Birthday Cake is the Best Kind of Cake

As we all are aware = ). The Boy asked for a plain vanilla cake, layered, with chocolate cake and I was happy to oblige after pulling through hundreds of recipes, most of which were Guinness stout cakes with Bailey’s frosting thanks to the proximity of St. Paddy’s day to his birthday. I found a recipe for a fluffy vanilla cake which wouldn’t be overly rich and adapted a chocolate buttercream recipe to make it dark chocolate (The Boy’s partial to 80% dark). Of course a two layer cake was way too much for just two people, so we’ve been spreading the love around, but it is delicious! It’s not overly rich and the icing is just sweet enough with a flirtation of bitter from the dark cocoa powder…(Also, sorry about the hiatus! Grad school decisions and rehearsals have me running around like crazy and I’m working on changing the way I eat…more on that soon!)

Read on for the recipe and photos…

Ingredients (Cake)

2 1/2 cups cake flour (it’s worth using cake flour here – it makes it lighter and more delicate)

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 3/4 cups sugar

10 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

3 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

6 large egg yolks and 3 large egg whites, room temperature (hey, I never said it was healthy – but birthday calories don’t count…right?)


  • Put an oven rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350F
  • Grease two 9″ pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper (I skipped this step and didn’t have any problems). Grease the paper rounds and dust the pans with flour – knock out the excess.
  • Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar together in a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and yolks.
  • Beat the egg whites (in a CLEAN bowl, preferably copper) on medium-high speed until foamy.
  • With the mixer still running, gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue to beaut until stiff peaks just start to form. Set aside.
  • Mix the butter mixture into the flour mixture on low speed until almost incorporated. Remember to scrape down the sides of your bowl. Whisk on medium-low until fully incorporated.
  • Using a rubber spatula, stir 1/3 of the whites into the batter to temper the mixture, then add the remaining whites and gently fold until completely incorporated.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans.
  • Lightly tape the pans against the counter 2 or 3 times to flatten the surface and dislodge air bubbles.
  • Bake until the cake begins to pull away from the pans and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 – 22 minutes.
  • Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes, loosen the cakes from the sides of the pan with a small knife.
  • Flip out onto greased wire racks, then flip again to have the smooth side up.
  • Cool completely before frosting.

Ingredients (Chocolate Frosting)

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
1 cup cocoa powder (I did 1/4 cup Ghirardelli powder and the rest dark cocoa powder – gave it a deep dark flavor)
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (the original recipe calls for 5 1/2 cups – i cannot even imagine how disgustingly sweet that would have been…yikes)
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Stir the melted butter into the cocoa powder.
  • Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating until spreading consistency.
  • Stir in vanilla.

Smear on the frosting liberally and decorate to your fancy or to the occasion = ) Hearts and candles for my soulmate!

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  • Indulging Day by Day…

    April 2011
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