Saturday, June 1, 2013

Yellow Butter Birthday Cake with Buttercream Frosting

I have a confession to make. I have food guilt. Of various sorts. This may sound funny to you, but I am being sincere here. I. Have. Food. Guilt. What does this mean exactly? Well, it means that when I make a delicious meal or bake a creative cake or indulge in something smothered in nutella (a substance I have to limit in my house due to my addictive personality) I experience a period of guilt directly related to the food I just made/baked/consumed. I suppose it is a form of an eating disorder, if one could be related to second generation Irish-Catholic guilt, however it is one I readily and wholeheartedly indulge in on a regular basis. Such as indulging by enjoying this yellow butter birthday cake I recently made.
You likely guessed it; another birthday. I seem to have an affinity for surrounding myself with people who have a birthday within the second quarter of the calendar year. For this week's lucky birthday boy, a helpful bird chirped that he had a long standing hankering for yellow butter birthday cake and homemade buttercream frosting. Being the baker I am, I obliged and surprised the fellow with this buttery goodness.
So yeah, the food guilt thing. Strange, right? That a baker have food guilt. And the funny part is my guilt isn't just associated with consuming too much or overeating, it also has to do with having the guilt of enjoying amazing cuisine when others fight for morsels of food. The guilt is multi-layered, and maybe its presence is merely to remind me to be grateful (which is good if so), but at least it isn't debilitating. I equate my baking to ongoing therapy which is slowly helping me accept my humanness. Or that is the train of thought I often find my brain heading in when standing over the mixer, pouring batter ingredients into a glass bowl. Baking (like running) is a very zen endeavor and meditation when done in the right frame of mind. And with that...namaste from a baker's heart!

Yellow Butter Birthday Cake 
Adapted from:
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, yolks separated and slightly mixed
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter (or Pam) two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter (or Pam) parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside. I did mine a second time for good measure. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. 

In a separate bowl, using a handmixer beat the separated egg whites until frothy. Set aside. 

Into the butter mixture beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. Next, gently mix in the whipped egg whites. 

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.

Divide batter between the prepared pans, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off the parchment. Reinvert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.

Buttercream Frosting
Borrowed from: My Baking Addiction
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • pinch of fine grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 4-6 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy add in salt. Slowly add in confectioners' sugar, and continue creaming until well blended.

Add salt, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add an additional 1 to 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

This recipe will make enough frosting to generously frost 24 cupcakes or one 9 inch layer cake.

You can easily adjust the consistency of this recipe by simply adding in more heavy cream or milk.

If you are a fan of shortening in your buttercream. simply omit one stick of butter and replace with 1/2 cup shortening.

Clear vanilla extract is used in this recipe to keep the frosting nice and white. If you don’t mind a slight color change, feel free to use pure vanilla extract, but decrease the amount to 2 teaspoons.

Covered and refrigerated frosting can be stored for up to three days. Simply bring it to room temperature and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. You may need to add a couple of teaspoons of heavy cream or milk to revive the consistency.

If you choose to dye your frosting, go easy with the dye. Remember, you can always add more color, but you can’t remove it.

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