March is apparently birthday month!
My birthday is at the end of the month. This week it’s my mentor/trainer Shawn’s. Edgar’s is next week. As well as my friends’ Kristen, Brittney, and Murissa. Last week it was my friend Keith’s (Hey, Towel Guy!) and the week before that, Scott’s. I got dozens of notices on Facebook of celebrations for friends from high school and college. So many Aries babies!
With all of the birthdays this month, it seemed only appropriate to share this cake. It’s what I picture in my mind when I think “birthday cake.” It’s what my dad always asks for come his special day is September (and what he’s actually argued for when he wants me to “bake something normal!” instead of experimenting). It’s what my friend James wants as his parting gift when he moves to Charlotte next month. It’s classic, it’s comfort, literally textbook birthday cake.
It’s yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Moist and sweet and easy as pie…err…cake…? With rainbow sprinkles.
Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
(makes 1 8-inch 3-layer cake)
3 cups flour
3 tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 whole eggs, at room temperature
4 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. almond extract
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
½ cup ½&½, at room temperature
1 recipe Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and spray with baking spray, set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
Add each egg, one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Repeat the process with the egg yolks, adding each one at a time. Stir in extracts.
Working in three batches, add the dry ingredients to the bowl, alternating with milk and then ½&½, ending with flour, scraping to the bottom of the bowl to be sure ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
Divide prepared batter evenly among prepared pans and bake in preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the tops have risen, are golden brown, and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool on rack for 10 minutes before turning out of pans and cooling completely.
Once cakes are completely cooled, frost with Chocolate Buttercream.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup shortening, such as Crisco, at room temperature
1 cup cocoa powder
1 – 2 pound bag powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
¼ cup whole milk
Cream together the butter and shortening until smooth. Add the cocoa and ¾ of the bag of powdered sugar (feel free to eyeball it), the vanill and salt. Slowly pour in milk. With mixer on lowest speed, begin pulsing mixture to avoid a powdered sugar explosion. Increase speed once mixture begins to come together and whip frosting on medium-high for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar or milk until desired consistency is reached.
To frost cake:
Once cake is cooled, slice off any uneven tops to leave you with three level layers.
Place one layer on a cake board and dollop a large portion of frosting onto center, spread outward to edges. Top with another layer of cake and repeat process so that frosting is coming out from between the layers.
To crumb coat the cake: Place the third cake on top and begin to spread the excess frosting along the side and up onto the top of the cake, adding more frosting if necessary. Refrigerate for 30 minutes so frosting sets.
Cover the cake in whatever frosting remains.
Cake can be stored in airtight container for 2 days.