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Birthday Cake

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Recipe from "Williams-Sonoma Kid's Baking" by Chuck Williams, Abigail Johnson Dodge, Jason Lowe, Joy Gosney

This is an advanced recipe

Makes 12 slices

What you need:

Vanilla Cake:
All purpose flour, 2 1/4 cups
Baking powder, 1 tablespoon
Salt, 1/4 teaspoon
Butter, 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
Sugar, 1 3/4 cups
Vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons
Large eggs, 3
Whole milk, 1 1/3 cups

Chocolate Frosting:
Semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 1/2 cups
Butter, 1/4 cup (1/2 stick), at room temperature
Cream cheese, 1 package (8 ounces), at room temperature
Confectioners' sugar, 2 1/2 cups
Vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons
Salt, 1/4 teaspoon
Heavy cream, 2 tablespoons
Decorations, candies and sprinkles

Measuring cups and spoons
2 (9-inch) round cake pans
Parchment paper, pencil and scissors
2 medium mixing bowls
Electric mixer
Rubber spatula
Oven mitts and cooling racks
Small saucepan and heatproof bowl
Wooden spoon
Icing spatula

1. Before you start:

* Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).

* Grease 2 round cake pans with butter

* Make 2 circles on the piece of parchment paper by tracing the bottom of the cake pan. Cut out the circles and press 1 circle into the bottom of each pan. Grease the paper with more butter.

* Sprinkle some flour in each pan and shake and tilt the pans to coat the bottom and sides evenly. Turn the pans upside down and tap out the extra flour.

2. Mix the dry ingredients:

* Put the flour, baking powder, and salt into the sifter and sift into one of the medium bowls.

3. Make the batter:

* In the large bowl, using the electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla for about 3 minutes, until creamy.

* Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with the rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one is added.

* Turn off the mixer, add about one-third of the flour mixture, and mix on low speed just until blended. Pour in 2/3 cup of the milk and mix just until blended.

* Repeat, adding about one-third of the flour, the remaining 2/3 cup milk, and then the rest of the flour, mixing after each addition just until blended.

4. Fill the pans:

* Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with the rubber spatula.

* Pour half of the batter into one prepared pan and the other half in the second pan. Using the rubber spatula, spread the batter evenly and smooth the top.

5. Bake and cool the cake:

* Put the pans in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean. Using oven mitts, remove the pans from the oven and set them on the cooling racks to cool for 20 minutes.

* Turn each pan upside down onto the rack and llift off the pan. Peel off the parchment and let cool completely.

6. Melt the chocolate:

* Melt the chocolate chips in the heatproof bowl over simmering water, stirring often with the wooden spoon until smooth, about 4 minutes.

*Turn off the heat. Using oven mitts, remove the bowl and set aside to let the chocolate cool completely.

7. Make the frosting:

* In the other medium bowl, using the electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat the butter and cream cheese until the mixture is smooth and no lumps remain.

* Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with the rubber spatula. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat on low speed until smooth and fluffy.

* Add the chocolate and cream and beat on low until well blended. Decorate the cake.

Decorating a cake

1. Place one layer, top side up, on a cake stand or serving plate lined with 5 strips parchment or waxed paper.

2. Spread a thick layer of the frosting on top with the icing spatula. Start in the center and move ooutward.

3. Place the second cake layer on top and press on it gently with your hands to make sure it is level.

4. Spread the rest of the frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake with the spatula.

5. Carefully remove the paper and decorate the cake with candies, sprinkles, and birthday candles.

6. Have fun decorating with your friends.

7. Serve immediately, or cover loosely and refrigerate up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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