Battle of the Cakes: Part 1 (Flour’s Yellow Birthday Cake)

Battle of the Cakes, you ask? Yes. At the verrrrry end of 2015 and very start of 2016, I was on a cake-making fix. I made two similar cakes back to back. Normally I struggle with cakes, but I’ve been giving myself more practice and these two cakes came together pretty easily. Even the frosting was…dare I say…fun?!?!? Since the cakes are so similar, this is almost like a throwdown for me to compare them. If I had to pick one cake in its entirety, it would be this one. But, the frosting for the other cake was both easier to make and easier to frost the cake. This one is richer, and the other one is a bit sweeter and lighter (texture and taste). This is much more buttery and creamy.

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K was home, and I planned on taking advantage of that to make the cakes, but I ended up doing much of the work while he was sleeping (I feel like he should get to sleep in when he takes vacation, at least part of the time), and then a bit while he was playing with the Fudgelet. The Fudgelet doesn’t mind too much when I’m making things in the kitchen since he enjoys being a taste-tester.

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Do you see him in the picture above?

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I had some fun decorating this cake, as you can see. I actually had some time to do it since the frosting was easy to work with…which brings me to a major point. If you have had trouble frosting cakes, there is a good chance it was the frosting, and not you. Good frosting should be easy to spread around. This frosting is one of my new favorite chocolate frostings, for sure.

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By the way, if you’re wondering who this is a birthday cake for, I told my dad it was for “2016”…you could easily make it for whatever day you want. It’s that date’s birthday, after all, haha.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this Cake Battle!

Directions for Flour’s Yellow Birthday Cake

Slightly adapted from Flour Bakery

Cake

  • 1.5 cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I used buttermilk powder)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 8-inch cake pans with baking spray (no parchment needed). Cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed in your mixer for a few minutes until it is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

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Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla. On low speed, add this mixture to the mixing bowl and beat just until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl, then beat on medium speed until the mixture is homogeneous.

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Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, (buttermilk powder, if using) and salt in a medium bowl. On low speed, add 1/3 of this mixture to the mixing bowl, beating briefly before pouring in 1/2 of the buttermilk.

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Again, beat on low until almost completely incorporated, then repeat with 1/2 of the remaining flour and all of the remaining buttermilk. Scrape down the bowl, then add the remaining flour by folding it in until the batter is homogeneous.

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Pour the batter into the two cake pans and bake for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs, the tops are golden brown, and the cakes spring back with lightly pressed. Let the cakes cool completely in their pans on wire racks.

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You might need to cut off the domes from the cakes, depending on how they bake.

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This just means you get to eat some cake crumbs!

Ganache Frosting

  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

As the cakes are cooling, start the frosting. Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Scald the cream by heating it over medium-high heat in a saucepan until bubbles form around the edges. Pour the cream over the chocolate and wait one minute. Then, slowly whisk the mixture until it is smooth.

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Let it sit at room temperature to cool completely (about 1-2 hours, or in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, whisking every 10 minutes).

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Once the ganache is cool, use the paddle attachment on your mixer and beat the butter on medium speed until smooth (about 30 seconds). Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla, then beat on medium speed for a couple minutes until it is fluffy and smooth. Scrape down the bowl as necessary.

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On medium speed, add the ganache and beat until completely combined, then beat on medium-high until the frosting thickens in texture and lightens in color.

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To frost the cakes, use about one cup of frosting as the filling, then one cup to make a crumb coat over the entire cake.

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Another cup of frosting will cover the entire cake (go across the top and then the sides), and then the remaining frosting can be used to decorate.

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Directions for Flour’s Yellow Birthday Cake (without pictures)

Slightly adapted from Flour Bakery

Cake

  • 1.5 cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I used buttermilk powder)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 8-inch cake pans with baking spray (no parchment needed). Cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed in your mixer for a few minutes until it is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla. On low speed, add this mixture to the mixing bowl and beat just until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl, then beat on medium speed until the mixture is homogeneous.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, (buttermilk powder, if using) and salt in a medium bowl. On low speed, add 1/3 of this mixture to the mixing bowl, beating briefly before pouring in 1/2 of the buttermilk. Again, beat on low until almost completely incorporated, then repeat with 1/2 of the remaining flour and all of the remaining buttermilk. Scrape down the bowl, then add the remaining flour by folding it in until the batter is homogeneous. Pour the batter into the two cake pans and bake for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs, the tops are golden brown, and the cakes spring back with lightly pressed. Let the cakes cool completely in their pans on wire racks.

Ganache Frosting

  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

As the cakes are cooling, start the frosting. Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Scald the cream by heating it over medium-high heat in a saucepan until bubbles form around the edges. Pour the cream over the chocolate and wait one minute. Then, slowly whisk the mixture until it is smooth. Let it sit at room temperature to cool completely (about 1-2 hours, or in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, whisking every 10 minutes).

Once the ganache is cool, use the paddle attachment on your mixer and beat the butter on medium speed until smooth (about 30 seconds). Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla, then beat on medium speed for a couple minutes until it is fluffy and smooth. Scrape down the bowl as necessary. On medium speed, add the ganache and beat until completely combined, then beat on medium-high until the frosting thickens in texture and lightens in color.

To frost the cakes, use about one cup of frosting as the filling, then one cup to make a crumb coat over the entire cake. Another cup of frosting will cover the entire cake (go across the top and then the sides), and then the remaining frosting can be used to decorate.

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