Birthday Cake for our 1st Birthday
What’s the best present you can give a food blog on its birthday? CAKE! In honor of our blog’s first birthday, I decided to bake my first cake. Well, I’ve baked cakes before, but this was my first one from scratch. I’m usually a cookie girl when it comes to baking, but maybe I’ve been watching too much Barefoot Contessa since Ina makes it look so easy. I should have known better.
Not that this cake was especially difficult, on the contrary it was very straightforward. But I’m just not sure if it came out the way it should have.
The batter looked pretty good…
So I poured it into two round pans and baked it. But when it came out, it looked less like fluffy cake and more like my mom’s banana bread. The problem with cake – as opposed to cookies – is it’s hard to taste the outcome without ruining the initial presentation. (Can you imagine if it was socially acceptable to show up at parties and events bearing a gorgeous cake with a small wedge cut out for tasting?!)
I had to assume that it would taste good. So I frosted it. (I will admit to using store-bought frosting. I just didn’t have it in me to make it from scratch.)
And then I decorated…
And decorated some more…
You can see from the slice below that the cake was moist and you can take my word for it that it was pretty tasty. If I’m ever feeling more adventurous, maybe I’ll try the frosting too for the full effect. Maybe for our 2nd birthday.
Chocolate Birthday Cake
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Beatty’s Chocolate Cake
Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 C. all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 1/2 C. sugar
3/4 C. good cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 C. buttermilk, shaken
1/2 C. vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Stir just to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.