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Saturday, March 17, 2012

yellow butter cake with rich chocolate frosting.

After all the cupcakes, I felt like making a layer cake instead so that I can cut myself a more generous serving! Plus, I really wanted to try out a new frosting technique I first saw on 6bittersweets. It kind of reminds me of fish scales, or maybe feathers. Anyway, obviously mine is not as beautiful as hers.

It's a little time consuming. After you crumb coat the cake (an absolute must!), you fill a piping bag with a round tip with your choice of frosting and pipe a blob of it onto the cake. Then, you take a spatula and smoosh the end down on half of that blob so that you have a neat smearing effect. And then you repeat the process, piping the next blob of frosting on the tail end of your previous smear. It goes on and on and on until you reach the point where you started. It got a little awkward to frost at that point so I ended up with a rather ugly smear. You cannot pipe consecutive dots and then smear, that's why it takes a whole lot of patience.

The cake recipe is from the very reliable baking genius, Rose Levy Beranbaum, and like most of her cakes, this one uses the reverse creaming method. Usually, I find that cakes using that method are rather crumbly but this one isn't very much so probably because it makes a more liquid batter.

I halved the original recipe and made it in one 7 inch cake tin. I also used 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk instead of the 3 yolks I was supposed to add. I really didn't know what to do with 2 extra egg whites sitting around so... I wish I followed the recipe though, so that I could taste the creation in its intended glory. Despite being short of one yolk, this cake was buttery and tender. It smelled so good after baking that I wished I could slice into it and have it warm and crusty with a dusting of icing sugar like a good butter cake.

The cocoa frosting is something that I used before in my Malted Milk Ball cake. At that time, I thought it was splendid but somehow, I don't really think so now. It's way too sweet for my liking and has a bit of grittiness to it, which I predicted that it would.

I'm looking for a great chocolate frosting recipe, milk or dark. Anyone has any recommendations? I think smitten kitchen's looks promising and so does Cooks Illustrated.

All-Occasion Downy Yellow Butter Cake
adapted from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
makes a 7 inch cake

3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup milk
1 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/8 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter (must be softened)

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a deep 7 inch cake tin or two shallower ones.

Combine the yolks, 2 tbsp of milk and vanilla in a small bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed to blend. Add the butter and remaining 3/8 cup of milk. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened then increase to medium speed and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake's structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan or divide it if you're using two, and smooth the surface with a spatula. The pan would be half full. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes if using one deep pan or less if using two shallower ones, or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before loosening the sides and releasing it to cool completely on a wire rack.

Rich Chocolate Frosting
adapted from allrecipes.com

1 stick butter, softened
2 1/4 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter. Gradually beat in the icing sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla. Add enough milk until frosting reaches spreading consistency.


  1. Here are 2 suggestions for you :) Both are fantastic!



  2. Lovely blog! I'm so envious of your skills. :) I'm sure you're going to be a wonderful baker or pastry chef someday!

    As for frostings. I would say check out cupcakeproject.com (she has all sorts of favorite frostings that have been tested and retested) or sweetopalita.

    Good luck!


    - Eve

  3. You did a great job! Looks delicious =D

  4. I love the cake! It looks really good. I'll definitely will make this. My mom and granny will be really happy.

  5. I made this over the weekend. Unfortunately it didn't turn out so well, nothing like the pictures anyway.
    The batter was almost dough-like, making it difficult for my mixer. The cake turned out hard in the middle.
    The frosting might be a little off. There's no way the ration of butter to cocoa powder could be right.

    1. I'm sorry to hear that but I'm pretty sure I did the calculations correctly.