I used to make a gold layer cake like this for my father’s birthday. It may not be fancy, but it is the quintessential layer cake. Really really good.
1 1/4 cups (176g) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (150g) cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 2/3 cups (356g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup (2 oz) vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (8 oz) buttermilk
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) butter, at room temperature (I like to use 1 cup unsalted and 1/2 cup salted)
3 3/4 cups (448g) powdered sugar
2/3 cup (68g) unsweetened cocoa powder
3 – 5 Tbsp half and half
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 9-inch round baking pans, line with parchment paper and butter parchment. Lightly dust pans with flour and shake out excess, set pans aside.
Sift all-purpose flour and cake flour into a mixing bowl. Add baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk 20 seconds, set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment whip together butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy (if not using a paddle attachment that constantly scrapes bowl, then stop mixer occasionally throughout entire mixing process and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl). Blend in vegetable oil. Mix in eggs one at time then blend in egg yolks. Mix in vanilla. Add in 1/3 of the flour mixture then mix just until combined, then add in 1/2 of the buttermilk and blend until combined, repeat process once more then finish by mixing in remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula.
Divide batter among prepared cake pans. Bake in preheated oven 25 – 29 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pans several minutes on a wire rack, run knife around edge to make sure they are loose, then invert onto wire racks to cool (once cool I recommend wrapping with plastic wrap until completely cool and ready to frost). Frost with chocolate buttercream once completely cooled. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
For the frosting:
In a the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter on moderately high speed until very pale and fluffy. Sift in cocoa powder then add in powdered sugar, 3 Tbsp half and half, and the vanilla and mix on low speed until combine, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in up to additional 2 Tbsp half and half to thin as needed. Increase mixer to medium-high speed and whip until fluffy.
A few cake-baking tips
1. Cool the cake completely before frosting.
2. Dust off any loose crumbs gently with a soft-bristled brush or the flat of your clean hands.
3. Freeze layers for several hours or overnight before frosting. The trick is to frost layers while they are still frozen, which helps the frosting adhere better.
4. Anchor the cake by spreading a dab of frosting on the center of a cake plate or cardboard round (found in cake supply stores and craft stores).
5. Spread a thin coat of frosting to the top and sides of the cake using short side-to-side strokes. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to allow the frosting to set.
6. Apply a thick coat of frosting to the top and sides of the cake, being sure to coat the cake evenly and smoothly. If necessary, dip the spatula into hot water to create a smooth coat.
• Filling a pastry bag: To fill a bag with frosting, place an empty pastry bag fitted with a coupler and pastry tip in the center of a tall glass. Open and fold the pastry bag back around the rim of the glass.
When the bag is 2/3 filled, lift it straight out of the glass and gather the end of the bag. Push the frosting down toward the tip to push out any air bubbles, then twist the bag closed.
• Cake flour is milled from select soft wheat and is especially suited for baking tender, fine-textured cakes as well as biscuits and pastries. When substituting cake flour for another flour, increase the amount by 2 tablespoons per cup.
• What is the best way to measure flour? To obtain the most accurate measure of flour, spoon it into a standard dry-ingredient measuring cup and level with a knife or spatula. If the cup is dipped into the container — a common mistake — the flour will be packed into the cup and result in extra flour being added to the recipe, which yields tough and dense baked goods.
• Flour does not need to be sifted before use in a recipe; the exception is cake flour, which always should be sifted after measuring.
• Shiny or dark pans? Shiny pans reflect rather than absorb heat. For a pound cake with a tender, delicate crust, bake it in a shiny pan. It’s always advisable to lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees when using a dark pan, and watch the baking time carefully, so the cake doesn’t burn.
• Baking times: Let the oven preheat for 15 minutes before baking, and make sure the oven temperature is accurate by using an oven thermometer. This detail can be the key to your cake’s success.
• When given a baking time, underset the timer and use the time as a guideline. Many things affect baking times, such as correct oven temperature and type of pan used (glass, metal, dark, light). From Bev Shaffer/ “Cakes to Die For!”
Recipe copyright Beth Hensperger 2017
Tips text copyright Bev Shaffer/ “Cakes to Die For!”
Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.