Thursday, June 19, 2014

Absolutely the Best Yellow Cake...?

a sweet, baked, breadlike food, made with or without shortening, and usually containing flour, sugar, baking powder or soda, eggs, and liquid flavoring.

Or as I would define it...


nounom nom nom nom

I have been on a quest for the basics.  I want recipes in the front of my binder that are my 'go tos'.   A chocolate cake that I know will always be just the right amount of chocolate, a lemon bar that makes you pucker then mmmm as you take another bite, a coconut cream pie that is so good that you don't care if you have a little sumtin' on the edge of your lip because you just shoved a huge bite into your mouth.  And a yellow cake that can be delicate and delightful but at the same time hold its own when filled or topped.

The Cake Slice Bakers have changed things up a bit and now offer three or four choices to us each month from the current cookbook ~ Great Cakes by Carole Walter.   Our choices this month were Absolutely the Best Yellow Cake, Sour Cream Chocolate Cake, Bing Cherry Kuchen and Streusel Lemon Torte.

You would have thought I would jump at the chocolate cake but I spied that yellow cake and thought that I should give it a go.... would this be THE one?

Well the recipe says that it is the best... let's find out.

Cupcakes again?  Yes, dear.
Cupcakes are easy to give away!  
Plus if you eat a whole cake you just ate one item... if you eat several cupcakes then you just stuffed in your face multiple food items and that is baaaaad.  So yes, cupcakes.

Cream your softened butter and sugar together to form that light and fluffy stuff that you should not dip your pinky into on accident and then lick off because the paper towels are just too far down the counter.

Add in your vanilla extract.  Now you want to add your eggs.

I hate to wash extra dishes but this is one of those things you shouldn't shortcut.... do not crack your egg directly into the mixing bowl.  At some point you will drop a shell.  If you are lucky you will see it, dig it out and just waste time.  Bu there will be that time when you find out because someone you love will crunch down on it and blahhhh!
Instead simply crack your eggs into a small bowl, then dump into the mixing bowl from there.  It is worth the extra dish to wash.

Your creaming items are all fluffy and now to do the wet/dry dance.

Add in part of your dry ingredients, followed by part of your wet then mix until just incorporated and repeat until all your stuff is mixed together.

This batter came out rather nicely and was very silky but I could see that it wanted to break a bit if left to sit.

I made half a recipe and was able to (over) fill 12 cupcakes and had I scrapped the bowl could have filled one more.  Into the 350 degree oven they went.

While they were baking I decided that indeed we needed a bit of chocolate with these cupcakes.... yeah, yeah, I know!  So.....
I decided I would dip the tops into ganache. 
Please tell me you know what ganache is!!  Well in case you don't know what it is I will tell you...  ganache is the chocolate be all end all in my book!  You can do so many things with it other than eating it straight out of the bowl.  And the best part is it is so dang simple to make.
I am using 3/4 cup of heavy cream and 8 ounces of (good)chocolate (chips or chopped) for this round of ganache.  Its a little on the thick side but since I am dipping I wanted that.

Place your chocolate into a heat proof bowl.
Heat your cream on the stove top until the stream just starts to rise and you see little bubbles along the edges.  
Pour the cream over the chocolate.

Wiggle the bowl so that all of the chocolate is covered by the cream.

Now walk away.  Just go... for about 5 minutes.

Time to make magic happen.  Whisk it.

Well that isn't looking so pretty.  Just keep going, I promise it will come together... just... like... that!

Oh yeah.

Timer goes off and the cupcakes are done.
I baked them for about 17 minutes, until they reached 205 degrees internally.
But they are flat and the edges stuck to my pan.  I was hoping for a bit of a dome on top for dipping in.

They smell good and they look good, just flat.

I changed ideas and decided to just spread the ganache on top.

"Oh please don't spread chocolate ganache on top of that cupcake" ~ said no one ever!

Was it the best?  Sadly no.  It was quite tasty!  It has a delicate texture... actually the texture was almost too delicate.  I think that may be one of its downfalls.  Also there was no salt in the recipe and it called for unsalted butter plus it tasted just a bit eggy to me.  I think I may just have to give this one a go again to see if we can get it to be the best.  Keep your eyes peeled for a part two of this adventure.

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*I didn't publish the recipe because it comes from a copyrighted cookbook.


  1. Sooo grateful I've got Great Cakes...Now I can get to baking the yellow cake cupcakes...Fingers crossed, they turn out as scrumptious looking as yours! P.s. Great choice with the chocolate ganache topping.

  2. you know, I kinda think that it was a good thing that the tops of the cupcakes are flat. they hold the ganache way better!!! delish!! :P~~

  3. I love the way you write it is so entertaining! The ganache is a great addition to your cupcakes. I made the same recipe and agree it's good, but not the best. There are two editions to this book and maybe mine is different but there is salt in it.

  4. Thanks gals!
    Oh that is interesting Sandra Lee.... I think I better double check my book. ;)

  5. Love your cupcakes (wish I made cupcakes too); and that ganache is TOPS!!

  6. I loved reading the whole thing as well... You had me going crazy with anticipation... couldn't wait to know exactly what the end result would be.... and... flop... so sad it wasn't what was promised.... but at least it was "enjoyable" and I am sure the ganache helped a lot! ;) Great job! Who doesn't want cupcakes AGAIN? ;)

  7. Omg! I love that creamed butter mixture! I just want to take a heaping spoon and spread it over French toast! Your going to have to share your yellow cake recipe with us! Would love to try it!

  8. They look yummy! Love the addition of that chocolate ganache :) I agree, it was a nice cake but not the best. P.S My book has salt in it too!

  9. Love how you turned the cake into delicious cupcakes :)

  10. Every month I see the choices and I just want to make them all. I love reading through your posts as it feels like I am in the kitchen with you. I am going to have to try these to see how they stack up against other recipes, and I agree that cupcakes are easy to give away.

  11. Thank you gals! Yeah ganache can pretty much save anything eh?! :)

  12. Oh, how I love ganache! These look wonderful.


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