Happy Holiday Cake!


It’s been a very, very long time since I’ve taken a good break from work; with TWO public holidays falling on Tuesday and Thursday of this week, I did what any sane person with too much annual leave left over and took the three other days off for a total of 9 days to do whatever I want to do (or not do, rather).

So in addition to all the pampering and self indulgence I’ve been doing, catching up with my friends and family, I have obviously been taking this opportunity to try out recipes I’ve shelved for a while now. This particular recipe I’m about to share with you is of the cake I made for my sister’s birthday earlier this year but was unable to snap pictures of. I finally have the time to revisit this cake, for no other reason than the fact that I want to eat it and take pictures of it.
I came across this recipe in Smitten Kitchen’s blog years ago when browsing for classic birthday cake recipes, and it remains one of my top 5 cakes to bake for friends and family. Or really, just days off. Let’s quit pretending to have reasons for cake. 

Here we go, according to Deb (Smitten Kitchen) the best birthday cake ever:

Yellow Cake

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 225 g unsalted butter
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 2 tsp mexican vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C, grease and line 2 8-inch pans with butter and parchment paper then set aside
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside
  3. In the large mixing bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter until light and creamy with paddle, then toss in the sugar and continue to beat until mixture turns white and fluffy
  4. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla. Be sure to scrape down the side of the bowl to ensure the entire mixture is incorporated well
  5. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the batter and beat shortly, then 1/2 of the buttermilk, and continue adding the flour and buttermilk alternately and end with the flour
  6. Divide the batter in between the two pans and bake for 35-45 minutes at 160C, until a skewer inserted at an angle comes out clean. Take the cakes out and cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to cool completely on a wire rack

Chocolate Sour Cream frosting

  • 450g good quality dark baking chocolate
  • 2 tsp instant espresso
  • 2 1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 tsp mexican vanilla extract
  1. Melt the chocolate and espresso in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Once the chocolate has melted completely, remove from heat and allow to cool til tepid (basically just slightly warmer than room temperature)
  2. Whisk the sour cream, light corn syrup, and vanilla, then slowly pour in the melted chocolate while whisking to ensure the mixture is fully incorporated
  3. If you need to, pop the frosting in the fridge until it solidifies enough to spreading consistency (think, Nutella)
  4. To assemble cake, dollop a good 1/2 cup – 1 cup of frosting on top of one layer of cake, then smooth it out before putting the other layer on top. Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting around and over the cake, then decorate as you please. I just used my spatula and went around, then dropped silver dragees around the edge of the top

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