers.
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.
  3. Divide batter between the prepared pans, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off the parchment. Reinvert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up

Chocolate Buttercream Icing

Makes one 9-inch layer cake.
24 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of salt
2 layers of Yellow Butter Cake
Colored sprinkles (optional)

  1. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water. Turn off heat; stir occasionally until chocolate has melted completely, about 15 minutes. Set bowl on countertop, and let chocolate cool to room temperature, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until cocoa is dissolved.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in cocoa mixture.
  • Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level; brush off crumbs. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the first layer on the cake plate, and spread top with 3/4 cup of frosting. Place the second layer on top, bottom side up, and spread top with 3/4 cup of frosting; repeat process with the third layer. Place the remaining layer on top of the third layer, bottom-side up; insert a dowel into the center of cakes if necessary. Spread entire cake with remaining frosting. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.
  • I used fresh strawberries layering in with the chocolate icing. It gave the cake a little unexpected something and cut through all the sweetness of the chocolate. Everyone loved the cake too! Especially my little nieces, who despite not finishing their dinners, still managed to each a whole piece.

    It’s always nice to make someone feel special on their big day. It doesn’t matter if you are 4 or 94 you can still get a kick out of sticking your fingers in the corner of the icing and stealing the first taste 🙂

    Happy Birthday Susan! Cheers to many more

    Always thinking of the next meal



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