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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Best Yellow Butter Cake & Fancy Chocolate Frosting

This is my very favorite cake.  Though I love chocolate cake a great deal, I think that baking a beautiful, moist butter cake with rich chocolate frosting is prettier, tastier, and just maybe a little more sophisticated.  It's what I want every year on my birthday.
I originally got both the cake and frosting recipes from Martha Stewart, but have adapted the directions (Read: most Americans do not have such frivolous things on hand as parchment paper), and cut the frosting recipe by a third.  Since there is still plenty of frosting for FOUR layers, I shudder to think of the frosting-to-cake ratio before this reduction.

But Martha gave me a great formula for frosting four layers.  Maybe it was obvious to everyone else how to cut each cake in half and then stack and frost them in the most aesthetic way, without your frosting getting gummed up with crumbs and one side of the cake being much higher than the other (I speak from experience).  You layer the cake in this order: one of the cake tops on the bottom (top up), frosting, then a cake bottom, (bottom side up), frosting, the other cake bottom (bottom side up again), frosting, and finally the second top (top side up) goes on top before you frost the whole thing.  It turned out beautifully.

Cake for breakfast the next day?  Maybe I did.  So?

Other cake tips:
1- Take the time to bring your butter and eggs to room temperature, which will allow you to get more air into your batter and frosting.  Set both out on the counter the night before.
2- The cake flour really does make a difference (it's more finely milled and can hold larger amounts of fat and starch without collapsing).  You can make a cake flour substitute with 3/4 cup flour plus two tablespoons of cornstarch.  That said, the cake you see in these photos was made with only all-purpose flour.  It was still delicious.
3- Always let the cake cool in the pans on a rack!  It will release so much easier if you don't try to rush it while it's still warm.
4- Try not to eat all of it yourself.  But if you do, don't be ashamed.  Sometimes you just need cake.

My daughter Mollie loves anything that involves using the pastry
brush.  She did a very thorough job, and I love it that she wants
to wear her Lowe's "Build and Grow" apron when she cooks.
Just before entering the oven . . .
Parchment paper? No thanks.
The finished product on my favorite tablecloth
It's hard to make this only on special occasions.
I want it every week.
Satisfied customers!


  1. For some reason the first time I read the recipe card I saw "Bust your butter cake" and I thought that was hilarious. I see now that is not what the card says... So, I'd like to submit a name change request form. Where can I get one of those?

    And I once had parchment paper on hand! (I forget why...maybe I was making sugar cookies on sticks?) and it made me feel so fancy! I would use it to line the pan when making baked potato wedges, and it worked like a charm. Then I ran out and never thought about it again until just now.

    I'm having a hard time figuring out what exactly baking a cake requires of it though. Hm.

    Anyway, there's a novel of a comment for you. I love this blog of yours.

  2. Is there really only 1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar in this frosting?

    1. Jodi, there REALLY is only 1/2 cup powdered sugar--I sometimes will add another 1/4-1/2 cup if the butter was too warm and melty . . . but another way to firm up the frosting is to put it in your freezer for 20-30 minutes and then re-mix with a whisk.


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