Yellow Cake Experiment

My wedding is in less than 8 months. Being me, I started planning months ago. It takes time to find a venue, a photographer, a florist, a cake artist, the music you will listen to during the reception, a dress, a veil, and many, many more things! Even if you are having a small wedding, it’s impressive how much planning needs to go into it. So, plan I did, before the Bar exam. Then I totally stopped, because it would be crazy to try to plan anything while your brain is preparing itself for that exam. Now that I’m licensed, I can go back to wedding planning!

A few months ago, when I selected my cake, the sales lady gave me some samples to take home to my fiance. He was delighted when he saw that she had included some crunchy samples of the cake. They appeared to be cake slices, but it was all packed very tightly. It sort of tasted like biscotti, but better. A few weeks later, my mom and I were shopping at Milam’s and we saw these little crunchy cake cookies. Apparently, they are made by baking a cake and then slicing it into thin layers and baking it again in the oven. I’ve been trying to get the exact recipe for this, but I can’t find it anywhere. So, I decided to experiment today.

This is what my experiment looked like when I took it out of the oven after re-baking it at 350F for 20 minutes:

 

Eh, not very impressive. The outer edges are crunchy, but the insides are still pretty soft. I guess I sliced them too thick. But it’s hard to slice a yellow cake into thin little pieces! But it still tastes good, so I guess it’s not a complete flop.

But where did I get the cake to make these little thingies, you are wondering. When I was driving over to my fiance’s apartment this afternoon, it struck me that I had not looked at my Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook in a while. I purchased this fabulous book one day at Borders when they were closing their doors. I LOVE COOKBOOKS. I just want to be able to have all of the recipes in the world, and one day learn how to make them all. A huge task, I know. But hopefully I can learn a group of classic recipes by heart.

Within two minutes of flipping through the recipes, I decided to make yellow cake. It seemed simple enough, and I had the ingredients.

This is the recipe. I cut it in half. You can find it on page 153 of the cookbook.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2.5 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 1.5 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cup milk

Here’s what I used:

  • 3/8 cup butter (6 tablespoons)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 7/8 cup sugar
  • ¾ tsp. vanilla
  • 5/8 cup lactose-free milk

Directions:

Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temp for 30 minutes. Grease and flour two 9×1.5 inch or 8×1.5 inch round cake pans or grease one 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Set pans aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about ¼ cup at a time, beating on medium until well combined and scraping bowl’s sides. Beat on medium speed for 2 more minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, for about 1 min. total. Beat in vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, beating on low after each addition until just combined. Spread batter into the prepared bans.

Bake in 375 oven for 20-25 minutes for 9 inch pans, 30-35 minutes for 8 inch pans, 25-30 minutes for 13x9x2 inch pan, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool. Frost!

(I baked it for 20 minutes)

This is the batter:


When it came out of the oven: (doesn’t it kind of look like the cornbread I made a while ago?)

So I had the cake. Now I needed the frosting. A word about me and frosting: I am OBSESSED with Misha’s Cupcakes. Oh my goodness. I have not been there in over a month simply because as soon as I go, I start craving cupcakes every day. Not good, because I am on a “wedding diet” (which basically consists of eating whatever, and trying to cut out sweets, but not really succeeding at it). But whenever I do go to this magnificent establishment, I order their vanilla buttercream cupcakes. I am hoping to get my bridal shower cake from there. Their stuff is amazing!

So, naturally, I have tried to learn how to make buttercream as good as they make it. Hah. THAT was interesting. I tried to make whoopie pies with buttercream frosting. Horrible. Then I tried to make a basic buttercream frosting whose recipe I found online, but I cut the recipe in half and ended up messing up the proportions. I had all but given up….but then today I saw this recipe. It looked so simple, I figured I might as well try again. Plus, I had never attempted to make chocolate frosting before.

So I got to work. And….it came out amazing!

This is the frosting. Check out that consistency!

Note: You should wait to make the frosting until the cake has cooled. The frosting sets VERY quickly. I solved this problem by adding a bit more boiling water and mixing it again on medium speed to soften it up a bit.

Here is the recipe. You can find this on page 170 of the cookbook.

Ingredients:

  • 9 cups sifted powdered sugar (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 2 tsp vanilla

I split everything in four. These are the measurements I used:

  • 2 ¼ cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/6 cup boiling water
  • ½ tsp. vanilla

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add butter, boiling water, and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer on low until combined. Beat for 1 minute on medium. If needed, cool for 20 minutes or until it reaches spreading consistency. The whole recipe makes enough frost for the tops and sides of two 80 or 9-inch cake layers. Halve the recipe to frost a 13x9x2 inch cake.

 

I poured the cake batter into four cupcake paper liners and the Pyrex and baked them both for 20 minutes.

I had to cut the cake in fourths to try my experiment, so I kept half of it and frosted the sides. It came out kind of messy…

Overall, the appearance can be improved, and I think I could have baked the cupcakes for 15 minutes instead of 20. I also need to invest in a knife to spread the frosting well. Both the cupcakes and cake and even the crunchy/chewy twice-baked cake thingies taste good! I will definitely make this again.

And now, a nice pile of treats awaits my fiance when he comes back from his internal medicine rotation. Nothing like sweets to finish up a hard day!

May 26, 2014

Here is an update on what I did to make 22 cupcakes and one mini cake. I used the entire basic yellow cake recipe and half of the frosting recipe (so use 4.5 cups of confectioners sugar, etc). I was able to frost all 22 cupcakes and the mini cake as well.

Here’s a toasted coconut-topped cupcake:

cupcake

And the mini-cake:

photo(1)

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