I still really don’t want to talk about what happened, but suffice it to say that for various reasons, this decadent yellow cake never actually was, though it came close. And, it really was a great yellow cake recipe, because we did get to try it, though we were sitting on the floor eating it out of the bottom of the oven (low point, in so many ways). And it really would have been beautiful with the Nile River icing mural that I had envisioned on top (assuming I’d have been better with icing than I am with MS Paint). As with everything I (attempt to) bake, this recipe is from Smitten Kitchen.
Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (480 grams) cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (1 cup, 1/2 pound or 225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk (475 ml), well-shaken
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.)
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated.
Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.
Smitten Kitchen also has these great tips for layer cakes.
Most delicious Instant Fudge Frosting that never was
Smitten Kitchen flavors this buttercream frosting with unsweetened chocolate to cut the usual sweetness of pure buttercream. She also offers the superbly efficient tip of making this frosting in the food processor.
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
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate, then process until the frosting is smooth.
Frosting tip: Watch this frosting carefully to make sure it doesn’t get too melty and soft, especially in warm weather. If it does, periodically put the bowl of frosting and your partially frosting cake back in the fridge to let it firm up and cool down again, then resume where you left off.
Planning to write on your cake? Whirl all of the frosting ingredients except the melted chocolate in the food processor until smooth. Set aside a half-cup of the white frosting for tinting and writing, then add the chocolate to finish making the frosting.