buttermilk layer cake with chocolate frosting

Classic birthday cake

I’d love to have a yellow layer cake recipe in my list of go-to recipes — those recipes that I know work, taste great, and don’t demand great feats (or fancy ingredients) to make. I’ve made a couple of attempts at this classic (once as a small layer cake and cupcakes, and as mini vanilla cupcakes). And those were made with freshly milled soft white wheat flour. For my husband’s birthday, I splurged on cake flour that I had leftover in the pantry rather than whole wheat. So I was able to follow a recipe for buttermilk cake as written. Well, almost….

vanilla and gingerbread buttercreams

Vanilla and Gingerbread Swiss Buttercreams

Today I pulled some of the Whole Wheat Vanilla Mini Cupcakes out of the freezer to top with buttercream. Since it’s that gingerbread-filled season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I knew that some of them would be getting a gingerbread buttercream. After mixing up the recipe for buttercream, it felt a little criminal to do anything to change the smooth, vanilla perfection of the buttercream. But I was too curious to skip the spices. This was my first time making the Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting from Cooks Illustrated. I guess it’s similar to a Swiss buttercream — it uses whole eggs (as opposed to…

Ginger spice apple cake

6-inch ginger spice apple cake

When I read Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe, the recipe for Apple Snacking Spice Cake jumped out at me as a must-make. I made an apple cake once before that was delicious, but didn’t include the ginger and cloves. I cut the recipe in half in order to use my smaller 6-inch cake pan, which I bought so we wouldn’t have so much cake sitting around the house. It came together really well at this size. It’s not too rich or sweet, and is a really pleasant little cake, somewhat similar to an unfrosted carrot cake. It would also be…