February 23, 2011

Birthday Cake

I've known D since grade school, fourth grade in fact. We've been through four or five different stages of awkward together... really, really, awkward. Together we've flown past our awkward teens, through our unsure 20's, and now are happily enjoying the start of our 30's with new found comfort in ourselves. There have been times that we haven't spoken out of annoyance, distance, or just being busy. There have been times when we needed each other and no one else would do.

Knowing D though, means knowing her specific likes and dislikes when it comes to birthday cakes. She's... picky, (and she's going to get me back for calling her that, I assure you!). She likes her cake moist, but not too moist. She doesn't like dark chocolate, only milk. Raspberries make her gag, but strawberries make her happy. So, I made her a moist, but not too moist yellow cake, with strawberries, not raspberries, in a chocolate, dulce de leche frosting. The frosting was risky... it's made with semi-sweet chocolate not milk chocolate. But thankfully, the frosting is too impossibly delicious not to love, so she did.

Yellow Cake
adapted from Martha Stewart

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
3/4 cup Triple Sec (or other fruity liquor)
-Let Strawberries it in Triple Sec until ready to use.

-Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 10" circular cake pan or a 13x9 sheet pan. Dust the pan with flour and tap out excess.
-Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
-Beat butter with standing (with paddle attachment) or hand held mixer until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until well incorporated, occasionally scraping down the sides of bowl.
-Mix together buttermilk and vanilla. Slowly add the sifted flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Do not over-beat.
-Drain Strawberries (save liquor) and mix into batter with a spatula - do not over mix.
-Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan, and cool completely on wire rack. 
-With a pastry brush, brush the top of the cake using the Triple Sec the strawberries soaked in. Do this twice, letting the liquid soak in between brushes. Don't brush more than twice though or things can get soggy.

Chocolate Dulce De Leche Frosting

can dulce de leche (13 - 14 ounces)
5 ounces semi-sweet or darker chocolate
1/2 stick unsalted butter

-Chop chocolate into small pieces. If butter is isn't soft, cut into thin slices.
-In double boiler, melt chocolate, butter, and dulce de leche, mixing frequently with wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula.
-Continue to double boil until everything is melted and well incorporated.
-Let cool for a few minutes before frosting the top of the cake.
-Let the frosting cool and set-up before serving. 

This isn't a traditional frosting, it's a little thick and sticky, but so worth it!


  1. It was delicious! And I'm not picky, just particular! Thanks again for my beautiful cake!

  2. What a splendid friend you are!! :-) I'm so glad you have a friend like this. :-)

  3. You are such a great friend. This cake looks super super delish.