Yesterday Kyle turned 27! HBD! I honestly look forward to celebrating his birthday year round. Maybe it's because I love birthdays and he doesn't really care about his birthday, but I love having an entire day all about him. To celebrate, we took Sibbie on a long walk to a nearby park, ate dinner at Copper, and saw Baby Driver at Alamo Drafthouse. It was so unexpectedly good!!! Go see it.
We also celebrated with this classic yellow birthday cake with chocolate frosting and alll the sprinkles. I'd say that's a pretty good birthday just from the cake itself. Speaking of yellow cake..
Back when Kyle and I were dating in college, one day he asked me what kind of cake I wanted for my birthday. At the time, I still lived in a dorm on campus and he was living in a 3 bedroom/1 bath house situation in a sketchy neighborhood that included 3 other guys, plenty of Halo and Skyrim game nights, and lots of failed wall flips that somehow ended up on youtube and then broadcasted for the world to see on Ridiculousness.
Seriously, not joking about that! Kyle made $800 off that video.
But anyway, our conversation went something like this:
Madeline! Your birthday is next week! I'm going to make you a cake. What is your favorite cake flavor?
That's not a flavor. What kind of cake do you want for you birthday?
Yellow cake. With chocolate frosting.
Yellow?! That's not a flavor!
Basically, he had somehow never heard of yellow cake and didn't believe me when I said that it was a legit and classic cake flavor and that it was indeed my favorite. We then went to HEB later that week and I proudly pointed out the boxed yellow cake mix of my childhood.
We went back to his house and made it and Kyle was obsessed! It was one of those proud I-told-you-so moments but we both were happy in the end because, cake.
I have been wanting to make yellow cake from scratch for years but have read about all the complications with making it at home. Too eggy, too dry, not yellow enough, middle of cake sinking, etc. I spent a few days searching for the perfect recipe and found Sarah Kieffer's recipe from her book The Vanilla Bean Baking Book, and I knew I could trust her. She is like, the queen of all things baking! So as expected, the cake did not disappoint. I sent some home to my family who had come up to visit and we all agreed it was one of the best cakes we had ever had. I think I'm going to start making it for birthday's ever year!! And while the frosting Sarah paired with it in her book I'm sure is also fantastic, I went for a simpler chocolate frosting recipe below that takes no time at all to whip up. Garnish your cake with sprinkles and you have the exact same classic birthday boxed cake from your childhood.
Classic Yellow Cake with Rich Chocolate Frosting
makes 1-9x13 cake or 2 8-inch cakes
for the cake - very slightly adapted from Sarah Kieffer's Vanilla Bean Baking Book
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tb vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 lb. unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened and sliced into 1" cubes
for the chocolate frosting
- 1/2 lb. unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1/3 cup half and half
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder (add 1/4 cup more for a richer chocolate flavor)
- sprinkles! (optional, but recommended)
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease and flour a 9x13 cake pan.
In a medium sized bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla extract, sour cream, and buttermilk until combined.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until combined.
With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add in the butter, one piece at a time. Continue stirring until the mixture resembles coarse sand. With mixer still running on low speed, carefully add in half of the wet ingredient mixture. Increase the speed to medium, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Reduce speed to low once again, and add in the rest of the wet ingredients. Increase speed to medium, and continue beating until all ingredients are incorporated, another 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix a few more times with the spatula.
Pour batter into prepared pan, and tap on counter 2-3 times to release air bubbles. Bake in preheated oven for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, and then flip onto cooling rack. Cool completely and then wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight (if making in advance).
to make the frosting
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the softened butter until smooth. Blend in half of the confectioners sugar, the half and half, vanilla, and cocoa powder. With mixer on medium speed, slowly add in the rest of the confectioners sugar. Beat until frosting is smooth. If you want a richer chocolate flavor, add in 1/4 cup more cocoa powder.
Spoon the frosting on top of the cake and smooth with a spatula, making swirly designs with the spatula if desired. Top with colorful sprinkles!