Thursday, January 23, 2014

classic birthday cake




In the days leading up to Emerson's birthday, I asked her what kind of dessert she wanted on the big day. "Chocolate cake with pink icing!" she declared. Luckily I had my trusty recipe to fall back on. I recently did a quick search of the recipe index on this blog and was surprised to find I had never shared this recipe before. I have been making this chocolate cake for years. It is the most requested birthday/graduation/shower/celebration cake in my family and always a crowd pleaser. For the cake pictured above, I made a classic buttercream frosting. This cake goes perfectly well with chocolate or cream cheese frosting as well. I'll include recipes for all three frostings below. Chicago readers, this recipe comes pretty close to Sweet Mandy B's devil's food cake. Definitely pull this recipe out next time you have some celebrating to do!

Classic Birthday Cake 
via Ina Garten

1 3/4 cup flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup good cocoa powder (I like E. Guittard Cocoa Rouge.)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee


Preheat the oven to 350. Butter two 8 inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low-speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. With the mixer on low-speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Batter will be runny and bubbly. Not to worry!

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely, removing parchment paper.

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Note: These frosting recipes make plenty to frost a two-layer cake. If you want to get fancy with decorating, I suggest doubling the recipes. 

Buttercream Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 lb. of confectioners' sugar
1-3 teaspoons milk

Sift sugar and set aside. Beat butter on high until creamy. Add vanilla. Then add the sugar in batches. Scrape down the sides in between each addition. Add milk a teaspoon at a time and beat on high, until desired creaminess is reached. Tint your frosting if desired. Frost your cake. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla 
6 cups confectioners' sugar

Sift sugar and set aside. Beat cream cheese and butter on high until creamy. Add vanilla. Then add the sugar in batches. Scrape down the sides in between each addition. Tint your frosting if desired. Frost your cake. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting
1 pound (455 grams) fine-quality semisweet chocolate (I like Callebaut.)
1 cup (235 ml) heavy cream
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
2 tablespoons (40 grams) light corn syrup
1/2 stick (1/4 cup or 55 grams) unsalted butter


Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth. Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable. Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Happy Belated to Miss Emerson! I hope Sunday was grand.