A moist and flavorful yellow cake recipe that pairs perfectly with chocolate ganache and chocolate buttercream! The classic example of a birthday cake
NOTE: It is SUPER IMPORTANT that all the room temperature ingredients listed above are room temperature and not cold so that the ingredients mix and incorporate correctly.
Heat oven to 335º F/168º C — 350º F/177º C. I tend to use lower setting to prevent my cakes from getting too dark on the outside before the inside is done baking.
Measure out the liquid ingredients and place them into a bowl. Whisk gently to fully incorporate the eggs into mixture.
Measure out dry ingredients and place them into the stand mixer bowl.
Attach the paddle to the mixer, and turn on the slowest speed (setting 1 on Kitchen Aid mixers). Slowly add chunks of your softened butter until it is all added. Let mix until batter resembles coarse sand.
Add 1/3 of your liquid ingredients while mixing on low until just moistened. This part is crucial. Don't add too much liquid.
Increase mixing speed to medium (setting 5 on Kitchen Aid mixer). Let the mixture whip up until it has thickened and lightened in color. It should look like soft-serve ice cream. If you do not let the batter mix fully, you will end up with very short, crumbly cakes.
Scrape the bowl. This is an important step. If you skip it, you will have hard lumps of flour and unmixed ingredients in your batter. If you do it later, they will not mix in fully.
Slowly add in the rest of your liquid ingredients, stopping to scrape the bowl one more time halfway through. Your batter should be thick and not too runny. I have to spoon mine into pans with a rubber spatula.
Lightly grease two 8" cake pans with vegetable shortening and dust with cake flour. Tap out excess flour. Fill pans 1/2 full. Give the pan a little tap on each side to level out the batter and get rid of any air bubbles.
I always start by baking for 20 minutes for 8" and smaller cakes and 30 minutes for 9" and larger cakes and then checking for doneness. If the cakes are still really jiggly, I add another 10 minutes. I check every 5 minutes after that until I'm close and then it's every 2 minutes. Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs.
After cakes have cooled for 10 minutes or the pans are cool enough to touch, flip the cakes over and remove from the pans onto the cooling racks to cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer.
Once the cakes are chilled, tort, fill and crumb coat all at once. If you do not plan on crumb coating the same day, you can leave the wrapped cakes on the countertop. Chilling can dry out your cakes before they are iced, so avoid keeping them in the refrigerator longer than necessary. Cakes can be frozen in freezer bags for later use as well.
Heat heavy cream to a simmer and pour over chocolate and add in vanilla. Let sit 5 minutes and whisk until creamy. Let firm up to a soft peanut butter consistency before using to fill the cake.
Place egg whites and powdered sugar in the stand of your mixer with whisk attachment. Mix on low to combine. Add in your butter, salt and vanilla and whisk on high until light and fluffy. Add in your cocoa powder and whisk until combined. Optional: switch to paddle attachment and mix on low for 10-15 minutes for a smoother/bubble-free frosting. Frost cake as desired.