Back in January, I learned about an organization that provides birthday cakes for kids who might not otherwise receive one. Free Cakes for Kids has chapters in various cities, and I’m sure each one operates a little differently. The Austin chapter invites volunteer home bakers to deliver cakes for birthdays as well as other client agency celebrations so that those agencies’ funds can be directed to the needs of the children they assist rather than to cakes. I’ve volunteered a couple of times now to bake and deliver cakes, and it’s been a pleasure to contribute to the good work being done by this organization. Last week, I volunteered to deliver a cake for a going away party at one of the client agencies. The cake flavor was up to me to choose, so I went with what I hoped would be a universally well-like combination. I baked a yellow cake and topped it with chocolate fudge frosting. I knew I could count on any of the cakes from The Modern Baker, and that’s where I found the recipes I used here.
There’s a note in the intro to the recipe regarding the simplified technique that results in such a nice texture for the cake. Rather than separating eggs, beating the whites, and folding them into the batter, whole eggs were mixed into butter, sugar, and vanilla. Half the dry ingredients were added and briefly mixed, the mixer bowl was scraped, and buttermilk was added and mixed. Then, the remaining dry ingredients were added, and the batter was mixed continuously for three minutes. Malgieri claims that last bit of mixing is critical, and I’ll take his word for it since the cake was light as can be. For the frosting, semisweet chocolate was melted, and a combination of warmed cream and corn syrup was added to it. It was whisked until smooth, and then butter was incorporated. The frosting needed to be chilled for a bit to thicken to a good spreading consistency. I left it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before frosting the cake. It was thick and glossy and very easy to swoop about on top and smooth onto the sides of the cake.
Knowing that the cake was to be delivered and therefore I wouldn’t be able to cut into it myself, I made some extra batter and frosting so I could bake a few cupcakes to keep at home. That was out of a sense of duty, I assure you. I wanted all of you to be able to see the inside of this tender-crumbed and delicious yellow cake. Although, I usually like to experiment with new and different cake flavors, fillings, and frostings, sometimes a reliable, basic cake is exactly what you need. The yellow, vanilla layers could be paired with all sorts of different frostings, but the chocolate ganache would be hard to beat. The frosting was rich and fudgy and not too sweet or heavy. This is a classic that I know I’ll turn to for many more celebrations to come.