Birthday Cake

I guess you could call me a cake snob.  I love cake but it has to be really good cake for it to be worth the calories. Let me just say that the vanilla cake I enjoyed at The Chocolate in Provo  this last weekend was definitely worth the calories!

Even though I love cake I rarely bake cakes, except for birthdays although many times my children request something else other than a cake for their birthday treat.

But I must admit there is nothing quite like a yummy, made from scratch cake!

Last week some friends of ours were moving into a new home.  They were going to be homeless for one night until the official papers were signed on the new house so I invited them to stay with us.  We do have two empty bedrooms now!

It just so happened that the night they would be spending with us was their son, Master O’s fifth birthday.  (My English grandmother would always address her cards, letters and packages to my brother as Master Richard – I loved that.  I guess untill a young man turns 13 he is considered a Master and then he becomes a Mister!)

Since they would be busy all day packing and unpacking I knew they wouldn’t have time to really celebrate. So when they arrived at our house, later in the evening I had a birthday cake surprise waiting for Master O!

Owen Birthday

Now you must know I am not a great cake decorator, in fact this particular cake was a little lopsided and the decorating left a little to be desired but it did taste good!  And the best part is Master O loved it!
Owen Birthday

I had found the recipe for this Simply Delicious Yellow Cake over at Suzi’s Blog

The cake makes 2 9×2″ round cakes but my cake pans were not 2 inches deep so I ended up using 3 cake pans and made it a 3 layer cake!  I used my standard buttercream frosting recipe.

Miss A, the birthday boy’s sister, enjoyed the cake too!
Owen Birthday

In fact I thought she was so darling poking her finger into the frosting and licking it off I just let her keep doing it!!  I never would have let my own kids do that when they were little – I guess I am preparing for that grandmother phase when you let them get away with things you never would have let your own kids do!!  Besides, the frosting is the best part of a cake!
Owen Birthday

The cake was enjoyed by all and Master O had a fun time blowing out his number five candle – over and over again!

Owen Birthday

Please excuse the bad lighting in the photos and the not so pretty cake but it tasted yummy and was worth the calories!

Owen Birthday 

Birthday Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 C Unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted (Yes, I did sift the flour!)
  • 1 Tbsp and 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 C + 3 Tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 C + 2 Tbsp Unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 2 3/4 C + 2 tsp sugar
  • 5 large eggs

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  • Grease the cake pans
  • Line the bottoms with rounds of baking parchment then dust them lightly with flour
  • Shake out the excess
  • Or use baking spray that contains both oil and flour, so you don’t have to flour the pan
  • With baking spray, put the parchment liner in after you spray the pan
  • In a large bowl, combine the fl our, baking powder, and salt and whisk them gently for even distribution
  • In a separate bowl combine the milk and vanilla
  • Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until it is light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes
  • Add the eggs gradually, mixing well after each addition, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl often
  • Lower the mixing speed to medium-low and add the flour mixture to the butter in 3 parts, alternating with 2 parts of the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour
  • Mix just until it is evenly incorporated
  • This is a thick, fluffy batter, resembling whipped cream
  • There should not be any lumps or dry pockets of flour remaining
  • If the batter has a curdled appearance it has not been mixed enough
  • Increase the speed to medium and mix for another minute or until it is thick and fluffy
  • Divide the batter equally between the 2 prepared cake pans
  • Weighing the batter into the pans is the most accurate way to do this
  • This ensures that both layers are uniform in size, and finish baking at the same time
  • You’ll have approximately 930 g/32.8 oz. of batter per pan
  • The pans should be about ⅔ full
  • Smooth the batter so it fills the pans evenly
  • Place the pans on the center rack in the preheated oven
  • Bake them for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake is almost ready to pull away from the side of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs. Rotate the layers carefully from front to back after 20 minutes, for even baking.
  • Cool the pans on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert them onto a wire rack that has been sprayed with cooking spray and lift off the pans
  • To prevent cracking, carefully right each layer so the top side is up and the parchment-lined bottom is down
  • Cool them on the rack completely
  • Before frosting, be sure to remove the parchment from the bottom of each layer
  • While the layers are cooling, prepare the frosting
  • To assemble the cake:
  • Place one layer, top side down, on a flat serving plate
  • Cut several 4-inch-wide strips of parchment or waxed paper to slide under the edge of the layer, to keep the plate clean
  • Using a thin metal spatula, spread the top of this cake round with a ½-inch thick layer of frosting, leaving a ¼-inch unfrosted border around the edge
  • Place the second layer top side up on the first, aligning the layers evenly
  • Spread a generous layer of frosting around the sides of the cake, rotating the plate as you work so you’re not reaching around the cake to frost the other side
  • Try not to let any loose crumbs get caught in the frosting
  • Let the frosting extend about ¼ inch above the top of the cake
  • Starting in the center of the cake, cover the top with a generous layer of frosting, taking it all the way to the edge and merging it with the frosting on the sides
  • Try to use a forward-moving, circular motion, not a back-and forth motion to avoid lifting the top skin of the cake
  • Rotate the plate as necessary
  • Use the spatula or a spoon to make decorative swirls
  • Slide the pieces of paper out from under the edge of the cake and discard them
  • Store the cake at room temperature, preferably under a cake dome, for up to 3 days

Comments

  1. Margaret says

    Right there with you on cake, it does have to be a really good one to use up those calories. That cake looks really good, I will have to try it next time I need to make a cake. Thank you.

  2. MelanieL says

    My mom calls my son Master Landon and I never knew why and I’ve never asked her why either! Now I know! I’d say your cake looks just beautiful and you’re going to make a wonderful grandmother someday. I bet having those little ones stay the night was a major highlight of your week:)

  3. Marti says

    What a sweet story that illustrates what a great friend you are…opening your home to others and making sure the birthday boy is not forgotten! That cake looks wonderful and perfect for a five year old.

  4. Joan says

    What a great friend you are! I’m a cake snob, too. My aunt taught me to bake when I was a young girl…maybe 10. She always (and, therefore I do, too) sift the flour onto a piece of waxed paper BEFORE measuring the flour for cakes or anything calling for sifted flour. I watch people these days on Food Network, etc. measure the flour, put into strainer and sift right into ingredients in mixer. Hmmm! There is a significant difference, so I’m wondering…if recipes call for 2 1/2 c.. sifted flour, shouldn’t one sift it before measuring? I think there is a difference between 2 cups sifted flour and 2 cups flour, sifted. Do you? Just asking…

    Joan

  5. Tamara says

    My “to try” file is getting thicker and thicker. . . . .All I can say is that it looks yummy and I’m certain it was! What good friends you are to so many!

  6. Mary Kathryn says

    We have a fifth birthday coming up soon too- but my little one has requested a giant cookie instead of a cake. I will have to tuck this recipe aside for another day. Question- what would you have done if the cake was gross? That is always my fear. The money and time spent into making something new and it turning out to bomb. What do you do?

  7. says

    When something doesn’t turn out I usually follow Julia Child’s advice and never apologize!!

    I’ve developed a pretty good eye for recipes and so I fortunately don’t have a bomb too often but it has happened!!!

  8. Dawn says

    I have to admit that I am not a cake snob. I really like most any cake, even Costco cake. Homemade cake is the best, especially if it is dense. Looks yummy!

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