Yellow cupcakes with fudge frosting

Yellow Layer Cake and Cupcakes

This is my first time using my DIY cake pan strips and my first time using this recipe. My previous two cakes have not turned out flat, so my hope is that the strips around the outside solve that problem.

Recipe

Best Birthday Cake from smittenkitchen + Chocolate Fudge Frosting from Alice Medrich’s Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts

Process notes

Made a half cake recipe: 6 cupcakes and 1 cake layer in a 6 x 3-inch pan

Day 1

2:30 p.m.: Measure ingredients and bring 2 eggs and 1/2 cup butter to room temp. Grind 231 gm whole wheat pastry flour and sift with with 34 gm cornstarch using medium-fine mesh screen. Set aside largest bran for something else. Sift in 1 teaspoon baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon table salt. Preheat oven to 350° with rack in middle. Make 1 cup of buttermilk by putting 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in a glass jar and adding enough milk to bring it to 8 ounces. Butter 6 x 3-inch cake pan bottom and sides, and add parchment circle to bottom and butter it as well. Line 6 cupcake cups with paper and spray lightly. Soak cake pan strip and wring out, pin to outside of cake pan.

3:15 p.m.: Beat together butter and 200 grams granulated sugar on medium. Didn’t beat for very long — around 2 minutes. Mix in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix in one egg at a time, scraping down bowl after each. On low, mix in buttermilk (as stated in recipe, it looks curdled). Add dry mixture in three batches, mixing after each addition. Finish with rubber spatula. Scoop batter into cupcake liners until 3/4 full (do a tad bit less next time) and pour the rest of the batter into the cake pan (500 gm). Tap cake pan on counter to dislodge bubbles (this didn’t really do much for me). Consulted cake batter guide to ensure I wasn’t putting too much batter in the pan.

3:41 p.m.: Put cake and cupcakes in oven, side by side on middle rack.

4:00 p.m.: Remove cupcakes from oven (19-minute bake). Cool for 10 minutes and remove from pan.

4:25 p.m.: Remove cake from oven (45-minute bake). Cool on rack for 10 minutes.

4:35 p.m.: Remove cake from pan and cool upside down on rack.

Wrap and freeze once cooled until ready to frost.

Finishing day

9:30 a.m.: Remove cupcakes from freezer and thaw on counter.

10:30 a.m.: Make frosting and cool on counter.

1:30 p.m.: Frosting is still a bit loose — move to refrigerator for 40 minutes.

2:15 p.m.: Frost cupcakes with offset spatula, cover, and chill.

Results

Cupcakes: They domed up really nicely in the oven and then flattened after cool, but didn’t sink in which was good. The crumb was, well, crumblier than I wanted, and they’re greasier in taste and texture than I’d like. I read a comment by someone else who made this recipe and they remarked that the homemade buttermilk solution (milk + vinegar) resulted in a cornbread-like taste. I experienced the same thing.

This recipe isn’t the right fit for me, so my search for the perfect yellow layer cake continues. Next time I’ll consider the Fluffy Yellow Layer Cake from Cooks Illustrated. If I do make that one, or any other cake with buttermilk listed as an ingredient, I’ll go ahead and buy buttermilk rather than sub the DIY version.

For me, the chocolate fudge frosting has its pros and cons. It was easy to make, and was completely silky smooth. I used Guittard unsweetened baking bars and they are wonderful. But I’m not a huge fan of the texture of the frosting because it’s more sticky/sugary than rich/creamy.

Unfrosted yellow cake layer and cupcakes

Cake layer: Baked to a height of 1 7/8″ tall. It’s not entirely smooth on top, but the overall shape is much closer to flat than my previous attempts. I think the cake pan strips were a success. This one hasn’t been cut into layers and frosted yet.

Next time:

  • fill cupcake liners 2/3 full
  • bang cake pan on counter more and smooth out top better before putting in oven
  • wring a bit less water out of the cake pan strips
  • turn convection on for more even heating
  • consider turning down temperature 25° to slow down rise
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