15 March 2010

Notes on Yellow Cake

So we had a little shindig to attend this evening, a goodbye party that required the baking of a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. And because I have never made a cake from scratch and because I'd like to make the cake for Lily's upcoming birthday from scratch and need to practice, I flipped open my Betty Crocker Cookbook and got busy. Yes, the Betty Crocker book -- nothing fancy. I had hoped that maybe the guest of honor would enjoy something a bit more exotic like the honey ginger cake in my River Cottage Family Cookbook, but no such luck.

You might remember my aversion to precise measurements. I'm terrible and should really have learned my lesson by now. But no. I wasn't particular about measuring today and ended up with a dense cake rather than a light, fluffy one. It didn't taste bad, especially with the delish buttercream frosting that was so sweet my teeth nearly fell out, but I must get my act together if I want to serve my little one year old a tasty birthday cake.

One good thing: I learned how to melt chocolate. And as I thumbed through the cookbook looking for instructions, I found that the entire front section of the book is all about entertaining and how to prevent food contamination -- probably something worth reading. If I ever have to set a formal dinner table, now I know where to turn.


Ashley said...

I am sure that it was delish, and that Lily's cake will be awesome! I love baking, but it is, unfortunately, more science than art. And, FYI, there is an awesome chocolate cake/frosting recipe on the back of the Herhsey's Cocoa box (just in case you want to try a variation). I add just a sprinkle of cinnamon or instant espresso to the cake recipe... depending on my mood. And did you use cake flour or regular flour? Cake flour does seem to make fluffy cakes. :)

kate o. said...

while i really love making cakes from scratch, i'll admit to you that i love love love boxed yellow cake mix. i can't find a recipe that makes one as fluffy. boxed yellow cake with homemade chocolate frosting sounds just about perfect.

and i love coming across old versions of betty crocker cookbooks where the "party food" and decorations consist of lots of iceberg lettuces stuck with random fruits and olives and mystery spreads for crackers.