My Mom’s birthday is this month and I decided to make a birthday cake for her when they visited this weekend. Her favorite cake is what I would consider the traditional birthday cake, yellow cake with chocolate icing. I’ve never made one of these from scratch, but a recipe caught my eye when I was perusing Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson. Vintage Cakes is a great cookbook. Richardson tells a story behind each recipe and she has updated the ingredients as well as several of the techniques to make the recipes a little more user friendly.
In the chapter called Party Cakes, there is a recipe for “The Classic”, which is what I was looking for. For this cake, you’ll need the following:
- 1 and 1/3 cups of sifted cake flour
- 3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 6 Tablespoons of room temperature unsalted butter
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1/2 cup of canola oil
- 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
- 4 egg yolks at room temperature
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 cup of buttermilk at room temperature
- 1/2 cups of heavy cream, cold
For the Fudge Frosting, you’ll need:
- 1 pound of semisweet chocolate, chopped or chips
- 2 cups of heavy cream
- 1/2 cup of firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
It takes about two hours for the frosting to reach the consistency that is needed, so I started it before the cake.
For the frosting, place the chocolate is a largish, heat resistant bowl. Combine the cream, vanilla extract and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat on the stove. Heat until the cream is simmering. Then pour the liquid over the chocolate. Stir just enough to confirm that the chocolate is coated with the liquid. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then whisk the mixture until you have a smooth consistency. Sit the icing bowl on the counter and stir every 10 minutes or so. Use when it is cool.
Now, start on the cake. In the book, Richardson tells you to whip the cream by hand in a cold bowl and then put it back in the refrigerator until you need it. I have a stand mixture and hate whipping cream by hand, so I threw it in the stand mixture until there were soft peaks. Then I put the cream in a bowl and put it in the refrigerator until I needed it.
I cleaned out my stand mixture bowl and creamed the butter and sugar using the paddle attachment. Once it was light and fluffy (after about 5 minutes), I added the oil and vanilla and mixed until they were incorporated. Then, I added the egg yolks and eggs one by one, while mixing. While mixing on low speed, the flour was added in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk. After the last addition of flour, I used a spatula to blend by hand and folded in the cream.
In her book, Richardson used two 8 or 9 inch round pan and baked the cake for 35 to 40 minutes at 350°F. I used a 9 x 13 pan and baked the cake at 350°F for 45 minutes. The top of the cake was browning more than I liked, so I dropped the temperature to 325°F for about 5 to 7 additional minutes. Let the cake cool and ice using the fudge frosting.
I’m never buying cake mix for this again. I really loved the taste and texture of the cake. I like the texture of the icing, but I wasn’t wild about the taste of the chocolate. That is totally my fault. I used Toll House chocolate and I think I just need to use a different chocolate.
Disclaimer: Richardson doesn’t know who I am. I just bought the book and liked it.