Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Basics Part I: Yellow Cake

For most of my life, I've turned my nose up at the idea of vanilla cake. Maybe I'd simply associated it with cake mixes, with the infinite parade of brightly frosted birthday sheet cake monstrosities of my youth. And, as a chocoholic born and raised, I'm of the opinion that there is NEVER a superior alternative to chocolate.

However, I do occasionally accept requests from one of my innumerable admirers, and recently I baked a "confetti" cake, using this Yellow Sheet Cake recipe from Baking Bites, and mixing in a cup of sprinkles before baking. The cake itself was divine; the buttercream icing I attempted, not so much.

And so, true to form, I hastily made the cake again, this time in the form of cupcakes, and added--what else?--chocolate.

The most interesting thing about this cake recipe is the method in which it is mixed. From Baking Bites:

"Beating the butter into the dry ingredients gives the finished cake a beautiful and tender crumb, inhibiting gluten development by creating a protective coating of fat around the flour. Beating the flour/butter mixture with some of the eggs gives the remaining gluten a chance to develop and incorporate air into the cake."

This is by far the lightest, fluffiest cake I have ever made without buttermilk. It has become my designated, go-to vanilla cake recipe.

Yellow Sheet Cake recipe from Baking Bites. I adapted this only in that I made two 8-inch round cakes, or 24 cupcakes, as opposed to one 9 x 13 cake.

Simple Chocolate Frosting

2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2 cup butter
6 tablespoons milk
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a saucepan, melt the butter and baking chocolate. Let cool.
2. Combine with milk, vanilla, and cocoa in an electric mixer (a handheld one is fine, as well).
3. Add confectioners' sugar (1/2 cup at a time).

TIP: You may need to adjust the amount of sugar or milk. The frosting should be spreadable but hold its shape easily when applied.

PS: I have been on vacation these past couple of weeks. I hope to post once a week from now on!

No comments: