In the District there lives a family about a mile away from me. A mom, dad, son, 3 dogs, one turtle and two other reptiles whose specific species I can’t remember.
The mom and I grew up together in Michigan. We’ve been friends since 4th grade. She played a big part in helping me move here with Miles post divorce and with her husband is basically my family here on the east coast (or south, however you chose to view DC). They’ve become a valuable support group for this “gal” who decided to move across the country with my son, away from my own family, to reestablish myself after being basically a “stay at home for 10 years”. Yikes, what a cliché!
Well, their son turned 7 yesterday and they had a little family gathering before the “big” party with all the kids the following week. I was asked to make a simple, yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Nothing fancy.
I’ve been holding onto Joy the Baker’s Basic 3-Layer Yellow Cake recipe, adding it to my list of things to bake, especially when it comes with the claim of being the best. I was so happy to finally have not only the chance to try the recipe, but a reason to force myself to make time to bake since I’ve been so busy lately.
I can say without a doubt that the recipe lived up to its claim. It was everything you could’ve wanted in a classic yellow cake. My only fault is that I think my butter was a little warmer than room temperature, so after following the recipe to the “t”, my batter was a little goopy. But that’s just me being super critical. It was a great cake.
I used the chocolate frosting from Miles’ birthday cake last June, which I thought as a nice compliment. It’s like an old-fashioned chocolate fudge frosting. You do have to be careful not to fuss with it once it sets, because it’s basically fudge and the outer layer will become a little dry and crackly.
I was able to take a few pictures before heading over to the birthday celebration, so there aren’t any cake interior pics. I was really just hoping that Jax liked it. I think he did.
- Classic Yellow Cake
- Makes one 3-layer 9-inch cake
- 4 cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups buttermilk
- Chocolate fudge frosting
- 3 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
- ½ cup cocoa powder (I used cocoa rouge)
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut in half, and softened
- 1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup half and half
- 4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Make the cake
- Put oven racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 9-inch round baking pans.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add half of the flour mixture, and beat well. Add the buttermilk in a slow stream and beat well. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared cake pans.
- Bake until golden brown on top and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 20 minutes before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely before frosting.
- If you’re not using right away, double-wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap, and freeze for up to 7 days. When ready to frost, remove from the freezer, unwrap, and frost frozen!
- Make the frosting
- Sift together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa. Heat 4 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, salt, and ½ cup half and half in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until small bubbles appear around perimeter of pan, 4 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens slightly and turns deep golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Slice remaining butter into 4 pieces and stir in with the remaining half and half. Add the chopped chocolate and the vanilla and stir until smooth. Slowly whisk in the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa until incorporated. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate for 30 to 40 minutes until the frosting reaches the desired spreading consistency.