17 Jun 2011 Yellow Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting

I made a cake last night.  No special reason.  The stars just aligned.

  • My daughter took my car, so I was stuck at home, alone, all night.
  • There was nothing on TV (is there ever?).
  • There was a “Cook’s” magazine under the TV remote.
  • There was a recipe for a yellow cake with chocolate frosting (one of my favorites), in the “Cook’s” magazine.
  • I have to make a  “Signature Cakes”, for the August Cookbook Club meeting.  (A “Signature Cake” is a showcase cake, appropriate for any celebration, that is so good people might start asking for it on their birthdays and such. )
  • A little “Signature Cake” practice wouldn’t hurt, and was probably needed.
  • I had just bought fancy-schmancy 9-inch layer cake pans at a hoity-toity gourmet store for 70% off.  Time to put them to the test!
  • I had all the ingredients on hand.

Who doesn’t like yellow cake with chocolate frosting?  It’s a classic!  The little editorial near the recipe on page 51 of the Spring 2011 edition of “Cook’s” said everything I want to say about Cake Mixes…chemical emulsifiers and leavening agents…monoglycerides and diglycerides….hydrogenated fats….artificial food coloring.  How about a good yellow cake without all that? This recipe delivers, and it’s moist and fluffy, too.  The taste? It HAS taste!  In my experience, cake mixes turn out cakes high on texture and color  with little taste other than that of sweet, overly-sweet.

The frosting spreads like a dream, and is rich, smooth, and will knock the socks off anyone who likes chocolate (who doesn’t like chocolate?).  The frosting is made with only 1 cup of powdered sugar (as opposed to the usual four cups), and is made with a food processor, not a mixer (a first for me).  Just a note though, this recipe results in a soft, creamy frosting (kind of like the canned stuff–but again, with TASTE…and none of that thick oily texture); so, if you are wanting a harder, fudge-type frosting, this is not the right recipe.

I am not sure this cake is fancy enough for my Cookbook Club….but it’s fancy enough for every other occasion.  I just may have found a “go-to” cake for many occasions.  It’s relatively easy to pull together, calls for no ultra-fancy ingredients, each layer is high and moist, and then there’s that creamy real milk chocolate frosting…

Yellow Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups (10 oz.) cake flour (I did use cake flour, and not all-purpose)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 3/4 cup (12 1/4 oz.) sugar (divided use)
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used salted, it’s all I had), melted and slightly cooled
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (if you bought a whole carton, freeze the leftovers until you are ready to make another cake)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3 large egg whites (make a Pavlova or meringue cookies with the leftover egg whites), at room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare 2 9-inch cake pans with 2 inch sides.  Spray with Pam for Baking, or butter and flour.  Line with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 1 1/2 cups sugar.  Set aside.
  4. In another bowl combine melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and egg yolks. Set aside.
  5. Place room temperature egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat eggs until foamy, about 30 seconds. With the mixer running, gradually sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup sugar over over egg whites.  Continue to beat until stiff peaks form but beaten egg whites still look moist, about 60 seconds.
  6. Remove the egg whites from the mixer bowl to another bowl and set aside.
  7. In the now empty mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment pour in the flour mixture.  Turn mixer on low.  Gradually pour in the liquid ingredients and mix on low for about 15 seconds.  Stop and scrape bowl.  Mix again for another 15-30 seconds or until cake mixture is smooth and creamy.  Remove bowl f rom mixer.
  8. With a rubber spatula fold in 1/3 of the egg whites.  When those egg whites have been incorporated add remaining egg whites.  Gently fold in egg whites until no white streaks remain.
  9. Divide batter between the two prepared cake pans.  Now , one at a time, life the pan off the counter, and gently let it drop back down–to remove air bubbles from the batter.  Five light taps for each pan will do the trick.
  10. Bake cakes in preheated 350 degree oven for 22 – 30 minutes or until cake starts to pull away from sides of pan, and a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean.
  11. Cool cakes in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Invert cakes onto wire rack and cool for an additional hour or hour and a half before frosting.
  12. Unfrosted cake layers can be wrapped in plastic and stored in refrigerator for two days, or can be frozen for up to one month.  Thaw layers completely before frosting.

Milk Chocolate Frosting

  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (20 tablespoons), soft, but not runny (again, I used salted, it’s all I had on hand)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 oz. good quality milk chocolate (I used Hershey Symphony Bars), melted and cooled slightly
  1. In a food processor, process butter, sugar, cocoa and salt until smooth, about 30 seconds, stopping once or twice to scrape down sides of bowl.
  2. Add corn syrup and vanilla to the mixture in the food processor and process until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and pulse until smooth and creamy, another 10 – 15 seconds.
  3. Frosting can be made up to 3 hours in advance.  For longer storage, cover and refrigerate then let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before using.
  4. For other cakes, this frosting can be made with dark or semi-sweet  or bittersweet chocolate.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today. I hope you find an reason to make this cake.  Once you make it, I think you’ll make it again and again and again.  For other recipes, click on the “In The Kitchen With Polly” logo on the top left hand side of this webpage.  Let me know what appeals to you and what you make. I love reading your comments.

Polly

 

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3 Responses
  1. Mary says:

    Oh I could polish off that cake – no problem!!
    Mary

  2. Hannah Berry says:

    So, on April 17th, 2010 I made an oath to myself, and it’s the only one I’ve kept. I will never again make a box cake. Why? Because I was catering an event in Saratoga, and I felt that I needed more food, so out of desperation I went to the grocery store grabbed a yellow cake mix and made mini cupcakes. I then frosted them to look like tennis balls. While these little cupcakes looked adorable, they tasted like….nothing? Like aluminum? I don’t know, just not good, I was not proud of myself at all. So, at that moment I said, “never again, will I make a box cake!”
    Since then, I’ve been grabbing recipes (mostly from you!) on making perfect cakes (I am a HORRIBLE cake maker!) But, practice makes perfect. I was inspired by another recipe to make a cake that looked like an American Flag when you cut into it. But, the recipe, and I kid you not, called for TWO BOX CAKES and food coloring. OH! I was so mad. So I went to your blog, saw this cake and was like, YES! FINALLY a yellow cake recipe! I had to make double, and the cake was DELICIOUS! The texture was like a dream, and there was so much flavor in the cake I couldn’t stand it! The recipe was also very simple to follow and it doubles well. When I make it again (without all the red and blue food coloring) I will definitely use the milk chocolate frosting. This cake is a winner! Nice job, and thanks for the recipe!
    H

  3. Lana says:

    I just made this cake for my fathers birthday. It really is a fabulous cake: the crumb is fine, moist, and holds up to my rather rough frosting skills 😉
    I topped it with a bittersweet whipped cream.
    Other than my father, the cake was the star of the evening. Thank you ever so much for posting this recipe.

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