Sep 17, 2010

Yellow Batter Chocolate Icing Birthday Cake

Traditional Birthday Cake in my house!! Yellow batter buttermilk chocolate icing!!

What better recipe to blog about on your birthday than Birthday Cake!!! and Not just any birthday cake, but the cake that my mom has made for me since I can remember. It’s the classic birthday cake in our household: always has and always will be. Well, I guess I have to rephrase that and say it’s the classic girl birthday cake in the house. My step dad loves any cake we make him but really his heart is for a wonderful carrot cake or white batter coconut white icing cake. And then there is Jor who stirs up the pot with an angel food cake! I’m still not exactly sure what it is about angel food cake but it’s his favorite with homemade whipped cream and some strawberries!

But, back to my favorite! As I said before, my mom has always made my birthday cake (minus the years I was up in Chicago, as the shipping of the cake may have been a little disastrous!). She’s always made the day absolutely special for us and it always ended with “crumb chicken” night and this fantastic cake! Her birthday was in July and for the first time in 4 years I was finally home for her birthday and had the honor of getting to return the baking favor and make her cake!!! I can’t explain why it really meant that much to me to have the chance to bake my mom’s cake, but hopefully I’ll be home for many more birthdays to share with her and keep the birthday cakes coming!!!

This is a two layer yellow batter, buttermilk chocolate icing cake that is a hit every time! It’s pretty simple to put together and it’s perfect for the special occasions or when you are just really craving a big piece of cake!!

Here is everything you’ll need:


(My mom’s recipe! Makes one big delicious two layer cake!)

Yellow Batter Cake:

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Buttermilk Chocolate Icing:

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • little bit of buttermilk

To start, preheat the oven to 350 and prepare your 9 inch cake pans by greasing them with butter, dusting them with a little bit of flour and then the trick mom taught me was to cut a circle out of wax paper for the bottom of each pan. You can rest assured that your cakes will come out every time with this trick!

The basics of your cake batter.

To put the cake batter together, start by mixing the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed. Let these two whip together until the mixture is creamy  (let it mix for 3-4 minutes) and then add in the eggs and vanilla. Once these wet ingredients are completely combined beat in the baking powder, salt, and cake flour. The last ingredient could be one of the most important: the buttermilk! Pour the buttermilk in a little bit at a time until you have a perfectly smooth, creamy mixture! It’ll look fantastic by the end!

Smooth, creamy cake batter ready complete!

Divide the cake batter into the two cake pans and smooth the top with a spatula.

Cake batter divided into two 9 inch cake pans.

Cake batter take 2! It just looks so good!

Let the cakes bake for 30-3 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. It’s also EXTREMELY important to let the cakes rest for a good bit. If you put the icing on too early with too warm of cakes, the icing becomes a slippery mess and your finished product is not so glamourous! Believe me, my impatience has certainly gotten the best of me when baking this cake and it is worth the wait!

Cake done and out of the oven: cool down time!

The second step in the cake building process is the icing!! This is always everyone’s favorite and can I just say how absolutely wonderful homemade icing is!!! It beats anything out of a can and I promise you can have it made in 5 minutes flat (maybe even faster!). Take the extra few minutes to go the homemade route and I promise people will think you’re an icing making rock star and you’ll secretly know it was easy peasy! In a large mixing bowl, put in the powdered sugar, cocoa and butter.  With an electric hand mixer go ahead and give these ingredients a little mix. Once things are starting to get a little creamy add in the vanilla extract and then slowly add a bit of buttermilk until you have a a creamy mixture that still has a bit of stiffness so that it can hold up on the cake! If you go too creamy by adding too much buttermilk you’ll find yourself in that slip and slide situation again. Like I said, five minutes to the best chocolate icing! (Note: you can also use cream in place of buttermilk.)

Icing ingredients before the mix...

Icing after mix!

You’ve waited long enough! Time to ice your cake! On a cake stand or (in my case I used a traveling cake carrier) put a dollop of icing on the bottom to prevent your cake from slipping. Place one cake upside down so that the flat side is facing up. Put a big dollop of icing on the cake and smooth away! I always find it tricky to make that decision of the perfect balance of icing between layers and on the outside. You want a good amount inside of course but you are also nervous that you won’t have enough for the outside. I still don’t have a perfect ratio to share with you, however, I will say I’ve NEVER run out of icing at the end! With the middle layer of icing done, put the other cake right side up (flat side to flat side) and then apply the rest of the icing. (Note: Extra icing is always perfect perfect for gram cracker chocolate sandwiches!) You can add any decorations you desire to make the cake your own!

Cake complete!!!

There’s something special about a homemade cake and it’s something that I’ve absolutely loved about every birthday and celebration my mom has had for me! It’s a tradition that she’s always kept and I intend to keep going on my side of the family as well!! The cake is so moist and the icing is oh so delicious!! Creamy, chocolatey, sugar rush: what’s not to love! Next time you have a birthday, another celebratory event, or just need cake one day, give this cake a shot and I’m sure it’ll make everything that much more special! For now, that’s my family’s traditional yellow batter chocolate icing birthday cake…in the shell of a nut!


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