Friday, September 16, 2016

The Cake of My Dreams...Quite Literally!

What's going on? How are you? It's been a while, but I said it would be a while, and boy, I wasn't kidding!

As you know, I've been unemployed, and there haven't been any prospects lately, except for one. I applied for it, and when the time comes, I will focus more energy on it. Until then, I'm trying to get myself motivated to get out of the house sometimes, to CLEAN the house sometimes, and of course, to cook.

All of this non-job having nonsense really helps me screw up my schedule nicely. Sometimes I sleep all day, and sometimes I go for over a day, like right now.

However, I have a very good reason for not being able to sleep well last night/this morning.

Yes, that. I couldn't sleep because of cake. No, I didn't want to stay up all night eating the cake. It didn't exist yesterday, you see. No, I was unable to sleep because I could not stop thinking about making a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. 

My dad's favorite combination is yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Taking after him, I am rather fond of it as well. And just creating things in general, as you know. 

But, what has eluded me all these years is THE yellow cake recipe. I haven't used a box mix in probably 15 years, and while I am pretty lousy in the decorating department,

                                                                         (exhibit A)

I am pretty darn good at making them taste nice. 

For many of us, cake is but a vessel for frosting. I'm often the same way, but it's because the cake part is often too dry or crumbly or tasteless or some combination of those. Even recipes that promise to be "Super Moist!" aren't quite what I'm looking for. 

I want moist, yes. I also want fluffy and light. I am looking for texture and flavor that make me think, "Damn, this is good cake! Who made it? Oh, I did! Fuck, yeah!" or something to that effect. Well, I doubt mine is unique amongst yellow cakes; after all, there's nothing truly new under the sun, but it's still a tasty cake, people. 

Oh, and I wanted to decorate it for Halloween because I found candy eyeballs at Walmart this morning. 

Now, on to the recipe for the cake and frosting:

Note: Don't be shocked. Don't be appalled. I'm using Crisco. Yes, Crisco. Trust me. 

Yellow Cake: 

1.     1 c butter-flavored shortening
2.     1 ¾  c sugar
3.     4 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
4.     1 tsp. salt
5.     1 T. baking powder
6.     3 c cake flour
7.     2 c buttermilk
8.     1 tsp vanilla extract
9.     1 tsp imitation butter flavor

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans.
Cream together shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Incorporate eggs one at a time, and then add egg yolks one at a time.
Whisk together salt, baking powder, and flour. Add half of this mixture to the egg mixture. Then add half the buttermilk. Mix in the other half of the dry mixture, and then the rest of the milk. Stir in vanilla and butter flavor.
Pour batter equally into prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until tops are springy and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool on a rack for 10 minutes in the pans. Remove and finish cooling on a wire rack before frosting.

Optional (but you really should do it): Brush cooling cakes with vanilla syrup. Combine 1/3 cup each sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat until sugar dissolves. Stir in vanilla. Allow to cool a few minutes before drizzling and brushing over the cake. 

Chocolate Frosting: 

4 c powdered sugar
1/2 c  really, really dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 c butter, softened
½ c  butter-flavored shortening
½  c milk, as needed
2 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt

Sift cocoa into a bowl. Add butter and shortening and beat to cream together. Add 1 cup of sugar at a time, alternating with the milk, until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Beat in vanilla and salt.

There you go. Frost those cooled cakes, and maybe stick some candy eyeballs on the finished product. 

Serve on a Halloween dessert plate, if you are so inclined. 

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