Even though it’s 1/2 of The New Potato’s birthday today (Happy birthday dear Laura), it still doesn’t mean we wouldn’t make this birthday cake on any other day. Frosting, flour, funny candles…these are things essential for any human being on any day of the year. Here’s the quintessential recipe to make for a friend celebrating, your boyfriend’s little sister in town from college, or yourself on a lonely Friday night (that’s about to get a whole lot better with cake and wine) for no particular reason at all…
Classic Birthday Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1 1/2 cups Cake Flour
1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
1 1/2 cups Sugar
4 Large Eggs
2 Egg Yolks
O1 1/2 cup Buttermilk
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
9 ounces Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate, cut into pieces
3 Egg Whites
1 cup Sugar
Pinch Kosher Salt
5 sticks Butter, cut into cubes, cold
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 2 8” or 9” round cake pans.
Sift the cake flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue beating until the butter is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and buttermilk. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients and beat on medium speed until just combined with no lumps. Divide the batter evenly between the round cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then move cakes to a wire rack to continue cooling. Let cakes cool completely before adding the frosting.
When the cake is cool, make the buttercream frosting. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the semi-sweet chocolate on high for 30 seconds. Stir the chocolate and continue microwaving for 30 seconds at a time until completely melted. Set aside to come to room temperature.
Place a medium pot of water on the stove over high heat. Bring water to a simmer. In a metal or glass bowl larger than the pot, combine sugar and egg whites. Place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk. Continue whisking until the egg whites and sugar mixture is hot to the touch, about 10 minutes. It is important that the bowl is hovering just above the simmering water but not touching it, otherwise the egg whites will congeal. Transfer the mixture to a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk this mixture on medium speed for 5-7 minutes. The mixture should be cool to the touch before adding the butter. Add the melted chocolate and continue to mix on medium speed for 3-4 minutes. Gradually add the cold butter. When all the butter is incorporated, beat for 2-3 more minutes on high speed.
Place 1 of the round cakes on a cake stand. Place 1/2 cup of the frosting on top of the cake and spread it evenly. Place the second cake on top and push down lightly to glue the cakes together. Cover the outside of the cake completely with the remaining frosting. Refrigerate until ready to use, allowing the cake to come to room temperature before serving.
*Photographed by Alli Shepherd