Monday, February 2, 2015

funfetti cake with chocolate fudge frosting.

My better half turned 30 yesterday. (!!!!)

Some days, it feels like just yesterday that we were 20 and exploring the meandering alleys in Venice, Italy. Other days, it feels as if our initial courtship was 100 years ago.  It's funny how time can play tricks on you.   I still vividly recall his 21st birthday.  It was filled with mojitos, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and lots of laughs in some random bar in Venice.   

30 looked slightly different (except for the laughs part).   

Tyler, as much as I love him, is not the kind of guy who is easy to get presents for.  He does not like presents which makes it very difficult for me, someone who LOVES to give presents to celebrate such momentous occasions.   So instead of making myself crazy trying to come up with something that fulfill's his long list of present requirements (must be practical, must not cost a lot, preferably not an item, etc.), I just do what I do best and that is cook and bake and basically make him the best birthday cake possible.  

Everyone and I repeat everyone LOVES FUNFETTI.  So when I sat down and thought about the perfect birthday cake, I thought funfetti because if you were to ask a 5-year old what kind of birthday cake he or she wants, I guarantee it will involve yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  It's about as quintessential as it gets.   So that's what I did, and the resulting cake was a crowd-pleaser and a keeper. A rich, buttery, (triple layer!) buttermilk cake is loaded up with sprinkles and topped with fudgy chocolate buttercream (and more sprinkles).    

Dare I say, it's the perfect birthday cake.   

(Oh! I like to thing my praying for the Patriots to win the Superbowl was why they won which in turn means that birthday gift was almost as good as the composter I got him for Christmas 4 years ago.)  

Yellow Layer Cake
Adapted (barely) from Smitten Kitchen

Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers.  (This can also be divided into 3 9-inch round pans to create a triple layer cake.  Each layer will be about 1.3 inches tall).   You can also make 22 to 24 cupcakes Or! two 8-inch squares OR! a 9×13 single-layer cake

4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (530 grams) cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (1 cup, 1/2 pound or 225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk (475 ml), well-shaken
1 cup sprinkles (Optional but necessary if looking to make this funfetti!)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two (or three if making this a triple layer) 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.)

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.  Stir in sprinkles if using.  

Spread batter evenly in the cake pans, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. (I like to drop mine a few times from two inches up, making a great big noisy fuss.) Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes (if making 2 layers) or 22-30 minutes (if making a triple layer). Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, and then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread about 1 1/3 cups of the Instant Fudge Frosting (below) evenly over the top of the layer. Repeat with the next layer, more frosting. Finally, top with the third layer and frost the tops and sides with the remaining frosting.  Sprinkle with more sprinkles if you so desire.   

Instant Fudge Frosting
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

I usually have a lot of issues with chocolate frosting.  Most of the time I find them to be cloyingly sweet and chocolate in appearance but not in taste (adding a little cocoa powder to a vanilla buttercream does NOT make it a chocolate frosting).  When I want fudge frosting I want chocolate fudge frosting.  This is as close as I’ve gotten to frosting perfection though it did require a little bit of work (upping the amount of unsweetened chocolate and adding in some cocoa powder).  Kids and adults will go crazy for it.  

Makes about 5 cups

7 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (no need to sift)
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons half-and-half or whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate, then process until the frosting is smooth.

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