From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This week belongs to Mom, yours and mine. I thought the days leading up to Mother's Day would be a great time to experiment with some new desserts and resurrect a few from my childhood that you have not yet seen. The first feature this week is a yellow layer cake that appeared in Bon Appetit magazine several years ago. It is a large, almost obscene tower that uses cake layers to hold a sinful amount of chocolate frosting. You will love it, especially if you have a gang to feed on Mother's Day. The cake is not difficult to make, but frosting it can be a problem if you do not let the icing sit until it is spreadable. You will need more time than is suggested in the recipe for it to reach that point. I also had to sacrifice the sixth layer of my cake. The cake was so tall that it started to lean like the Tower of Pisa and common sense dictated it be staked or sacrificed. I chose the later. If you decide to make this cake, use the best bittersweet chocolate you can get your hands on. The frosting is the star here and it makes no sense to stint on it. Later this week, I'll be featuring a really old-fashioned version of this cake that is less voluptuous and more budget oriented. If, however, you are looking for a basic yellow cake that can be made special by using a delicious frosting, you'll love this one. Here is how it is made.
Yellow Layer Cake with Chocolate-Sour Cream Frosting...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Bon Appetit magazine
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
3 large eggs
14 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 cups sour cream
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-3/4 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1) Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat three 9 x 2-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray. Line bottom of pans with parchment-paper rounds, then coat paper with non-stick cooking spray.
2) Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until no lumps remain.
3) Combine buttermilk, oil, and vanilla in a medium bowl.
4) Combine sugar, butter, and brown sugar in another large bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean. Using an electric mixer, beat butter mixture until light and fluffy, about 3–4 minutes. Add yolks and eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl. Continue to beat mixture, occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl, until almost doubled in volume and very light, airy, and pale yellow, about 5–6 minutes. It's very important that no lumps remain at this stage. (Occasional scraping of the bowl, especially the bottom, helps prevent lumps.)
5) With mixer on low, add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
6) Divide batter evenly among prepared pans, about 3-1/2 cups per pan. Smooth tops.
7) Bake, rotating cakes from left to right and top to bottom halfway through, until cakes are light golden brown, the centers spring back when gently pressed, and a tester inserted into the centers comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35–40 minutes. Transfer cakes to wire racks and let cool in pans for at least 30 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks, peel off parchment, and let cool completely. Using a long serrated knife, remove top dome and any bumps from each cake to create a flat surface. Slice each cake in half horizontally to make 6 layers total. DO AHEAD: Cakes can be baked 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
1) Stir chocolate and corn syrup in a large metal bowl set over a large saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir sour cream, salt, and vanilla in a medium metal bowl and set over same saucepan of simmering water. Stir until mixture is warm but not hot, about 2 minutes. Add sour cream mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring until smooth and glossy. Set aside.
2) Using an electric mixer, beat powdered sugar and butter in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Slowly beat in chocolate mixture. Continue beating until no lumps remain, about 2 minutes. Frosting should be smooth and shiny. Cover and chill until slightly firmed up, about 30 minutes. I chilled my frosting for almost 2 hours to get a spreadable consistency.
1) Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or large plate. Spoon 1/3 cup frosting over; using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, smooth frosting to edge of cake, creating an even layer. Place another cake layer on top. Repeat with frosting and remaining cake layers. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. If you wish cake can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with a cake dome and store at room temperature. Yield: 12 to 16 servings.
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