Sunday, April 6, 2008
I realize that I made cookies for my husband for his birthday. And he didn't ask for cake. But the dog ate all the cookies, and I've been craving cake. So hubby got some cupcakes too! I have had my eye on a couple of yellow cake recipes. I never think of making yellow cake because I'm such a chocolate cake lover. But Rob loves yellow cake with chocolate frosting, so I decided to try a from-scratch recipe for the first time. I looked through blogs and cookbooks and finally settled on the Cook's Illustrated's recipe for Fluffy Yellow Layer Cake. But decided that I'd make cupcakes instead of one big cake. Cupcakes are just so much fun and I don't make them nearly enough. It's also a really great way to control portion size :-)
This cake is absolutely amazing. It wasn't too hard to pull together and it turned out fantastically. The recipe calls for cake flour, which I didn't have. And I didn't want to have to go buy any. So I searched around the web and found a substitution for cake flour using all purpose flour and cornstarch. It worked perfectly. Here's a link to the substitution on Recipezaar. The substitution worked out perfectly for me. The cake really was light and fluffy.
I used the Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting. This is really some of the best frosting I have ever made and it complimented the light, fluffy yellow cake perfectly.
Fluffy Yellow Layer Cake (source: Cook's Illustrated)
2 1/2 cups cake flour (see link above for cake flour substitute)
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp table salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
10 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 9x2 round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Grease paper rounds, dust pans with flour, and knock out excess. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soad, salt and 1 1/2 cups sugar together in a large bowl. In a 4 cup liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and yolks.
2. In clean bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With machine running, gradually add remaining 1/4 sugar; continue to beat until stiff peaks just form, 30 to 60 seconds (whites should hold peak but mixture should appear moist). Transfer to bowl and set aside.
3. Add flour mixture to now-empty mixing bowl fittes with whisk attachment. With mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated (a few streaks of dry flour will remain), about 15 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape whisk and sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium-low speed and beat until smooth and fully incorporated, 10 to 15 seconds.
4. Using rubber spatula, stir 1/3 of whites into batter to lighten, then add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Lightly tap pans against counter 2 or 3 times to dislodge any large air bubbles.
5. Bake until cake layers begin to pull away from sides of pans and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides of pans with a small knife, then invert onto greased wire rack and peel off parchment. Invert cakes again and cool completely on rack, about 1 1/2 hours.
This recipe can easily be turned into 24 cupcakes. Line 2 12 cup muffin pans with paper liners. Decrease bake time to 18-20 minutes.
Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting (source: Hersheys.com)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. Makes about 2 cups of frosting.