Birthday Cake

Jacobs’ birthday was this past week and I always make him a birthday cake. His favorite is yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Since we recently took a trip to New York, I have been inspired to make a cake that tastes like Magnolia Bakery‘s famous cupcakes. There is something so perfect about their cake’s light sweet vanilla flavor and the buttery consistency of their icing.

Pictures from our trip to New York City—cakes in the window at Magnolia Bakery and our very own box of cupcakes.

Pictures from our trip to New York City—cakes in the window at Magnolia Bakery and our very own box of cupcakes.

The ingredients are so simple (which is probably what makes this cake so great). I think the key to this cake is the self rising flour (which I never seem to have in my pantry). You can make it yourself by adding 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour. The great thing about the icing is that you cannot over beat it. The longer you let your mixer run the fluffier it becomes!


Butter Yellow Birthday Cake
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and lightly flour two 8 inch round cake pans (this will make four layers, for a three layer cake, use three pans), then line the bottoms with waxed paper. I like to use 8 inch round cake pans because it makes a taller cake. You can also use 9 inch pans if that’s what you have.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flours and add in four parts, alternating with the milk and the vanilla extract, beating well after each addition.

Divide batter among the cake pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

If you’re making cupcakes, line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers. Spoon the batter into the cups about three-quarters full. Bake until the tops spring back when lightly touched, about 20 to 22 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on a rack before icing.

Chocolate Buttercream
Chocolate Buttercream
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons milk
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups sifted powdered sugar

Melt chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water on low heat for 5-10 minutes; stir occasionally until the chocolate is completely smooth and no pieces remain; remove from heat and let cool 5-15 minutes or until lukewarm.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter using an electric mixer on medium speed for about 3 minutes or until creamy. Add the milk carefully and beat until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat well for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat for 3 minutes. Gradually add in the sugar and beat on low speed until creamy and of desired consistency.

Slice cakes in half horizontally to make four layers and ice with frosting. Shave chocolate on top with a vegetable peeler.

Just make sure that you leave enough icing left so you can lick the bowl. No shame. 

Cake BoxI had to pack the cake up to take to the farm for Jacobs’ birthday dinner. I always have cake boxes in all different sizes stocked in my pantry (including the cardboard cake rounds for the bottom of my cakes). They are great for transporting baked goods and great for gifts (you don’t ever have to get your container back!). Sugar Drop in Brentwood has these adorable pink ones or you can order them in bulk from Nashville Wraps.