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by Sarah Steimer

This was my first time making yellow cake from scratch – although I’ve made plenty of chocolate cakes (using this stand-by recipe). The walnut topping is totally optional, I just thought it needed a little flourish.

For the yellow cake:

Makes enough for one, 8-inch round cake, single-layer.

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter softened, plus more for parchment
  • 1 1/3 cups cake flour sifted, plus more for parchment OR 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used skim)

    I’ll admit that if I’m going to foray into unknown baking territory, I always head for Martha Stewart’s website.

Butter an 8-inch cake pan. Cut a circle out of parchment paper, using the pan as a guide, and place the circle at the bottom of the pan. Butter the top of the paper and lightly flour the pan, tapping off the excess.

In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and then beat in the eggs one at a time. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add this dry mixture to the wet mixture, alternating with the milk. Martha Stewart’s recipe said to start and end with the flour additions, but I didn’t do this and everyone survived.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake at 325 for 45-55 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove from pan (don’t forget to take the parchment paper off) and cool on a rack completely. Do not ice the cake while it is still warm.

My cake, which I made with all-purpose flour, was maybe a little more dense than it would have been with cake flour. But it was still moist.

For the chocolate icing:

Cut this recipe in half if you only make one layer of cake.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk (again, used skim)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the butter. Add the cocoa powder and whisk to combine.

Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating with an electric mixer as you go. Can add additional milk if needed. Stir in vanilla. Use immediately.

Cake recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart

Icing recipe from: Hershey’s (right on the side of the cocoa box)

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