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Who’s Got The Perfect Birthday Cake (and frosting) Recipe?

Photo by Jessica N. Diamond

Today it’s your turn. I got a request that I can’t do myself … not fast enough or well enough, anyway. A reader needs a recipe for birthday cake and frosting, from scratch, and I don’t have a good one. Have you got a good one you can share?

Here’s what Rachel wrote:

Please Help! I would love your help as my grandmother passed before handing down her recipes. They were all “in her head”. (and she was an amazing cook, a German immigrant).

My daughter’s 1st Birthday is next month, and it was tradition for my grandmother to make FROM SCRATCH all the grandchildren’s first Birthday cakes and frosting.

Any amazing recipes? Please make it NEXT!!

Thanks! Rachael

I could go research recipes, find one that looks good, give it a try, learn as I go, post the results (good or bad) and hope that I got it right on the first try. You know, my usual routine. But this one is important. Rachel needs something good, and she needs it now. No time for experiments and, “Well, I’ve always wanted to try …”

Have you got a scratch cake recipe, and frosting to go with it, that works every time? If you’ve got pictures of it or a recipe online, please include a link below and I’ll update this post with the links as they come in.

But don’t feel like you have to have it already online. If you don’t have a blog already, but have a recipe you want to share, put it in the comments.

Let’s see if we can’t help Rachel out here.


Here’s what we’ve got so far. Check in the comments for more as they come in.

The Creaming Method

No matter what recipe you choose, do the batter this way for the best results.


Cakes

Alanna’s Tasty No-fail Chocolate Cake


Gabi’s Chocolate Cake (Plus chocolate fudge frosting, Plus cream cheese frosting)


 
 


Ryan’s Chocolate Birthday Cake


Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake


(Recommended by Kathi)


Jess to the Lo’s GREAT Chocolate Cake


Tori’s Salad Dressing Chocolate Cake with Homemade Frosting


Tonya’s Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

Makes a two layer 8-inch cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup canola oil
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter again and dust with flour.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Whisk in the oil and sour cream, then gradually beat in the water. Add the vinegar and vanilla and mix to combine, and finally beat in the eggs until the batter is well combined. Divide among the cake pans. (you will probably have enough batter left for a few cupcakes)

Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out almost clean. Cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and peel off the parchment paper, letting the cakes cool completely. These cakes are very soft, and it helps to freeze them for 15 minutes at this point.


Alton Brown’s Yellow Cake

(Recommended by Stephanie)


Hot Milk Cake

1 cup milk
1- stick butter or margarine
Place in pan and bring to boil- Keep warm.

4 eggs
2 cups Sugar
2 tsps vanilla
Cream eggs, sugar, and vanilla well – The more the eggs are whipped, higher the cake.

2 cups Flour
2 tsps Baking Powder
A Dash of Salt
Add the above ingredients to the eggs, sugar, vanilla mixture and mix well.
Add Hot Milk/Butter mixture and mix well.

Bake at 350 degree F
Layer Pans 25-30 minutes
Tube Pans 25-30 min
9 x 13 pan 25-35 min


Frosting

Melissa’s Chocolate Icing

2-3 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cup icing sugar (sifted)
3 heaping tbsp cocoa (sifted)
2 tbsp evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt (at the end)

Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a large bowl. If icing is too thick, add more evaporated milk; if too runny, add more icing sugar. I almost always add a bit more milk, just so you know. The salt incorporated at the end helps make the chocolate flavour more pronounced, but you can skip it and still have great icing.

This recipe makes enough to ice a pan of brownies or a single cake, so if you’re making a layer cake I would definitely double it (unless you want just a thin layer of icing, and who wants that? ).


Bill’s (very) simple frosting recipe

equal parts butter powdered sugar and cocoa
(Bill isn’t the talkative sort.)


Jess the Lo’s mom’s icing

3/4 stick butter
1t vanilla
2-3 C powdered sugar
2-3 T cocoa
milk or cream to thin

mix butter, vanilla, p. sugar, cocoa together and slowly add milk till it’s the consistency you want. If it gets too thin add more p. sugar.


Tonya’s Foolproof Chocolate Fudge Frosting

20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (60 to 65 degrees)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (4 ounces)
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
Pinch table salt
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In food processor, process butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add corn syrup and vanilla and process until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds.

(*double all amounts to make a generous batch to ice and decorate a 2 layer cake)

[Note from Drew: For what it's worth, I would choose something without corn syrup, though I'm sure this is delicious.]


Peanut Butter Icing

1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup Crisco [Note from Drew: I'd go with lard.]
1/2 – 3/4 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 – 3/4 cup cocoa
1 box Powder Sugar 4X (coarsest grain)
Dash of Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
Milk for Required Consistency

Cream Margarine/Butter, Crisco, Peanut Butter. Add Sugar, salt, vanilla, milk. Whip Until creamy.

Adjust Peanut Butter and Cocoa to taste.
 
 
 

Want more like this? For more recipes like this, that you can hold right in your hands, and write on, take notes, tear pages out if you want (Gosh, you're tough on books, aren't you?) you might be interested in How To Cook Like Your Grandmother, 2nd edition, Illustrated. Or to learn your way around the kitchen, check out Starting From Scratch: The Owner's Manual for Your Kitchen.

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