Mmmm, before I started hardcore baking, I loved to make silly little yellow cake mixes into cupcakes and top them with jarred chocolate frosting. This is the grown-up, I-baked-it-myself-so-it-tastes-way-better version. This cake is ridiculously flavorful, but if your oven's like mine, you're going to want to bake it closer to 25 minutes rather than 20. And beware - this cake is the kind of thing it's hard to keep your hands off of, so it's perfect for potlucks and such. Trust me, I'm having a hard time not having a slice for breakfast right now. BTW, this was the something chocolate-y I decided to bake on Monday during Friend Making Monday.
Yellow Layer Cake with Fudge Frosting
adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Baking Book and Hershey's
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cake flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter and softened, cut into 16 pieces (before softening)
1 cup butter
1 1/3 cup natural cocoa powder (NOT dutched cocoa)
6 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment paper. Whsik the milk, eggs, and vanilla together in a small bowl.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat the butter into the flour mixture, one piece at a time, until it resembles moist crumbs, 1 to 3 minutes.
3. Beat in all but 1/2 cup of the milk mixture, then increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the batter until smooth, light and fluffy, 1-3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly beat in the remaining 1/2 cup milk mixture until the batter looks slightly curdled, about 15 seconds.
4. Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it's thoroughly combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans, smooth the tops, then gently tap the pans on the counter to settle the batter. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 20-25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking.
5. Let the cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes. Then run a small knife around the edge of the cakes,then flip them out onto a wire rack. Peel off the parchment paper, flip the cakes right side up, and let cool completely before frosting, about 2 hours.
6. For the frosting, melt the butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to a spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. This makes about 4 cups of frosting.