Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Yellow Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

Do you want the bad news or the good news first? Bad news? Ok, here it goes. I think I'm losing my sweet tooth. Well, not losing really. I mean, a girl's gotta have a little sugar every now and again, doesn't she? I'd say it's softening. I'm more inclined to reach for a little nugget of salted caramel or a big, juicy hunk of pineapple than a rich, dark brownie.

I don't know why, and I don't know how. I just know that it's happening. But it's bound to return sooner or later. While I'm no longer scrambling around the cabinets of my kitchen in search of cookies or chocolate, I still like to balance my snacking. No, no, no. I don't mean the carrots-and-hummus, hardboiled-egg, handful-of-nuts kind of balance. I'm talking about sweet vs. salty.


If you've ever found yourself licking your salt-caked lips, in desperate need of a little relief from your popcorn-induced insanity at the movie theater, you know what I'm talking about. If you eat one sort of snack for too long, you're done for. The same goes for sweets. Try eating a whole sleeve of chocolate-covered digestive cookies (actually, don't. it is a really terrible idea, I swear) without the balance of a fistful or two of lightly salted Kettle Chips, and you are bound to feel sick to your stomach.

So, despite my newfound propensity to choose cheese over chocolate chip cookies and roasted vegetables over rhubarb pie, there is still a time and a place for a little something sweet. That's why I like yellow cake. It's not quite as intense as flourless chocolate cake, and it's just sweet enough to satisfy. And now for the good news. Don't worry. I didn't forget about it. I have cake for you! I can't actually give you a slice, but you're welcome to stop by for one. In exchange, I offer you this recipe. It is tried and true. And the perfect way to ring in an eighteenth birthday. Happy Belated Riley!


  Yellow Cake

Makes 2 9-inch round cakes
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups caster sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk

Preheat oven to 350. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, line with bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Beat in vanilla extract. Add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with milk. Beat until just combined. Do not over-mix. Divide batter between cake pans and smooth. Bang cake pans on counter a few times to get rid of air bubbles. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack. Using a serrated knife cut of tops of cakes to ensure cake layers are level. Ice cake with vanilla buttercream once completely cool.

Vanilla Buttercream
Makes enough for 1 two-layer cake

14 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
Beans scraped from 1/2 vanilla pod
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream butter using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add icing sugar and beat, starting at a low speed, and gradually increase speed until icing sugar is completely incorporated. Beat in milk, vanilla beans, and vanilla extract.


  1. wow, wow, wow, I want that cake! now! it looks so delicious and i'm so hungry ;) i think I'll try it as soon as possible.

    Happy weekend!

  2. So glad you like it! It is such a tasty cake