November 23, 2010

Imagine this, a little boy excitedly blows out the candles on the chocolate iced cake, eagerly awaiting his mom to slice into the homemade yellow cake she has made. He gets the first piece, and happily digs in.  The moist cake is mouthwateringly delicious. After shoveling a few pieces into his mouth, the boy is full. Content to play with his newly opened presents.

Thats how its been for just about every birthday I can remember.  Every year my mom asks what kind of cake I want, and every year I ask for a yellow cake with chocolate icing, so of course I jumped on the opportunity to make my favorite kind of cake on my own.

My 16th birthday cake, you guessed it, yellow cake with chocolate icing.

After a little bit of planning, which included sketching out my mise en place and annotating my recipe, I headed over to Blender’s house for an evening of baking and eating.

I started out the recipe by laying out my mise en place for the ganache frosting. Then I popped the cream in the microwave for few minutes to heat it up to a simmer.  After the cream had been heated up I poured it over the chocolate chips and let it sit for 2 minutes so the chocolate could melt.  I then whisked the mix together until it was a smooth texture and set in the microwave to cool (this isn’t necessary, but I didn’t have enough workspace to leave the ganache out on the counter to cool).

Whisking the ganache. Blender got me with my eyes closed.... Grrr.

Next I set out to make my cake.  I preheated the oven then set out my mise en place. I then mixed together my dry ingredients and 3/4 of a cup of milk.

Preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Remember to turn on your oven light!

My mise en place.

Then I went about separating my eggs, but not without a bit of an issue.  There were 6 eggs left after Blender made his cake, but one of them was already broken in the carton.  We didn’t want to run out to the store again for just one egg, so we called Blender’s next door neighbor. No luck. We tried another neighbor. Once again, no egg.  Then, finally, the third house we called had an egg we could borrow.  Thank goodness for Blender’s friendly neighbors!

Separating eggs like a boss.

I whipped up my eggs with a fork and added 1/4 cup of milk and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract to the egg mixture. I added the egg mixture to my dry ingredients in Blender’s oh-so-handy stand mixer in 3 additions. I mixed the batter for 30 seconds between each addition of the egg mixture. I often had to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything was mixed properly.

Scraping the side of the bowl. Interesting camera angle, huh?

After the batter was mixed, it was time to put it into my cake pans. I had to smooth out the batter using a spatula before I was able to stick it in the oven.

Pouring my batter into the pan. I tried my best to split it up evenly between the two pans.

Smoothing out the batter.

After I smoothed out the batter, it was time to put my precious cakes into the oven.  Now it was a waiting game. I set the oven timer for 25 minutes, not wanting to wit that long, but knowing I’d have to if I wanted a piece of this cake.  When the time went off, it was time to check the cakes. For this I would need a toothpick.

Checking the cake with a toothpick.

The toothpick came out of the cake almost clean, except for a few moist crumbs clinging to the thin wooden splinter. It was perfect, this is exactly what I was looking for, moist, but not liquid. I pulled the cakes out of the oven (remembering to use my oven mitts!) and set them out on a cooling rack for ten minutes.  Then the time came to turn the cakes out of their pans. I was slightly worried when the cakes stayed in the pan, seeming to cling on as if their lives depended on it. But finally, after running a knife around the edge of the pan and a little bit of shaking, I was able to get the cake out of the pans and onto the cooling rack.

Next came the leveling. I’ll admit this seemed like a daunting task, I didn’t want a lopsided cake after all the work I had put in thus far.  I grabbed a nice long serrated knife from Blender’s knife block and set to it. For all the worrying I did, it wasn’t that hard. I was able to pretty easily level off my cakes.

Making sure my cake was nice and level.

Now, it was time to ice and decorate my cake.  I took my ganache out of the refrigerator and let it sit for a bit while Blender and I ate a meal of pasta. Sounds pretty boring doesn’t it? WRONG. This pasta was different. We decided to color our pasta red and blue. Why, you might ask. Just for kicks. After finishing dinner, I re-beat the ganache until it was at a good consistency for icing and went to work.

First, I had to put a layer of icing between the two layers, this is called filling the cake. Then I applies a crumb layer. This is a thin layer of icing used to keep all the crumbs inside the icing, not on the outside, that just wouldn’t look good.  After the crumb layer, I did the final icing.

Filling my cake.

My crumb layer. Definitely doesn't look great... but it does what its there for.

Applying my final layer of frosting.

Finally, I did a little bit of decorating with a piping bag. I decided to put on a few peaks (I have no idea what to call them…) of frosting around the outside edge of the cake.  I did this by squeezing out some icing then pulling off. Heres my final product, and you can take my word for it, its delicious.


I’ve had a great time throughout our Desserts at Home class.  We had a great group of people and I learned to make some incredible desserts.  I’ll definitely use my new found skills in the future. I’d also like to give a big thank you to Mrs. Ruble!

For anybody that wants to give this wonderful cake a try, heres the recipe:

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Makes one two-layer cake.

Yellow Cake Ingredients:

6 large egg yolks

1 cup milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 cups sifted cake flour

1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces


Ganache Frosting:

16 ounces semisweet chocolate (or half semi- and half bittersweet) (this is about 1 bag and most of another bag of chocolate chips)

2 cups of heavy cream


Make the frosting: Place the chopped chocolate into a mixing bowl.  Place the heavy cream in a quart-sized, microwavable container and microwave for 3 to 4 minutes on high, or until it just begins to simmer; be careful not to allow cream to boil over. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes. Whisk in small circles until the ganache is smooth and dark.  Allow this mixture to cool to room temperature (about 2 hours) while you make your cake.  Then, using a hand mixer, beat it for 2-3 minutes until it reaches the consistency you want.  You can refrigerate this overnight, but if you do, you’ll probably need to let it stand out for a half hour and re-beat it before using.


Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray two 9-inch cake pans with Bakers’ Joy or cooking spray. Set aside.


In a medium bowl, lightly combine the egg yolks (get photo of separating eggs), 1/4 cup of the milk, and vanilla extract.


In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder and salt) and whisk together until well-blended.  Add the butter and remaining 3/4 cup milk to the dry ingredients.  Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake’s structure.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Gradually add the egg mixture, in 3 additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the egg.


Divide the batter and pour into the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with an offset spatula.  (Pans will be about half full.)  Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in center.


Place the cakes on a wire rack to cool, in their pans, for about 10 minutes.  Then invert the cakes onto a cooking rack sprayed with cooking spray.  To prevent splitting, reinvert cakes so that tops are right side up (do this by placing a plate on top of the upside down cakes and carefully flipping over).  Cool completely before leveling, filling, frosting with a crumb layer, frosting with a final layer, and decorating with a piping bag.


Recipe by: Joy of Baking, Alton Brown





2 Responses to “Flashback!”

  1. it’s great to know you can “separate eggs like a boss”, cupcake. -seltzer sayre

  2. You know its true though! – Cupcake

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