Posted on: Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vanilla Layer Cake with Bittersweet Buttercream

Vanilla Layer Cake with Bittersweet Buttercream

Did You Know? The history of birthday cakes come from the Greeks, who would take their round, moon-shaped cakes to the temple of Artemis-the Goddess of Moon. The tradition of placing lit candles on these cakes signified the glowing moon, and many believed the smoke of the candles carried their wishes and prayers to the Gods who lived in the skies above.

It was my Mom's birthday last month, so I went with the usual 'I'll-cook-for-you-since-I-have-no-money-to-buy-you-anything' present. A yellow cake with chocolate frosting is what she requested, so that's exactly what I made, jazzed up with a little heath bar of course. I love baking for birthdays, and cooking up dishes that are unique to the tastes of who they're intended for. For my mom, I went with the classic 1,2,3,4 cake. I mean it's all over the web for a reason - it's good, really good. The whipped buttercream frosting on Smitten sounded amazing, so I topped it off with that, and sprinkled some toffee bits all over the top.

The day I made this was unbelievably hot and humid, so I had a hard time keeping the frosting from melting. It wasn't a problem for too long, as we ate our fair share of cake pretty quickly, and shared the rest with our neighbors. If you're tempted to refrigerate this cake, I strongly urge you not to. I put a few pieces in the fridge overnight, and they dried out terribly. I later read that butter cakes should never be chilled for that specific reason. Other than that, this cake will definitely be one of my go-to recipes. Next up will be a cupcake version for sure.



Vanilla Layer Cake with Bittersweet Buttercream

In other news, my bakery has been pretty successful these past few weeks, and me and Chris couldn't be more excited. We have an event at Felt Night Club in Boston on July 8th, so we're really looking forward to that - a lot of great advertising. They host girl's nights every Wednesday, and the 8th is chocolate-themed. I've already got our menu planned out, but if you live in the area, I'd love to meet some of you, so contact Felt for all the details. I've also set up a Facebook page for Sweet Inspirations, so check that out, and make sure you become a fan! We can use all the support we can get. I've put a Facebook widget on the bottom of this page, so click over from here or there. Thanks!



Vanilla Layer Cake with Bittersweet Buttercream
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups sifted self-rising flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Bittersweet Buttercream, recipe follows


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans*, set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed.

Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3 or 4-inches above counter, then dropping flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

*You'll notice only two layers in my cake. I used two 9-inch pans, along with 5 or so cupcakes.



Bittersweet Buttercream
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar


Melt the chocolate with the cream in a double boiler or metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk to blend well. Remove from heat and let stand, whisking occasionally, until the chocolate mixture thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise.

Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, and on medium speed, whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add the chocolate cream and whip until lighter in color and somewhat stiff, about three minutes. Add in the confectioners sugar, whip again, and continue to add until you have reached your desired consistency.


Vanilla Layer Cake with Bittersweet Buttercream

24 comments:

  1. What a lovely cake! The texture looks amazing, and the toffee bits on top are perfect.

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  2. This is one awesome looking cake. Congrats on the bakery. Can't wait to hear more about it.

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  3. I would much rather get a cake like this than get a gift. What a great looking cake. Figtreeapps

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  4. Great cake!

    Cool info about birthday cake too. It's funny how much emphasis all societies seem to place on birthdays. It seems pretty universal.

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  5. Now that is one FINE looking cake! Yummy!!! Congrats on the bakery, sooooo exciting!! (Im jealous, haha) :)

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  6. The cake looks just delish. Looks like it was quite the bday gift.

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  7. The cake looks so beautiful, and congratulations on the bakery! I'm working on starting up my own bakery right now, so I can only hope for the same success as you!

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  8. Wow, your mom is lucky to have you bake her a beautiful cake. Congrats on the bakery doing well. If you're hiring, I am looking for a bakery job ;)

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  9. I love love love cooking for "gifts"!

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  10. Great, now I'm craving cake... It's beautiful. I especially love your "Did you know?" factoids too, more of what sets your Blog apart from others!!

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  11. I am also a big fan of cooking for gifts! This cake looks PERFECT. And thanks for the tip about refrigeration.

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  12. Yum that was so good. Can't wait for chocolate night at Felt :)

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  13. Yum! The cake looks divine--so moist--and need I say anything about that chocolate frosting??? Congrats, too!

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  14. Your mom is so lucky, Hayley! I love cooking for other people's special occasions as well, and food is so much better than those crappy cards I used to give out as a kid!

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  15. By the way - I changed my blog address: I'm at http://ingoodtasteblog.net now

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  16. Happy birthday Mom!

    I'm still at the "I'm broke so I'll bake you a cake" stage. :)

    Lots of luck with your bakery!
    ~ingrid

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  17. Happy Birthday to Mom indeed! I'd love to see the cupcakes you made from that recipe as well.

    Good luck with the bakery!

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  18. Now that slice just looks like a party on a plate! Such a classic birthday cake, but it definitely doesn't get old.

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  19. oh wow your cake looks so professional. Right out of the window of a coffee shop. Scrumptious!

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  20. You know, we've long adopted the "I'll cook for you on your birthday" gift style. We find that cooking is the best gift you can give someone, really, it's full of your energy, passion and creativity, it tastes yummy and it doesn't add clutter! (In my family we're the polar opposites of "pack rats"!)
    I'm sure the melting buttercream wasn't a problem, this looks delicious and I'm glad it was gone quick!
    Congrats on the bakery picking up steam!!!!! This is great!!!! I'm sure that event will give you lots of publicity and it's so much fun that the theme is chocolate, can't wait to see what you share with us!
    Good luck :)

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  21. A perfect gift for anyone, this looks amazingly rich and flavorful. Great cake!

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  22. I made this cake and it turned out absolutely perfect!!!!
    Thank you so much for the recipe, I've ever writen it down in my "Favourites" notebook!

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  23. I'm talking to your Uncle Eddie. He's eating cake that is inferior to yours and is sad. Send him a cake.

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