Do you ever just get an idea in your head about a dessert you want to make and you just don't forget about it till you follow through? I had my heart set on making a classic yellow layer cake with a creamy yummy chocolate icing. I saw a photo somewhere of such a cake and that was it - I knew I wanted to make the perfect fluffy yellow cake. This is the recipe I chose and well, I wish I hadn't. This recipe did NOT work for me. I realize from the photos that it doesn't LOOK that bad, but believe me, the texture was horrible and the flavor was *blech*. It was right up there as one of the worst cakes I've ever made. What a disappointment. I don't know why I'm even going to bother posting the recipe but maybe I will, just as a warning to NOT make this recipe if you come across it. I have to admit, I was kind of swayed by the ease of this recipe. Oil always seems to work so well in quick breads & muffins so why not for cake (but it does for chocolate cakes?) ? For some reason, performing the whole creaming of the butter & sugar sounded like such hard work. I know, that's lame but I guess you get what you put into it, huh? This recipe came from my Elinor Klivans, Cupcake book. I've had the book for awhile but this is the first recipe I've made from it. Not a good first impression. Have you guys made any recipes from it? What did you think?
But now let me get to the icing. I have yet to find a chocolate icing that I'm crazy about. I've always dreamed about a smooth, glossy & creamy icing that has a deep chocolate flavor & color(but not necessarily a DARK chocolate....if that makes sense). All I've ever come across is really light brown icings that are somewhat gritty or rough with no glossiness whatsoever. My previous attempts have been delicious but not exactly what I've been looking for. I've made several that I really like but have been the sort of icing that sets into a semisoft fudge like consistency. I would like one that stays softer and creamier, ya know. This icing that I chose is from my Martha Stewart's cupcake book. It's a swiss meringue buttercream, which involves cooking but since I was going to be icing a "delicious" yellow fluffy cake, I wanted to make a special icing. If you are the sort of person who normally complains that icing is achingly sweet, then this is the icing for you. I can recognize that it's a delicious icing but it's NOT sweet enough for me. What it is is super duper silky & smooth. Sooo smooth. It's pipes like a dream. And sooo buttery and light. It's amazing how light the texture is considering it has 4 sticks of butter in it. Yes, lot's of folks were crazy about the lack of sweetness in this icing. That was a plus in their book. So if you are into that sort of thing, then definitely try this icing. If you want just vanilla swiss meringue buttercream, then just don't add the melted chocolate. I think I might like that better.
Easy-Mix Yellow Cupcake Batter
from Elinor Klivans Cupcakes
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola or corn oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg and yolk and sugar until thickened and lightened to a cream color, about 2 minutes. On low speed, mix in oil and vanilla until blended. Mix in sour cream until no white streaks remain. Mix in the flour mixture until it is incorporated and the batter is smooth.
Bake at 350 degrees until cake/cupcakes test done
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
from Martha Stewart's Cupcake book
5 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoon size chunks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Combine egg whites, and sugar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar has dissolved and whites are hot to the touch, 5 to 7 minutes.Transfer bowl to the electric mixer. Using the whisk attachment, mix on low speed, gradually increasing to high speed, until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes and mixture is cool when you feel the bottom of the mixing bowl. At low speed, gradually add butter to egg white mixture, and beat until smooth. If it looks curdled, that's ok, just keep mixing and it will come together smoothly again. Add vanilla, melted cooled chocolate, and salt, and continue mixing until incorporated.